By Jim Gresham on Nov 12, 2013
The Bluetooth speaker is making its way as a universal speaker for all mobile devices. As I mentioned in a previous Bluetooth speaker round up just last week, it appears more companies are entering the Bluetooth speaker marketplace. Also, it seems fewer companies are producing dock based speakers. After Apple turned the iPhone dedicated aftermarket upside down by eliminating the 30 pin cable, fewer companies want to continue chancing a Lightning pin specific option. With the universal Bluetooth standard, not only does the company future proof their design, but all mobile devices will work effortlessly, thus preventing costly dedicated iPhone models.
ZAGG (you know them as one of the original iPhone skin companies) is also branching into the mobile media scene. No longer just the InvisibleShield company, ZAGG and their new subsidiary iFrogz are getting their hands dirty in a cross platform way. From skins to cases to audio, there is certainly a diversification for the company. I was able to review a new pair of their Bluetooth headphones a few weeks back and today, a closer look at the ZAGG Bluetooth speaker, should leave everyone begging for more.
The ZAGG Origin, which made its first splash at CES 2013, had escaped my radar until recently. With a streamlined design and hard hitting sound, I was excited to receive a review unit. Origin may look like it is just another part of the average Bluetooth line up, but a detachable companion speaker is the second part of a one-two punch to success… Read More
By Jim Gresham on Nov 8, 2013
We love music. For years, well before iPods, we took music everywhere. From records to CD’s, music is a part of every day life, especially with the invention of MP3 players and the subsequent iPod. However, these are personal devices with single use headphone jacks. Music is most fun when enjoyed with those around us, or at least without being tied down by a corded headset.
Setting music free, is the Bluetooth speaker. As a reviewer, it seems Bluetooth speakers continue to advance in popularity. Not only do I get asked to review them more frequently, but I seem to have more personal conversations about them too. Which one is best, more portable, louder, more clear, better battery and so forth. To throw a few out there for consideration, I rounded up four different models for your consideration… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 24, 2013
British music gear company Marshall Amplification needs no introduction: the brand is practically synonymous with pro-grade music amplifiers, speaker cabinets, drums (via their Natal Drums acquisition) and more. Fittingly, Marshall’s personal headphones and earphones arm today launched a new personal wireless speaker.
I immediately fast-tracked it to the top of my shopping list. The stylish Stanmore speaker not only looks business dressed up in Marshall’s trademark design, it comes packed to the gills with useful connection options, including Bluetooth wireless, RCA input and the standard 3.5mm auxiliary input… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 26, 2013
Accessory maker Belkin back at January’s CES 2013 unveiled a handheld home theater system for Apple’s iPad, the Thunderstorm. The amplification system docks your iPad with integrated front-facing speakers and air channels for the powerful bass sounds. The speaker case was initially limited to older 30-pin iPad 2 and third-generation iPad devices. Today, Belkin announced Thunderstorm availability for iPads outfitted with Lightning I/O, namely the iPad 4… Read More
By Jim Gresham on Jul 4, 2013
True to its name, the Turtle Shell is weather resistant and can take a beating. Not all Bluetooth speakers can say the same. Designed by Outdoor Technology, the dust and shock proof unit is also water-resistant for those nights by the pool or occasional rainstorm.
Producing “Stuff you probably want” is the pride and driving mantra for this group of easy going devs. The pyramid triangular design and bold colors give Turtle Shell a unique design that is modern and appealing. When using it in the office, several passersby stopped just to comment on the aesthetic and one of my office mates even took it home for a party. But, according to Outdoor Tech, inside is the last place you should be using their wireless boombox… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jun 5, 2013
Earlier this year, sound engineering company THX filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging patent infringement. The studio, which was founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, claims Apple is using its speaker technology in its iOS and Mac products without a license.
The iPad maker is, of course, no stranger to patent litigation. It just suffered a huge blow yesterday in its ongoing battle with Samsung, and it’s involved in countless other frivolous suits. So it’s no surprise that reports claim it’s trying to settle this complaint out of court… Read More
By Jim Gresham on Apr 11, 2013
Having reviewed different ranges of audio accessories for iOS devices, until now, I had yet to review a portable wireless speaker set. There are plenty around, but none of them ever piqued my interest. Unless my wife started asking about them, I would not have considered owning a wireless speaker considering I have a pretty serious home system and a pair of nice headphones.
After spotting the Braven 600, I figured why not give it a shot. It seemed like a well-built option, considering the price. Braven is a company with which I was not immediately familiar, but when I opened the box, I was quite surprised at the well-packaged speaker. It’s a perky little thing, for the size, and it is a nice addition to my current line up. Follow me past the fold for the full details… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 3, 2013
When it comes to portable Bluetooth speakers, the Jambox is by far my favorite. It may not be the best-sounding, or give you the most bang for your buck, but I love its build quality and design, and the fact that Jawbone issues regular updates.
In fact, it just rolled out an update today for its Big Jambox line, bringing its firmware to version 2.0. The update features new AAC support for iOS 6.1, which will provide better audio streaming with less dropout, and improved battery life… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Mar 10, 2013
I’ve always been a huge fan of video games, ever since my earliest days, and the Atari 2600 was my first childhood gaming console (yup, I’m that old). After seeing the other day this 35 years old system finding a new life by becoming a retro-inspired iPhone speaker dock, it immediately brought back fond memories of gaming sessions shared with my friends after school.
A fan tore a broken Atari 2600 apart, making a few clever changes to turn it into an app-enhanced stereo speaker dock. The Atari dock will recharge an iPhone or iPod touch while allowing you to listen to your music or an FM radio. The mod also features six equalizer settings, comes with a remote control of its own and has a 3.5mm jack to connect other audio sources… Read More
By Jim Gresham on Mar 9, 2013
We all cup our hands behind the iPad when trying to hear our favorite music or videos. I often found the speaker on iPad to be lacking and I even backed a project on Kickstarter last year trying to remedy this problem. Unlike the product I backed last year, the Sabine is anodized aluminum to match Apple’s design aesthetic. Additionally, aluminum is a more reflective surface and amplifies sound at a much higher rate. Today, I take a look at 7decibels’ Sabine final production prototype… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 27, 2013
The next iPhone is very likely just a few short months away so little wonder that slowly but surely first pieces of the puzzle are beginning to surface.
iOS hacker iH8sn0w today tweeted that future-generation iOS gadgets could add a new 128GB model, twice as much as today’s top-of-the-line iPhones, iPads and iPods.
And on Friday, the usually credible iLounge posted a bunch of interesting tidbits pointing to a fifth-gen Pad with iPad mini-like design and a 13-megapixel back camera being the star feature of the iPhone 5S, among other goodies.
That’s all hearsay, but now a leaked part has come our way, purportedly representing a speaker assembly for future-generation iPhones… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 21, 2013
If you’re in the market for a wireless Bluetooth speaker, you won’t have to look far to see some good options. There’s the Jawbone Jambox and the Beats Pill, and countless other offerings from the likes of Logitech, JBL and Bose.
But what if you want something more elegant-looking? Like maybe perhaps with a vintage wooden enclosure? Then your options become a lot more limited. Luckily, we’re adding another one to that list today with the Petite Square… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 6, 2013
CES starts today, meaning you can expect to see several new product and accessory announcements over the next 5 days. Earlier today we told you about the Cookoo smart watch, and now it’s Belkin’s time to shine.
Known for Apple accessories like USB cables and keyboard cases, Belkin doesn’t have much of a track record in the audio space. That changes, though, with the Thunderstorm, a new iPad case with built-in speakers…
By Cody Lee on Jan 5, 2013
As most of you know, iDB will be at The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. And though Apple itself won’t be there, there will be tons of iOS-flavored products and peripherals worth reading about. Take these new Lightning-compatible audio docks from iHome, for example… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 9, 2012
Not everyone is a fan of Bose audio products. They are typically more expensive and have fewer features than their counterparts, but still, they manage to sell a ton of them. And the SoundDock is the perfect example of that.
Introduced in 2004, the $200+ Bose SoundDock is one of the most recognizable lines of iPhone/iPod speakers on the market. And this month, Bose is going to release a new version of the Dock with Lightning support… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 7, 2012
When it comes to iPhone-friendly speakers, there’s no shortage of choices. There’s the Jawbone Jambox, the Beats Pill, and countless other options. But when it comes to durable speakers that you can take with you anywhere, the choices are a lot more limited.
In fact, you might even say there’s a gap in the market for such a product. And the Boombot REX ultraportable speaker is hoping to fill that gap… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 5, 2012
Consumer electronics maker Philips unveiled four interesting speaker docks designed for Apple’s latest iOS devices that incorporate Lightning I/O (the iPad mini, fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, fifth-generation iPod touch and the seventh-generation iPod nano). Of course, built-in Lightning I/O means music lovers can dock/charge Lightning enabled iOS devices and play their music at the same time. One portable speaker and three units for indoor use all feature eye-catching modern design and those who had a chance to personally test these boom boxes claim they sound every bit as good as they look… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 15, 2012
JBL today announced a pair of interesting iOS docking stations with built-in support for Apple’s new Lightning I/O. Filed as JBL’s first-ever Lightning-enabled speakers, both the $199 OnBeat Venue LT and $99 OnBeat Micro also feature a built-in USB connector for hooking up non-Lightning music sources. The smaller OnBeat Micro is the perfect traveling companion due to its tiny footprint and support for standard batteries which can provide up to five hours of playback.
Its bigger brother, the Venue LT, can dock via a built-in Lightning port any iOS device with Lightning I/O, which currently entails the iPhone 5, the fifth-gen iPod touch, the new iPod nano, the iPad mini and the fourth-gen iPad… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 31, 2012
In a classic marketing 101 move, online retailer Amazon last week highlighted the iPad mini’s perceived flaws in a huge Kindle Fire HD ad on its web site. The move came after Amazon uncharacteristically compared the iPad mini to its tablet in an earnings release announcing its first loss in nine years. Advertising against the iPad mini, Amazon listed Apple’s device as having a mono speaker versus dual stereo speakers on its tablet. Some people likely bought this as Apple’s own web page makes no mention of stereo speakers and the Tech Specs page only confirms “built-in speaker”.
Always quick to right the wrongs, Apple’s head honcho of worldwide marketing allegedly confirmed in an email exchange with a fan that the smaller iPad does have built-in stereo speakers. We expect Amazon to update its homepage ad shortly… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 17, 2012
In the last month or so, I’ve been on a minimalism tear. For example, I traded in my 27″ iMac for a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. I also decided to get rid of my 2011 MacBook Air.
As it turns out, I rarely used the MacBook Air, because it was just too slow to get any real work done. The iMac was a beast, but it wasn’t portable, which caused many of my files to fragment between multiple devices. I decided it would be best if I just had one powerful, yet portable machine to get all of my work done. It just so happened that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was the perfect device to meet my needs.
To go along with these changes, I decided it was time to rid myself of my old antiquated component audio system. I have a Pioneer receiver coupled with Pioneer speakers. It’s a 5.1 audio system that’s incredibly heavy, a birds nest of wires, and power hungry to boot.
I needed something smaller, totally devoid of wires, and easier on the power consumption — all without sacrificing too much in the way of sound quality. Obviously, the highly regarded Jawbone Big Jambox was on my short list of devices to choose from, but was it up to the challenge of completely replacing my traditional stereo system? Read More