The Big Turtle Shell and its 2.0 sidekick are Bluetooth speakers that can handle the elements

By Jim Gresham on Aug 24, 2014

I’m partial to having a speaker in almost every room of the house. There is no particular reason why and, after thinking about it, I am not really that into music. However it is nice to always have some jams going in the background. Thanks to Outdoor Tech, I can have music going in one room, but still hear it in the next. Or, if I am rocking out in the neighborhood pool, I am loud enough to get in trouble.

After meeting with Outdoor Tech at CES, I was really excited about both the Big Turtle Shell and the Turtle Shell 2.0. If you can recall, I reviewed the Turtle Shell gen. 1, and was pretty impressed. In fact, the Turtle Shell has not left my kitchen, except for a couple of roadie tours, for a complete year. I have access to a lot of gear, so it is definitely a credit to the product for any one to make it a full year.

I must admit, the Turtle Shell has been de-throned, in favor of the 2.0 version and the big brother, Big Turtle Shell. Read More

 

Divoom Voombox-Travel is an ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker for the outdoorsman

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 20, 2014

When I went to the Consumer Electronics Show last year, I was surprised at just how many companies in the iLounge Pavilion were showcasing wireless Bluetooth speakers. I’ve always questioned the purpose of these speakers, since I have a surround sound setup in my office or simply consider my MacBook Pro speakers to be good enough when I’m out and about.

A recent outdoor event in which I only had my iPhone on me quickly changed my perspective. If you’ve ever tried listening to music through the iPhone speakers, you probably agree that the smartphone sounds pretty awful. Thankfully, I had packed an ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker in my backpack. It’s called the Divoom Voombox-Travel, and I offer a full review ahead…  Read More

 

Firmware update brings Multi Play and other new features to Mini Jambox

By Cody Lee on May 14, 2014

Jawbone yesterday released a significant firmware update for some of its Bluetooth speakers. The free update, which is specifically for the Mini Jambox, brings about several new features including Multi Play, LiveAudio, and more.

Jambox owners will probably be most interested in Multi Play, which enables you to wirelessly connect two of the bluetooth speakers for either double the volume, or to separate left and right channel audio for stereo-like playback… Read More

 

ZAGG’s Origin wireless speaker combo [review and giveaway]

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

 

Some entry level Bluetooth speakers to consider

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

 

UE BOOM wireless Bluetooth speaker review: built for rugged use and convenient mobility

By Lory Gil on Nov 2, 2013

Apple’s recent launch of the iPhone 5c has created an industry of new cases and accessories to compliment the colorful look of the plastic-backed phone. If you want your 5c to really stand out, match it with a colorful accessory.

The UE BOOM from Ultimate Ears came out long before the iPhone 5c was a glint in an Apple designer’s eye. However, the wireless Bluetooth speaker looks like it was made just for the colorful new phone. The two were meant to be together… Read More

 

Want: Marshall’s Stanmore wireless speaker

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

 

Jawbone introduces new ‘Mini Jambox’ Bluetooth speaker for $179

By Cody Lee on Sep 4, 2013

First there was the Jambox. Then there was the larger, aptly-named Big Jambox. And today Jawbone announced the Mini Jambox. The mini is the company’s third entry into the portable Bluetooth space, helping round out the Jambox line.

But don’t let the ‘Mini’ name fool you. It’s actually not that much smaller than the original Jambox, with virtually the same height and width. In fact, the only dimension you’ll notice a difference in is depth—they’ve shaved about 1/3 of it off… Read More

 

Turtle Shell, a go-anywhere Bluetooth boombox

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

 

The Braven 600 portable speaker is on point

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

 

Big Jawbone Jambox update improves streaming to iOS devices and 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

 

Petite Square: an elegant, powerful wooden bluetooth speaker

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

 

The Boombot Rex is a durable speaker with Siri support

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

 

Tales of a connected home: how iOS is changing modern living

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 23, 2012

I’m a huge proponent of using technology to make my life easier, especially around the home. Technology for the home has been around for quite some time in the form of home automation systems, lighting, and so forth. Unfortunately, such systems have been extremely pricey in the past, or overly confusing to setup and maintain.

Enter the smartphone.

Smartphones, and in particular the iPhone, have served as a great equalizer over the past few years. I can do things with my phone that I never would have dreamed of just a few years ago, and it gets better with each passing year.

Inside, I’ll reflect on some of the cool things that I’ve been able to accomplish lately with my iPhone, along with videos and links to articles that cover the subjects more in-depth. Have a look… Read More

 

Can the Big Jambox replace my office stereo system?

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

 
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