Posts Tagged ‘iPod’

Bluetooth is a wonderful thing, and since the likes of Apple have created AirPlay, our devices can connect to others to release our playlists from the palm of our hands. 

The problem most of us face, is having to move on with the times….yes we all have the iPod, iPhone or Android handset, but our sound systems do not connect wirelessly, pushing us to connect our lovely portable devices via AUX and leave them by the sound system’s side. 

OK, you could go out and buy a whole new sound system, plenty of Samsung, Onyko and Pioneer Amps now include AirPlay, but you will have to part with around £500 for the pleasure. 

In come the guys at Audioengine who bring us the B1. This little device is an adapter designed solely for Audiophiles (doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get involved), with high-fidelity output that directly connects into your sound system. It lets you stream audio wirelessly via Bluetooth from your smartphone or Bluetooth enabled computer with superb sound quality. 

The B1 is housed in aluminium which oozes quality and sets to warrant the price tag. It measures 1″H 3.5″W by 4″D and has an adjustable antenna on the front. On the back panel we find the RCA stereo output for your receiver, a 24-bit digital optical output, and a micro USB port for power through the included power adaptor. The RCA cable is included in the box. 

B1 Rear

Under the hood, the B1 includes a 24-bit upsampling DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which provides the high fidelity music. This device will work beautifully with high quality music files and will play them at their best. A lot of the other devices on the market tend to make your music sound worse, this device will never degrade what you have and that is the beauty of it. 

The B1 supports the aptX codec and both the A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles and is simple to set up, with the iPhone 5S taking just seconds to pair. Inside the box you get a small drawstring carrying pouch in addition to the USB cable and power adaptor if you want to travel with it. 

This device performs well, sounds great and is the epitome of wireless audio for 2014. If you like your music and find that nothing out there does your playlist any justice, then give the B1 a go…..this is a force to be reckoned with!

£140 here in the UK or $189 for the US. 

Audioengine-B1

It seems like not a day passes where another Apple compatible product is released, as companies scramble to profit from the design savvy consumer Apple  produces for.

Logitech are pretty much ahead in this arena, but I have to admit they are on fire at the moment with some of the products they are releasing and seem to have their finger on the pulse.

Bring on the Logitech Z600. The sleek, Apple-esque, wireless stereo speakers for your desktop. These cool units house three drivers each and can hook up to smartphones, tablets or laptops over a Bluetooth connection. Logitech have kindly included a Bluetooth dongle for those who do not have this built-in to the electronic device they are using.

The speakers allow for 3 simultaneous connections to your devices and can easily switch between them when the command is sent. Volume is controlled via the right speaker with a touch panel at the top which allows you to glide your finger iPod style and a 3.5mm jack is housed at the rear for those devices without the ability to connect wirelessly. Along the back of the right speaker, you can also find the power and pairing button which are hidden nicely.

These speakers will not look out-of-place and are at the right size to sit on your desktop and look pretty cool. You may want to think of these as a cheap alternative to a multiroom system as they are cheap enough to buy and place in every room and then just stream music from your smart phone and confidently fill most rooms with good sound.

Released in August with a RRP of £129.99 in the UK.

Z600

 

Minidock bedside

Bluelounge, is the award-winning international design studio known for its sleek products created to provide honest solutions with a forward design aesthetic. The studio enjoys drawing from their interests in art, architecture, travel and fashion, to create a synergy of product, graphic and interactive design.

As you browse through the Bluelounge website you see the thought that has gone into every product they make. Some, are simply design overhauls but others are totally unique. These are the boys that brought us The Sanctuary charging box and Milo stands which both offer a cool accessory for your gadgets or smartphones.

The Minidock follows the same path, bringing both style and functionality to the game. The nifty device allows you to charge your iPhone or iPod with your existing Apple USB Power Adapter. Your chosen device sits upright in the Dock while it charges directly from the wall socket, allowing you to free up counter or tabletop space. The Minidock is easily transportable, fits in pretty much any bag and looks good in any scenario.

Although this is a great product, we can see some potential problems. Number 1, the dock has to be bought in a UK, US or EU version, so if you are travelling you will have to throw on a travel adaptor which will defy the whole point of the product. Number 2, not all houses have tabletop wall sockets, most of us UK folk have them near the floor. And last but not least….iPhone covers, these are not all supported, so you may have to remove it before charging.

I still think it’s a superb product, designed well and functions even better, but you will have to tick a few boxes before going ahead and buying it. It’s available from Amazon at the newly reduced price of £11.99.

MD_desc_06

More and more we see over-ear headphones becoming a normal sight on our streets…but has style pipped substance in most of these cases.

Back in the 80’s, it was normal to see over-sized headphones being donned by the coolest kids on the block, whether it be around their neck or actually being used to listen to music, they all proudly showed off their Walkman (think iPod for the younger of you) and headphones . It seems we find history repeating itself, but are most of these about style and not about sound quality?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the majority of the headphones we see, but through personal experience I was sucked into buying a pair, then realising they didn’t sound as good as they looked on the rappers and footballers paid to wear them.

Now bring in B&O’s H6….retro style, class and quality rolled into one pair of headphones. With New Zealand cowhide leather which look like they have been stripped from a Ferrari Dino and anodised aluminium used in its frame, these headphones will age as gracefully as George Clooney on a daily beauty regime.

Put together by Danish industrial designer Jakob Wagner, these headphones are like nothing else out there, with the Asus-style circles etched on the aluminium cover plates and the cowhide leather not only lusciously covering the ear cups but going over your head for ultimate comfort.

These headphones are aimed at the mobile generation, sporting an in-line remote to use with your smartphone and also 3.5mm jacks on each cup so that you can daisy chain headphones together so that a friend can also listen from the same source you are.

Bang & Olufsen are known for style and quality and both of these are more than taken care of in these headphones, with them sounding absolutely impeccable and not looking out-of-place on anyone.

But hey, here is the bad news….they are £329 (gulp) but let me stress, these are up there with the greats and of course you will not see them on every person you meet like other brands we are all more familiar with.

Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay H6

 

Nest Thermostat

This is the cool Nest home thermostat designed by the ex Apple designer Tony Fadell who worked heavily on the iPod at its inception.

The clever thermostat remembers each time you turn the temperature up or down and builds a detailed schedule around your temperature preferences. You can set timers like most other thermostats but where this unit excels is that it can be controlled via a mobile app on your phone, allowing you to turn the heating off while away or turning it up ready for when you get home. The unit also boasts an Auto-Away feature which turns to an energy efficient temperature while you are out and promises to save you around 15-20% a year on your energy bills.

Not only does Nest look ultra cool in the home, but it fits like most old thermostats (apparently in under 30mins) and can produce a energy report to show how you use energy in your house.

Nest have finally revealed that it will be available in the UK in 2013, but don’t expect it to be cheap as it retails for $249 in the US, although the company believe that it will pay for itself with the reduction in your energy bills.

Turning the temperature up or down never looked so good.