The continuing popularity of Bluetooth speakers mystifies me. The under $50 ones sound pretty weak, but they have a good excuse: they're cheap! Sadly, the $100 models aren't much better: they sound undernourished next to my $52 Dayton Audio B652 stereo speakers, powered by my $25 Lepai LP-2020A+ stereo amplifier. Before we go any further let's put aside for a second the question of how BT sounds; the biggest problem with BT speakers is that it's just one speaker, and can't fill a room as well as two speakers, spread five or more feet apart. … Read more
Over the past year or so we've seen a new product category emerge: the portable digital converter/headphone amplifier. Of course, no one "needs" such a device -- phones and iPods already have converters and amps built-in -- and sound perfectly fine with average headphones. The sound is good enough, but your phone's converter and amp share space and battery power with the phone's electronics. A separate converter and amp, about the size of a phone, has only one mission: improved sound quality. So if you upgraded to a high-end in-ear headphone, like the $399 … Read more
It's been a few years since I wrote my last Zu Audio speaker review, but this time out I wanted to try their least expensive tower, and that's where things got interesting.
The Zu Audio Omen Standard and Omen Dirty Weekend (DW) are virtual twins, but with one very significant difference: the DW uses "recycled" drivers. That is, the DW drivers come from Zu customers who traded up to one of Zu's higher-end drivers. Let's stop right there: Zu Audio is one of the rare speaker companies to offer upgrades in any form, but … Read more
Elegantly designed, affordable products are marvels of our age, but then there are the extreme, defiantly outrageous ones designed to thrill. Take the new 640-horsepower Dodge SRT Viper GTS: this $120,000 supercar looks like a venomous snake with wheels and can propel its owner to insanely fast speeds, but the car probably won't be of much practical use as a grocery hauler or picking up the kids from soccer practice. The Abyss AB-1266 is the SRT Viper GTS of headphones. It's a no-holds-barred attempt to build the best-sounding headphone on the planet.
The mostly metal design is … Read more
Sharp has announced that the 70-inch LC-70UD1 television, the first Ultra HD screen to receive THX certification, is now available in stores for $7,499, with a street price of $5,999.
The TV features a 4H/UHD resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels and the company's proprietary Revelation upscaler to upscale existing sources to the resolution of the panel.
The LC-70UD1 is the first to receive THX 4K classification, which Sharp said involved over 400 tests, and it means the TV includes two precalibrated THX Movie modes.
The UD1 is edge-lit but lacks local dimming and unlike the … Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but this time I have to talk about the way these Marten FormFloor speakers look. The stunning, three-sided cabinets looked spectacular at the Wes Bender Studio in Brooklyn. The sleek, apartment-friendly towers are works of art.
Luckily enough, the sound is no less brilliant; their astonishing purity really enhances the experience of listening to music. Bass definition and "speed" are exceptional, and vocals sound present, like the singer is in the room with me. With jazz CDs the spontaneity of the band's improvisations was captured with unusual fidelity. The 43-inch-tall towers … Read more
Verizon Wireless today expanded its rugged smartphone lineup by announcing the Casio G'zOne Commando 4G LTE.
An update to 2011's Casio G'zOne Commando, the Commando 4G LTE has largely the same design as its predecessor. Clad in black with a few red accents, the handset packs rubber sidings for protection, and top and bottom ends that almost come to a point.
More importantly, it meets the expected military standards (under the MIL-STD-810G certification) for shock immersion, dust, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, low pressure, and high and low temperature. What's more, the touch screen, which … Read more
Families outfitted with a fleet of smartphones have a lot of options for checking in that don't require exercising those texting thumbs or distracting a driver with a call just to find out exactly when he or she is coming home for dinner.
I've gathered a handful of Android applications designed to help smartphone users keep an eye on each others' whereabouts. Indeed, the first thing that comes to mind in this NSA age is whether or not this stuff is private. Rest assured, dear reader, I've got your interests at heart.
These are apps are opt-in … Read more
Cardas Audio has been making audiophile cables since 1987, so I was taken aback when I heard George Cardas was working on a headphone model. That was four years ago, when Cardas was approached by a major in-ear headphone manufacturer to make cables for them, but when George started listening to their headphones he was less than thrilled with the sound. One thing led to another, he thought he could do better, and decided to make his own headphones.
Prototypes were built, he listened, he measured, tweaked the design, made more prototypes, listened and measured. Most dynamic in-ear headphones use … Read more
You won't last long in the cell phone-selling biz if you can't promise LTE speeds. That's why it's so essential that Aio Wireless, AT&T's prepaid arm, is about to capture this crucial bolt of the 4G lightning.
Aio (pronounced AY-oh) has now announced the ZTE Overture as its debut LTE phone, arriving sometime in July.
The Android handset has modest features by most accounts: a 4-inch LCD touch screen backed by a 5-megapixel camera, the whole thing buttressed by the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.
Details like the resolution of the Overture'… Read more