Summer's in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere. People have warmed up the grills, busted out the bug spray, and taken the covers off the pools. Swimming is the ultimate summer luxury in my book, but what to do about all those tech toys with water phobia? Most of them should stay far from the pool, unless of course one happens to be an iPod, which has a variety of waterproof cases made just for it. There's even one with a speaker built right in. And while I don't suggest trading in all your gadgets based … Read more
By far the most difficult (read: impossible) question for me to answer is: what is the very best MP3 player/headphone/iPod speaker/etc? That's because there is no single device in any given category that is perfect for every person. There is a healthy handful of MP3 players that I think are excellent, but finding the right device for an individual has a lot to do with personal preference and requirements. I can, however, tell you what I would buy for myself. Also this week: how to judge the best time to buy a new MP3 player.
Q: … Read more
If there's one thing Logitech does right, it's progress. The accessories company has been churning out iPod speakers for years, and its experience in this area shows in each new product. Rather than resting on its laurels, Logitech chugs forward with tweaks and improvements. Such is the case with the Pure-Fi Mobile speaker, the company's first stereo Bluetooth model. This ultracompact unit features a sleek, high-quality design, compatibility with all audio devices, and some nice extras. The $149.99 price tag isn't exactly a bargain, and audio quality isn't stellar, but the speaker is a … Read more
One of the most punishing strikes against Microsoft's Zune MP3 player is that it's just not fun to shop for. iPod owners can drive themselves into the poorhouse buying up "Made for iPod" speaker docks, video goggles, workout accessories, voice recorders, and at least a few gazillion cases. For Zune owners, I was able to round up six worthy accessories. That's right--six!
The motivation behind this Zune accessory round-up is iHome's latest ZN9 clock radio, which landed on my desk last week and impressed me with its solid design and extensive features. With so … Read more
Consider yourself warned: The following post is not for the squeamish. It's time to clean the wax out of your earbuds. Yes, it's gross, but if you have the style of earbud that gets inserted into the ear canal, it must be done. Otherwise, wax can build up on the outer speaker and affect sound quality, and it may actually seep in and damage the inner workings of the earpieces. It's also not a bad idea to disinfect the sleeves from time to time. Find out how to do both below. Also this week: Your iPod isn'… Read more
Is it just me, or do tech gadgets break down way too quickly and easily? I swear every cell phone I've ever owned starts petering out about the 372 day mark with sharply declining call quality. Then, there's the screen and processor problems with MP3 players after about two years. One reader said that even some expensive headphones are calling it quits way too early. I may as well start driving a Fiat (again) and get it over with. Also: I may not be the FCC's biggest fan, but I'm not one to encourage illegal activity … Read more
Although there are plenty of fabulous MP3 players out there, no one device is perfect. For years, I've kept a list of dream features, many of which remain unchecked. One of these is support for every single audio codec, from Apple Lossless all the way down to WMA Lossless. A tall order, but one that would not be unappreciated by others, such as one reader who would like a non-iPod MP3 player that supports Apple Lossless. Also this week: do lanyard-style headphones for the later-generation iPod Shuffle exist?
Q: I'm looking for a new MP3 player. I use … Read more
Yes, the name of this column is changing once again, but don't hate me because I'm fickle! Because, well...I'm not. In fact, CNET's all-encompassing Ask the Editors feature is moving to Crave, meaning we're standardizing the naming and format across categories. But don't worry: it's still MP3 Mailbox in my head. That means you can still expect to see this column every Monday (that I am in the office), and it will continue to be packed full of digital music tidbits. Also, the "MP3 Mailbox Monday" keyword linking at the … Read more
Anyone who has ever shopped for an iPod speaker knows that there is no shortage of models from which to choose; options range from extra-deluxe party speakers to the gadgets smaller than a pack of gum. Heck, you can even get a case with a speaker built right in: the iMainGo 2. This follow-up to Portable Sound Laboratories' popular iMainGo offers the same compact, innovative design and affordable price tag ($39.99), but includes upgraded titanium speakers as well as fit tweaks that allow it to be used with a greater number of MP3 players. It's a great choice … Read more
After enjoying a brief hiatus, MP3 Mailbox Monday is back--and back to basics. Perhaps one of the most confusing things about portable music devices is audio format compatibility, and yet this is an elemental feature of any player. So which format works best? It all depends on the user, but one of the answers below will help you sort it out. Also, learn how to burn MP3 CDs in iTunes and find out possible reasons for your MP3 player only playing tracks in alphabetical order.
Q: I'm sure that you've answered this question many times, but I'll … Read more