Capsule speakers remain a niche product, but they offer some appeal to laptop or iPod and iPhone users who want better sound but don't want to lug around a set of computer speakers. The only drawback to going small is that even if the speakers sound better than most internal laptop speakers, they usually still sound pretty mediocre. What's slightly different about iHome's iHM79s, is that it has made these mini speakers a tad larger than its early capsule models, and the result is that they sound better but take up a little more room in … Read more
Chances are you're pretty familiar with the keyboard on your laptop. Despite any design flaws, you've mastered its intricacies and acclimated to its limitations. But when it's time to look for a new laptop, unless you're sticking to essentially the same model, there'll be a whole new keyboard to get used to--and a rash decision could saddle you with a layout that leaves your fingers twisted in a knot.
If only you had access to a couple of experts who regularly try out several new laptops every week. Then they could use their wide-ranging laptop … Read more
Images of Creative Labs' new Bluetooth speaker, the ZiiSound D5, have been floating around the Web for the past few months, but the product is now officially available.
Creative is calling the D5 "the flagship" model in its line of wireless speaker systems, which includes the Inspire S2 Wireless system, as well as the D200 and D100. The D5 speaker works with any device that supports stereo Bluetooth and, according to Creative, it's made with premium components and features a full-frame "monocoque exoskeleton for maximum rigidity." Also, according to company, its ZiiSound D5 has … Read more
The Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors are really expensive, but the best stuff always is. Then again, $1,350 may be a lot for headphones, but it's cheap for state-of-the-art speakers. Wilson Audio's Sasha W/P floorstanding speaker is in the middle of the company's line, and it goes for $27,000 a pair; Magico's entry-level tower model, the V2, runs $18,000 a pair. The UE 18 Pro is on par with them, it's that good. It's the best headphone UE makes, but UE's custom fitted models start at $399 for the UE 4 Pro, and universal fit UE models start at $50.
The UE 18 Pro is no "earbud," those things are placed in the cupped area around the outer ear canal; in-ear headphones fit into and, most importantly, seal the ear canal. The isolation from outside noise allows listening at significantly lower volume, so it's safer to rock out with in-ears than earbuds. The UE 18 Pro's custom fit (more about that later) hushes outside noise more completely than standard in-ear designs. With external noise hushed, you hear a lot more detail and subtlety from your music.
Never heard of Ultimate Ears? That's understandable; the company originally made its mark building custom in-ear stage monitors for musicians, including Aerosmith, Arcade Fire, Mary J. Blige, John Fogerty, the Rolling Stones, Linkin Park, and hundreds of other touring bands.
I'll tell you this: the UE 18 Pro is drastically better than say, my old favorite: the Etymotic ER-4P in-ears. That's not to take anything away from the ER-4P, but it sounds constrained and contained compared with the UE 18. It's hardly a fair comparison, the ER-4P lists for around $300, the UE 18 Pro is $1,350, plus the expense of getting custom ear molds made (figure about $100). Each UE 18 Pro is a one-of-a-kind creation, hand-built for your ears. … Read more
Editors' note: This post was updated December 20, 2013, with five new games.
New iPads are here at last. Wondering which games to buy? Well, we've taken our best shot at putting together a list of top titles that we feel meet the criteria for a good iPad game.
And just what does make a good iPad game? We debated it for a while and narrowed it down to these five factors:It's gotta be fun (obviously). Ergonomics. (Are the gameplay and control scheme well-suited to the iPad?) Uniqueness. (Though many iPad games play well as upconverted, higher-resolution versions of their iPhone predecessors, we respect new, iPad-exclusive games.) Value. (Some of the best iPad games currently carry high price tags, but we also tried to include titles we thought were simply a good value.) Showoff quotient. (Extra points if the game flat-out looks good, or makes efficient use of the Retina Display.)
Take note all you DIYers and parents with creative kids. If you don't want to shell out $40 for a high-tech iPad stand, you can make your own--or have your kid make one.
With the help of his father, my 10-year-old nephew Brett went to Home Depot, got a piece of wood, a hinge, and a couple of knobs, and presto, instant iPad stand. I'm not sure Brett's going to win any design awards, but the thing does look pretty sturdy and only cost $12.40 plus tax. That may not be as cheap as Case-mate's … Read more
A few weeks ago we wrote that Spring Design's Alex eReader was going to be available two weeks after Apple's iPad was released. Well, true to its word, Spring has officially started shipping the product, which comes in a black or white finish.
As we said in our earlier post, this is one of those products that probably would have gotten a lot more attention had it managed to come out before the iPad. However, as it stands, the $399 Android-powered device--which features both a 6-inch e-ink display and a 3.5-inch, 16-bit color touch-screen LCD--has been overshadowed … Read more
If you've been reading any of the gadget blogs lately, you're probably already aware that Flip Video has a new pocket camcorder called the SlideHD. The new product was leaked last week by a Best Buy employee in advance of its official April 13 launch (it also didn't help that Best Buy was selling the camcorder before it was officially supposed to launch).
Anyway, the SlideHD is here, and it represents an interesting move for the company, which is now owned by Cisco. Instead of adding more shooting features, a wireless option, or releasing a lower-priced model, Flip has gone with a camcorder that adds more playback features, thanks to a generous 3-inch wide-screen touch-enabled LCD that "slides" up at angle. The $279 SlideHD also comes with 16GB of internal memory, which allows you to capture up to 4 hours of HD video; that's double the storage capacity of previous Flip models.
In shifting to a touch screen, Flip has reduced the number of hard buttons. Like you do with a lot of other mobile video devices and smartphones, you control the camcorder by touching virtual buttons onscreen and play back content by simply touching its thumbnail image. In our early tests with the SlideHD, we found the screen to be responsive, but it doesn't have that buttery smooth responsiveness of the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch third generation, or the iPad, all of which have capacitive touch screens. Also, though the screen resolution is fairly sharp, it's not on par with the resolution of Apple's portable devices or Microsoft's Zune HD.
Why did Flip decide to go in this direction? Well, company reps informed us in a meeting last month that its customers told them they wanted to be able to shoot and store a lot of videos (and snapshots) on the device, then be able to share them with friends and family on the road without hooking the device up to a TV or computer. Fair enough.
To accommodate this new vision, not only has Flip preloaded its user-friendly FlipShare software onto the camcorder, but it's also added Flip Channels to the device itself, which allows you to synchronize and store video that others have shared with you. Since that video is compressed for sharing, you can actually store up to 16 hours of videos from your Flip Channels right on the SlideHD.
"It's like having your own portable life book for spontaneous viewing anywhere," Flip says in its marketing materials. "SlideHD's 3-inch wide-screen playback makes it ideal for many occasions such as entertaining the kids with their own personal video show or fine-tuning a tennis serve."
Alas, you can't store any other kind of video on your Flip (it doesn't play back AVI files, for example). And those of you comparing features with competing models like Kodak's Zi8 should take note that Flip decided not to add a macro mode (for close-ups), an expansion slot for additional memory, some form of image stabilization, or an input for an external microphone. In fact, we were told that aside from added memory, the technical specs of the SlideHD were essentially identical to the company's popular Ultra HD model, which retails for about $100 less.
In terms of design, what's interesting is that the because the camcorder has two-tone coloring (white/silver), when you look at it in profile it seems bigger than the Ultra HD, when the two models are actually the same size. (Both the first and second-generation versions of the Mino HD are more compact).
Product specs:… Read more
Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book reader will be getting wider exposure via Best Buy stores.
The Nook is due to be available to consumers at Best Buy retail outlets in the U.S. starting April 18, along with accessories such as covers and screen protectors, and free BN eReader software, the two companies said Monday.
The broader retail campaign comes hot on the heels of the Apple iPad going on sale amid intense media coverage and strong consumer interest. Not a dedicated e-reader like the Nook or Amazon's Kindle, the iPad tablet still promises to give people yet … Read more