Archive | January, 2017

Yamaha YAS-106 Review

Posted on 31 January 2017

Yamaha brings users its latest $200 soundbar, the YAS-106, which includes 4K pass-through and HDMI, making it a smart addition to your TV, particularly when you are constrained with space. However, its super boom bass can be too overwhelming.

Features
o Ultra slim design which perfectly complements your TV’s looks
o Rich, deep bass thanks to double built-in subwoofers
o Wireless streaming from a tablet or smartphone
o Easy setup with HDMI, analog or optical connection

The Yamaha YAS-106 is a compact 35 x 2 x 5 inches soundbar, but do not let the size fool you- it goes way beyond just creating big sound. On the right and left sides, it comprises of a 1 inch tweeter, 2 inch woofer and 3 inch subwoofer. Unlike many modern soundbars, the Yamaha YAS-106 lacks a separate woofer; however, it comes with sufficient bass and occupies less space.

The YAS-106 allows few ways of connection, including HDMI. This connection facilitates Audio Return Channel, which means when you turn the TV off, the soundbar shuts off too; it can also handle pass-through of 4K videos.

The soundbar also provides a digital optical audio input, and comes with Bluetooth connectivity and analog input. You can also attach a peripheral subwoofer if you are looking for added bass. When it comes to performance, the Yamaha YAS-106 does what it is supposed to: improving user’s listening experience. Dialogue is booming, explosions bigger and the sound field widens to give the video a more encompassing feel.

The Yamaha YAS-106 soundbar comes with a remote control which places the subwoofer volume and speaker volume buttons side by side for added convenience. The buttons are rubberized which make the handling of the remote control a lot easier and are also fairly ergonomic. With its price tag of $199, the Yamaha YAS-106 is a reasonably affordable stereo soundbar with a decent number of connectivity options and sound modes.

Photo: Yamaha

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Apple AirPods Review: Simplicity and Technology Combined

Posted on 27 January 2017

Wireless, effortless and magical, the Apple AirPods bring users simplicity combined with cutting-edge technology, like never seen before. Connected via Bluetooth, these intelligent air pods connect to each other and then to your device- iPhone, Watch, iPad, or MacBook.

The Apple AirPods comprise of a special chip and software in iOS, which makes their connection with the phone a lot easier. Unlike your normal Bluetooth headphones, these AirPods instantly ask you to connect after you pop open the case. Each AirPod comes with a microphone to allow making calls, and instead of going through the hassle of changing the volume or skipping through tracks, all you need to do is double tap an AirPod and ask Siri.

The quality of the earphones is impressive- they are loud and offer much more clarity of notes. More than that, they are certainly much more dependable as compared to other Bluetooth headphones, courtesy of the Apple chip. Moreover, they stay in the ears pretty well, but are not fit for running and sports. You can make it around 50 m from your phone before the signals finally start to trip. This means you can enjoy your music or carry on with important calls even when your phone is on charge. You do not have to manually turn on or off the AirPods: all you need to do is just open the case and put them in your ears.

The Apple AirPods come equipped with a voice accelerometer, which identifies when you are talking on the phone and thus cancels out any external noise, allowing you to perfectly focus on your voice. The case that comes along with the AirPods is also a charging port, which gives you over 24 hours of listening time. Charging them for a quick 15 minutes can easily give you 3 hours of music jamming. For checking the battery status, hold the pods next to the phone and inquire Siri.

Photo by: Apple

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Review: Oppo R9s with 16MP Rear Camera

Posted on 26 January 2017

Launched in October of 2016, the Oppo R9s comes with a display touchscreen of 5.5 inches and a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080, with a PPI of 401. The smartphone is powered by 2GHz octa core Snapdragon625 processor with a RAM of 4GB and an internal storage memory which can be expanded to about 128GB with the help of a microSD card. The cameras pack a 16-megapixel primary one on the rear and a 16-megapixel selfie camera.

Features:
o Dimensions: 6.58 x 74.3 x 153 mm
o Weight: 145 grams
o Battery capacity of 145 mAh
o Colors Available: Rose Gold and Gold
o Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
o Skin: ColorOS 3.0
o Bluetooth connectivity: v 4.00
o SIMs: 2

The smartphone comes with an excellent fingerprint scanner which is lightning fast and very accurate. If the scan fails, your phone will vibrate, but since there is no longer a button the Oppo R9s remains a single-touch operation, enabling you to unlock the phone in the blink of an eye.

Another pleasing and admirable feature of the smartphone includes its external antenna lines, which give the device an overall better look. The R9, with its surprisingly Apple-ish design, has more to offer than that. The phone’s battery is simply amazing- giving just about 16 hours of continuous video playback, which is hours ahead of iPhone 7 and the Pixel. You can easily go through 48 hours without rushing to charge your phone. Furthermore, the flash charging of R9 offers few hours of battery life just after a couple of minutes of charging.

Although slim, solid and with a big display screen, the R9s has a rather sharp feel to it and you can practically feel the uncomfortably rough edges. However, the device is overall a good investment since it has a number of commendable features, including the camera quality, battery life and custom gesture controls.

Photo by: Oppo

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Polk Audio Boom Bit Review: Wearable Bluetooth Speaker

Posted on 23 January 2017

Polk Audio brings users the first wearable speakers that are compact, cheap and deliver high quality performance. Tiny yet capable, the Polk Audio Boom Bit is first wearable Bluetooth speaker to reach the market, and is definitely worth trying. With 3/4 “drivers, front speaker holes, volume controls on the side, and a back clip for securely supporting the device with any attire, this speaker is literally about the size of a USB. But do not underestimate its capability- this little critter is extremely loud, water resistant and has a microphone that can easily transform into a speaker for easy, hands-free calling.

The device comes packed in a sachet, with no additional goodies and cables. To power it on, all you need to do is press the volume controls at the same time from where it will automatically enter into its Bluetooth pairing mode. The pairing process is also very quick and easy and the connection provided is solid and not trippy. Besides that, the quality of sound when making calls is also fairly good if not the best.

Sound output is apparently small, of 1.5 watts. This means that when the volume is set to the highest, clarity tends to suffer. What about the bass? If you are a bass freak, then this may not come as great news to you since the Polk Audio Boom Bit miserably fails in that aspect.

When you keep it at midrange, the device performs its best by delivering reasonably high performance audio. Best suited for athletes and intense workout freaks; this Audio Boom Kit is an extremely handy hands-free speaker, which eliminates the need to stuff your ears with uncomfortable ear buds. However, if you like to enjoy your music in private, you may not find this product necessary appealing. That being said, considering this price, you should definitely keep this in mind when going out to purchase a hands-free speaker.

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Braven Flye Sport Go Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Posted on 20 January 2017

Incipio-owned Braven is excelling in the wireless earphones game with model designed especially for sports, which will feature cord-free earphones and ear hooks on each ear bud.

Features
o Wireless earphones
o IPX waterproof rated
o Playtime of 4 hours
o Hi-glow flash lights ear hooks for optimizing external visibility
o A charging case of 1400mAh which can help you add extra 20 hours of playtime and can also be doubled as a small travelling case
o Control EQ settings, virtual listening environments and bass boost through Sport Active application
o Available in different colors including crimson, silver, electric and slate

Offering an IPX5 waterproof rating and seven hours of continuous playtime and, these lightweight earphones provide users with low-profile comfort tips that fir in the ears smoothly and remain in place throughout any activity for a steady and enjoyable listening experience.

These Flye Sport Go earphones come with a water-resistant carry case and can therefore be easily stuffed into a purse or gym bag, providing maximum portability for activities and travel. You can choose these earphones from a number of colors including Slate and Electric, Crimson and silver for $50. Best suited for cycling or roadside, the Braven Flye Sport Go earphones are crafted with a reflective lining, which provides extra visual protection during morning activities.

The earphones also come with an app-activated flashlight, which you can use to set for safety reasons when cycling, walking at night or running. Moreover, you can also adjust the sound with the help of the same app and activate the earphones’ feature of Audio Ambient Awareness to let the outside sound in and hear the surroundings better. You can also make calls through the incorporated microphone thanks to the physical controls on the ear buds.

Overall, the features of this product make it a great buy, especially keeping its price in mind. So, if you want good quality earphones, the Braven Flye Sport Go is a great choice.

Photo by: Braven

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Elac Adante AS-61GB Stand Mount Speaker

Posted on 19 January 2017

Elac, working now in collaboration with Andrew Jones, is all set to release its high-end speakers, Adante AS-61GB.The Adante range comprises of three speakers, the $2000 AC-61GV center speaker, the $2500 stand mount and the $5000 floorstander AF-616GW, all of which will be shipped to the United States in the second quarter of 2017.

Firstly, the design of the speakers is like nothing you’ve ever seen before from the Elac series. Aesthetically, it brings to mind Jones’ collaboration with TAD, particularly the Compact Evolution One. The first thing that you might notice when looking at the cabinet is the absence of ports, and presence of a mere pair of binding posts at the back. Besides the midrange/concentric tweeter setup, the woofer is really a quite resourceful arrangement of drivers. It consists of a 6-inch driver within a ported box which is further pushed away inside of the shut speaker cabinet. The system further drives an n 8-inched external passive driver- all this means a smoother, much more comprehensive bass and improved efficiency.

The Adante speakers are one of the best investments you can make if you are looking for top quality hi-fi speakers, at relatively reasonable prices. It has the same graceful imaging, incredibly clear and crisp sound, super booming bass and a more diverse soundstage than before. Although the speakers still require some work (for example vocals can become a little extra overbearing), the speakers are still worth the investment. The Adante is much more efficient as compared to its counterpart Uni-Fi thanks to its closed design.

As per Andrew Jones, the Elac Adante AS-61GB is still a work in progress, but Elac is aiming for a release date which will probably be in the 2nd quarter of 2017, in the United States. When the speakers hit the market, they will be available in three finishes of walnut, gloss black and white, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

Photo by: Elac

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Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset Review

Posted on 16 January 2017

Headphones are practically everywhere, making them not hard to find. However, when it comes to wireless surround sound headphones with a comfortable fit, boom microphone and long battery life which you can use across your house from your laptop or PC, the options are not only limited but also quite expensive. But with the introduction of Logitech’s G533, you can enjoy high quality sound for a much reasonable price of $150.

Features
o Excellent audio performance with DTS Headphones X 7.1 and Pro-G audio drivers
o 15 hour battery life
o Noise cancellation microphone
o Fine-tune controls
o Optimum design
o Micro pop filter

These wireless headphones come with plenty of bass and clear mids, which means they can get super loud without distorting the sound. Besides the sound quality, the wireless connection is also topnotch, with zero disconnections and fast connection.
The battery inside the Logitech’s G533 can last you up to 15 hours and is also replaceable, though remember that these headphones lack the typical passive mode you can just plug in a cable and carry on with your work when the battery dies. You will always need batteries to use them.

They also come along with an inbuilt noise cancelling microphone and a bendable, articulating microphone with a small pop filter. Although the sound comes off very clear, it can at times sound more digital and tinny. The headset also features a configurable “sidetone” that allows you to tune your own voice which you hear in the headset.

Overall, the Logitech’s G533 is a great package. These headphones are lightweight and comfortable and do wireless just fine. Although not free of shortcomings and inconveniences, the G533 are a great option if you are looking for high standard gaming audio gear for a reasonable price. Therefore, you should definitely consider this option if you are looking for a pair of decent headphones for everyday use.

Photo by: Logitech

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