Archive | October, 2017

​Yamaha MusicCast WX-010 Review

Posted on 30 October 2017

Untangling earphones is a frustratingly daunting experience. Not to mention, it happens all the time, there is just no solution to the problem. Or is there? With the Yamaha MusicCast WX-010, you won’t ever have to spend hours looking for earphones or bang your skull against the wall when you need to untangle them. The MusicCast is a cordless speaker system – designed with the sole reason to help you enjoy your music without any disruptions.

Attractive Design

The body of the WX-010 is made with black saran net, which makes the product virtually dustproof. The product is very compact and portable – you can take carry it with you or place it anywhere your house. The speaker’s big rounded corners give it a funky touch. The MusicCast WX-010 is 160mm high, robust and self-contained cuboid, which can be hanged anywhere or can be placed virtually anywhere.

The speaker system comes in two colors, black and white. Along with being compact, the product is a tiny bit heavy, but that is a good thing because you won’t be accidentally tipping it over. The speaker has USB and Ethernet ports for firmware updates, but no analogue jack is available for non-wireless gadgets.

The control panel is glossy black with a touch control system integrated on it.

Features

Downloading Yamaha’s MusicCast app can give you access to Napster, Qobuz, Juke, Spotify, and vTuner internet radio. You can also play music via DLNA, which is saved in PCs and NAS drives. The app also supports playback of AIFF, WAV and Hi-Res up to 192kHz and around 96kHz for ALAC. Plus, by connecting various MusicCast speakers, you will be able to send music/tunes to individual speakers or can play it in the entire system.

MusicCast App

The home page display tiles, each tile has a logo or an icon. Select ‘server’ for further action and explore PCs and NAS drives. You can access the Play Screen and test various playback control, access the volume slider and adjust the cover art of each music tile.

Plus you can also share your music on social media if you wish to or just head to the Rooms menu. It is easy and quick to group speakers together. But this app will not allow speakers to drop or drag as you might do in Panasonic’s superior multi-room app. Finally, click on the link icon in the Rooms menu then choose a master speaker and connect more speakers by clicking on the link.

Photo by: Yamaha

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​Zvox SB380 Review: Sound Bar with AccuVoice

Posted on 27 October 2017

Zvox’s specialty is in manufacturing devices that do marvelously well when it comes to dialogues. It enhances, smoothes and really makes it clear to hear the actor’s voice.

Features

The SB380 is a sound bar with a 3.1 channel system, 2-inch drivers, and a 4-inch bass woofer. Made with brushed aluminum, the build quality is good but unfortunately, it lacks Bluetooth. You will find controls on one end and bass port on another. The front is covered in a metal grill, which gives an orange four-character display. It displays information about volume or input selection. With Zvox’s intellivoice feature, it produces better quality dialogues and its bass-limiting circuit gives full bass with less distortion at high volumes.

We are really not happy about the lack of Bluetooth technology, but the product does have a decent number of inputs. It includes two optical connections and a stereo RCA. It comes with remote control, which makes tweaking the bass and treble an easy task. The remote also AccuVoice dialogue boasting feature, Output leveling, and variable surround features that you can control with your fingertips.

The sound department of Zvox is a mixture of love & hate. We loved the clarity of dialogues and voices when we played the movie. However, when we turned on the AccuVoice boasting feature, we found out the dialogues started losing its natural feel. We preferred to keep this feature off because SB380 itself can produce clear and sharp sounds from dialogues.

Verdict

We feel that Zvox SB380 can be a really good sound bar for someone who has not used or compared it with other brands on the market. While you can find other, less pricey alternatives, the Zvox SB380 does well when it comes to watching movies and shows. If you plan on watching quieter films and dramas with fewer sound effects, go for this sound bar.

Photo by: Zvox

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​Riva Audio Arena Review: Compact Multi-Room Speaker

Posted on 25 October 2017

Riva is hailed as a reputable Bluetooth speaker manufacturer, and with the Riva Audio Arena, the company has really transcended expectations, introducing multi-room wireless speaker technology in their latest product.

Features

The Riva Audio Arena is a tower speaker with button panels on top. The bottom of the speaker is equipped with a cover for port making and is somewhat splash proof. With an optional battery feature, the speakers can give you a playback of up to 20 hours. You can connect this in numerous ways, you can connect it with Bluetooth, with a 3.5mm audio jack, through Wi-Fi and with Wi-Fi direct. It can also connect with Spotify Connect and Google Home Platform.

The Riva Audio Arena has excellent sound quality something which is not common for small wireless speakers. The accuracy of sound is actually really good. We played a movie to test the audio quality and we were really surprised to find out that the dialogues were sharp, clean and loud enough without losing its quality. The “one note” bass is above-average and produces good quality sounds as well.

However, there is one thing which we found out that if pushed or if the sounds being played have busy arrangements, the speakers starts losing its charm, this is may be due to its small size, its best to play in surroundings like your bedroom or a small study room.

Verdict

Riva always has something best to offer and Riva Audio Arena is one of them. It does not make any comprises in sound quality and bass note frequencies for its size. They are extremely portable with a long lasting battery and there are multiple ways to connect it. If you really want to buy them, go ahead, you won’t be disappointed, but make sure that you are buying this with the intention of playing in a small room.

Photo by: Riva Audio

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​Razer Blade Stealth 13.3”: Ultrabook Laptop Review

Posted on 23 October 2017

When we think about Razer laptops, there is only thing that comes to mind – an ultimate gaming experience! However, most Razer laptops aren’t designed strictly for gaming purposes – and the Razer Blade Stealth 13.3” is a pretty good example of one of them. The Blade Stealth is designed to compete with a premium built, non-gaming version of MacBook Air and Microsoft Surface.

Product Specifications

Following are the key specifications of the Razer Blade Stealth 13.3”.

  • Display Size: 13-Inch, 3200×1880 touch display
  • CPU: 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
  • RAM: 16Gb DDR3 SDRAM
  • Graphic: 128 MB Intel HD 620 Graphics
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Networking: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • OS: Windows 10 Home (64-Bit)

Features

The Razer Blade Stealth 13.3” 2017 now comes in matte grey with a 13.3” screen instead of 12.5”. In order to give it battery more life, they have dropped the resolution slightly so that it is not 4k anymore. However, the output feels the same with excellent display result.

What makes Razer laptops standout is their keyboards, they have backlighting options that offer a magnitude of different colors. The Blade Stealth 13.3” however, runs short on this technology and comes with only white backlight option – which is primarily to give it a more professional look and feel.

It is a slim laptop, yet it packs almost all the needed ports, a USB-C thunderbolt 3 port, full sized two USB ports and an HDMI port. Since it has Intel HD 620 graphics, HD gaming and heavy photoshopping is not possible. But with an Intel Core i7(7th Generation) and 16GB RAM it will perform well. With an improvied, 8-hour battery life, you can use it for longer periods of time but at the expense of a 4k resolution.

Verdict

A premium built Core i7 laptop with a large screen will appeal to many people who want to stick to buying a Razer laptop for professional work and whatnot.

Photo by: RazerOne

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​Plantronics BackBeat Fit 300 Review: Wireless, Sweatproof, Sport Earbuds

Posted on 20 October 2017

Plantronics has introduced a new set of headphones called the BackBeat Fit 300, which they claim that it is the world’s lightest Bluetooth headphones ever. According to them, you can easily use them during your fitness routines and when you are done with it you can enjoy them much like any other headphones.

Features

The BackBeat Fit 300 headphones are design simple and plain with integrated loops and are a bit oval in shape, to perfectly fit your ear canals. The fit is quite snug and firm, which means you can easily perform your morning cycling or jogging routine and not worry about having to continuously adjust the headphones.

They are designed to isolate the noise in a way that it covers the ear canal. I tested them during my normal and tough fitness exercises and I found them to be really secure, they didn’t come off the ears easily.

The headphones have a pretty nice sound, the bass quality is above-par and the music you listen to is delivery with clarity and zero-distortion. The brand can easily compete with Beats X, which is more pricier than the BackBeat Fit 300. The battery life on the headphones is reasonable enough, it can last up to six hours, which is not great, but not bad either. I really didn’t like the inline remote; its slightly bulky and takes away the feeling of being an ultra-light headphone set. The inline remote contains the battery and USB charging port.

The inline microphone won’t disappoint you either. While jogging I answered few calls and the receiver did not complain of any background noise even though I was jogging in a rather crowded park.

I think the BackBeat Fit 300 is good for recreational use. It does somehow cancels ambient noises, providing you with a much clearer and crisp sound experience.

Verdict

If you are really on a tight budget, but want to enjoy a crisp and bass-riddles music listening experience, it is a good idea to opt for the BackBeat Fit 300. You can get them under $80.

Photo by: Plantronics

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​Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 Review: Redefining Rugged Flexibility

Posted on 19 October 2017

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 is not your average entertainment two-in-one laptop. Its keyboard can connect with nearby electronic equipment; it can survive a 4-Foot drop, sand, water, dust, extreme temperatures and altitudes. The laptop/tablet is specifically designed for professions like field work, police, government agencies or any work that can subject the PC to a harsh environment.

Product Specifications

Following are the key specifications of Panasonic Toughbook CF-33:

  • Display Size : 12-Inch, 160×1440 touch display
  • PC CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5-7300
  • PC RAM: 8Gb DDR3
  • Graphic: 128 MB dedicated Intel HD 620 Graphics
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Networking: 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro (64-Bit)

Features

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 sports has a 3:2 ratio display screen mostly intended to work for legacy softwares. Being a two-in-one laptop, the screen can be converted to work like a tablet. It has a USB 3.0 port, Ethernet, Micro SD, audio and HDMI ports. It also has a port to store the stylus to use on screen once it is converted into a tablet.

It has an IR Webcam for secure logging. You can use Windows Facial recognition or TPM 2.0 security for logging in. It has an optional integrated 4G LTE mobile broadband to connect the laptop to the internet in locations where the only network available is mobile. The batteries are swappable, meaning that you can change batteries easily. Panasonic says that CF-33 has 20 hours of battery, but in our test, we found that the battery lasted for 9 hours only, but that also depends on how you are going to use it.

Performance wise, we didn’t find it to be a beast, but it can perform well in multitasking or when multiple applications are open. If you are thinking of using this for professional photo editing keep in mind that it has 128MB of dedicated Intel graphics card, which is not capable enough to do anything overly graphic-heavy.

Verdict

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 is really a durable and tough laptop/tablet for people who work in extreme conditions. It is one of the most durable and versatile laptop cum tablets ever made and can survive falls – making it perfect for fieldwork and whatnot. What we don’t really like about the CF-33 is that it has limited graphics capabilities.

Photo courtesy: Panasonic

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​Apple AirPods Review: Wireless and Effortless

Posted on 17 October 2017

After much debut and criticism from the public and fans, Apple’s infamous wireless AirPods are finally here. Announced during the revealing of iPhone 7, they are wireless earphones which connect with Bluetooth and specially made for iPhone 7 since it does not have 3.5mm audio jack.

Features

Apple AirPods design is basic and takes much of its liking from its predecessors. Honestly speaking they look the same with only one exception that there is no wire. We liked how clean the design is but overall we didn’t like the fit and comfort. Even though it fit me well, it didn’t fit properly in the ears of my colleagues when we were testing them. Apple has not included ear tips in AirPods, and we still wonder why? The possibility that you may buy it without trying and it will fit in your ear is slim to none. We strongly recommend to try them before you decide on buying them.

What we liked about them is Apple’s use of the W1 chip. It gives a solid Bluetooth connection without any breaks and constant need to reconnect them. Battery life is also very good, with continuous playback, they can last up to 5 hours, and you can charge them quickly. Being the basic earphones, they will not provide you with awesome sound quality. We played a couple of music, and we think that sound quality is good to average. However, the quality remains constant and doesn’t drop due to a strong Bluetooth connection.

Verdict

Is it worth getting Apple AirPods? If you are looking for awesome sound experience in $150 price tag, then look somewhere else. In this price tag there are several other good options available but if you want earphones to use solely on iPhone 7 then go for it as they are designed to work with Siri and IOS.

Photo by: Apple

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