Archive | Home & Office

Apple HomePod Review: A Purposeful Speaker

Posted on 02 August 2018

No question Apple devices have evolved over the years. And Apple HomePod is just another example of it. The portable speaker featuring accurate and high Siri voice, attractive design, and surround sound may become a stunning addition to your smart-home. With iOS 11.4, HomePod offers stereo pairing along with new multi-room audio support to improve the functioning of the smart speaker.

The setup of HomePods is quite easy – simply place the pair of HomePod speakers in the same room. The first speaker will sense that the second one is nearby. It will ask whether you want to pair them or not. You only need to activate one of them when using Siri commands. Moreover, iOS 11.4 devices come with default AirPlay 2. Plus, you can select multi-room audio in Control Center. It allows you to adjust the volume of each speaker. After installing, ask Siri to play music either in one room or in more.

The speaker is dense and weighs around 2.5kg with 172mm (6.8-inch) high frame. It sports a woofer along with seven tweeters with separate amplifier and six microphones spread around to pick-up your voice when you activate Siri. Apple HomePod sports only one wire, which prevents the hassle of long cords completely. This advanced device encourages you to control and manage it via Siri.

It is simple and functional. HomePod does not only provide top-notch sound but it increases the visual appeal of your space as well. The audio is splendid and fills an entire room. You will experience clear separation in all elements of a music track. Also, it offers strong bass with sharp notes. You will find plenty of clarity while listening to something like electronica. The clear vocals make this speaker worthy. The Apple HomePod, with its fantastic sound quality, can become your next speaker choice.

Photo credit: Apple

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Netgear Arlo Pro 2: Smart Home Security Camera

Posted on 16 July 2018

You cannot finish off the idea of smart-living without installing a top-notch security camera. It would not be wrong to claim that a home security camera has become a necessity to keep an eye on each activity happening around in your absence. You can find various options on the market. However, you need something reliable when it comes to security. That is where you should invest in Netgear Arlo Pro 2.

It is available in two and four camera-bundles allowing you to choose how many cameras are required to ensure your safety. Netgear is equipped with jaw-dropping features that make it stand out amongst competitors. The company offers a basic plan that includes free cloud backup for seven days. It sports a weatherproof design, wired or wireless functioning along with robust geofencing and scheduling capabilities.

The base station of Arlo Pro 2 contains two prominent advantages. First, it provides efficient wireless communication with the cameras. It connects with your router directly via Ethernet. Secondly, it’s fantastic battery life – the juice can last up to six months – depending on the amount of camera activity. You will get 100-plus decibel siren and two USB ports to connect external hard drives.

Moreover, Netgear retains your footage in the cloud. It stays secure in there for a week whereas most security camera offers only 24-hours basic plan. Despite two-way audio, night vision, sound and motion detection, Arlo Pro 2 offers a combination of scheduling and geofencing keeping you aware of your surrounding 24/7 with Full HD 1080p camera.

It offers simple brightness slider as well which works like an exposure compensation dial on the Netgear allowing you to set the brightness up or down to retrieve high-quality image. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that Arlo Pro 2 features Amazon Alexa supporting smart devices available at your home. You can watch the footage on an Amazon Fire-Connected TV or Amazon Echo Show.

Photo by: Netgear

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Amazon Echo 2nd Generation Review: Smart Speaker with Alexa

Posted on 27 June 2018

Installing Echo Dot can assist you in various house chores. You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Amazon’s latest device can make phone calls, play music, give you weather updates, send and receive message merely on a single command – all due to the state of the art integrated Alexa ecosystem.

It is safe to claim that you can turn the dream of smart living into reality via Echo Dot 2nd Generation.

The developers have kept its design quite straightforward and practical. It seems the company has put in significant efforts to enhance the functioning of the device.

Echo Dot is a hands-free and voice-controlled device. It comes with a small built-in speaker which connects to your speakers and headphones via Bluetooth or 3.5 mm audio cable.

Now, you can relax on the couch after a chaotic day and ask your voice-activated virtual assistant to turn on/off lights and lock the doors.

Moreover, it allows you to control various home features including thermostats, fan, TV, and more. It is worth noting that the Echo Dot is super-easy to use. All you need is to activate the device by saying wake words such as Amazon, Computer, or Echo.

The built-in microphones inside the device are always listening. Once they hear the ‘wake’ word, they begin recording your commands.

The microphones will then send your audio snippet to Amazon’s servers through the cloud. These servers recognize your commands and direct Alexa in this context. Plus, this activity takes less than a minute to perform the function. Isn’t it great?

Alexa, being a virtual assistant, can stream music from Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, or Spotify along with podcasts from TuneIn and iHearRadio. You can opt for it to set kitchen timers and morning alarm alike.

Not only does it manage a calendar but Alexa reads headlines for you from various new sources. No question, Echo Dot can lead you to smart-living without hurting your bank.

Photo courtesy: Amazon

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​Samsung HW-N550 Soundbar Home Theater Review

Posted on 08 June 2018

Purchasing a soundbar is a tough nut to crack. It is nearly impossible to find a quality bar in invested money. Not to mention, the cost does not always provide quality. If you are struggling to purchase a decent soundbar, you may want to try Samsung HW-N550. There is no denying that the company is famous for its splendid handsets. It is safe to say that the developers have done an equally great job on HW-N550. Samsung has made significant changes on the design and has switched from a cheap-looking body to a more sophisticated one.

You will get the sound bar in brushed gray and metal grille. It is 41.7 inches wide and 2.32 inches long. The soundbar comes with a metal bracket allowing you to hang it on the wall. The Samsung N550 soundbar features wireless subwoofer. It sports both DTS decoding and Dolby Digital to improve your sound experience. It is promising as company’s websites state before the launch.

The HWN550 also offers Bluetooth, USB, HDMI 2.0a in and out, and digital optical. All you need is to connect the sound bar to your Samsung TV via Bluetooth for sound either from smart TV application or onboard tuner. And enjoy your favorite movies within few minutes. The sound bar is front-firing one. You can incorporate rears too as the company has introduced compatible wireless rear kit known as SWA-8500S.

For setup, you will need to insert in an HDMI cable preferably UDP-205 Blu-ray player one on a Samsung 4K TV. The Samsung sound bar comes with a 3.1-channel system. Additionally, you can opt for subwoofer volume letting N550 control treble tone and bass. You will be delighted to find that it provides surround sound with a top-notch bass, giving you high-quality audio but without having to break the bank.

Photo by: Samsung

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​Phicomm K3 Smart Home Router Review

Posted on 03 May 2018

If you are looking for a wifi router that is fast and has a good range, the Phicomm Smart Home K3 is exactly what you have been looking for. Made by Jacob Jensen Design, a high-end Scandinavian firm, wifi device functions flawlessly and you can even adjust it anywhere in the house. Also, with a 2.4GHz range, you can connect multiple devices to it. Isn’t that amazing?

The K3 router comes in metallic gray and black with rounded sides. There aren’t any external antennas. However, the upgrade is a 3.5-inch LCD touch-screen. It will allow you to monitor your internet connection, Ethernet port status, router information, connected devices, and network names. You will also get a 3.0 USB port. Moreover, the router installation is quite simple. All you need is to set up connections and passwords.

You can find 17 icons on the device’s app, PhiWiFi. The developers have worked on the complex settings removing VPN, port forwarding, DMZ, etc. The powerful device instantly picks up your device’s signals directly connecting with it –and it has a single SSID mode that lets it select the best network, and MU-MIMO. However, you will have to manually turn on these setting from the menu.

Apart from this, under the ‘advanced’ tab, you will find 22 more options that are default icons. These icons come with a description and help you find what you are looking for. The K3 offers standard WPA2-PSK security and an on/off option for firewall and Denial of Service (DoS) protection set up. However, the company hasn’t incorporated an additional antimalware or security specifically for the connected devices.

The high-speed and useful features of Phicomm surely make it a smart device for your home. It allows you to connect various devices without affecting the internet speed which sounds like a good deal – that too at a reasonable price.

Photo by: Phicomm

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​Amazon Cloud Cam Review

Posted on 02 May 2018

Tech giant Amazon has launched the Cloud Cam – a home security camera. You can go a step ahead and integrate Amazon Key services along with the cloud cam allowing Amazon drivers to deliver packages at your doorstep. Like other gadgets, the packaging of the Cloud Cam is hassle-free. It comes with a USB adapter, a mounting plate, wall-mount hardware, and a nine-foot USB power cable. The camera weighs pretty light, but has a sturdy structure.

The setup is quite simple. You need to download the Amazon Cloud Cam application first, and then connect it to the camera using Bluetooth. Later, plug the device in with a Wi-Fi password to run the security camera. The set up will lead to settings that include turning on important notifications. The camera will notify you every time it detects motion and will record a short video clip.

The Cloud Cam has splendid video quality. It captures a 120-degree wide view at 1080p resolution and 30 frames. Plus, it also captures high-quality videos at night. The night vision feature is surprisingly crisp as the camera can distinguish clothing patterns and faces with ease.

Moreover, another awesome reason you should go for the product is the fact that you don’t need the application to view the videos captured by the camera. You can easily view them on your laptop or computer now – via a direct feed from the camera.

Moreover, the Amazon Cloud Cam doesn’t only record but allows you to speak as well. You can now communicate with the people on camera via the application.

The feature will surely help you when Amazon deliveryman comes to deliver your package and you can guide him through the fantastic audio upgrade. The cam’s microphone provides crystal clear audio which is also a useful feature that comes with Amazon home security camera.

You can even use Alexa on your Echo Sports device or Echo Show. Simply give it a command and it will begin functioning.

Photo courtesy: Amazon

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​JBL Link 20 Review: Voice Activated Portable Speaker

Posted on 28 March 2018

If you are looking for a home speaker that will entertain you without distortion for hours, the JBL link 20 is just the thing you were looking for all your life! Plus, you will also be surprised to know the product comes built-in with Google Assistant feature! The speaker system is absolutely waterproof and can become your ultimate choice when it comes to surround sound and quality audio.

The JBL 20 is not a heavy speaker. Although it appears big, it is easy to carry around your house. The speaker weighs nearly 960g. With Bluetooth functionality, plenty of other features truly made it a convenient home speaker that can entertain you for a very long time.

The speakers are entirely rubber-plastic similar to the UE Megaboom. This helps make the speakers damage and fall-proof. But that doesn’t you throw it out of the balcony just to see how strongly-built it is! Also, it has IPX7 rating, which makes it considerably waterproof – again, don’t take in the swimming pool with you. However, you can listen to some music while take a shower.

The device is pretty straightforward to use – there is a power button at the back, just press it and start listening to your favorite tunes. There LED-lit light that indicate battery life and when you should charge the device. At 100%, the speaker will give you up to 20 hours of pure sound! That is what has put a majority of the product’s rivals to shame.

Moreover, once you have set up your JBL link 20 speakers, you can allow it to function via the Google Home app. Simply say “hello Google” and the speaker will activate. During this process, LED arrays on the front will light up indicating it is listening to your commands.

You can ask it to play your favorite music and that will give you a relaxing music experience after a long and tiring day. It is surely an interesting gadget for music lovers.

Photo credit: JBL

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