There are those faithful who will never surrender their little white Apple earbuds. To them we say: Wear proudly. But for the rest, for those who don’t want to deal with sub-par sound, earbuds flopping around and having to hunt for foam covers, come with us — and we’ll show you a world of possibilities.
SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD / iWORLD 2012 — There are no shortage of iPhone cases being showcased here at Macworld/iWorld 2012, but only one grabbed my attention at last night’s media preview. It was a case called Flygrip, and it promises to keep your iPhone in hand so you can do other things without worrying about dropping your valuable device.
Macworld/iWorld marks the launch of FlyGrip, and I was given a unit to test out.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – Or maybe it’s that they’re pretending even less. The amount of bling at the Monster “booth” — it was actually more of a compound, complete with a super-secret inner sanctum — would make Snooki (who was at the show) blush. Their three newly released headphones seemed far more focused on fashion than sound; even Monster founder Nole Lee’s Segway (was it a Segway?) rolled around on gold-rimmed wheels. Then there were the booth fashion shows…
Seems like there’s been an explosion of small, portable, Bluetooth speakers onto store shelves this last year — the most popular or well-known of which is probably the Jawbone JamBox — from the advance notices we’ve seen, in a few weeks the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas will herald a whole new crop of the little tribbles.
Many headsets promise a headset utopia, making smartphone users’ heads fill with visions of commanding their world with a simple voice command.
The Plantronics Marque M155 ($60) and the Motorola HX550 ($60) both make similar promises, with the HX550’s packaging going as far as to promise a “complete hands-free solution.” Both headsets offer liberation from holding the phone, but how do these midrange ‘sets match up to the marketing promises — or the abilities of their more expensive siblings?
If you caught our canalphone roundup a few weeks back, you’ve by now come to the accurate realization that there’s no shortage of real alternatives to those awful white buds bundled with each iPhone. But these two are a little different.
Like the five we reviewed that week, these two pairs of IEMs — the MEElectronics CC51 ($90) and the Thinksound ts02+mic ($110)— are higher-end, designed with superior sound quality in mind and cost around $100. But unlike the others, these two are from small, boutique manufacturers; they also both have housings made from exotic materials (the CC51’s is ceramic, while the ts02’s is wood), and eschew the inline volume controls of the pairs of reviewed in the $100 IEM week, instead making do with a single control button on their inline microphones.
Carbon weave has got to be the Miracle Whip of gadgets — it makes anything taste better. We reviewed Sound ID’s 510 Bluetooth headset in a BT headset head-to-head (try saying that fast) a few months back; and while it sounded great and was pretty much our pick of the week, it wasn’t the coolest looking kid on the block — and you couldn’t order it to do stuff, like you could some other headsets. Sound ID’s new Six fixes all that, and adds a trick for Siri too.
Almost all mic-equipped canalphones that can be had for about $100 use moving-coil drivers to produce sound, as is the case with all the previous IEMs in this review series. But the Ultimate Ears 600vi ($120) are different — this set employs a single tiny armature in each ear. Armatures generally allow for a more neutral sound with better definition than their moving-coil brethren, and that’s exactly the case with the 600vi. In fact, this set uses pretty much the same excellent drivers as in the now-discontinued, $180 SuperFi 5vi we reviewed early last year.
And yes, apart from the V-Moda Vibrato, the 600vi is $20 more than the other earphones in this review series — but we think the extra Jackson is worth it.
Maybe you’re not going to buy a pair of earphones based on the way they look; maybe you’d rather spend your moolah on a pair that came with exquisite performance. What if you could have both? In spades? Here you go: With their deep, bone-tingling bass and blue-blood looks and manners, the Klipsch Image S4i earphones ($100) is the Prince…of Spades.
Let me begin this review by saying, while I’ve found some love for certain models, I don’t really care for most canalphones: They’re uncomfortable, and while I love the idea of plugging a foreign object into my ear and having that object deliver magical sounds just like an owl delivers a Howler, I usually wind up being disappointed with either the sound or the fit. So, with that in mind, it was time to try the Etymotic mc3 ($100).
This set, with a three-button remote on the cable and four sets of super-sealing, deep-seating eartips (two flanged, two foam), was now tasked with being tested by me. May the Force, that I’ll probably have to use to shove them into my ears, be with them.