Technology additions, active noise cancellation make a the BackBeat Pro a fantastic buy
Looking for a pair of headphones that can do everything a user requires is a task that can take some study. Trying to decide on in-ear, over-ear, or on-the-ear model starts at user comfort and preference, but goes much further when features are thrown into the mix. When features like noise cancellation are tossed into the equation, the cost can weigh on the practicality and sound of the unit. It doesn't always need to though, as Plantronics tries to prove with the BackBeat Pro. Would these headphones be the right fit for most consumers, or are there enough small flaws that push them into being just another headphone set with active noise cancellation (ANC)? Find out in our review.
Thin Bluetooth keyboard features touchpad, allows users to configure 15 gestures
A new Bluetooth keyboard from Rapoo is bringing some of the functionality of a notebook to wireless keyboards. The E6700 Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard features a "touch area" on the right side of the thin keyboard, that has added functionality for gestures. The E6700 lets owners configure 15 different gestures, bringing the keyboard closer to the use seen in MacBooks and other notebooks. The "touch area" also has a glass surface, which Rapoo says makes it scratch-resistant and easier to clean.
Broadcom, TI and Marvell shipping chips needed for 'smart home' accessories
A new report says that at least two of the three Apple-approved vendors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips that feature Apple's HomeKit embedded in the processors are now shipping the components to home appliance manufacturers. The news, confirmed by Forbes, suggests that products taking advantage of HomeKit technology should be appearing more commonly in the market over the course of the next few months. Though several HomeKit-centric products are already out, a forthcoming conference should vastly increase that number.
Punch and bass felt through the entire unit, but app, comfort hold the headphones back
Headphones have hit a point where there isn't much to differentiate one set from one another. Making a choice between Bluetooth and wired models ends up being the first decision, followed by the type of tuning or sound quality a user wants. Alpine aims to add another feature into the mix, the feel of the music. With the Alpine Headphones the audio company wanted to bring the feel of a concert home, packing technology into a set of over-the-ear headphones with an app for user control to accomplish it. But do the Alpine Headphones offer a new audio experience that is worth feeling, or would consumers be better served by something more traditional? Find out in our review.
New headphone suspended ear cup design inspired by studio microphone mounts
Two new pairs of over-the-ear headphones were announced by 808 Audio today, taking a new approach to the ear cup design. The Performer Headphones -- released in wired and Bluetooth models -- use ear cup suspension technology in an attempt to give users a better fit during long play sessions, or in professional audio applications like DJ sets.
Win a 808 Audio Hex SL Bluetooth speaker!
What is a hex? On a day like today, it could mean a magical spell or a curse. It could also simply be the prefix from the Greek word "hexa," as in a hexagon. For 808 Audio, we assume it's a little bit of both. They have a series of Bluetooth speakers called "Hex" that heavily utilize hexagonal shapes and enchant listeners with magical sounds of music as well. We have one Hex SL enchanting Bluetooth speaker to give away to our readers.
Portable speaker offers grand sound with boost technology, only lasts eight hours
There could very well be a new king of the hill for Bluetooth speakers, with Sound Blaster's recent entry into the marketplace. Bringing a heap of features for music enjoyment to a powerful speaker, the company introduced the Roar earlier this year. With the crowded market for Bluetooth speakers, is it possible that a company like Sound Blaster could release a device that topples some of the big names in audio? Find out in our review.
Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard gives tablets versatility, but typing space is cramped
The shift from typing on physical keyboards to digital versions on smartphones and tablets hasn't been an easy for many consumers. From the lack of feedback to the change in configurations, there are several obstacles that can get in the way of adapting to a new format. However, physical keyboards are available on the market to help people retain some of the familiar feel, without having to carry around a laptop. Adesso offers a Bluetooth keyboard for fit this need with the Compagno X. But is the keyboard helpful to users, or will it drive them back to using the screen-based alternatives? Find out in our review.
Estimated 500 Bluetooth beacons installed as part of city-approved trial
A marketing firm has littered New York City with marketing beacons, a report has discovered. Hidden within phone booths in Manhattan, approximately 500 of the Bluetooth beacons have been installed, with the devices able to help retailers and advertisers track the movements of smartphones owned by passers by, as well as potentially pushing marketing messages to devices.
Pyle Audio introduces its new Bluetooth blood pressure monitor
Pyle Audio has announced the introduction of its new Bluetooth Blood Pressure Monitor (PHBPB20). The monitor and its accompanying integrated app are designed to provide users' pulse rate and systolic and diastolic pressures. Users insert their arm into the device's sleeve, press the power button and allow the monitor to tighten and measure blood pressure. The monitor can store 99 blood pressure readings for each individual, and the large LCD display shows collected data.
Life N Soul launches KiiTag Bluetooth item finder for iOS
Life N Soul has announced the launch of its new Bluetooth item finder, the KiiTag. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology, the KiiTag can track and locate up to 10 items within a 200-foot range. If users travel more than 200 feet away from one of their valuables, an "out of range" alert will appear on their phone. In combination with in-app purchases, the KiiTag can perform additional tasks, including sending automatic messages of the user's location in an emergency ($5), a remote camera shutter ($4), and a two-way phone finding function ($1). Available in three colors, the KiitTag item finder is priced at $20.
Wave Field Synthesis technology delivers consistent stereo sound from one speaker
Welcome to another edition of the Crowdfunding Critic, an article series where Electronista and MacNN staff look at some interesting projects being crowdfunded through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While we believe these devices to be appealing or useful at some level, please note that the article isn't an endorsement of the project or campaign. With any crowdfunding campaign, there are inherent risks involved. As such, we ask our readers to research the items they may be contributing to since it's an investment. In this week's edition, we take a look at The Core wireless speaker system from Mass Fidelity.
Hint earbud from Motorola actively listens for voice search prompts
Motorola revealed a new earpiece alongside its Moto G and Moto X updates, one which adds more usefulness to the standard Bluetooth headset. The Moto Hint is a compact earbud which can be used for voice searches and to interact with a paired smartphone using verbal commands, as well as for making and receiving phone calls hands-free.
Bluetooth speaker releasing this fall for $300, contains 25 watts of power
Not to be outdone by the other brands under the Harman banner, Infinity will be releasing a new portable speaker this fall. The Infinity One Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System, which was designed in a collaboration with the rock group Linkin Park, looks to bring a new level of premium audio to the Bluetooth speaker space.
Cinema soundbar and base coming for entertainment, new portable Charge 2 speaker
This fall, three new products from JBL will be available for consumers looking to add some punch to their home theater setups without taking up much space or when listening to music on-the-go. The company announced that two new products in the Cinema line, the Cinema Base and Cinema SB350, and the Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker would be coming later in the year.
New headphones, Bluetooth speaker and wireless speaker system on sale this year
At a recent trade show, Harman Kardon made a number of announcements about the new consumer audio devices that would be hitting the market this fall. Offerings are spread across the board, with a new set of Bluetooth on-ear headphones, a professional Bluetooth speaker, and a wireless in-home audio speaker system and adapter are coming to tackle a number of customer needs.
Amplifier, headphone divisions come together create a speaker full of 'punch and drive'
Audio equipment maker Marshall, best known for its guitar amps and headphones, has announced a new consumer speaker coming this year called the Woburn. The new speaker is a joint effort between Marshall Amplification and Marshall Headphones, featuring classic Marshall styling in the unit, including gold piping, fret grille cloth and a vinyl covering.
Speaker doubles as a tablet stand, but offers weak bass, one control button
Bluetooth speakers aren't only for listening to some music at the park or on a long bus ride, but can also be built with tablets in mind. While some manufacturers craft speakers with a shape that is specifically molded to hold a tablet and offer little use otherwise, others have caught on to a better design. Life n Soul have attempted such a configuration with the BM211 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth speaker. Would it give consumers flexibility to have a speaker suited for tablets and everyday use, or would they be left with another single-use sound device? Find out in our review.
Company claims over-the-ear headphones have 24-hour battery life
Plantronics announced a new model of Bluetooth headphones this week with the BackBeat Pro. The over-the-ear headphones feature a long battery life, 40mm drivers, active noise-cancelling technology and "Plantronics signature audio performance and design." Not leaving noise cancelling as the only trick of the headphones, Plantronics also added a smart feature to help consumers pick up where they left off if the headphones are removed.
New line adds power, long-life battery to Bluetooth streamer mix
Speaker purveyor Cambridge Audio has revealed its new Bluetooth speaker line. Replacing the original Minx Go Bluetooth streamer, launched today are the Go and the Go Radio, with similar stylings to the predecessor. Also released is the 100-watt Bluetone 100 streaming device.
Middle-of-the-road headphones offer comfort and long battery life, but odd controls, sound
When it comes to music on the go, consumers generally have some options to consider when looking for the best experience. While Bluetooth speakers are good in a large number of situations, in some place they just aren't practical. This leaves consumers to look away from speakers and toward their counterparts for sonic deliver, Bluetooth headphones. But not all headphones are created equal, especially when the boutique market for headphones is examined. One company, Life n Soul, hopes to grab attention with its 8 Driver Bluetooth headphones. Do the headphones warrant some attention, or are they just another set in the middle of the pack? Find out in our review.
Outdoor speaker provides stereo alternative, but suffers from distorted sound
While most Bluetooth speakers are meant to be portable or desktop solutions, some are made to be used outdoors. Many of these speakers either take up a large footprint or are ruggedized, depending on the use, but other times they are simple meant for listening to a song on the porch. Of those set and forget types of speakers, what kind of features should be included to appeal to consumers? Is it huge presence and stereo sound? Or are features like weatherproofing and long battery life in high demand? The SyrenPro from iLuv attempts to include all of those features for the maximum outdoor experience. But does the SyrenPro succeed in trying to be all things to everyone? Find out in our review.
Offers good sound, low price, but speaker is held back by battery, digital signal processing
Bluetooth speakers offer a wealth of choices for consumers, with sound and price often coming down to the main factors for a purchase. Sound needs to fit the requirements of the user, from those that seek crushing bass or a balanced spectrum. Trying to find the middle ground between what consumers can afford and what sound they want can be a difficult equalibrium to reach. But can a good balance of price and sound be found in the sub-$100 market? Yes, with the $70 Logitech X300 mobile wireless speaker. But does the sound stack up to speakers more than twice the price, or are consumers taking too much of a hit to save some cash? Find out in our review.
Tablet speaker good for short range, lacks punch or clarity for everyday use
Finding a speaker purpose-built for a specific need is challenging. Even when a Bluetooth speaker can be paired with a mobile device, it doesn't mean that it's the right speaker for the job. When it comes to tablets, a speaker that can be kept to the side may not be the best purchase for something that's meant to be as portable as possible. So why not look for a device that can attach to an iPad or Android tablet, like the Adesso Xtream S3B speaker? Does the Adesso speaker provide enough of a boost to sound while retaining the original portability? Find out in our review.
Four audio devices including Bluetooth speaker and in-ear headphones start at $150
Samsung is jumping into the premium audio market in North America with four new consumer offerings for headphones and Bluetooth speakers. Samsung launched the Level line of audio products today, aiming for high quality sound, portability and style. The Level Over, On and In give consumers options based on the type of style headphone preferred, while the Box speaker allows music to be shared with others.
Powerful speaker emits great sound, but misses the mark on the finer details
In the pursuit of outstanding sound quality, Bluetooth speakers make a lot of sacrifices to offer a device that is affordable and pleasant enough to listen to compel consumers to purchase it. It's a series of compromises between the number of speakers in the platform, the battery life and the portability of the unit. Cambridge Audio, the London-based audio company, offers a compact version of its sound quality inside the Minx Go. On the surface, the Minx Go appears to check all of the boxes that a Bluetooth speaker needs to in order to be successful. But does that make it a must-have for consumers? Find out in our review.
Hospital management, smart homes, retail, enterprise use all expected to grow
A new report from ABI Research claims that the technology behind Apple's iBeacons is set to expand on a massive scale over the next five years, thanks to new applications that will make use of the "indoor GPS" abilities and personal notification services of Bluetooth LE-powered beacons. While Apple is the best-known "brand" of Bluetooth-enabled sensors with its iBeacon hardware and technology catching on, the study says Apple is unlikely to get into making the actual hardware that will generate $500 million a year by 2019.
Core unit utilizes 360-degree sound with three different jackets for style
It's rare to find a Bluetooth speaker that can cover a large array of needs. Generally, speakers are wrapped in a desktop-convenient device for a small increase in sound, or made compact enough to be carried around in lieu of headphones. But what about consumers that are looking for a rugged and waterproof speaker that can handle just about anything while pumping out 360-degree sound? Unfortunately, options were severely limited. A new speaker, the Fugoo, hit the market this year that makes good on all of those promises and then some. Check out what we think about it in our review.
Win an Inateck prize bundle
Inateck -- not to be confused with the fictional corporation "Initech" featured in the hit film Office Space -- is a computer peripherals and accessories manufacturer from Germany that has unveiled a variety of new products including MacBook sleeves, Bluetooth speakers and USB hubs. MacNN has teamed up with Inateck to give away a bundle of these items to one lucky winner, and we will also be picking two additional winners who can select a prize of their choice.
Stylish speakers feature compact design, high-end coverings, 360-degree sound
Two new Bluetooth speakers have been announced by Pioneer Electronics, focusing on ease of use and style. The XW-LF3 and XW-LF1 "Free Me" speakers feature a lightweight design with 360 degrees of sound. The Bluetooth units are small enough to be carried in a bag, but are made to stand out with their high-end look.
Two sport models, four E-Series models offer large range of consumer options
Announcing a total of six units yesterday, JBL is bringing out new entries in the Synchros lines of in-ear, on-ear and around-ear headphones. With two Sports models and four E-Series models, consumers are offered a number of options to fit their specific needs. The new Reflect Sports headphones offer users flexibility with a wired or Bluetooth option. JBL's new E-Series units offer small in-ear units to large around-ear headphones to fit nearly any situation.
KitSound releases portable, water resistant Bluetooth speaker
KitSound has released a new portable, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker, the KitSound Gravity. Weighing 270 grams (9.5 ounces), the Gravity offers an IPX-4 water resistant rating, making it suitable for outdoor use. Its built-in rechargeable battery holds a charge for up to six hours. Priced at $75, KitSound Gravity is available in red, blue and yellow options.
Smart LED Bluetooth bulb functionally sound, limited by smartphone application
With more technology comes devices that we never really considered using in the home. From controlling thermostats with smartphones, to home security cameras that inform users their residence is safe, such devices are becoming commonplace. But what if a consumer is looking for something a little less invasive to get started in smart technologies? Perhaps a light bulb, like the Tabu Lumen TL800 Bluetooth LED, could prove to be a good stepping stone. But with a small selection of bulbs on the market, is it the correct purchase to make? Find out in our review.
Life N Soul releases new Bluetooth 8-driver headphones, stereo speaker
Audio device producer Life N Soul has announced its new BE501 8 Driver Bluetooth headphones, and the BM211 Virtual Surround Bluetooth Speaker. The company's Bluetooth headphones feature Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and can pair with two different devices with a range of up to 30 feet. Offering built-in lossless transmission technology and dynamic surround sound, the BE501's frequency response ranges from 5Hz to 25kHz. Each ear piece bears 1pc woofer and 3pc drivers, with a total of 8 neodymium dynamic audio drivers. The headphones can hold a charge for 28 hours of play time, and 1300 hours of standby time.
Small Bluetooth tag helps find lost or left behind phones, other items it is attached to
Losing important items is always a concern, especially when it comes to smartphones. Whether phones are misplaced in the course of a day or left behind when moving about, it is something that happens frequently. But what if there was a device that could keep everyone from forgetting them? What if it there was a small, inconspicuous tracking tag that could help locate the phone or the item it was attached to? Fortunately, there's no need to wonder - as Protag offers the Duet to fit those needs. What can the Duet accomplish? Find out in our review.
Yantouch Diamond+ LED Bluetooth speaker released
Yantouch has released a new portable Bluetooth speaker with an accompanying light system in its Diamond series, the Diamond+. Its neodymium Super Magnet speakers are located on the sides of the device for improved sound emissions, and include a 300 precent sound boost feature. The system's LED light show features 16 million colors to choose from, with users able to control the hues, brightness and saturation, and several light modes. Its "Music You Can See" light mode, for example, matches lighting based on a song's beats. Other modes include a "wash-wall" mood lighting and a white LED light for reading.
Small speaker offers pleasing sounds with additional bar mounting options
Adding a new option of portability to a Bluetooth speaker is no easy task. While many speakers are made for people on the go, they are meant to be packed away while people move about. Instead of being able to listen to them while traveling, they are left in a bag or backpack unutilized. Nyne is looking to change that with its Cruiser speaker. The Cruiser includes a set of clips to hold the speaker in place while out walking with a baby in a stroller or on the handlebars of a bike. But would the speaker still be functional and worth using for people on the go? Find out in our review.
Heart rate, blood pressure, glucose sensors and thermometers among list
As developers have gotten their hands on both iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, a number of smaller, unannounced discoveries have been made about the two forthcoming OS updates. The HealthKit platform and Health app, coming with iOS 8, have been revealed to support some Bluetooth medical accessories natively, meaning no third-party app is required to make the equipment work directly with the HealthKit API, connecting to and controlling the device as needed. Heart rate, blood pressure and glucose sensors, as well as thermometers and other devices that leverage Bluetooth LE should be able to connect natively and share data to HealthKit-based apps.
New tablet briefcase bag by Hex now available
Tech accessories company Hex has announced the availability of its new briefcase bag, the Marquee Briefcase. Featuring a new structural design with tablet and accessory pockets, the bag includes an internal suspension pocket for up to a 15-inch laptop, internal organizer and tablet storage, on top of a main compartment. Composed of black leather with aged tan leather accents, its shoulder strap is fatigue-green, and the bag's lining is offered in a custom camouflage pattern. Priced at $280, the Marquee Briefcase can be purchased through Hex's online store.
Librify to launch an invite-only e-book service, Target to act as retail partner
Social e-book platform Librify has announced the upcoming launch of a new membership based service. Offering access to a "book club-like" experience, e-books will be accessible via a membership subscription, or purchased individually. Members can access book club management features as well as social features that aim to help organize and promote book sharing with friends. Target's partnership is retail focused, and combines Librify's e-book offering with Target's "Club Picks", which will be elaborated upon during its unveiling at Book Expo America this week.
PA features three-channel mixer, 5 hour battery and multiple inputs
UK company Kitsound has announced the release of its newest portable speaker option, the Kingston PA Sound System. Going beyond the typical offerings from the company, including portable Bluetooth speakers and headphones, the Kingston PA draws inspiration from spontaneous Caribbean street parties and Jamaican DJs to aid to its functionality and design.
Arm-mounted sensor feeds data to smart devices with Bluetooth Smart
Scosche has announced the availability of Rhythm+, an armband heart monitor that optically measures blood flow and movement to monitor heart rate and track calories burned more accurately than a conventional chest strap. The dual-mode wireless configuration includes both Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ capabilities, allowing Rhythm+ to pair with smartphones, sport watches and exercise equipment.
Speaker provides long battery life, good sound in the home and outdoors
Bluetooth speakers are important not for only adding a bit of punch to music from mobile devices, but also for providing entertainment in social situations. With the increasing frequency with which people are carrying around music on portable devices, it makes sense that listeners would be on the lookout for an equally versatile speaker. But is there a one-size-fits-all speaker that works for a single listener indoors or a gathering on the porch? Nyne throws its hat into the ring with the TT, a hardback book-sized speaker with a combined 20 watts of power. Would it be adequate for open use? Or is it another speaker only good at short distances?
Portable Sony Bluetooth speakers use ClearAudio+ processing
Sony has launched a pair of compact wireless speakers shipping in Europe in the near future. The Srs-X2 Wireless Speaker is billed as an audio device that is portable enough for use outside, while the SRS-X3, meant for home use, is a squarer device that shares the "definitive outline" design of its larger stablemates, the SRS-X9, X7, and X5.
Speaker charges on conductive base that houses 1800 mAh, allows device charging
Bem Wireless has announced the availability of its newest compact Bluetooth speaker, the Speaker Mojo. The 2.5-inch cube speaker from Bem builds on the previous generation of its mobile speaker, offering a bonus to its battery design. Instead of charging the speaker directly, it sits on a a base that houses a battery that doubles as a power bank for any devices that may need to be charged on-the-go.
Retail-oriented technology has promise to become quiet industry powerhouse
On the heels of Virgin Atlantic announcing a pilot program deploying Apple's iBeacon in its lounges, drugstore chain Walgreens subsidiary Duane Reade is now planning to use the Bluetooth-powered "micro-location" technology in 10 of its Manhattan stores, to match a larger-scale Walgreens rollout.
Allows for updates on flight status, welcome messages, board pass display
Virgin Atlantic airlines is now rolling out a pilot program for Bluetooth-based iBeacons to be stationed throughout Heathrow Airport's Terminal 3, in an effort to "provide a greater customer experience" for travellers, the airline said. The proximity-based technology, which can send push notifications to those who permit it as information becomes relevant, can alert users of facilities in the lounge, pull up boarding passes as flyers approach the gates, or update flight status.
Bluetooth device attempts to mimic pen-based input
Windows 8 aside, computer users have been trained that a mouse is the proper way to navigate through the desktop for many years now. Trackballs, trackpads, and touch screens have entered the fray, but the staple has continued to be the mouse -- even as it evolved from using mouse balls to lasers, from one button to as many as you want. So what might the next evolution be? How about combining a Bluetooth mouse with an everyday writing utensil, like a pencil? Penclic has released a mouse that combines the familiarity of holding a writing instrument with the maneuverability of a Bluetooth mouse in the Penclic Mouse B2. Check our review to see how we liked it.
Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?
In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.
Launches mobile app to help users design, implement iBeacon-based 'SensorTags'
Veteran embedded chip and automotive systems maker Texas Instruments has announced plans to incorporate Apple's iBeacon technology in many of the company's forthcoming Bluetooth products, saying that "there are many more applications that could benefit from the technology" beyond its presence popular use in retail shops, restaurants and stadiums. TI will be adding iBeacons to its SimpleLink line of automotive micro-controllers, and it WiLink navigation systems.