Tag Archives: Bluetooth

HearNotes WireFree

I’ve tried wireless earbuds before—they’re a anguish. They’re not truly wi-fi; oh, they could connect to your gadget wirelessly, but the left and correct buds are nonetheless linked to one another with a wire. And that wire gets tangled on your hair, your shirt, your bag…. They’re a nuisance.

So once I spied HearNotes’ “WireFree” earbuds at the CES Unveiled occasion on Sunday, I wanted to know more. The black and neon-green earbuds are on the chunky facet, and they have got a rubbery hook that loops round your ear. but they’re rather light-weight and of direction there are no wires to tug them down.

HearNotes WireFree

The left and correct accessories of those earbuds are utterly separate wireless entities that pair to a transmitter you plug into your smartphone or media participant’s headphone jack. and unlike lesser earbuds, the HearNotes don’t rely on Bluetooth. They use Kleer technology to get their sound throughout.

In my expertise, Kleer provides vastly higher audio fine than Bluetooth, and it has better range, too: up to 50, compared to 30 feet for Bluetooth). however that audio best comes at a cost, of direction, and that price is battery life: The WireFree earbuds offer about four hours of playtime, at the same time most Bluetooth headphones provides you with between 12 and 20 hours.

The WireFree headphones come with an inductive charging case and will sell for $349 when they begin shipping later this quarter.

808 Audio delivers the Performer suspended ear cups headphones

808 Audio Delivers

With so many different kind of headphone models to choose from in the market, just which particular model do you think you ought to settle for? It can get very confusing, but if quality (and price being of no object) is what you are looking for, then you might want to pick something up that the industry experts have come up with. I am referring to 808 Audio and their latest pair of suspended ear cups headphones, known as the Performer. The Performer was developed after 808 Audio roped in DJs and sound engineers to work on the design, ending up with suspended ear cups, 40mm drivers, and 90° ear cup rotation in both Bluetooth and wired models.
808 Audio might be relatively new to the scene, but do not use that as a negative point against them. This particular audio brand was conceived from the roots of hip hop and EDM, and has just announced the Performer Headphones, being the first-ever headphone (iron maiden photography) that boasts of ear cup suspension technology. Specially designed to deliver an instant and tailored fit, it is ideal for long listening sessions as well as all-night sets ensuring that you do not end up with “ear burns”, so to speak.
The Performer received its design inspiration from a high-end studio microphone mount, and being the first of its kind, it delivers the best possible ergonomic fit regardless of your head size, being able to adjust itself to your ears with great acoustic sealing and enhanced noise isolation. Not only that, it has been tailored deliver additional bass compared to those found with a flat curve, making it ideal for DJs who are not content with just playing music, but wanting to feel their music, too.
The Performer will arrive with a standard detachable cable for $79.99, while the Performer BT that boasts of a detachable cable with in-line Mic alongside fully wireless Bluetooth functionality will cost another $20 more, bringing the price point to $99.99. One can pick from multiple colors and finishes for either model.

 

808 Audio Delivers

Jaybird X2 Review

Jaybird X2 Review

Demand for wireless headphones is growing, and music-focused stereo Bluetooth headsets are all the rage right now. Thanks to a vast improvement in the quality of Bluetooth audio transmission over the years, it’s now possible to effortlessly stream high-quality sound without any of the typical issues that plagued the early years of wireless audio.

Jaybird, an American company, has already won some praise for its Bluebuds X earphones, and is widely considered among the better audio products for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The newest product in the range is the Rs. 15,999 Jaybird X2, touted by the company as “perfection in wireless sound”. We’re keen to put that claim to the test in our comprehensive review of the Jaybird X2.

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Design, specifications and comfort
The Jaybird X2 is a pair of wireless in-ear headphones, with the earbuds connected to each other by a short flat cable that runs behind your neck when worn. The short length of the cable and the fact that it’s flat makes it extremely tangle resistant. Additionally, there is a plastic in-line three-button remote and microphone near the right earbud, which can be used to control the power and Bluetooth pairing settings as well as the volume and calls with a paired smartphone. The headphones are available in six interesting colour options, and our review sample was the fluorescent green ‘Charge’ model, which we feel is the best looking of the lot.

The headphones are powered by 6mm dynamic drivers with 16Ohm impedance and a sensitivity of 103dB. The frequency response ranges from 20-20,000Hz, and passive noise isolation is achieved using in-canal ear tips. Running on Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate, the X2 also supports A2DP, can be paired to and will remember up to eight devices, and will work with a paired device up to 10m away. The headphones are powered by a 100mAh battery with a claimed life of eight hours on a full charge. We generally got over seven hours of usage during our time with the headphones.

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The earbuds are plastic, with a dull finish on the outer casings and prominent Jaybird logos on both buds. Under a flap on the right earbud is the Micro-USB port for charging, and the sales package comes with a short USB cable included for this purpose. There is no mains power adapter so you would typically have to use your computer to charge the headset, but Micro-USB Type-B means that you can use practically any modern smartphone charger. The Jaybird X2 is, all in all, eye catching and functional at the same time.

Also included in the package are three pairs of silicone ear tips, three pairs of Comply Sport foam ear tips and three pairs of Jaybird’s ‘ear fins’, which are fitted on the earbuds and help keep them in place even when you’re active. Thanks to their battery and Bluetooth circuitry, these headphones are a lot larger than typical in-ears. As a result, fit won’t be quite as secure and comfortable for everyone. You’ll have to experiment with the ear fins and tips to get the right fit, and even then you might need to make adjustments when moving about, primarily to maintain the sonic isolation and proper positioning of the earphones.

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Performance
We used an Android smartphone as our source device for the duration of the review of the Jaybird X2, in outdoor and indoor environments. Focus tracks for the review included Dave Horne’s QED, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Hindi Sad Diamonds from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

We started with QED, a progressive house track with an intense bass line and plenty of drive. The sonic signature of the Jaybird X2 was immediately evident, and it’s one with sensitivity spikes in the mid and upper range. The low end isn’t muted or subdued, but it certainly isn’t as distinct and aggressive as we’d have liked. A little bit of attack would have done a pair of headphones like this a world of good, especially considering that Jaybird wants to push the headset at fitness enthusiasts. Music goes a long way in helping athletes maintain their rhythm and drive, and a stronger low-end would have helped.

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Moving on to one of the late David Bowie’s greatest hits, Let’s Dance has a great instrumental riff and beautiful flow. The Jaybird X2 showcases its clarity and quality here, with some rather excellent handling of the busier parts of the track. You get a good sense of separation and three-dimensionality, with the headphones managing to give each individual instrument and element of the track its due recognition. Furthermore, a bit of attack in the treble gives the sonic signature a subtle sharpness, which we liked. The handling of highs and mids is decent, and listeners who are looking for an all-round pleasant sound will enjoy the sonic signature of the Jaybird X2.

Finally, we played the rather powerful Hindi Sad Diamonds. We turned the volume all the way up to maximum on both the smartphone as well as the headphones, and the result was still a bit soft. While the levels will be adequate for most people, the point we’re trying to make here is that the headphones aren’t quite capable of truly loud volumes. Furthermore, playing music at maximum volume puts some amount of strain on the small 6mm drivers, and a bit of distortion and sibilance can be heard as a result. However, with the volume adjusted to slightly below maximum, the sound is suitable for most practical purposes.

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Verdict
The Jaybird X2 is a decent pair of Bluetooth earphones in all ways. Although there are some issues with the snugness of the fit, it’s easy to get used to. Charging is hassle-free, and battery life is better than we’re used to seeing on other wireless in-ear options such as the Jabra Sport Coach and Brainwavz Blu-100.

Sound quality, while not at the same level as the slightly more expensive Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless II, is decent for a pair of in-ears. The low maximum volume might be a negative to some, and the lack of attack in the bass is a slight weakness as well. However, on the whole, the Jaybird is one of the better pairs of wireless in-ears, and offers a premium sound that is pleasing to the ear.

Price (MRP): 15,999

Pros

  • Good design
  • Decent mids and highs
  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life for wireless in-ears

Cons

  • Fit isn’t always secure
  • Doesn’t go very loud
  • Slightly weak with bass

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Performance: 3.5
  • Value for money: 3
  • Overall: 3.5

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Samsung Gear Circle

Samsung Gear Circle

Samsung Gear Circle

Alongside the Gear S smartwatch, Samsung today announced the Gear Circle, a pair of wireless earphones that can pair with your smartphone and vibrate to alert you to calls and notifications. Samsung says Gear Circle users can also use the wearable device’s Bluetooth connection to listen to music on their smartphone, or issue voice commands.

 

Samsung Gear Circle

When not in use, the new earphones can either be stuffed away in your pocket, or worn proudly around your neck: the device has a metal clasp that means the Gear Circle can double as an impromptu necklace. Samsung has shown the Gear Circle in three colors so far — black, blue, and white — and said that the device will start rolling out to global markets in October.

Samsung Gear Circle

Creative Sound Blaster FRee Review

Creative Sound Blaster FRee Review

Singapore-based Creative is an industry expert when it comes to audio, whether its sound cards for PCs, headphones, or portable speakers. The iconic Sound Blaster series of products has a formidable reputation itself, and now even covers the company’s personal audio range, including the excellent Sound Blaster Jam and Sound Blaster Roar.

The latest wireless audio product from the Creative stable is the Sound Blaster FRee. Launched in October at a price of Rs. 7,999, the portable Bluetooth speaker has had a price drop and is now available at Rs. 5,999. Designed to be used outdoors, the speaker has IPX4 certification for dust and splash-resistance, and is capable of 360-degree sound when placed vertically. We go in-depth with the Creative Sound Blaster FRee in our review.

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Design, specifications and features
The Creative Sound Blaster FRee is, like many other basic wireless speakers, rather plain to look at. It’s got some interesting design cues, but is primarily designed to be simple and straightforward. The front has an ordinary grille and a somewhat hexagonal but mostly conical shape that we’re quite used to seeing on similar products. Some of the controls are on one side, while others are at the back. We do however like the red accents on the corners, and this gives the speaker a hint of style.

Although the FRee can be placed and used horizontally if desired, the positioning and orientation of the buttons are more suited to placing the device vertically. The vertical placement position is said to give the speaker 360-degree sound, while the horizontal position has the sound targeted at a sweet spot. Depending on your listening preferences or requirements, you can place the speaker either way.

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The back of the speaker has a rubber flap that covers the Micro-USB port, Aux-in socket, and microSD card slot (supporting storage cards up to 32GB), which is useful in providing protection from water and dirt and maintaining its IPX4 protection. Alongside this flap are the bass port and buttons, which include play/ pause, next, previous, microphone mute, repeat/ shuffle, and loud mode. The buttons on the side control volume, power and Bluetooth mode/ call answer.

The Creative Sound Blaster FRee offers Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity, as well as standard Aux-in and microSD connectivity options. It also has two neodymium drivers and twin passive radiators to deliver full-range audio, and also has a microphone for hands-free calling capabilities. The sales package includes a USB cable for charging, and you can also use any standard Micro-USB charger to charge as well.

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Performance
We tested the Creative Sound Blaster FRee with an Android smartphone, using both Bluetooth and a 3.5mm stereo cable to test audio output. Additionally, we also used a microSD card to test the in-built media player. Focus tracks for the review were Bonobo’s Ten Tigers, 2Pac’s California Love and Delta Heavy’s Ghost (Zomboy Remix).

Starting with Ten Tigers, we felt that the Sound Blaster FRee pumps out a sound that comes off as entertaining at times, thanks to the thumping bass and general aggression. However, this is only the case at low volumes, and the minute we raised the levels to anything even moderately loud, we were met with distortion and low-end levels that were imprecise and all over the place. Despite the track not being a very aggressive one, the drive and attack felt a bit too overbearing and forced.

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Moving on to California Love, we found that treble was a bit weak, and high frequencies are also weak and tend to spike at certain moments in the track, rather than play out evenly. Mids are alright, but the speaker tends to have mid-focus with level spikes at both ends, especially with bass. Additionally, sub-bass is virtually absent, and any bass we heard only tended to resonate from the mid-bass range. It’s a sound that is all about thump, and won’t really suit any purpose except parties where you’re looking to fill a room with thumping sound. It’s all about loudness, with very little attention given to detail and definition.

Finally, with Ghost (Zomboy Remix), we heard a hint of fun from the speakers, thanks to the raw attack that a good dubstep track can bring to the party. Furthermore, track quality seems to make no difference to the Sound Blaster FRee, and the sound is rough and overly aggressive no matter what you listen to. Certain genres may sound acceptable, but in general, the FRee isn’t going to win any awards for sound quality.

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We also tried all of these tracks in both placement positions, as well as with loud mode switched on. The horizontal position tends to provide a better sweet spot, a decent soundstage, and better targeting for the sound, which is suitable for when you’re listening to the music by yourself. Placing the speaker vertically makes the sound audibly more three-dimensional, and it sounds acceptable even outside the sweet spot, making this position more suited to social listening. Loud mode is best avoided though, as it only adds to the distortion and lack of definition and clarity in the sound.

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Verdict
Creative has been consistent thus far with its personal audio and multimedia offerings, so it’s unfortunate the company’s latest product, the Sound Blaster FRee, isn’t quite up to the mark. The wireless speaker is poorly tuned and falls short in terms of sonic performance. However, it is a conveniently designed speaker that offers decent ‘party’ performance and can even be used in rough conditions thanks to splash-proofing and a fairly three-dimensional sound. Although it isn’t quite the best option available in its category and price bracket, it might be worth an audition if you’re looking for a loud, punchy speaker for your parties and picnics.

Price (MRP): 7,999

Pros

  • Decent design and build
  • Good connectivity options
  • Can get very loud

Cons

  • No definition or clarity to speak of
  • Distortion at high volumes
  • Treble is weak, bass is overbearing

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 3.5
  • Performance: 2
  • Value for money: 3
  • Overall: 2.5

More info: ptlojasnet

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