Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Libratone Speakers at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 1:45 AM on April 21, 2014

Danish audio specialists Libratone are relative new kids on the block, being established in 2009/10, but they’re making a strong impression with their colour co-ordinated hi-fi wireless speakers. I took the opportunity to learn more about Libratone’s range from Tom at The Gadget Show.

Libratone Speakers

Libratone ZippLibratone works with both Apple and Android devices supporting a range of protocols, including AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, Libratone has four models in the range;
- the Lounge, a soundbar to go below a flatscreen TV
- the Zipp, a cylindrical speaker which is both AC and battery powered
- the Loop, a freestanding or wall-mounting round speaker
- the Live, a freestanding three-sided dipole speaker

All the speakers have removable covers that can be changed to suit the decor, either fitting in discreetly or standing out as a feature. Although it’s difficult to assess the audio quality in an exhibition hall, the demo I heard was suitably impressive and if you are in the market for this kind of product, I would definitely give them a listen.

BRAVEN Shows off the BRV-X Outdoor Speaker System at CES

Posted by Mike Dell at 9:15 AM on January 8, 2014

BRAVEN-logoBRAVEN is showing off it’s new Outdoor speaker system at the 2014 International CES this week in Las Vegas. The BRV-X is touted as “The First True Outdoor Speaker” featuring an exclusive outdoor listening setting that maximizes sound quality and volume in open-air environments. The BRV-X is IPX5 water-resistant rated (which means it was tested with water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from all directions with no harmful effects for up to 15 minutes). It also features a Noise Canceling mic for taking bluetooth calls.

bravenSpeaker

The BRV-X can even charge USB Devices with an integrated power bank. You can pair a second BRV-X using TrueWireless™ Technology for true left and right stereo sound.

“The BRV-X’s proprietary settings rearrange the frequency of the audio to achieve the best sound in both indoor and outdoor environments,” stated Andy Fathollahi, Chief Executive, BRAVEN. “Different from any other self-proclaimed outdoor speaker in the market, the BRV-X is fine-tuned to its surroundings, guaranteeing crisp, clear and loud audio in any location.”

brv-x

At this time there is no Pricing or Availablity information. See http://www.braven.com/ for information and annoncements about BRAVEN.

Logitech z50 Multimedia Speaker Review

Posted by Andrew at 2:20 AM on November 22, 2013

Logitech LogoWith a few notable exceptions, the speakers on most mobile devices aren’t up to much, limiting any chance of an impromptu party rocking out to Spotify’s top 100. An external speaker is needed for bigger sound and the Logitech z50 Multimedia Speaker might be the answer. Coming in hot pink, sky blue and, err, boring grey, the z50 is intended to be fun without costing a fortune. Let’s take a look and a listen.

The Logitech z50 is shaped a little like a flower pot, with the speaker driver facing upwards rather than horizontally towards the listener. The picture doesn’t really show it, but the speaker is tilted at a slight angle and isn’t pointing straight up. On the more colourful versions, the grey band at the bottom is pink or blue.

Logitech z50 speaker

The z50 connects to the sound source via a stereo 3.5 mm jack rather than any wireless technology and is powered via DC jack. There’s no option for batteries which is slightly surprising to me.

Logitech z50 Speaker.jpg

Enough of how it looks, how does it sound? I wasn’t expecting much from the z50 but it definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s quite loud when cranked up to full volume and the sound quality is good in the mid-range. Songs similar to Lianne La Havas’ Au Cinema still captivate, but Adele’s Skyfall sounds flat, failing to project the fuller range. It’s not unexpected with a speaker of this size and weight, but the bottom line is that the z50 sounds better than all the smartphones, tablets and laptops that I’ve ever heard.

Overall, I think that the z50 sounds good for the price but I feel that not having a battery-powered option restricts its appeal. The z50 would be perfect for moving round the house, taking on holiday or camping but needing a power adaptor limits its usefulness. The ideal solution would be a battery unit that took a couple of C cells and clipped to the bottom of the z50, giving power and sound on the go. This gripe aside, it’s a fun speaker.

The Logitech z50 Multimedia Speaker is available from Logitech and other retailers for GB £17.99 or US $19.99. Thanks to Logitech for the loan of the z50.

Loop by Libratone Named CES Honoree

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:56 PM on November 18, 2013

Libratone_Loop_PassionPink_Window-1Libratone has been named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for their Loop wireless speaker. It is an effective speaker that is in a unique, circular, shape.

Loop is a wireless speaker that delivers 360 degree stereo sound with the convenience of wireless Airplay and DLNA streaming. It does not require a Wi-Fi router. Instead, it uses Libratone’s PlayDirect technology.

One of the things that immediately caught my attention about this speaker is its shape. It is a round, disk shaped, speaker that comes in a variety of colors. The covers are made of Italian wool. Loop comes in either Pepper Black, Salty Grey, or Raspberry Red. Other colors, like Pineapple Yellow, Passion Pink, Plum Purple, or Icy Blue, are sold separately.

CEO of Libratone North America, Greg Stein, said:

“The nomination of the Loop marks the third year in a row that a wireless speaker in the Libratone family has been recognized by the Consumer Electronics Association for outstanding design and engineering. Past honorees include the portable Zipp and the Live speaker. We are thrilled that the Loop has been named an honoree in this year’s Innovation Awards and look forward to showcasing it at CES.”

Will you be at CES? The Loop will be on display at Libratone’s booth, #6275 in the North Hall for CES 2014. It will also be among the Honorees displayed at CES Unveiled: The Official Media Event from 4:00 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, January 5, 2014, in the South Seas Ballroom C at Mandalay Bay.

Melody by Soundcast Named CES Honoree

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:13 PM on November 13, 2013

soundcastmelodySoundcast Systems has announced that it has been named as an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for its Melody by Soundcast portable Bluetooth speaker system. It is in two product categories: Portable Media Players and Accessories.

Melody by Soundcast has an omni-directional 360° 8-speaker design. It offers high-quality sound with a deep bass. You can get 20+ hours of uninterrupted use with its internal rechargeable battery system. It has the latest v3.0 Bluetooth and AAC/ Apt-X codecs. Use it to stream music from your own library or from Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, iTunes, TuneIn and other apps from both Apple and PC devices.

Melody by Soundcast has a weather resistance case. It also has a built in handle that makes it easy to carry to wherever you want to listen to music at. I can see where it would be really useful at an outdoor or backyard party.

Mike Weaver, president of Soundcast, stated: “The entire Soundcast team is honored beyond measure to receive the prestigious 2014 Innovations Honoree Award for our new Melody portable Bluetooth speaker system.”

The 2014 International CES will run from January 7, 2014 through January 10, 2014. It takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Those of you who are attending can check out Soundcast’s Melody in The Venetian Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Pavilion, where it will be on display.

UGO Makes Little Speakers with Big Sound

Posted by JenThorpe at 10:50 PM on May 26, 2013

UGO SpeakerI had the opportunity to check out these cute, colorful, speakers in person yesterday. This was completely unexpected, because the place I found the UGO speakers at was a Strawberry Festival. That isn’t the type of event where one would expect to find anything tech related. (The festival did live up to its name, however, and had plenty of desserts that were filled with some of the biggest strawberries I’d ever seen).

The name of the company is UGO (which is pronounced “you- go”). They were among the many booths of vendors at the festival. What immediately caught my attention about them was that I could hear the music that was playing through the little speaker from several feet away over the noise from the crowd. I can see where having just one UGO speaker would work well for a person to use at home (or wherever else they decide to go).

UGO speakers come in six different colors: pink, blue, red, purple, black, yellow, and silver (as shown in my photo). The UGO mini-speaker costs $39.95, and the UGO Bluetooth Wireless Mini-Speaker costs $129.95.

Each has a micro SD slot. You can load your favorite songs onto a Micro SD card, insert it into the UGO speaker, and the speaker itself becomes your music player. It also has a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. The website says it has a 30′ (9.14m) range in which the sound will carry. UGO offers a 12-month manufacturer guarantee. The vendor at the UGO booth at the Strawberry Fest said that the UGO Bluetooth Wireless Mini-Speaker can be used with any Bluetooth enabled device.

Vivick’s Latest Gadgets

Posted by Andrew at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2013

Vivick HeadphonesCanadian firm Vivick produce a wide range of gadgets, covering everything from iPhone cases, laptop accessories and AV gear. Andy and Scott look at three of the latest products.

On show from Vivick is anLED desk lamp speaker that can be driven via Bluetooth but wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a 70s sci-fi movie. Continuing the theme, they had a Bluetooth headset which looked a bit more up-to-date but I can’t comment on the sound quality. Finally, they showed off a combo-laptop / USB rechargeable battery which had some really good design ideas. It seems to be a brand new product as it doesn’t yet feature on their website, but if you are a battery hogging traveller, keep an eye out for it.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Scott Ertz of F5 Live for the TechPodcast Network, who should be commended for keeping the interview going.

Support our coverage sponsors:
Dropcam.com watch life High-Def streaming of your home or anywhere today!
Gazelle - Sell your Gadgets for Cash
25% off your order @ Godaddy.com: Promo Code go25off5
50% off new hosting plans with a free domain! Promo Code: 50host7
50% off 1st year of Business Website Builder & free domain Promo Code: 50wsb7
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today

Underneath The Pringles Tree

Posted by Andrew at 5:22 PM on December 13, 2012

PringlesPringles are running a Pringles Tree competition in December and each day you can open a virtual Pringles can to reveal the prize within. The prizes are inexpensive but there seems to be a good chance of winning as I’ve picked up a Pringles Speaker and a voucher for 7digital already. Other prizes include on-line games and receipes.

The Pringles Speaker arrived yesterday and it’s much better than I expected. The idea is that the speaker is inserted into the top of a Pringles tube once the contents have been munched. Powered by three AAA batteries (supplied), the sound quality and output is surprisingly good. For sure it’s not hifi and the bass isn’t great but for an impromptu party, it’s perfect. Plug in your mp3 player or smartphone and away you go.

Pringles Speaker

There’s 11 days left of Pringles Tree. Get popping, though it looks like this promotion is for UK residents only.

BTR006 Bluetooth Audio Receiver Review

Posted by Andrew at 1:28 PM on August 6, 2012

BTR006 Bluetooth ReceiverA2DP Bluetooth rarely comes as standard in cars except on prestige marques, but most new vehicles at least come with a 3.5 mm audio socket on the audio system for plugging-in mp3 players. If you want a quick and cheap way to upgrade the car’s audio to Bluetooth, take a look at he BTR006 Bluetooth Stereo Receiver.

The BTR006 is a small plastic rectangle just a few millimetres deep (45 x 33 x 8 mm). It has only one button for on/off, an activity LED, a DC power socket and a 3.5 mm audio jack on the end of short lead. It’s a doddle to use: charge up, connect the jack into the 3.5 mm audio socket, pair with smartphone and starting playing music from your smartphone through the audio system. Simples!

Audio quality is perfectly acceptable given that it’s Bluetooth anyway and the receiver successfully paired with every device I tried it with. The receiver supports both Bluetooth 2.1 with both A2DP and AVRCP.

There’s an internal battery that’s good for 12 hours according to the spec, which is probably about right based on my experience. I get a whole week of podcast listening which means somewhere over ten hours based on weekly commute and other travel. Contrary to some reviews, it is possible to charge and use the device at the same time. The confusion arises as connecting the charger does turn off the BTR006, but turning it back on again lets the receiver charge and play at the same time.

One of the best features is that it automatically powers off when the Bluetooth connection is lost for a few minutes so the battery doesn’t run down when the car is parked and not in use. Obviously the receiver has to be turned back on, but that takes seconds to do.

BTR006 Installed in Car with Velcro

Unless there’s a convenient nook or cranny in your vehicle, the BTR006 will hang down from the audio socket, especially as the lead isn’t very long. Of course, the easy solution is to use Velcro, with a small strip on the back of the BTR006 with a matching strip on the dashboard. The BTR006 can be easily detached for charging at home or in the office via the supplied USB charging cable. Here’s what it looks like installed in my car….yes, I probably should have cleaned the dash before taking the picture.

Note that the BTR006 does not have a microphone so it’s not possible to use it for hands-free calls but regardless this is an excellent buy to play music through your car’s audio system via Bluetooth.

Available from Amazon for around £15 or $28 – just search for BTR006. Disclaimer – I bought this device personally.

Veho Mobile Gear at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 11:43 PM on April 19, 2012

Pebble Power PackVeho probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking about gadgets but they have a sizeable range from miniature video cameras to digital photo frames and Bluetooth headsets. In the UK, their products are sold in the main big boxes – PC World and Currys.

On Veho’s stand at Gadget Show Live, I played with a USB microscope which showed magnified images on the PC screen. Perhaps a little limited with just two magnification levels (20x or 200x) but good fun nevertheless.

In this interview, James Farmer from Veho takes me through some of the Veho range, including their Muvi miniature DV cameras, Pebble portable battery packs and Mimi wireless speakers. I really liked their Pebble range of battery packs as they had a lovely smooth shape, like the original Palm Pre.