Archive for September, 2012

Aloe Blacc: I Need a Dollar [Video]

I fell in love with Aloe Blacc's "I Need a Dollar" ever since I heard it in the background of a random episode of This American Life a while back, so when this live version of it poked its head out on Reddit today, it was both a great reminder of the original, and also a fresh new take. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Uncategorized

Aloe Blacc: I Need a Dollar [Video]

I fell in love with Aloe Blacc's "I Need a Dollar" ever since I heard it in the background of a random episode of This American Life a while back, so when this live version of it poked its head out on Reddit today, it was both a great reminder of the original, and also a fresh new take. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Uncategorized

This Perforated Bill Would Make It Super Easy To Literally Split the Check [Wish You Were Here]

You may be at a point in your life where splitting the bill comes off as tacky, but everybody's been in that position where it's totally necessary. For those times, like college, the Go Dutch Bill would come in super handy, if it actually existed. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

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This Gargantuan Slingshot Crossbow Is Taller Than You Are [Video]

Slingshots aren't just child's play, especially when they have a draw-distance greater than the height of several small children. Joerg Sprave is no stranger to crazy slingshot cannons, but he's really outdone himself this time with one that's longer than he is tall. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Uncategorized

This Gargantuan Slingshot Crossbow Is Taller Than You Are [Video]

Slingshots aren't just child's play, especially when they have a draw-distance greater than the height of several small children. Joerg Sprave is no stranger to crazy slingshot cannons, but he's really outdone himself this time with one that's longer than he is tall. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Uncategorized

Logitech UE Boombox And Mobile Boombox Review: Bluetooth Speakers With A Rich Sound

Logitech UE Boombox and Mobile Boombox

Short version: These two battery-powered bluetooth speakers are the first modern boomboxes designed by the newly created subsidiary Logitech UE. Acquired in 2008, Ultimate Ears is well-known for its in-ear monitors used by many musicians in concert, not for its speakers. Even though the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is limited, it is no surprise given the entry-level pricing. The real surprise comes from the big brother, the Logitech UE Boombox.

Logitech UE Boombox

Features:

  • Two woofers, two tweeters and four passive radiators
  • Bluetooth (A2DP profile) and 3.5mm audio output
  • 6-hour rechargeable battery
  • 4.4lbs (2kg)
  • MSRP: $250
  • Logitech UE Product Page

Pros:

  • Precise and very enjoyable sound
  • Incredibly powerful performance for this size
  • Bass-heavy sound profile, perfect for partying

Cons:

  • Bass-heavy sound profile, exhausting with some tracks
  • Heavy
  • No audio cable in the box

Long version:


When it comes to picking the right speaker for your needs, it’s often a very personal choice due to sound profiles, music tastes and other side niceties. The Logitech UE Boombox doesn’t change the rule, and it will be hard to give a definitive verdict for that product.

First, design and features are less controversial. With a sleek grille and a rubberized lower third, the device looks both solid and elegant. The handle at the top makes it easy to pick the boombox up. But at 4.4lbs (2kg), you may only want to carry it in your backyard or in another room. Compared to other models, such as the Big Jambox, this boombox is quite big and you should leave it in your home.

The big rubberized volume buttons on one side are unmissable. On the other side, you find the on/off switch, a Bluetooth pairing button, the 3.5mm audio output and the power socket.

Pairing the boombox with an iPhone, an Android 4.0 phone and a Mac was very easy. The A2DP audio profile ensures that a large number of devices will be compatible. It’s even easier in iOS 6 with the Bluetooth settings now front and center in the Settings app. With an iPhone 4, audio didn’t drop even with approximately 30 feet of distance between the two devices in an office environment.

Yet, as audiophiles will tell you, A2DP is not ideal for audio fidelity. The audio is first compressed on the phone or tablet using SBC, or optionally AAC or MP3. For example, iOS now supports AAC up to 128 kb/s in addition to SBC, which is pretty low. Moreover, reencoding a lossy track, such as a song bought in the iTunes Store or streamed in Spotify, with a lossy codec is one of the worst thing to do for sound quality. It’s like taking a photo of a photo.

It still sounded good, especially when you compare it to using the internal speaker of your smartphone. But you definitely lose sound clarity in the higher and lower ends of the audio spectrum. That’s why Logitech UE should have put an audio cable in the box. It’s a high-end speaker.

Talking about audio spectrum, the Boombox is clearly skewed toward low mids and basses. I usually use very neutral equipment, such as studio monitoring headphones (Sony MDR-7506). It is more noticeable when playing some songs, especially electronic music tracks with a deep and clean beat. Other times, it makes the track more enjoyable. But when it ruins a classic, you have no choice but to skip the track.

Yet, as the name suggests, the Boombox was intended to produce booms. If you intend to use it to party, to fill a crowded room with a sound that is pleasant to listen to, then it is the perfect choice.

We have a Jawbone Big Jambox in the office. When playing the same song on the two devices, there was no room for discussion. The Logitech UE Boombox is the clear winner, with a much clearer and richer sound than the limited Big Jambox. The Boombox is much bigger, but $50 cheaper than the Big Jambox. Picking Logitech’s speaker is a no-brainer if you are not constrained by size.

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

Features:

  • Compact speaker
  • Bluetooth (A2DP profile) and 3.5mm audio output
  • 10-hour micro USB rechargeable battery
  • MSRP: $100
  • Logitech UE Product Page

Pros:

  • Very easy to carry around
  • Better sound than the speaker of your smartphone
  • Perfect for podcasts

Cons:

  • Not very powerful

Long version:


Don’t expect any magic from this Mobile Boombox. It is an inexpensive speaker to throw in your bag when you are going to the beach, the park or hiking. You don’t get a lot of details, especially with messy and difficult to render tracks. But if you really need to listen to music with a speaker in those situations, the Mobile Boombox is a good versatile choice.

If you insist on using it in your home, there is another use that makes it very useful, podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts and don’t use iTunes anymore, even if Apple plans to release a completely redesigned version. I manage all my podcasts in Instacast on my iPhone and listen to podcasts exclusively on my iPhone, using headphones, AirPlay or the internal speaker.

You can use the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox to listen to podcast while doing the dishes and cooking for example. Voices sound much better than with the internal speaker and you won’t have to spend a lot of money for a kitchen speaker.

Conclusion

These two speakers are highly capable for different uses. While you won’t take the Boombox with you, it will be a very polyvalent and enjoyable speaker in your home. The Mobile Boombox, on the other hand, can make an excellent speaker to listen to podcasts in your kitchen, or a correct portable speaker for the park or the beach. I wasn’t very confident when turning those speakers on due to the brand. Logitech isn’t a well-known audiophile brand. Those fears vanished quickly.


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Photo

Romain Dillet

September 30th

Gadgets

Logitech UE Boombox And Mobile Boombox Review: Bluetooth Speakers With A Rich Sound

Logitech UE Boombox and Mobile Boombox

Short version: These two battery-powered bluetooth speakers are the first modern boomboxes designed by the newly created subsidiary Logitech UE. Acquired in 2008, Ultimate Ears is well-known for its in-ear monitors used by many musicians in concert, not for its speakers. Even though the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox is limited, it is no surprise given the entry-level pricing. The real surprise comes from the big brother, the Logitech UE Boombox.

Logitech UE Boombox

Features:

  • Two woofers, two tweeters and four passive radiators
  • Bluetooth (A2DP profile) and 3.5mm audio output
  • 6-hour rechargeable battery
  • 4.4lbs (2kg)
  • MSRP: $250
  • Logitech UE Product Page

Pros:

  • Precise and very enjoyable sound
  • Incredibly powerful performance for this size
  • Bass-heavy sound profile, perfect for partying

Cons:

  • Bass-heavy sound profile, exhausting with some tracks
  • Heavy
  • No audio cable in the box

Long version:


When it comes to picking the right speaker for your needs, it’s often a very personal choice due to sound profiles, music tastes and other side niceties. The Logitech UE Boombox doesn’t change the rule, and it will be hard to give a definitive verdict for that product.

First, design and features are less controversial. With a sleek grille and a rubberized lower third, the device looks both solid and elegant. The handle at the top makes it easy to pick the boombox up. But at 4.4lbs (2kg), you may only want to carry it in your backyard or in another room. Compared to other models, such as the Big Jambox, this boombox is quite big and you should leave it in your home.

The big rubberized volume buttons on one side are unmissable. On the other side, you find the on/off switch, a Bluetooth pairing button, the 3.5mm audio output and the power socket.

Pairing the boombox with an iPhone, an Android 4.0 phone and a Mac was very easy. The A2DP audio profile ensures that a large number of devices will be compatible. It’s even easier in iOS 6 with the Bluetooth settings now front and center in the Settings app. With an iPhone 4, audio didn’t drop even with approximately 30 feet of distance between the two devices in an office environment.

Yet, as audiophiles will tell you, A2DP is not ideal for audio fidelity. The audio is first compressed on the phone or tablet using SBC, or optionally AAC or MP3. For example, iOS now supports AAC up to 128 kb/s in addition to SBC, which is pretty low. Moreover, reencoding a lossy track, such as a song bought in the iTunes Store or streamed in Spotify, with a lossy codec is one of the worst thing to do for sound quality. It’s like taking a photo of a photo.

It still sounded good, especially when you compare it to using the internal speaker of your smartphone. But you definitely lose sound clarity in the higher and lower ends of the audio spectrum. That’s why Logitech UE should have put an audio cable in the box. It’s a high-end speaker.

Talking about audio spectrum, the Boombox is clearly skewed toward low mids and basses. I usually use very neutral equipment, such as studio monitoring headphones (Sony MDR-7506). It is more noticeable when playing some songs, especially electronic music tracks with a deep and clean beat. Other times, it makes the track more enjoyable. But when it ruins a classic, you have no choice but to skip the track.

Yet, as the name suggests, the Boombox was intended to produce booms. If you intend to use it to party, to fill a crowded room with a sound that is pleasant to listen to, then it is the perfect choice.

We have a Jawbone Big Jambox in the office. When playing the same song on the two devices, there was no room for discussion. The Logitech UE Boombox is the clear winner, with a much clearer and richer sound than the limited Big Jambox. The Boombox is much bigger, but $50 cheaper than the Big Jambox. Picking Logitech’s speaker is a no-brainer if you are not constrained by size.

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox

Features:

  • Compact speaker
  • Bluetooth (A2DP profile) and 3.5mm audio output
  • 10-hour micro USB rechargeable battery
  • MSRP: $100
  • Logitech UE Product Page

Pros:

  • Very easy to carry around
  • Better sound than the speaker of your smartphone
  • Perfect for podcasts

Cons:

  • Not very powerful

Long version:


Don’t expect any magic from this Mobile Boombox. It is an inexpensive speaker to throw in your bag when you are going to the beach, the park or hiking. You don’t get a lot of details, especially with messy and difficult to render tracks. But if you really need to listen to music with a speaker in those situations, the Mobile Boombox is a good versatile choice.

If you insist on using it in your home, there is another use that makes it very useful, podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts and don’t use iTunes anymore, even if Apple plans to release a completely redesigned version. I manage all my podcasts in Instacast on my iPhone and listen to podcasts exclusively on my iPhone, using headphones, AirPlay or the internal speaker.

You can use the Logitech UE Mobile Boombox to listen to podcast while doing the dishes and cooking for example. Voices sound much better than with the internal speaker and you won’t have to spend a lot of money for a kitchen speaker.

Conclusion

These two speakers are highly capable for different uses. While you won’t take the Boombox with you, it will be a very polyvalent and enjoyable speaker in your home. The Mobile Boombox, on the other hand, can make an excellent speaker to listen to podcasts in your kitchen, or a correct portable speaker for the park or the beach. I wasn’t very confident when turning those speakers on due to the brand. Logitech isn’t a well-known audiophile brand. Those fears vanished quickly.


Comments Off on Logitech UE Boombox And Mobile Boombox Review: Bluetooth Speakers With A Rich Sound

Photo

Romain Dillet

September 30th

Gadgets

New Apple Patents Hint At Upcoming Camera Features [Apple]

With iPhone 5 announced and released, designers are back to the grindstone. In fact, they probably already have been for a while. A few new Apple patents filed just a few days ago provide some hints at what Apple cameras might do in the future. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Apple

New Apple Patents Hint At Upcoming Camera Features [Apple]

With iPhone 5 announced and released, designers are back to the grindstone. In fact, they probably already have been for a while. A few new Apple patents filed just a few days ago provide some hints at what Apple cameras might do in the future. More »


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Eric Limer

September 30th

Apple

Car Facts for iPhone comprehensively manages car repairs, expenses, and more

We’ve been testing out a new iPhone and iPod touch application called Car Facts. The application is a comprehensive way to manage several pieces of data and information during the life span of your ownership of a car.

The application allows you to input every time you refuel your car with gas, conduct a repair, and you can view all of these car facts on nicely rendered graphs within the application on your iPhone or iPod touch.

There are several options for inputting your previously conducted car repairs:

The application allows you to input information such as different car readings like the odometer for future reference.

The car repair management feature will also send you reminders for when recommended car part replacements or checks should be conducted. The user interface and options are very comprehensive for inputted repairs. Again, you can input how much these repairs costed in order to create graphs of how much money you spent on your car.

You can even store photos of your receipts for repairs within the application. This feature is handy if you ever need definitive proof that your car was serviced. Information such as where you had your car repaired can also be stored.

If you have multiple devices, you can sync all of the information you have inputted into Car Facts over Apple’s iCloud sync service. Since Car Facts stores a lot of important information about your car, the iCloud sync also makes things easier if you replace or purchase a new iOS device.

The free version of the application allows you to store up to one vehicle. However, there is a $3.99 in-app-purchase Car Facts upgrade available. This update allows you to store an unlimited amount of vehicles within the application.

The general user-interface for Car Facts is somewhat reminiscent of the popular Tweetbot iOS Twitter client.

The settings portion of the application allows you to choose from several global currencies, fuel units, distance units, and default fuel octane levels.

The application works well in our tests, and we are impressed by how comprehensive the options are for inputting milage, various pieces of data for your car, and repair information.



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9to5Mac

September 30th

Apple

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