There is no shortage of Alexa-powered smart speakers at this point. Even though the first third-party Google Assistant smart speakers were the stars of IFA in Berlin this past week (at least as far as audio products go), Amazon hasn't been resting on its laurels. A few more Alexa speakers were revealed at the event, including ones from big-name companies like DTS and Harman (parent company of JBL). Read More
You have almost certainly heard the name Harman when it comes to audio products, but the company has spent the last few years getting big into automotive technology as well. That's what piqued Samsung's interest in the company, and now the Korean tech giant is putting a lot of cash on the table to become a player in connected car tech. The $8 billion deal will be Samsung's biggest acquisition to date when it closes. Read More
I've had my eye on JBL for about a year now, ever since Cameron (we miss you Cam!) reviewed the company's Xtreme and Flip 3 speakers and came away more than impressed. Cam knows his music and sound, so his recommendation stuck with me until I spotted the speakers at a local reseller and thought I'd ask the customer rep to test them. The sound quality, clarity, and volume blew me away. But my main holdout for purchasing any JBL speaker was the lack of Google Cast integration. I know the Chromecast Audio exists, but I'd rather have something with the feature built-in, to avoid more unnecessary wires. Read More
I own many different Bluetooth speakers, but there is just one that I carry daily in my backpack. That's the JBL Flip 3. It is rugged and water-resistant, surprisingly loud and crisp, and has great battery life. I paid $100 for mine a few months back, but now you can pick up a refurbished Flip 3 for a whole lot less. HarmanAudio.com has them on sale for just $69.99 ($85-$99 new on Amazon) in your choice of black, blue, or red.
If you want a little more oomph and rumble, you might also consider a refurbished JBL Xtreme, the Flip 3's muscular older brother, which Harman is selling for $209.99 ($249-$265 on Amazon). Read More
I've been on a bit of a headphone kick lately, and have tried out a number of sets from various manufacturers. The only on-ear headphones I've tried during this time, though, have been AKG's K 830 BT's, the company's only high fidelity Bluetooth headphones. Bluetooth headphones remain a relatively young technology, and have been growing steadily as more and more computers and smartphones adopt the A2DP Bluetooth audio transmission standard.
The 830 BT's are a very comfortable pair of headphones with some nicely designed (if plasticky) on-ear controls (track skip, volume, answer call, play/pause). But like all Bluetooth headphones, they suffer from diminished audio quality when compared to their corded counterparts, particularly at high volume and high frequencies. Read More