We all use our smartphones differently. Some people rely on them for web browsing and apps, some for texting, and many of us still resort to making calls, you know, when we have to. Even within those categories, several patterns emerge and certain habits and practices have been developed. Many of us have long since abandoned using wired headsets for calling, but a lot of people still prefer them to keeping Bluetooth headsets charged or holding a 5-inch phone against an ear.
We've all heard the story before. A brand new, very popular device rolls out to the public and everybody hurries to get their hands on it. Shortly thereafter, people start to notice some of the more serious issues that degrade the experience or even make the gadget unusable. When that device is a phone and one of those issues is audio quality during calls and recordings, people can become justifiably angry.
Do you like listening to music on the go but find that your headphones, for lack of a better word, suck? Then today is (potentially) your lucky day, because Nocs and Android Police are giving away ten pairs of Nocs NS200 earbuds (a $70 value each - find them at Amazon here), and they rock.
I'm a big fan of cutting the cord. But this time I'm not talking about cancelling your cable and moving your Judge Judy marathons online - I'm all about going wireless in the audio department. Wireless speakers, wireless streaming, and, of course, wireless portable audio.
My Previous Bluetooth Daily Driver - Sony HBH-IS800
Up until a few weeks ago, I was using Sony's HBH-IS800, which deserves a separate review of its own if I ever get to it.
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.
Before seeking out a few companies to find the best Android-friendly headphones around, I had never heard of Etymotic Research. Apparently, they've been around quite a while - since 1983, actually, and were among the first companies to market in-ear headphones to consumers. They actually claim to be the inventors of in-ear headphones (or "canalphones"), though whether or not that's actually true is apparently an object of some controversy.
Anyway, the good folks at ER sent me a pair of their hf2 in-ear headphones with Android-friendly inline controls and microphone, and I have to say, these headphones rock - the sheer difference in sound quality from your standard $30-80 earbuds is mind-blowing.
Today’s smartphones are quickly absorbing the functions of other portable devices - PDAs, portable GPS units, and standalone MIDs are a thing of the past - and conventional MP3 players may be next on the cutting block.