I have a love-hate relationship with docks. On the one hand, they offer me a place to keep my devices, a home, designating where my fancy smart toy resides in an otherwise chaotic world. I may change which pocket, hand, spot on the coffee table or place in my heart that a phone belongs, but a dock is always a constant. When night comes, the dock is its resting place. On the other hand, paying $50 or more for a dock that I can only use with one phone is not something I'm a fan of.
I am sort of becoming the Bluetooth speaker guy here at Android Police, and the more such products I review, the more I find I'm not impressed with a lot of the current market leaders. Most of all, I'm unimpressed with their price-to-performance ratio. So often, Bluetooth speakers overpromise with buzzwords like "amazing clarity," "deep bass," and "rich sound" (how the hell is sound rich?). I get tired of it, especially since most of these promises are meaningless, recycled advertising drivel that belongs on a late-night infomercial.
When it comes to speakers, cost can make a huge difference. Cheaper speakers tend to pack lower-grade materials, while more expensive ones tend to pack better. But every now and then, you'll find a true gem; a speaker that performs well above its price range. And luckily for me, the Satechi Swift is such a gem.
Portable Bluetooth speakers in particular are a dime a dozen, though the most well known is undoubtedly the Jawbone Jambox.
Yesterday, we featured a great deal on a stationary Bluetooth dock. Say you need something a bit more portable, though. What should you buy then? Heavens, can anyone save you from this crisis of audio need?! Well, yeah. And calm down. Here's a portable Bluetooth speaker from Best Buy. Today only, this Rocketfish SPX15 is available for $40, which is $60 off its normal MSRP and about $30 off its already-lower price on Amazon.
The portable Bluetooth speaker is fast becoming a standard accessory in our increasingly tablet and smartphone-centric world. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is actually the good buy? Having used several, when I saw Braven's line unveiled earlier this year, I was intrigued. Not only did they look good, Braven promised high functionality to go with that sleek form factor. What did make me a little suspicious is the fact that Braven isn't actually a new name in the business - they previously marketed their speakers as the Spar Zephyr line, and have undergone a makeover for their next generation of hardware (which looks exactly like the previous generation).
The portable Bluetooth speaker market is rapidly heating up, and one of our favorite designs in recent memory in the super-portable range was the Geneva Model XS. It's sleek, minimalistic, and so retro. Unfortunately, one crippling design flaw (along with some strange control choices) means this $250, almost art-like speaker / clock-radio just doesn't work in the real world.
The flaw? The hinge on the outer case is made of like, paper-thin plastic.
Jawbone's popular JAMBOX Bluetooth speaker is going to be getting a younger, but much larger sibling dubbed simply BIG JAMBOX soon. This information comes from a recent FCC filing (via WirelessGoodness) which doesn't seem to reveal much of anything past the new name. However, armed with this knowledge, I was able to dig up an earlier report by iLounge which caught wind of something they called JAMBOX BIG back in November.
I wouldn't exactly say it's a secret, but I'm a bit of a closet audiophile. I've reviewed a couple of audio products for Android devices in the past (like portable speakers and headphones), and am always interested in Android-friendly sound solutions.
Today, I'm taking a look at the Philips Fidelio AS851 (yes, that is kind of a lame name), Philips' top-of-the-line Android speaker dock. How can a speaker dock be designed for Android, you ask?
Did you used to have a boombox? Don't you miss the freedom it gave you to enjoy your music at high volumes, headphone-free and cordless any place, any time? Sure, earbuds and noise-cancelling headphones are a lot more portable (and polite to everyone around you), but when you weren't concerned with drowning out all ambient sound or disturbing others, the boombox really was just... better. And it had so many great uses: In the kitchen.
Motorola's ruggedized DEFY (which our own Brad Ganley reviewed) is a pretty cool phone. In my book, any time you can stick a gadget in a glass of water (or beer, as the case may be) with absolutely zero negative repercussions, I'm interested. The DEFY is no poser - Motorola's made the first industrial-strength Android.
Unfortunately, a substantial number of users across the globe are reporting a fatal flaw with the device, and surprisingly it's not MOTOBLUR-related.