The number of Bluetooth speakers I've looked at in the past year (give or take) is vast. As a result, I feel like I have a good understanding of what's available on the market, as well as what offers the most bang for the buck. As time has gone on, I've started holding each new speaker to a higher level, because the competition is just too stiff not to. Manufacturers absolutely have to one up the other guys if they want to stand out in this saturated market.
In the past, Blu has offered budget-friendly phones with mid to mid-high end specs. The biggest issue that most power users have had with the company's handsets is a simple one: MediaTek processors. While these particular chips offer good bang for the buck, they are still mostly underpowered for heavy multi-taskers or anyone looking for lightning quickness from their handset.
It looks like we may be getting into a new era for Blu if the new Life Pure XL is any indicator of what to expect moving forward.
If you've ever eaten a cheap frozen pizza, you know it's not exactly a delicacy. It's edible, but if you had to eat it every day, you'd probably lose your mind (and your appetite). Now, if you put some sriracha on that pizza, you do make it considerably better. But it's still a frozen pizza, it just happens to be marginally better than the other, non-sriracha'ed frozen pizza.
The Gear 2 is frozen pizza...
As much as we like to give Kickstarter campaigns a hard time (or just outright laugh at them), we've seen some cool ideas come to fruition thanks to crowd-funding. Among those, Thermodo is an interesting little gadget: it's essentially a small thermometer that plugs into a phone's or tablet's headphone jack and interacts with the device through an app to give the temperature of the current location. I'm not entirely convinced of its practical usage, but the idea is definitely neat.
We review a lot of Bluetooth speakers, most of which have the same basic features. Every once in a while, however, one comes along that brings more to the table in terms of flair, or additional usage that's outside of the normal scope. The majority of portable speakers pair with your wireless device, let you change tracks and volume from a distance, might charge external devices...and that's essentially it.
Then Creative Labs made the SoundBlaster AXX 200 ($150).
Last year, I reviewed the original Galaxy Gear. Considering how that went, I'm not sure I am exactly the "ideal" candidate for reviewing the new-and-improved Gear Fit, but hey, it came with the Galaxy S5 I reviewed, so here goes nothing.
Samsung started over when it designed its new line of second-generation Gear devices, dropping the Galaxy branding and Android along with it, opting instead to power these new smartwatches with Tizen.
The single biggest issue I've found with most Bluetooth earbuds (or earbuds in general, really) is that they never stay in place during physical activity. Running, cycling, or just working out in general always knock my 'buds loose. Throw some good ol' Texas heat into the mix (where "good" should be interpreted as "I hate it more than almost anything in this world) to get the sweat flowing like a waterfall, and keeping them in in basically futile.
In 1994, Amazon started as an online bookstore. Since then, the company has grown into one of the most important sites on the internet, and the largest online retailer in the world. In 2007, it released the Kindle, its first ebook reader. From there the Kindle line grew to include the Fire and Fire HDX, full blown tablets running Amazon's Android-based Fire OS.
Over the past 20 years, Amazon has broadened its horizons more than most other companies can even dream of.
Recently, NVIDIA announced SHIELD's biggest update yet – a slew of new features and the bump to KitKat are currently rolling out to the handheld gaming system. For those who may not have seen the news, here's a quick recap of what's present in the roughly-465MB download:
- Android 4.4.2
- Improved GamePad Mapper
- Improved Tegra Zone
- GameStream support for certain gaming laptops
- Remote GameStream
- The ability to manually add any PC game to your GameStream library
- Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support for GameStream/Console Mode
As you can see, the bulk of the new stuff has to do with GameStream, and it seems that NVIDIA is delivering exactly what SHIELD owners have been asking for, namely with remote GameStream and keyboard/mouse support.
We've reviewed many Bluetooth speakers here at AP (I myself have penned many of them), but I'm not sure we've ever taken on anything like the Sound Rise from Soundfreaq. It's an inherently different sort of speaker, as it's really more than just a Bluetooth speaker – it's a Bluetooth alarm clock.
I'd like to think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who use their phone as an alarm clock, and those who have a more traditional buzz buzz buzz alarm clock.