The portable Bluetooth speaker market has exploded lately, with new offerings seemingly popping up everyday. Despite this, the guys at Killer Concepts couldn't find something that had all the features they were looking for, so, like any logical human being would, they set out to create their own. The end result was the Rocksteady XS, a speaker that claims to be "louder, clearer, and longer lasting" than the competition. The original iteration brought some interesting features to the table, including a removable/replaceable battery; it also has pause/play/forward/reverse controls directly on the front of the unit, which is something all BT speakers should offer.
We're always looking for new and practical ways to prop tablets up (or otherwise use them without tying up at least one hand). While we've looked at several different tablet stands in the past, we've never seen anything quite like the MonkeyKit ($99) and WhaleKit ($49) for Octa's TabletTail. Before we get into that, though, a little explanation of the TabletTail is in order.
TabletTail itself isn't one particular thing, but rather a series that encompasses a few different components for different uses: the vacuum dock, MonkeyTail, and WhaleTail.
In the last few years, wireless speakers have exploded onto the scene with prices ranging from sub-$100 utility speakers up to a few thousand dollars for large home theater packages. A fairly new competitor, Wren, is trying to place itself in the ever more lucrative high-end bookshelf market. With a lineup of 3 wireless speakers priced at $399 each, the company is trying to take some attention away from the current leader, Sonos.
We don't often throw around the accolade "best" when it comes to product reviews here at Android Police. The dreaded "B" word can land a reviewer in hot water. But if there's one product niche I've been scouring for a long time, it's Bluetooth speakers. There are a vast array of choices out there, many of them quite well known (eg, Jambox), and others, a bit more obscure (like this guy).
I reviewed the Nocs NS200 earbuds a little over a year ago. At the time, the 200s were the company's only Android-friendly offering. I was pleasantly surprised with the audio quality and comfort of the NS200s, especially given their reasonable (for a more serious product) price of $70.
Well, now I'm back with another Nocs product: the NS400s. The pair I'm reviewing also costs $70, a $10 premium over the "universal" NS200s.
Fun fact: I never leave home without a microUSB cable. I have a short cable that stays in my bag at all times – you know, just in case. The need for charging and the like is constant, so it's hard to say when that cable could come in handy. Several months ago, a new Kickstarter campaign hit the scene that could end my need for a USB cable in my bag, and instead put one in my wallet.
I'm sure the first question on your mind is why is AP reviewing a car stereo? Two words: Android app. Basically every aspect of the controlFREQ from Scosche ($119, scosche.com) can be controlled from the companion Android app (there's also an iOS version, but neither is required for the player to work) – or at least that's the claim being made here, anyway. The execution is, let's just say, less than perfect.
Last year, we took a look at Arkon's Dash and Bicycle mounts and came away impressed with all of them. However, the company spent the last year in the lab figuring out a way to make the mounts better, as well as add support for much larger devices like tablets. The result is the new Slim-Grip Ultra mounts, which come with a variety of options: a dash mount, quick-release strap mount (for bicycles/motorcycles), and a nifty cup holder mount – all of which are better than their predecessors in almost every way.
The Harman / Kardon BTs are a pair of high-ish end over-ear Bluetooth headphones, and the current street price for them is around $200. They don't offer active noise-cancellation, but they are extremely striking and very obviously a premium product. So, are they worth two-hundred of your big ones?
Wireless, hardware, and battery life
I paired up the HK BTs with a Galaxy S4 and Note II with zero problems. Audio transmission sounded fantastic, and latency was well within the range I've come to expect with Bluetooth headsets.
I don't have high expectations when it comes to audio. I want something that sounds good enough not to make my friends cringe and doesn't take half a day for me to figure out how to set up. If the device producing the sound happens to look nice, that's an added perk. When I pulled the Geneva Model S Wireless out of the box and started streaming music from my phone with zero setup time, I was in love.