Bluetooth connectivity is an increasingly common feature request in our ever-more smartphone and tablet-centric world. It has grown from the simple communication medium of the god-awful earpieces everyone hates you for wearing into a widely-used wireless audio standard. Portable speakers, cars, and headphones are all latching onto it. But what about your 2.1 system? I know I've always wished I could easily push music to my own stereo setup without messy PC software or dongle attachments.
My significant other likes to pretend the next car we buy will have TVs integrated into the headrests to keep our kids occupied on long trips. I can assure you, it will not - after all, that's an option that costs thousands of dollars, and is usually only offered on luxury cars (which we can't afford) and minivans (just no) as it is. But, as it turns out, it's not all that hard to one-up integrated TVs: you can slap on a sleek, adjustable headrest mount.
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.
The Rocketeer taught me three important lessons when I was a kid: Jennifer Connelly is smoking hot, Nazis are all evil, and the only thing cooler than a test pilot in pre-war Hollywood is a test pilot with a rocket pack stolen from Howard Hughes. Along those lines, Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride made quite a splash on iOS, and now it's available on Android as a free game supported by in-app purchases.
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.
As a tech writer, I have lots of gadgets. Smartphones, tablets, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Because of this, new accessories aren't something that I'm often super-impressed with. Every once in a while, though, a new product lands in my hands that really is more than I expected. Thus is the case with the FIXIE tablet stand from Incipio ($40).
I know what you're thinking: "wait, you were impressed with...
A little over a year ago, before I was hired at AP, I wrote about the things I wanted my new Honeycomb tablet to be able to do in the next version of Android. Multitasking on tablets was (and still is) non-existent, and I wanted my tablet to be less of a big phone, and more of a small computer. I wanted split screen, and floating apps, and really, I wanted to just make use of this nice, big screen I had.
With a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, a majorly outdated version of Android, and a $50 price tag, the MyTouch Q is a hard sell to enthusiasts. (In fact, I'd bargain that literally no enthusiasts would buy it.) But as I explained just a few days ago, there's a lot more to the smartphone picture than devices that cost a few hundred dollars and can do everything short of make breakfast. A very large percentage of consumers have no desire to use their phone as a media streaming device or a mobile gaming powerhouse.
It's very difficult to review something like the Tablet Claw. For starters, my first instinct is to make the entire thing one big Inspector Gadget joke. Then there's the fact that I have no idea why anyone would need this. The Tablet Claw is a device that you slide your tablet into, and a little plastic piece that kind of looks like the tab you open soda cans with (called a "ringlet", apparently) folds out and gives you a way to grip your tablet.
It's no secret that most of us hate cables. We want wireless sync and charging. Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. NFC. The list goes on and on. Why then, would we settle for earbuds that remain physically tethered to our device? We wouldn't. Unfortunately, Bluetooth earbuds aren't nearly as commonplace as their wired counterparts, and they oftentimes costs thrice as much (or more). Still, if you just can't stand the thought of using a wired set of 'buds, it's really your best (and only) option.