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Audio Reviews

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JBL Link smart speakers review: Offering several great alternatives to the Google Home

After the Google Home was announced, it was only a matter of time before Google, like Amazon, made it possible for other brands to create their own Assistant-enabled speakers. We've already reviewed the TicHome Mini, a small portable alternative to the Home Mini, and today we're taking a look at JBL's line-up of Google Homesque speakers: the Link series. In this review, I will focus on the portable IPX7-rated cylindrical Link 20 and the larger stationary Link 300. However, my Android Police colleague Jeff has also had the Link 10, 20, and 300 for a while so I'll add his thoughts on the Link 10 and mention his personal comments on the other two as well.

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Noontec Zoro II Wireless review: Flawed, but great, Bluetooth headphones

Bluetooth headphones are everywhere these days. Most of them – many of which sit in the affordable range – provide passable, mediocre sound and varying degrees of battery life. Both are oftentimes better than the earphone counterparts, but it is difficult to get excited about these products in general anymore. The last time I enjoyed a pair of wireless headphones was when I reviewed the Phiaton BT 390, which continues to be one of my top recommendations for anyone needing something under $100, thanks to its impressive battery life and solid sound quality.

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Essential USB-C Earphones HD review: Earbuds that ditch the dongle, but add cost and compromise

The headphone jack is dead, or so we're told by OEMs, but the selection of wired USB Type-C headphones is still woefully inadequate. If you aren't interested in all the problems associated with Bluetooth audio, you're pretty much forced into the donglelife. But Essential just launched two new pairs of USB Type-C powered headphones, including the Earphones HD. Although the HDs aren't bad, for $100 it's tough to recommend them unless you absolutely can't use a dongle. 

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SōLIS SO-3000 and SO-6000 review: Both great Chromecast speakers, but one is a questionable bargain

SōLIS is, in the grand scheme of things, a company new to the audio business. Centering around its oddly stylized name and its slogan "Leave no note unheard," SōLIS focuses on building hi-res audio products that do not necessarily break the bank. For some of us, that line sounds a bit familiar. The recent line of speakers, including these two, is aimed at wireless streaming aficionados. This market is currently dominated by Sonos and for good reason, but I like to see new players enter the field to test their hand.

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Atari Speakerhat review: Mediocre wearable tech meets '80s nostalgia

Atari is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic companies in the video game industry. Pong was one of the first arcade games ever, the Atari 2600 computer was wildly popular in the late 70s and early 80s, and the 1985 Atari ST was fairly successful. However, the company began to falter in the 90s, and the poorly-sold Atari Jaguar was the last nail in the coffin. After that, Atari Corporation merged with hard drive manufacturer JTS Corp, who later sold the Atari brand to Hasbro in 1998.

Atari has since joined the ranks of Polaroid and RCA as a brand name passed around different companies, with the original Atari Inc.

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Bose SoundSport Free review: The best-sounding truly wireless earbuds are critically flawed

$250. That is what a pair of Bose's take on the truly wireless earbud will set you back, and you won't exactly look stylish for your decision. Like the original, cable-linked SoundSport Wireless, the newest wireless earbuds from Bose aren't lookers, and they're damn expensive. Here's the thing: they do the truly wireless thing very well, and they sound great doing it.

I loved the original SoundSport Wireless, but my one real gripe was the cable between the buds: it rubbed against my neck in a kind of annoying way, and I yearned for a true wireless take with a similar design.

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TicHome Mini review: A worthy portable Google Home Mini alternative, as long as you don’t mind paying double

Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.

Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini.

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Google Pixel Buds review: Pass

The Pixel Buds mark Google's first foray into personal wireless audio. I won't make you wait: it's not gone well.

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Jensen JSB-1000 review: Compact and powerful Chromecast speaker, with a high price tag

The Jensen brand might evoke a lot of nostalgia for many of you, but the company isn't stuck in the past. One of its recent forays into modern audio tech is the JSB-1000, which was announced earlier this year, and is its first Chromecast built-in speaker. But that's not the only notable feature of the JSB-1000. For the past few months, the JSB-1000 has been blaring in my kitchen as part of my whole-home Chromecast speakers + Google Homes setup and it has quickly become an integral part of our daily lives. I love the JSB-1000, but each time I think about its current price and competition, I put a question mark around my recommendation of it.

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JBL Everest Elite 750NC review: A very compelling set of noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones

Noise cancelling headphones rank high on my list of essential items to bring on a flight. By dampening the sounds of crying kids, chatty passengers, and the dull throbbing roar of the jet engines, NC headphones can transform a miserable travel experience into a tolerable one.

The headphones pictured above are the JBL Everest Elite 750NC, and I'm pretty impressed with them. With an MSRP of $299 and a current street price of $229 they aren't cheap, but they deliver in the critical areas of noise cancellation, comfort, and sound quality, which helps to justify their lofty price. I've got a couple of small issues with the headphones, but you can decide for yourself if they are significant enough concerns to keep you from considering a pair.

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