Posted by Jamie O Sullivan on Fri 11th January 2013 at 03:00 PM, Filed in Audio GiftsMobile Phones GiftCool Gadget GiftsMost Expensive GiftsMP3 Player Gifts

With the smartphone market at an all-time high and with the need for constant connectivity constantly on the up, there is now more than ever a requirement for in-car Bluetooth and streaming devices. People need to make calls, listen to music and keep in touch on the road – it’s an absolute necessity.  iO Play 2 offers a hands free music streaming system and claims to be one of the most advanced systems on the market. So we were really looking forward to trying it out!


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The Basics


This device can be retrospectively fitted to most vehicles and utilises high performance CSR Bluetooth technology to ensure good sound quality and functionality. As well as the Bluetooth connection, there is connectivity via Apple 30 pin connector and 3.5mm jack.


The device is controlled by two key components; the first an adjustable OLED screen and the second a simple control panel. The removable high contrast OLED screen offers a clear display and can be optimised for night and day driving. iO Play2 can connect and integrate all iPhones, iPods, mobile phones, MP3 players and Sat Nav systems with a vehicle’s existing audio system.


The screen is where the magic happens. Using the control panel (fixable wherever is convenient, for example mine is next to my gear stick), you can navigate your way through a fully loaded menu system. Ranging from access to your phonebook, music (such as including, Songs, Artists, Albums, Podcasts, Audio books, etc located on an iPod or iPhone), your messages which can be relayed using text to speech technology, equaliser settings and much more.

 


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Using this control system you have access to making calls, listening to texts, streaming music and even streaming sound from your sat nav. It does the lot and is really simple to use!
There are also optional accessories which enable steering wheel control functionality, reversing kits and sat-nav sound streaming.

 

The Sound


As it is a music streaming device you may be interested in the sound quality? Well, the iO Play2 boasts a Class D amplifier that gives your music some real oomph and ten EQ settings for optimising this sound.  This is a really handy way to get a true sound to your music whatever the car and whatever the type of music you are listening to.


The sound quality is an accordingly good and there is very little echo on calls made to the device. Call quality can be adjusted too and there are three Clear Voice Capture (CVC) presets for passenger cars, LCVs and convertibles. This ensures that the spatial lay out of your car does not impact upon the sound, but is truly optimised.

 

The Verdict


On the whole the device offers a very good solution to those looking to make calls and stream music on the go. The sound quality is good when connected to the Apple 30 pin connection or the jack and can be altered easily thanks to the on-board equaliser. However, we found there to be a little distortion on the Bluetooth music streaming. The dual phone capability is also handy for making both business and personal calls, therefore keeping you fully connected whilst on the road. The system was also easily navigable and intuitive to use thanks to the software layout.


But, it’s not perfect… We found that the device was a little inconsistent in its performance and sometimes struggled to connect at all. For example, on occasions the device needed reconnecting to re-establish connection. This was a particular issue when connected using the devices cabling, which was a real pain when travelling alone. Also, the sound sometimes was erratic in its volume and did drop out completely a couple of times – this was disappointing and not something I expected from a device that had otherwise performed as billed.

 

Overall rating: 3/5


RRP for each system is:

iO Play2 – £159.99
iO Talk2 -  £119.99

With installation it would typically cost around (although this can vary):
iO Play2 – £229.99
iO Talk2 -  £199.99


For more information, please click here: http://www.my-io.com/products/

Posted by Emma Jones on Mon 17th December 2012 at 11:51 AM, Filed in Audio GiftsMobile Phones GiftComputer GamesUnusual Christmas Gift IdeasFamily Gift IdeasFathers Day Gift IdeasGifts For HerGifts For HimCool Gadget GiftsMP3 Player GiftsBig Boys Toys GiftsWedding Gift Ideas

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to get that gadget loving friend or loved one who has got everything, then let Creative Labs give you a helping hand!  This week always sees a mad rush for people to finish (or start in some cases) their Christmas present shopping.  And, choosing that perfect present for him is always a difficult choice. Creative Labs have a few solutions to make the difficult decision of what to buy that much easier.

If he is the computer buff, casual gamer, thee work-from-home dad or the hardcore gamer, there is a selection of super gadgets that will brighten up his Christmas day to no end!  But, the following is something that the ultimate entertainer will surely enjoy – The ZiiSound D3x!

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Just think – speakers with no hanging and ever annoying leads or wires!  Oh yes, this is the one gadget that will definitely have him giving a huge thank you kiss too – and not a bit of mistletoe in sight!  With wireless going to be the next big thing, the ZiiSound Dx series will revolutionise the home audio system. Each stylish wireless speaker connects independently to stereo Bluetooth devices such as the iPhone, iPad or Android phone.  They can also be configured so more speakers are connected wirelessly, to form a multi-channel home audio system.

The sound quality is excellent through the ZiiSound D3x.  With no wires between you and the speaker, you can freely arrange it in any way and anywhere you like. The ZiiSound D3x is versatile enough for you to also switch easily from dance parties to sit-down movie sessions with Party and Multi-channel mode selection. 

I know that this will be used on many occasions in my house – it’s my other half’s favourite gadget at the moment!

The Creative ZiiSound D3x Wireless Bluetooth Speaker costs £139.99.  Also in the ZiiSound Dx series is the D5x and the DSx.  For more detail, please check out uk.store.creative.com.

Posted by Jamie O Sullivan on Sun 16th December 2012 at 01:14 AM, Filed in Audio GiftsGifts For HerGifts For HimCool Gadget GiftsLuxury Gift Ideas

Renowned for their specialism in the hi-fi industry and their tip top audio engineering, the EB-50s are the brand’s maiden voyage into portable music devices.

Hearing that this top brand was moving into portable music both excited me and made me nervous. I was worried that some of the brand’s quality may be sacrificed in a smaller and more compact product, but I needn’t had been. The EB-50s deliver the highest quality musical experience and are a real success. 

 

 

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The look and feel

Starting with the look, the earphones are constructed from military-grade aluminium and have a rather simple, but smart appearance. Not overly pretentious, they have an understated and sophisticated appearance which we loved.


These aluminium barrels also have a feeling of high quality and durability – something you would hope for considering the high price tag Thanks to an in-line/mute control you can also keep your music player in your pocket and control your music on the go. For comfort there is also a selection of varying sized ear buds to make sure the EB-50s fit you perfectly and there are also ear hooks to keep them in place.

 

 


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The sound

The sound has super high clarity and a truly natural feel, therefore making it a really fulfilling musical experience. You begin to notice sounds that other earphones fail to pronounce and experience the music as it should be experienced. They grant you access to the roots of the music and give it a new lease of life - it’s like sitting in the studio with the artist. The bass and trebles are also perfectly balanced giving a really well rounded sound. Also, there is almost no detectable distortion and the range of sounds produced is sublime.


The sound is everything you would expect from such an experienced audio brand, but to do this on your first attempt in portable technology is a real triumph. Musical Fidelity has obviously done its research into what the customer appreciates from these earphones and it’s really paid off. Now my headphones of choice, the EB 50s give you the complete musical experience on the go.

 

 


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The conclusion


We’ve been lucky enough to try some of the world’s best headphones and earphones throughout the years, but I think that the EB-50s stand up to all of them. The sound has a super high clarity, yet with a natural and non-artificial feel that is truly enjoyable. They really are some of the best in the business and the perfect gift for any music lover or tech aficionado.

 


The Techy Bits

• Sensitivity: 100dB SPL/mW (1kHz)
• Impedance: 26 Ohms ±15%
• Max input power: 11mW (rated power 5mW)
• Frequency range: 10Hz-20kHz
• Distortion:

<1%
• Noise Isolation: better than 96%
• Driver: 6mm balanced armature
• Weight: 28g
• Cable length: 1.2M
• 3.5mm Gold plated Stereo jack plug
• Microphone and answer button included

All products are priced at £149 and are available from

musicalfidelity.com/ or http://www.superfi.co.uk

Posted by Emma Jones on Wed 5th December 2012 at 02:24 PM, Filed in Audio GiftsMobile Phones GiftComputer GamesUnusual Christmas Gift IdeasGifts For HerGifts For HimGifts For Kids

Here it is – the LA Allure cover for the new iPhone 5 from be.ez!

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The case is light but rigid with TRANSPARRENT sides which improve hand grip. This has got to be the most comfortable phone cover ever!  For those of you who prefer a new phone cover with each new day, the La Allure can be easily changed – not like my last phone cover that ripped the phone apart when I tried to remove it!

Be.ez, a French company well known for its stylish mobile accessories have products selling in over 50 countries worldwide and the stunning La Allure cover is available from £19.95. 
Or, what about the Be.ez LA robe iPad Allure.

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The new stylish La robe from be.ez is designed to protect your iPad while not compromising on the fashion statement you are already making by having a tablet to start with!  Be.ez (be easy and undeniably French!) have a reputation for providing unique and trendy accessories for the mobile lifestyle - judging by these products, absolutely true!

I love my tablet, an Apple iPad 2, and never leave home without it and I simply adore the new Allure zip robe. The fact that it zips is a bonus as I am accident prone and this cover completely encloses my tablet in soft shape-memory material. The soft feel makes it easy to carry and difficult to slip from your hand while the stunning range of colours are sure to suit everyone’s taste. The memory foam protects the tablet from bumps and the interior is lined with fleece to protect the screen from scratches. 

This has got to be the most stylish and practical accessory for the iPad on the market and sure to be in a lot of stockings this Christmas!  It retails at £24.99.

To check out other fabulous products, please visit http://www.be-ez.com.

Posted by Emma Jones on Wed 5th December 2012 at 02:11 PM, Filed in Audio GiftsMobile Phones GiftComputer GamesUnusual Christmas Gift IdeasFamily Gift IdeasGifts For HerGifts For HimCool Gadget Gifts

For those of you looking for something different and new to the market – this is it! The Swissvoice handset, the CH05, is a stylish addition to the telecommunications industry combining a classic design from the past with new innovative technology.

Swissvoice, established in Switzerland since 1893, has a solid reputation for technical know-how and innovative prowess. It provides the comfort of a landline type handset, thus eliminating the usual discomfort associated with long calls on your mobile phone – neck and arm discomfort and a hot phone! The latter I know all too well and thus the Swissvoice is a welcome addition to my Christmas List, not to mention the added benefit of reducing exposure to potentially harmful RF emissions.

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The handset connects to a mobile phone, PC or tablet with a convenient 3.5mm jack, allowing for a convenient and comfortable conversation or gaming experience. They can be used to play music using innovative controls within the handset, demonstrating exceptional sound quality.  To add to the perks, they come in stylish colours and have a trendy retro appearance.  I love the hot pink colour - other colours include sunset orange, sky blue, bright green and white. A non-slip mat is also included with the handset to prevent your phone from slipping off the surface. Definitely a bargain at £34.99.

Available from http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.iwantoneofthose.co.uk.  More information can be found at http://epure.swissvoice.net.

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