Tag Archives: Bluetooth

Bowers & Wilkins PX – Headphones with show-stopping noise cancelling audio and aptX-HD® Bluetooth™

I spend a lot of time working in a shared office space, so it’s important to be able to shut out unwanted background noise when I want to be able concentrate.  So, when a pair of Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones landed on my desk for review, I was excited to find a high end pair of phones that would completely remove background noise from my workplace, but also provide with a superior Bluetooth™ Audio experience, enhanced by aptX-HD® technology.

The B&W PX headphones are predominantly Bluetooth™ driven, although you can connect up manually using a 3.5mm jack cable supplied with them. Thus, they must be paired to each device and this proved fairly straightforward using the supplied instructions. In order to make full use of the noise cancelling an personalised experience, it was also necessary to download the B&W PX app which is available for both iOS and Android. In my case, I downloaded the Android app to run with my Sony Xperia XZ Premium. The app itself was developed in conjunction with Coderus who very kindly worked with me on the app for my Tesla road trip last year, so I was looking forward to both testing the headphones and also reviewing their app at the same time.

After downloading the B&W PX app, I set about trying out the different environmental settings available and I have to say I was immediately impressed. I was able to choose my desired audio profile and also the noise cancellation settings. As noise can sometimes prove an issue here in the office, I got stuck in straight away with testing these features.

 

Noise Cancellation

The headphones are activated by simply placing them on your head and immediately after the noice cancellation kicks in.

Initially you are given three customisable options for noise cancellation, allowing you to pick Office, City or Flight, these three option will give you a preprogrammed cancellation profile based on the background noise you are likely to experience in each of these modes. Interestingly, City worked best for my office. The settings automatically pick the most common voice passthrough settings for the headphones, either off (my preferred setting), Natural or Amplified. All three settings worked great and I liked being able to filter out general noise and still be part of a conversation.

Other options include ‘Wear Sensor’, so when placed on the head, the phones automatically switch on and connect to bluetooth with further adjustment using the ‘Sensitivity’ options.

Aside from the Environment filters, the app also shows you the current battery and firmware status. Yes, we live in a world where improvements to the operation of the headphones can be rolled out to owners, something I experienced with the Tesla Model S.

If you are lucky enough to own a modern Qualcomm compatible mobile device, you can also take advantage of the aptX-HD which is another name for High Definition Bluetooth® wireless audio. This will improve the sound quality of the headphones giving you 24bit sound quality over Bluetooth.

Bowers and Wilkins PX
Bowers and Wilkins PX

Comfort

Without doubt, these are the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn, these absolutely reek of quality and fit brilliants over my ears. Even switched off, they still muffle ambient noise brilliantly.

Real World Use

As expected of a set of high end headphones, the sound quality was rich and bright with great bass and treble production. When testing out audio equipment I am particularly fond of playing Metallic Spheres by The Orb, featuring Dave Gilmour, an album which cries out to be played on high end audio equipment.

I wasn’t disappointed. The B&W PX headphones picked up the layered soundscape of the album majestically and I was happy putting them through their paces more than once during my review.

In Summary

Bowers & Wilkins have produced a superb set of high end Bluetooth Headphones. They have excelled on all fronts, from the excellent build quality, superior sound quality to the intuitive app which makes synchronising the phones a doddle. If your budget stretches to around £329 and you want to listen to music as the artist intended, the B&W PX Bluetooth Headphones are a perfect option available in Space Grey or Soft Gold.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

 

Chipolo Card, tracking and finding my wallet and helping others track theirs!

The Chipolo Card is a really nice looking device, designed to help track personal items. It’s unique low profile design lends itself to slotting into your wallet or purse and the speaker is loud enough to be heard however deep it becomes buried in your money and receipts. Even cooler, if you do lose your wallet and team of other Chipolo users can help you find it again!

Chipolo Card showing dimensions
Chipolo Card showing dimensions

The device was born from a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which raised nearly 2000% of its original target of $15,000! Now, five years later Chipolo sell three different types of Chipolo tracker, the Classic, the Plus and the Card. I was sent all three to test, but this review discusses the Chipolo Card, an ideal size to slip in my wallet.

The Card’s dimensions of 36mm x 68mm x 2.15mm make it perfect to slide into a wallet and tucked deep down in mine to keep it unobtrusive and nice and safe. When tucked in your wallet, it’s not obvious it’s there, so if you are unlucky to have it stolen, you might be lucky for it to be unnoticed by a thief and thus help you find it again.

Out of the box, the Chipolo must be paired with either your iOS or Android device, this is very simple using the dedicated phone app and within an instant my device was working. I was able to name the Chipolo and also assign it a relevant icon to distinguish it from the others. In my case, I named it Wallet and assigned it with a wallet icon. The devices are paired using low power Bluetooth virtually guaranteeing a long battery life of at least a year. You can also assign a ringtone to the device which will help you recognise it in a noisy room.

Once setup, the app constantly regularly communicates with the Chipolo over low-power Bluetooth and saves it’s position to your account. You can also share your Chipolo with other users where the item is precious or might be something available to more than one person.

Now, getting to the nitty gritty of actually losing personal items. Being easily distracted, I am constantly looking for my keys or wallet and with this in mind the Chipolo’s have been amazing! I have a habit of leaving my wallet in my bag and then spending half an hour trying to remember where it is! Problem solved! Now all I need to do it press the RING button on my phones Chipolo Widget and immediately I can hear it ring.

So, armed with by trusty Chipolo and smart phone, no more losing my wallet around the house. There are also some nice little touches too, you can also use the Chipolo to trigger the camera on your smartphone to take selfies. Position the phone, get comfortable with your friends, double click the button on the tracker and hey presto! Instant Selfie.

But, what about REALLY losing something, away from home? Well, I have experienced this too, whilst the Chipolo app happily provides tracking for your own devices, it also monitors for devices that have been lost by other users on the network. So, should you lose your item and searching for it using the app proves fruitless, you can then mark the item as LOST.  Should another Chipolo user happen to pass within range of the tracker, it notifies the owner that it has been found and provides feedback to the person that actually found it! It’s a great use of ‘crowd’ networking or as Chipolo call it “Community Search”. So as the network grows, so does the chances of finding your lost items.

Chipolo - Thank You. You helped somebody find a lost Chipolo! How cool is that?
Chipolo – Thank You. You helped somebody find a lost Chipolo! How cool is that?

The Chipolo Card gives you a device that fits easily into your wallet or purse, being 2.15mm . It has a 200ft range from your smart device, the speaker is 95dB. The battery will last a year and the device is water-resistant.

Priced at around £25, I think they are great value and look out for the new ‘FRUIT’ editions with provide added fun!!

You can purchase YOUR Chipolo by clicking HERE

Chipolo Fruit Edition
Chipolo Fruit Edition

Thanks to the guys at Chipolo for providing me with the Chipolo Card for review!!

Orbitsound ONE P70W – Connected Speaker Review with All-in-one Airsound, Subwoofer, Wi-Fi and more!

It is always particularly interesting to test technology that has been developed by leaders in their particular sector, so I was very excited about visiting Orbitsound in London to have a demonstration of their ONE P70W Speakers.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManOrbitsound was founded by Ted Fletcher, the inventor of Airsound™ technology. Ted has been working for many years as a  musician, audio engineer, electronics designer and studio designer, to give the listener a more realistic, more immersive sound experience. These years of experience in the industry led to the release in 2017 of the Orbitsound ONE P70, the worlds first multi-orientation speaker, meaning regardless of where you stand, it sound remains the same.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget Man
The controls for the Orbitsound ONE P70W are found at the side of the speaker

The P70W is designed in such as way that it can be shelf or wall-mounted. It has a narrow design (700mm wide x 173mm deep x 77mm high), this allows for comfortably mounting below a flat screen television or on a wall as a ‘party’ speaker. It’s built from wood and steel and can be purchased in matte black, bambo or bone white weighing in a 5.1kg.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManSound is provided by two (front and top) 2″ ‘Orbitsound MK4 drivers’, a Sub-bass low-profile 5.25″ driver and 2X2 Airsound Orbitsound MK4 drivers. By positioning the main speakers both front and top mean that sound production is maintains regardless of how the speaker mounted.

Connectivity is provided by Bluetooth, Optical cable, 3.5mm stereo jack and the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi feature is the most impressive as it allows streaming of audio from a variety of sources without the loss of quality associated with Bluetooth, effectively allowing for uncompressed playback of music. It also allows for multi-speaker / multi-room playback with perfectly synchronised sound and zero delay. This is achieved by using the Orbitsound Smartphone app (Android and iOS) which supports streaming providers and internet radio stations and allows you to ‘group’ sets of speakers to create one virtual speaker. When I was given a demonstration of this at the Orbitsound offices, 3 separate speakers, both wall and shelf mounted were grouped together using the app. I was then asked to close my eyes to try and decide where I thought the sound was coming from. It was unearthly as it sounded like it was coming out of thin air, very impressive!

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget Man
The Orbitsound App running on Android. Streaming from Tunein

The app currently supports TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Tidal, Napster, Apple Music (iOS only) and of course your own device stored music. If you are absolutely focused on using other services such as Google Play Music or Amazon, then you can of course stream using Bluetooth. I used the speak in conjunction with my Amazon Dot, as well as my iMac and Xperia XZ Premium, all worked flawlessly.

I was also able to connect the speaker to my Freesat HD box using the supplied optical cable. This worked great, although the Freesat box had a bug with Netflix which meant it would only broadcast Dolby sound. This was a simple configuration on the Freesat box and all was working again.

The speaker comes with very nicely designed remote control and you can also use you own remote control using the speakers ‘learning mode’. I was able to control the speaker using my TV remote within a couple of seconds of setup.

The people at Orbitsound definitely had the environment in mind when they designed the P70W as it is built to power-down  components that aren’t used, but power up instantly when required.

Orbitsound ONE P70W - All-in-one Airsound with Subwoofer and Wi-Fi and more! review by Matt Porter, The Gadget ManQuite a bit of thought has gone into small details on the P70W with the inclusion of reversible LED information display and Orbitsound badge. This might seem small things but they count as you really wouldn’t want to be showing off your new speaker to friends and have the badge upside down. integrated wall mounting and 200mm VESA bosses and bolts are included to allow you to get going straightaway with unnecessary visits to AV stores to buy mounting kits. There is also a protective sleeve for the speaker, to protect it when not in use.

The speaker also comes with a standard power cord, aux cable, quick-start guide and safety and warranty information, all packaged up in a very smart box. The useful inclusion of a carry handle was helpful too, as I carried a demonstration unit to the train station.

The Orbitsound P70W feels like a speaker that can fit many needs, be that as a Sound-bar for your TV, a party speaker for gatherings of people and the facility to extend your listening experience to multiple speakers. The smart design of the speakers means that it they would sit very comfortably in a professional or public environment. The whole family has really enjoy the quality and versatility of the speaker and we’ll be sad to see it go.

At £399, the Orbitsound P70W is great value for buyers looking for a richer smoother sound regardless of their position in the room.

FUZEBOX: The Most Accessible Coding Device Ever

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1093182079/fuzebox-the-most-accessible-coding-device-ever

For the first time just about any computing device can be used to program games and apps, control robotic devices, interact with sensors and experiment with electronics. The FUZEBOX doesn’t care if you have Windows, OSx, iOS, Android or Linux, or if you are using a phone, tablet, laptop or PC. It simply connects to your device via USB, Bluetooth or WiFi and allows you to get coding straight away.

Loaded with sensors such as heat, humidity, light, pressure, a microphone and camera, infra-red, gyro and more, you can transform the FUZEBOX into almost anything. For example, a thermometer, weather station, games controller, TV remote, motion sensing camera, spirit level, tilting maze puzzle game, synthesiser keyboard and much more – you write the code, you make it happen!

Passionate about coding, the FUZE team have designed the FUZEBOX to make coding accessible for anyone. Schools teaching coding now don’t need separate computers for the children to use, all the need to do is plug in the FUZEBOX to existing equipment. The language used with the FUZEBOX – FUZE BASIC, provides the perfect stepping stone between Scratch and Python, and puts sensors right at children’s fingertips so they can interact with the sensors and code they have written themselves.

Not just a cool coding gadget, the FUZE team want the FUZEBOX to inspire our younger generations to understand and love coding.

Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth, 25,000 radio stations at your fingertips!

Pure Evoke F3 with BluetoothDigital Radio is now firmly established in our lives with more and more stations switching to DAB and the hardware finding itself in our homes and more importantly in our vehicles, the choice of stations is now bigger than it’s ever been. The move to DAB has been much slower than the recent transition to Digital TV and the consequent switch off of analogue services, mainly due to the availability, simplicity of installation and pricing of Digital TV boxes, something that is not quite so practical with radio.

To help with this transition in our homes, Pure have been working hard to squeeze multiple technologies into their already well known range of DAB radios. I’ve been testing the Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth for the last month and really like the additions.

Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth - Traditional Looks
Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth – Traditional Looks

Out of the box, the Evoke F3 looks very much a traditional modern DAB digital radio, it’s a good size and weight, but it’s so much more than just a DAB radio, Pure have included traditional FM, Bluetooth connectivity, Internet Radio and Podcasts, Spotify Premium streaming, Aux in, Line out and network browsing of your locally stored music.

This is possible by adding WiFi connectivity to allow you to browse in excess of 25,000 radio stations across the world and more than 100,000 podcasts including BBC listen again content and Spotify Premium. It should be noted that if you want to make use of the Spotify function, you will need to subscribe to their £9.99 per month service.

Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth - Rear View
Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth – Rear View

You can stream your own music from your mobile phone using Bluetooth or via line in. If you want to get an even meatier sound from the device, it can be plugged into an amp via the 3.5mm line out socket.

Setting up the radio was really straightforward and connecting to a WiFi network is really straightforward, the radio is controlled from the front panel buttons or a separate remote control. You can also link the radio to Pure’s ‘Connect’ web service which makes organising playlists and stations much easier. The sound quality is very good for the price and the smart design means that it will sit happily in a kitchen, office or bedroom without standing out too much.

Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth - Tuned to The Gadget Man
Pure Evoke F3 with Bluetooth – Tuned to The Gadget Man

The radio has alarm and sleep functions built, so you can wake up to the wonders of your favourite Balearic Dance station or simply an alarm tone if you prefer. The colour display is not mobile phone quality as it was a little washed out, but nothing that ruins the experience and is perfectly adequate for day to day use.

The Pure Evoke F3 is good value at about £129, which is pretty competitive especially given the enormous amount of functionality included, I thought it was a great piece of kit.

Thanks to Nick at BT Shop for providing the radio for review

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 85 – FlyONE Dark bluetooth headphones from DEEWEAR

FlyONE Dark HeadphonesThis week I have been testing a set of FlyONE Dark bluetooth headphones from DEEWEAR.

The headphones have an real ergonomic design coupled with extremely high audio quality, they are designed in such as way as you stay fixed in your ear by using built in flaps which fit into your ear and remain there even during exercise. Deewear employed Luigi Lorenzi, Parkourer with Team Jestion to test and develop the headphones to ensure they stay in place even during somersaults!

FlyONE Dark HeadphonesThe earphones are contained in a display case charged ready to go, just couple them to your bluetooth device and you are ready to go, the box also contains a USB charger cable , buds and flaps.

The earphones utilise Bluetooth 4.1 and 6th generation CVC noise reduction which means that constant usage stretches to 5 hours music or talk time (using the integrated microphone) or 180 hours standby time.

The earphones are connected together with a flat cable which is reflective on one side which can be seen when headlights shine on it, a usual safety measure if you are exercising in the dark.

FlyONE Dark Headphones in box
FlyONE Dark Headphones in box

When you switch on the ear phones a voice is heard saying ‘Power On’ and ‘Connection Successful’, holding the centre power button will switch off the earphones again with a voice telling you ‘Power Off’.

The three button control allows you to adjust the volume up and down and pause music, you can skip backwards and forwards between tracks by holding the volume up and down for 2 seconds.

When you are ready to charge the earphones, you remove the cap on the back of the right earphone and plug in the micro USB cable. Charging doesn’t take too long, however you can only check the battery level by pairing with an Apple device, be that iPhone, iPad or iMac.

The sound quality of FlyONE Dark is supreme, although you need to ensure they are fitted correctly before using them to experience the excellent bass reproduction. While I was testing them, I viewed a film trailer on my phone, I found myself rewinding the trailer to experience the cinematic bass, it really was very good indeed.

FlyONE Dark can be purchased from Amazon currently more than 30% off at £39.99 which is a very appealing price for such a high quality item.

If you are looking for a set of Bluetooth earphones, FlyONE Dark comes highly recommended.

To listen to the Mark and I chatting about the FlyONE Dark, click on the link at the top of the page or click below

A massive thank you to DEEWEAR for providing the earphones for test and review.

 

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 83 – Edifier R1800BT – Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Finally we make it to Episode 83 with our first proper Gadget Man of 2016. This week I chat to Mark about the Edifier R1800BT Bluetooth enabled Book Shelf Speakers.

These are really lovely to listen to and have been either side of my iMac for the past couple of weeks. They even come with their very own polishing cloth!

Listen in to the audio stream above and stay tuned for our upcoming episode where we will be chatting about the Tesla Model S P85D with Auto Pilot!!

The Gadget Man – Episode 71 – Edifier MP211 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC + The Rolling Stones

This week I have been able to sample the audio delights of bluetooth streaming with the Edifier MP211 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC. This is a very nice wireless speaker solution for people looking for a mobile solution to playing their music quickly and easily.

The Gadget Man - Episode 71 - Edifier MP211 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with NFC plus The Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

Listen in to the stream to find out all about it, full review of the product coming up shortly.

 

Sony Smartband…. This could be the wearable of the year!

When we received the Sony Smartband along with an Xperia Z2, it left us in a bit of a quandry.

The Xperia Z2 is a very nicely designed big screen handset, with lovely  stereo sound and expansive bright screen. In fact all of the features that make you want to pick it up and play with it.
Continue reading Sony Smartband…. This could be the wearable of the year!