PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER REVIEWS

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 02, 2012 0 comments

"Wow, it actually floats." This is something I said. Out loud. Without question it's the first time I've ever uttered that sentence in the course of a product review.

The Eco Terra boombox from Grace Digital is one of those products that's amusing - and cool - just because it works at all. It's a waterproof iPod dock, so you can listen to your tunes above and below the water.

Aquatic testing: commence!

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Oct 13, 2014 0 comments
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. True that. However, you usually can assume quite a bit by that cover. When I first saw the Harman Kardon Esquire Mini portable Bluetooth speaker ($150), I knew it was something special. Very few speakers can compete with the looks of this one; and on an executive’s desk, looks do matter.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 11, 2013 0 comments

The JBL name is among the most revered in the audio marketplace. Since its founding in 1946 by James Bullough (love that middle name) Lansing, the brand consistently stood for excellence in the pro market. The company has been part of the Harman constellation for 40 years, and expanded into the consumer market, but its reputation has held fast. Now, JBL is pressing hard in the portable speaker and dock markets. Does the red square still stand for quality?

Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 11, 2012 0 comments

Here's a product that had three strikes with me before I ever heard it. First there's the name, which seems more appropriate for a Frito-Lay product. Then there's the lineage: JBL's smaller, less-expensive docks never impressed me. Last, Maroon 5 appears in the ads. What, I ask rhetorically, would the creators of "Moves Like Jagger" know about sound quality?

Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 26, 2012 0 comments

When I first saw the Soundmatters FoxL portable audio system, I knew I'd found something cool, but I didn't realize it would start a movement. The FoxL proved that a tiny, briefcase-toteable sound system could deliver satisfying sound. Since then, we've seen lots of products inspired by the FoxL, including the Jawbone Jambox, the Braven 650, and now the Monster ClarityHD Micro.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jul 20, 2015 0 comments
Face it: life can be hard for our favorite gadgets. I love my gear, but admittedly, I’m not as gentle with it as I should be. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active was made for people exactly like me. I lead an active life, and my electronics need to be up for the challenge. I ride my bike almost daily, kayak, and hike as often as I can – either along a mountain creek or along the beach. I need my phone (which these days is my camera, music player, and laptop too) to stand up to the rigors of dirt, water, rugged terrain, and less glamorously, sweat. I took the Galaxy S6 Active along this summer to see if it was as active as I needed it to be.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 12, 2012 0 comments

We can bemoan the demise of audio quality all we want, but the truth is that good quality audio has always been at our fingertips. If our digital files have sounded bad, it's because we (and we're talking consumers and manufacturers) have been too stingy with our storage capacities. Wanting to cram as much music onto our devices as possible, regardless of how badly the signal had to be degraded to get it all in there, we ended up accepting things like 128 kbps MP3 files as passable. But our beloved iPods and iPhones have had the ability to store lossless and high bit-rate audio from the very beginning, as purists have known all along. You just need a way to get your high-quality files out of those little boxes.

Posted: Apr 03, 2013 0 comments

Dainty. Elegant. Classy. Understated. These terms apply to a great majority of iPod docks and speakers. None of them apply to the GX-M10. This boombox is a real bruiser. It weighs a beefy 16.8 pounds (20.2 pounds with batteries), and is 30.5 inches long. Roughly cylindrical in shape, it looks like something you'd use to knock out a Panzer tank. Except instead of being ordinance gray, it is exuberantly orange. If someone laughs at you for carrying around something so outrageous, you can express your displeasure by crushing them with it.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 12, 2010 0 comments

Like some 40 million other people, I love my iPhone. It’s always with me, serving as everything from trail-finder to stock ticker to guitar tuner to, occasionally, mobile phone. While fumbling in the dark with the minimum three or four remote controls that my ever-shifting A/V system requires just to watch a movie, I’ve often wondered if there was “an app for that.”

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 30, 2006 Published: Dec 03, 2006 0 comments
The company that made Steve sweat.

SanDisk has been building on their position as a Flash memory-card manufacturer to offer music players. Search Amazon.com, and you'll find that the company's solid-state players come up as often as their highly rated SD cards, putting them at the forefront of iPod competition. The Sansa e280's main attraction—a compelling one—is 8 gigabytes of storage, making it one of the most capacious memory-based players out there.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 03, 2013 0 comments

Dainty. Elegant. Classy. Understated. These terms apply to a great majority of iPod docks and speakers. None of them apply to the GX-M10. This boombox is a real bruiser. It weighs a beefy 16.8 pounds (20.2 pounds with batteries), and is 30.5 inches long. Roughly cylindrical in shape, it looks like something you'd use to knock out a Panzer tank. Except instead of being ordinance gray, it is exuberantly orange. If someone laughs at you for carrying around something so outrageous, you can express your displeasure by crushing them with it.

Michael Berk Posted: Feb 28, 2012 0 comments

When Sound+Vision looked at Klipsch's LightSpeakers in the summer of 2010, we'd hardly have guessed such devices were more than novelties. Looks like we were wrong.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 19, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $399

At A Glance: Single-box solution • Easy setup and operation • Perfect for smaller rooms, garage, and outdoors • Integrates with existing Sonos systems • Product now called Play:5

Sonos, a leader in low-cost, wholehouse audio, has made it possible to inexpensively stream audio from a computer to multiple A/V systems using one or more of its ZonePlayers. The $399 Sonos S5, the newest ZonePlayer, is completely self-contained. It incorporates its own power supply, amplification, and internal speakers, which allows audio streaming from a wide variety of sources without a dedicated sound system. It can serve as your main (or only) ZonePlayer or as an extension of an existing Sonos system.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jul 20, 2005 0 comments
It's two-fisted entertainment!

Over the past quarter-century, consumers have been bombarded by portable electronics. From the Walkman, to the PDA, to video players and handheld games of every description, the allure of technology-to-go has proven irresistible. But what constitutes a truly great portable? Ask anyone who has juggled three or more disparate devices, and he'll tell you that a convergence of different technologies is key to pushing the entertainment experience forward, in the same way that camera and PDA phones have enhanced productivity, as well as the coolness factor. Quality is at issue, too, as is a supply of worthwhile content.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 03, 2015 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Deluxe build quality and beautiful design
Plays DSD and files up to 192/24
128 GB plus microSD slot
Minus
Heavy
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Sony’s top-of-the-line Walkman music player is comfortingly overbuilt, loaded with bells and whistles. And it sounds fantastic.

The new top-of-the-line Sony Walkman is not the smallest or lightest dedicated music player out there. But is smaller always better? The smallest music player in my possession is the sixth-generation iPod nano. The tiny touchscreen device has about the footprint of a postage stamp, but that doesn’t make it easier to use. There’s not much room for a fingertip to move. For the seventh and final generation, Apple moved to a larger form factor, similar to early nanos except with the touchscreen replacing the clickwheel. Likewise, Sony went for an old-school nano-like form factor in its Walkman NWZ-A17. But that was a relatively lightweight device in more ways than one. For the top-drawer Walkman NW-ZX2, reviewed here, Sony decided on more substantial build quality—and more of it.

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