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PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER REVIEWS

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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 11, 2014 0 comments
Just when I thought the wireless Bluetooth speaker market had finally run out of new ideas, bēm wireless announces the Speaker Mojo, a 2.5” speaker cube with a nifty charging base. Sure, there are tons of other portable speakers, but the Speaker Mojo features a wireless conductive charging base that houses a 1800-mAh power bank to charge not only the speaker, but also whatever else might need a boost via its USB power port. Neato. Gotta love a device that can multi-task.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 26, 2014 2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Native DSD decoding Superb sound Elegant styling
Minus
Jaw-droppingly expensive Bulky form factor

THE VERDICT
If you’re willing to pay big bucks for a portable music player, Astell & Kern’s AK240 delivers state-of-the-art sound with the big plus of unfaked DSD decoding.

Yes, this portable music player costs $2,500. That would buy you 10 Apple iPod classics. Let the gush of hate mail begin.

Look, if it’s a choice between buying this product or, say, paying the rent, or fixing your car, or otherwise keeping the wolf from the door, I’d advise you to attend to the essentials. I know what it’s like to live within limits. But if you have golden ears and cash to burn, then be aware that the Astell & Kern AK240 bids to become the prince of performance among portable music devices.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Apr 28, 2014 0 comments
It’s possible that you’ve never heard of Bayan Audio. The company is better known in the UK, where it has built a solid reputation. Now, Bayan is bringing two new products to North America. The Soundbook and Soundbook X3 are portable Bluetooth speakers packed with some very cool features in very impressive packages. Can they make the jump over the pond and land with a big enough splash in an already crowded speaker market?

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 06, 2014 0 comments
The Pocket Kick is a “honey-I-shrunk-the-kids” version of Soundfreaq’s already popular Sound Kick. However, unlike Soundfreaq’s usual sharp, straight lines and edges, the Pocket Kick has rounded edges. Much more pocket-friendly, don’t you think? The Pocket Kick is just about the same size as an iPhone 5 but slightly thicker to accommodate the speakers. (Dimensions are 5.9” x 2.5” x 1.2”.) The Pocket Kick has a slight stereo sound with two speakers powered by a 5-watt amplifier. It’s a rugged little thing, with steel grills on the front and back. The “kick” is provided by a passive bass radiator on the back of the device.

Michael Antonoff Posted: Nov 04, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price $100

At A Glance
Plus: Watch broadcast TV while commuting • Steady reception in motion • Works without Wi-Fi or a mobile data plan
Minus: Limited channels • Reception spotty in buildings and locking in stations can be frustrating

The Verdict
Lets you watch TV while on the on the go but programming options are limited and reception is not a sure shot.

Though the picture quality of over-the-air TV can surpass cable, you’re likely to get no reception at all in a moving vehicle. That’s because broadcast DTV was conceived for stationary screens—not today’s legion of mobile devices.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 16, 2012 1 comments
Apple has redesigned and added features to the ever-evolving iPod touch 5G and iPod nano 7G. Lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, the touch now packs a movie-perfect 16:9 screen, while the nano gets its largest screen ever. Read on to find out which one is right for you.
Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $600 At A Glance: Excellent tonality • Good imaging • Cumbersome WiFi setup

I've never been a big fan of paying for brand names for their own sake. Build quality? Yes. Performance? Absolutely. Aesthetics? Sure. Ease of use? Certainly. Each of those has value, and it often makes sense to pay more, even a lot more, for any one of them. But sometimes, in the course of shopping for whatever, you encounter an entry from a well-respected or even elite brand that at first glance seems so outlandishly priced you have stop and wonder: what am I really paying for here?

Suffice to say that was me when Bowers & Wilkins first suggested I take a little ride with the Zeppelin Air, the company's $600 iPod dock...

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.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 21, 2008 0 comments
Plant a seed, grow an iPod docking system.

My first impression of the mStation was that it had grown out of the ground. Having just uncrated it, I knew it hadn’t really sprung out of the carpet, of course. Yet somehow it seemed more like a young stand of trees than a floorstanding iPod docking system. If I waited long enough, would this self-contained trio of cylinders erupt in branches and leaves? No, and yet there was something organic about it. The pair of metal speaker tubes seemed to rise up from the base, while the subwoofer drum suspended between them seemed to levitate in midair. In addition to having a whiff of the arboreal, it also resembled a headless robot.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
It's all been leading up to this.

Airport crowds, metal detectors, ticket prices, and malodorous seat neighbors notwithstanding, now is a really good time to be a commuter.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
What's the key to portable video? Lots of slots.

The problem with a moniker like Picture Porter Elite, classy sounding or not, is that it conjures up notions of a digital bucket of sorts, compatible primarily with still photos. That is far from true for this well-rounded portable media player. Its roots are in the realm of the memory-card reader, which began its life as a PC accessory and later became a freestanding device with its own onboard data storage. You could insert cards while out in the field and safely archive their contents onto the unit's built-in hard drive, thereby freeing up the precious removable media real estate so you could snap new pictures and/or lens new video. A small LCD let you interface with your multimedia content. To expedite the transfers, it displayed file names, file types, and so on. The Piture Porter Elite uses a bigger color screen and has the necessary decoding so you can view your images and movies. Throw in music playback just because everyone everywhere is listening to MP3s, and you begin to formulate a sense of what this device can do. It also connects to a video source and records content to play back on the go later. Or you can park the Picture Porter Elite next to an audio/video system, patch it in with the included cables, and view all of the content on your TV. You can zoom, pan, and rotate your photos or easily print them via a simple USB connection to a PictBridge-compliant printer. The FM radio has a bold, clever graphic user interface and is a nice bonus. (The included headphones serve double duty as an antenna.) There's even a voice recorder with an embedded microphone and a pre-loaded game: It's Tetris, even though they call it Matrix.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
It's just so Buck Rogers. Or maybe Dick Tracy?
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.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 30, 2006 0 comments
Liten Up Baby, I'm in Love with You

Music, movies, and other multimedia applications aside, no one can touch Nintendo in the world of portable gaming. From the first Game Boy in 1989, the intuitive user interface, the addictive gameplay, and the cutting-edge hardware design ensured that seemingly every man, woman, and child on the planet would essentially buy at least six of each new handheld model, based on Nintendo's most recent sales figures.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 17, 2006 0 comments
It's a cell phone—and so much more.

As I was packing for a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of electronic gadgets I've amassed over the past couple of years—and how many I need to bring along to keep me both accessible and entertained for the long hours away from home and office. I once joked with Sony that adding calling features to their PlayStation Portable would make it a perfect device. But, in the meantime, I do appreciate any cell phone that allows me to do more than check voice mail, and, as such, the LG V phone is a small wonder.

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