PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER REVIEWS

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Leslie Shapiro  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  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?

Michael Berk  |  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.

Michael Berk  |  Dec 08, 2011  |  0 comments

Does the iPad have a role to play for audiophiles, or for the new breed of iDevice-inspired audio enthusiasts? It's hard to beat the touchscreen interface for music listening - it provides a tactile browsing experience that hands-down beats the UIs on most high-zoot audiophile servers. On the desktop there are plenty of audiophile file players that load audio into RAM for supposedly improved fidelity - but the iPad offers all-solid-state audio storage to begin with, freeing your bits from jitter-inducing hard-drive-access. But is iOS - and the circuitry within - up to snuff?

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Dec 05, 2011  |  0 comments

PORTABLE ENTERTAINMENT. It started with the Walkman and was revolutionized by the iPod. Now with tablets, audio, video, and more merge into one uber-device of computing awesomeness.

We have a narrow set of criteria for tablets here at Sound+Vision. That it surfs the web, does email, can video chat, and so on is cool, but we're not Office+Meetings magazine. We - like most people, it turns out - want tablet-as-entertainment.

And surprisingly, that makes the choice easier than you'd think.

Karl Tennant  |  Nov 07, 2011  |  0 comments

Look out, Amazon: Barnes & Noble went right at Jeff Bezos and co. today in a product unveiling meant to take the spotlight away from its Kindle Fire tablet this holiday season. The new Nook Tablet, an improved version of the current Nook Color (whose price drops to $199), competes directly with Amazon's color tablet. Both are set to debut next week.

Rob Sabin  |  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...

Brent Butterworth  |  Mar 08, 2011  |  0 comments

DVD, say your prayers. Blu-ray Disc, better get your affairs in order. Judging from the new A/V receivers Pioneer introduced on Monday at the W Hotel in San Francisco, one could easily conclude that the old "hard" media formats have pretty much played out.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Feb 16, 2011  |  0 comments

If you're a Comcast subscriber and an iPad user, make sure you download the XFINITY TV app. While not the streaming app widely hoped for, it's at least partially there. The killer feature is that it lets Comcast subscribers stream TV to their iPad from anywhere there's a WiFi signal. No 3G streaming yet. Before you get too excited, there's some limitations.

Kim Wilson  |  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.

Daniel Kumin  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  Jun 05, 2007  |  First 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.

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