Grace Notes

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Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Christmas came early in my house. A package just arrived from Kinivo with an assortment of products that I felt I should share—start spreading that holiday joy just days after Halloween. It’s never too early for that, right?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 09, 2018  |  0 comments
House of Marley is known for using or reusing products that support sustainability while also functioning practically and performing up to a level that would make Bob Marley proud. The new No Bounds XL speaker ($149) uses an array of sustainable materials throughout to create a buoyant and impact-resistant speaker that’s begging to get outdoors.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  0 comments
It’s all well and good to have smart speakers throughout the home, but it makes a lot more sense to have one right next to your bed. The iHome iGV1 is a bedside clock with Google Assistant, ready to wake you up with all the information you need to start your day.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 25, 2019  |  0 comments
While teased last summer, a new video just released is showcasing Symfonisk, the collaboration between smart-speaker manufacturer Sonos and IKEA, maker of meatballs, build-it-yourself furniture, and all things Swedish and practical. The speakers that will come from this new venture promise to deliver the exceptional sound that Sonos is known for with the functionality and budget-friendliness of IKEA.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 05, 2018  |  0 comments
They say you get what you pay for. The budget-priced ($79.99) iLive Platinum Concierge portable smart-speaker gets you into Alexa’s world, but is the price savings worth it?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 29, 2018  |  0 comments
Manly. Tough. Diesel. Heavy Duty. All-Beef Patty. Extra Cheese. Get out of my way. My truck is bigger than your truck. It has bumper stickers, lots of bumper stickers, all of them politically incorrect. And mudflaps. Say hello to my good buddy, the Ion Raptor.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 02, 2015  |  0 comments
It’s rare to be able to mention a feature that’s found on an Android device that wasn’t featured first on an iPhone, probably with a sleeker presentation. Somehow, however, IR remote control ability seems to have been left out of iPhones, even though it was rumored to be included on the iPhone 6. Samsung, LG and HTC all have managed to include IR blasters on their phones, yet Apple devotees have been out of luck if the want to control their home theaters, until now.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 08, 2014  |  0 comments
Jabra has introduced a wireless Bluetooth headset designed to take workouts to a whole new level of efficiency. They’ve introduced the Jabra Sport Pulse, the world’s first Bluetooth earbuds with a built-in heart-rate monitor. Crazy? I think not. Anyone who’s at all interested in fitness knows that the most effective way to monitor your workout is to track your heart rate. Check out the Orange Theory craze if you don’t believe me, or just look at the treadmills and elliptical machines at most gyms. Heart rate monitoring is an essential part of a safe, effective workout, and Jabra has nailed it. The heart rate monitor is built right into the left earpiece of the Sport Pulse, so finally, you can toss that unsightly, sweaty, uncomfortable heart rate strap.

Leslie Shapiro  |  May 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Thanks to Apple, there’s a surge of Bluetooth headphones hitting the market. Apple users are practically forced to go wireless, and other users find it convenient to ditch the cords. However, besides the sound quality issue of going wireless, there is also a comfort factor. Because more electronics have to be jammed into earphones, most Bluetooth earbuds are heavy, making them uncomfortable for many users. Jam Audio’s Comfort Buds is a solution for those sensitive listeners. Is comfort worth the sacrifice in sound quality?

Leslie Shapiro  |  Mar 20, 2017  |  0 comments
Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, bunnies are multiplying and so are Bluetooth speakers. Doesn’t it seem that there is a new Bluetooth speaker hitting the market almost daily? One of the latest is the Jam Xterior Max, and it’s ready for any and all of your spring-time endeavours.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jun 01, 2015  |  2 comments
While I like to think that every single product in my home should be beyond audiophile quality, the reality is that in some places, I want a product that sounds okay but more importantly, does its job very well. Sure, I could set up the most amazing home theater to use as an alarm clock, but the reality is that I just need a really good alarm clock at my bedside. Thankfully, the JBL Horizon Bluetooth clock radio just showed up at my house. I’m not saying that I’m a gear snob, but I would much rather wake up to a JBL logo than a Timex logo. Just sayin’.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 08, 2016  |  0 comments
One of the biggest catch phrases at CES this year has been the IoT, or the Internet of Things. JBL is partnering with PubNub to create a Developer Ecosystem to the Pulse 2 and other JBL speaker systems to make them better than ever.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 07, 2017  |  0 comments
Who says your ears have to be covered up while listening to music? The JBL Soundgear wraps around the neck, leaving your unencumbered ears free to enjoy a conversation, the sounds of nature, or just to keep an ear on the kids while immersing yourself in music.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 29, 2018  |  1 comments
These days, audiences want movies that are real and authentic. It’s a good thing stars want to make movies that are authentic as well. Here, we take a look behind the scenes and backstage at the fourth reiteration of A Star is Born, this time starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also directed. A timeless tale of an aging star in decline (in this case, Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine isn’t just an alcoholic, he’s also losing his hearing) crossing paths with Ally, a rising star, played believably by a stripped-down, fresh-faced Lady Gaga.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Jan 11, 2018  |  0 comments
The problem with many portable speakers is that, well, they’re just not very portable. The X2 speakers from Kempler & Strauss are so small and portable that while they might be able to go anywhere, they’re so small they might get lost.

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