RSS Home New Gadgets

Posts Tagged ‘ apple

Hands-On with Griffin’s TuneBuds Mobile 01 December 2008 at 9:57 am by

Tunebuds1

Apple has been dragging its feet with the release of its new iPod Touch compatible, remote control headphones with mic. Neither the in-ear nor the regular earbuds have yet made it into the stores, which has given the third-party makers a head start. Grifin sent us a pair of its TuneBuds Mobile earbuds to try out. Here’s how they fared.

Tunebuds5

The TuneBuds are of the in-ear type, and will work with many new iPods. The iPhone gets to take advantage of all the features. The inline button will answer and hang up calls, pause, play and skip songs, both forward and back, and the microphone will also let you record sound.  The 2G iPod Touch gets all of this except the part pertaining to telephone calls, and the 4G iPod Nano will work with the mic, but not the remote controls, as will the 120GB Classic.

Tunebuds6

So, how does the hardware shape up? There are three different sized rubber grommets which push onto the plastic inner section, so unless you are a ninety-year old man with big flapping lugs or a mewling babe, you should be able to get them to fit. One in, the buds stay put. This is their greatest advantage over normal earbuds, which require constant – and annoying – readjustment. The rubber doesn’t seal out external sound completely, but I like that — I listen to podcasts while riding a bike and I like to hear the traffic.

The headphone cords are particularly nice. They have a woven sleeve which feels tough and prevents tangles — you can throw these in your pocket and they won’t turn into a rats’ nest of knots. The switch, too seems solid yet still light. The switch and mic are both housed inside a small cylinder which sits inline with one of the two cords which go to your ear. This means that the mic is right by your mouth for phone calls.

The call quality is, I think, fine. I didn’t try them out with an iPhone, but the TuneBuds turn an iPod Touch into a VoIP phone. That’s right. Using VoIP software like Fring, you can make Skype calls direct from your iPod over WiFi. It works great, although the Fring call quality was a little shaky. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Can you hear me?

The Lady: Of course. You’re in the next room.

Me: Yes, but can you hear me on Skype?

The Lady: It works!

Recording voice notes also works great. I tried it with Griffin’s own iTalk, which is designed to, well, record your voice. Despite having a terrible cold, I sounded clear and free of background noise.

Next, music. The TuneBuds sound a lot better than the earbuds that ship with the iPod, but that’s not hard. In fact, when we first tried them out, the Lady and I both heard a dreadful hissing. This turned out to be on the MP3 track, and I hadn’t noticed it before with the Apple ‘buds. The Griffins won’t replace your high-end cans, though. While not tinny, there is a rather lot of shrill top-end to the music. Treble can sound harsh. A quick trip to the iPod’s EQ screen is in order. The "Treble Reducer" setting takes care of everything.

Tunebuds4

The Remote control works fine. One click for play/pause; two clicks to skip forward and three to skip back. It’s simple and easy. But it brings us on to the fatal flaw with the review unit. If you jiggle the mini-jack in the socket, the iPod pauses. Or starts up. It’s completely repeatable, and renders the headphones unusable for anything other than listening at a desk, or while carefully cradling the rig in your hands. This could, however, be a fault with this particular unit.

How annoying is it? Aside from music cutting in and out at random, the worst part is that the iPod can switch itself on. This may kill the batteries, and it may also leave you a few minutes or a few hours ahead in podcasts or in audio books.

To be fair, I have only tested these properly with the 2G iPod Touch, so they may fare better with the iPhone or the new Nano. I have some suspicions as to the problem. Take a look at this closeup:

Tunebuds8

Do you see it? Of course you do, you smart, observant reader. The iPod’s jack socket is rimmed with metal, and the shape of it doesn’t really hold a jack plug steady. I suspect that the plug is bending in my pocket and metal is touching metal, causing a short. That’s speculation, but it seems to fit the facts.

So, should you buy them? Aside from the weird bug, they’re fine. They sound better than the $30 Apple buds, and they’re certainly better put together (my Apple ‘buds usually only last a few months). Until Apple actually releases its new mic-equipped earbuds, we can’t compare. We can take a look at the prices, though. The TuneBuds are $40. The Apple in-ear cans will be $80. They also come with a neat little case, which I will probably have lost by the time I finish writing this review:

Tunebuds9

To sum up. A good, cheap alternative to Apple’s own headphones. They also have the advantage of not being white. The TuneBuds are sadly crippled with the iPod Touch, though, due to the weird, and almost random, track skipping error. We’ll be looking into that. Until then, if you want remote control and a microphone for your iPod, you don’t have much choice.

Product page [Griffin]

See Also:

Add to Reddit
Add to Facebook
Add to digg


The Simpsons mocks (m)Apple By 01 December 2008 at 4:00 am and have No Comments

Few have been spared the satire of Matt Groening’s long running animated sitcom. Last night, The Simpsons took on Apple, or uh, Mapple for a full 6 minutes of lampoonery — a pretty harsh ride at a two-joke per minute pace. It all starts when the Springfield mall gets its very own Mapple store, “it’s so sterile,” gasps Lisa upon entering. Perhaps the best exchange comes from Bart’s dubbing of a Steve Mobs’ product announcement in front of a crowd of gaping nerds, “You think you’re cool because you buy a $500 phone with a picture of a fruit on it. Well guess what? They cost 8 bucks to make and I pee on every one!” A Mapple store employee then angrily responds, “Who dares question the boss we fired 10 years ago and then brought back!” Yuk yuk. Videos after the break for as long as it takes for the copyrighters to wake up.

[Thanks, holycow]

Continue reading The Simpsons mocks (m)Apple

Filed under:

The Simpsons mocks (m)Apple originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 01 Dec 2008 04:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Stocking stuffers for your MacBook — two new Targus Mac mice reviewed By 30 November 2008 at 11:55 pm and have No Comments

Need a quick stocking stuffer for the Mac addict on your holiday gift list? We just reviewed a pair of new mice from accessory maker Targus that are specifically being pitched for use with MacBooks, iMacs, and other Apple computers.

A healthy side industry has popped up for accessories that …

Nikon hits 24.5 megapixels with D3X By 30 November 2008 at 11:00 pm and have No Comments

The Nikon D3X is identical to the D3.

The Nikon D3X’s body is identical to the D3.

(Credit: Nikon USA)

Though almost everything you need to know about the new Nikon D3X leaked Friday, the 24.5-megapixel dSLR Nikon dubs its “extreme professional” model formally debuts today, November 30. What didn’t leak was the price: $7,…

Black Friday Giveaways (part 10): the LG Prada phone By 28 November 2008 at 11:59 pm and have No Comments

We’ve decided to end the Engadget Black Friday Giveaways with a blast from the past. Remember this guy? It seems like only a week ago that Apple was being accused of ripping off this LG and Prada collaboration with the iPhone. Ah… memories. Well, you can at least still impress some folks down at the local discotheque with this one — just make sure no one accidentally pours a vodka and Red Bull on it. Here’s how we do it.

We’ll put up a gadget on the site, and you can only enter it until the next gadget lands (usually within a couple of hours). If you miss your shot, sorry, we’re moving on to the next gadget. Good luck! Oh, and don’t forget the rules. (Yeah, there are always rules.)

  • Leave a comment below. That’s it! Who loves you, baby.
  • You may only enter this specific giveaway once. If you enter this giveaway more than once you’ll be automatically disqualified, etc. (Yes, we have robots that thoroughly check to ensure fairness.) You can enter different giveaways in today’s Black Friday giveaways, but you can only enter this one once.
  • If you enter more than once, only activate one comment. This is pretty self explanatory. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.
  • Contest is open to anyone in the 50 States, 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so be mad at our lawyers or US contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly.
  • Entries can be submitted until the next contest goes up. After that we’re all done. Good luck!
  • Full rules can be found here.

Last round’s winner: Apitt! (Remember, winners are selected at random.)

Filed under:

Black Friday Giveaways (part 10): the LG Prada phone originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 23:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Linux hits the iPhone! By 28 November 2008 at 7:04 pm and have No Comments

We knew this day would eventually come, but somehow we’re still misting up a little — Linux has been ported to the iPhone and iPod touch. Dev Team member planetbeing is the mastermind in charge of bringing everyone’s favorite open-source OS to Apple’s handhelds, and while it’s a little rough around the edges (read: no touchscreen drivers, sound, or WiFi / cell radio support), it’s definitely the first step on the road to hacking nirvana. The team is hard at work, and it even sounds like they’re thinking about porting Android in the near future (!), so hit the read link to try it out and lend a hand if you can — or just head on past the break for a quick vid of the port in all its text-scrolling glory.

[Via iphone-dev.org; thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Continue reading Linux hits the iPhone!

Filed under:

Linux hits the iPhone! originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 19:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Black Friday Giveaways (part 6): Zune 120 and premium earbuds By 28 November 2008 at 6:56 pm and have No Comments

Don’t be crazy alright? Just get your comment in below, because if you win this one, you’re walking away with a totally boss Zune 120 plus a sweet pair of those premium earbuds. You’d have to be crazy, stupid, or some lethal combination of both not to jump at this one. Now here’s how it’s done.

We’ll put up a gadget on the site, and you can only enter it until the next gadget lands (usually within a couple of hours). If you miss your shot, sorry, we’re moving on to the next gadget. Good luck! Oh, and don’t forget the rules. (Yeah, there are always rules.)

  • Leave a comment below. That’s it! Who loves you, baby.
  • You may only enter this specific giveaway once. If you enter this giveaway more than once you’ll be automatically disqualified, etc. (Yes, we have robots that thoroughly check to ensure fairness.) You can enter different giveaways in today’s Black Friday giveaways, but you can only enter this one once.
  • If you enter more than once, only activate one comment. This is pretty self explanatory. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.
  • Contest is open to anyone in the 50 States, 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so be mad at our lawyers or US contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly.
  • Entries can be submitted until the next contest goes up. After that we’re all done. Good luck!
  • Full rules can be found here.

Last round’s winner: hammerhead_12! (Remember, winners are selected at random.)

Filed under: ,

Black Friday Giveaways (part 6): Zune 120 and premium earbuds originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 18:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

MSI unveils a slew of new netbooks and one lonely nettop By 28 November 2008 at 6:39 pm and have No Comments

It looks like MSI has been pretty busy lately. We got a good look at the MSI Wind U120 about a week ago, and now the company’s back with a slew of new machines and we have plenty of details for you to savor. Most notably, the U115 is a 10-inch netbook featuring the Intel Atom Z530 processor, 1-2GB memory, and a hybrid SSD / hard drive storage system. The solid state drive (being smaller and theoretically faster) is meant to contain the OS while the hard drive is to be used for data. The U110 is basically the same as the U115, except it only ships with 1GB memory and there is no SSD included. Also introduced were the U150 (sadly enough with no specs, besides the fact that it also ships with both HDD and SSD storage) and the WindBox, an Atom N270-based nettop designed to be VESA-mounted to the back of your monitor. The WindBox should be available Q1 2009 for around €300. Keep reading after the break for a complete rundown of all the specs.

Read – MSI WindBox Revealed
Read – MSI unveils new netbooks, unusual storage systems

Continue reading MSI unveils a slew of new netbooks and one lonely nettop

Filed under: ,

MSI unveils a slew of new netbooks and one lonely nettop originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 18:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Samsung’s X360 ultraportable reviewed: cheaper than competition, but not as good By 28 November 2008 at 11:31 am and have No Comments

cheaper than competition, but not as good

If Apple’s Macbook Air is the poster-child for “form-over-function,” and Lenovo’s X300 its utilitarian cousin, Samsung’s X360 falls somewhere in between on the 13.3-inch wafter-thin ultraportable family tree, serving as another solid, though somewhat underwhelming choice according to TrustedReviews‘ full write-up. It’s not as thin as the Air, but is slightly lighter while still feeling reasonably durable, and with a full complement of ports certainly has the edge in terms of utility. It also manages to be a bit more visually appealing than the X300, is blessed with a “superb” keyboard (which we liked, too), and the five hours of battery life in real-world usage impresses as well. But, it’s hampered by a disappointing 1280 x 800 glossy screen and an under-performing 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU. The thing is popping up at online retailers a bit cheaper than we’d expected (we found one for about $150 lower than Samsung’s indicated $1,899 MSRP), but, in the US at least, might just be priced a little too close to its proven competitors to make it a serious contender over here.

[Thanks, Simon W]

Filed under:

Samsung’s X360 ultraportable reviewed: cheaper than competition, but not as good originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic launch dubbed ‘stunning success;’ 120 Russians can’t be wrong By 28 November 2008 at 9:31 am and have No Comments

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic launch dubbed 'stunning success;' 120 Russians can't be wrong

We love covering the antics of gadget-crazed buyers on launch day as much as anyone, whether it be die-hard gamers waiting for a PS3 or international fanatics clamoring for Apple’s latest. Sometimes, though, these big launch sellouts feel a bit… contrived. Such is the case with Nokia’s 5800 XpressMusic, dropped first in Russia on Wednesday ahead of its worldwide release yesterday. An internal memo (conveniently posted onto the Mobile-Review forums by a Nokia employee) talks up the usual release day shenanigans: buyers camping for days, bribery attempts for spots in line, inventory disappearing in minutes, and an inevitable prediction that this thing will be bigger than the iPhone. However, while the memo liberally quotes from the LiveJournal musings of Mobile-Review editor Eldar Murtazin, it skips over one choice bit of information he provided: a measly 120 phones were available at this “flagship” location in Moscow.

[Thanks, pops]

Filed under:

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic launch dubbed ‘stunning success;’ 120 Russians can’t be wrong originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments