Brainwavz BLU-200

A huge thanks to Brainwavz for sending me a pair of the Blu-200 Bluetooth 4.0 Earphones.

Since buying my Apple Watch I have been looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones which I can keep in my bag, pair to my watch and use to listen to music without being connected to my iPhone.

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The headphones are presented in a hard case containing:

  • Ear Hooks
  • A velcro (branded) cable tie
  • A micro USB charging cable (it is charged via a port on one of the headphones)
  • 3 Silicone Ear Tips
  • 1 set of Comply (TM) Foam tips

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Design and comfort

Having looked at several Bluetooth 4.0 earphones recently I was impressed with the size and fit of the earphones. With the integrated technology the headphones are clearly larger than a normal earbud but don’t feel large when in the ear. I found them to be comfortable and well fitting and even with a little jog didn’t fall out!

Pairing with iPhone and Apple Watch

This was really easy - simply switch on and search for device on Apple Watch or iPhone. I used the Blu-200 as my primary earphones for a week with my Apple watch listening to music as I started my day at work.

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Audio quality

The dynamic 9.2mm drivers (16 ohms) produce a crisp and clear sound with a good all-over frequency range. The bass was very clear and punchy without too much distortion at loud volumes. The specs show a frequency range of 20 - 20000 Hz mirroring the normal range of human hearing.

I found the noise isolation and reduction of the in-ear design very effective particularly in noisy areas such as the swimming pool.

Bluetooth

I am always keen to see if the bluetooth specs match real world use and I could clearly get the 10m advertised in an empty hallway. I also found good connectivity around my house going through some fairly solid walls. The earphones can be paired to two different devices using the Multipoint connection feature.

The controls

The controls are easy to operate and control both volume (short press) and track skip (long press) and voice dialling. It appeared that the volume control adjusted the output from the earphones but not the volume level on the iPhone or watch.

Overall conclusions

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The earphones currently retail for approximately £40 on Amazon (see below) and I feel that this is very good value for money. The battery life of around 4 hours (continuous playback) for 2 hours charge is definitely going to keep you going. The remote is easy to operate phone control is a good additional feature.




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X-mini Kai2 capsule speaker

Introducing the X-mini Kai2 Capsule Speaker

Retaining all the outstanding features of the award winning X-mini Capsule Speaker range, this improved Kai2 features the ceramic driver which delivers a sound experience better than ever before.





I was really pleased to receive the X-mini Kai2 to review after having been really impressed with the X-mini Wi which I
reviewed back in April.

For a speaker measuring approximately 6cm x 6cm this speaker produces loud, crisip and punchy sound. I wanted to thoroughly test this unit so took it on holiday and used it as my only speaker. It faired really well under a range of conditions both inside and outside.


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Key Features

  • Ceramic speaker (which delivers improved sound over the first generation) - 2.5W output
  • A stylish design with the fold away concertina design
  • Very simple controls
  • Ability to connect multiple units together
  • Audio out socket which can be used to turn older stereos into bluetooth enabled ones
  • Built in noise cancelling microphone


My experiences

  • The speaker paired instantly to my iPhone and my MacBook Air. I managed to get a good 9-10 bluetooth range outside and about 6m inside the house.
  • The microphone sound quality was very impressive when I held a small conference call using my the Kai2 and my iPhone 5. As an interesting test I took it outside into a windy environment and the noise cancelling was very evident.
  • The battery lasted just under 5 hours on constant Bluetooth playback during a very long car journey at a reasonable volume for everyone to hear.
  • The 2.5W speaker produced excellent sound reproduction both inside and outside. The speaker was loud enough to provide background music to a small BBQ. I was surprised by this level of volume for a unit of this size.
  • My only issue (and to be honest this only happened once!) was when using the combined volume / track advance button during playback of an audio book. Whilst trying to change the volume I managed to skip to the end of the audio book.

If you are going to only buy one USB speaker this year I would recommend this one to you. It is a small, compact yet clear and crisp speaker. The audio line out is excellent for retrofitting old HiFi units and making them bluetooth compatible.



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X-mini WE Bluetooth speaker

Introducing the X-mini WE Bluetooth Speaker

Firstly a massive thank you to XMI for sending me this very small (thumb size) Bluetooth Speaker kit to review.

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People often say that great things come in very small packets and with this speaker this is definitely the case.

Weighing less than 50g and measuring about the same size as my thumb the X-mini WE delivers excellent audio quality for up to six hours on one charge.

Key Features include

  • Ultra-portable design - very small and compact, can even be hung from your bag or coat
  • Excellent playback time on one charge - up to 6 hours
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Wired connectivity
  • Ability to connect to older sound system as a Bluetooth dongle
  • Impressive 1.5W sound output

The main selling point for me, however is the connectivity of this device. Firstly it is possible to connect multiple speakers together to make a louder sound system. Secondly the speaker has an audio out / headphone connector making it possible to turn this speaker into a Bluetooth dongle for older HiFi or stereo units. By simply connecting a normal mini-jack lead into the speaker it can be used as an audio source on a HiFI, sound system or even sound mixing desk. This is a great feature and can easily breathe new life into an older HiFI unit.

After testing the X-mini for a couple of days in the car and around the house my conclusions:

  • Very good sound output at all volume levels with only a minimum of distortion at the highest volume
  • Stylish, rugged design - looks good
  • The ability to turn my old HiFi into a Bluetooth enabled device playing music from my iPhone is awesome
  • Very good value for money

Do not be put off by the small size of the X-Mini WE as great things real do come in small packets!



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Sennheiser HD335s headphones

A massive thanks to Sennheiser for sending me these headphones as part of the You Review program.

I have to come clean at the start of the review - I am a very big fan of Sennheiser headphones and microphones so come from a less than impartial base!

The HD335s are a mid range consumer closed on-ear headphone with builtin volume and accessory control for mobile phones / tablets.

Features include:

Features
  • Pure Sound - smooth audio reproduction with deep bass
  • Easy Calls – in-line remote control with integrated microphone makes it easy to take/end calls
  • Fits All – compatible with virtually all major smartphone and tablet brands, e.g. Apple iPhone, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Nokia, Blackberry,
  • Flexibility – flip up the right ear-cup to talk to people around you
  • Blocks Outside Noise – due to the closed over-the-ear headphone design
  • Easy Volume Control – change volume level on the ear-cup via the embedded volume dial
  • Easy Music Control – the in-line remote enables you to easily play/pause music* and change track*
  • Freedom of Movement - single-sided cable reduces tangling
  • Adapter – required for compatibility with selected Nokia and Sony Smartphones
  • Peace of Mind – two-year international warranty


Audio quality

Very clear crisp sound quality on a range of different tracks.

The sound had plenty of bass and there was good differentiation between mid and high tones. On the highest volume from my computer there was a small amount of distortion but not enough to be a concern.

I often find working in the theatre that you want a mixture of live audio and the sound coming through the sound desk. These headphones have a novel feature of being able to swing the right hand headphone up to let you listen live to what is happening. The headphones still feel solid and secure. This is a feature which I think would be very useful in the theatre or in a club setting for a DJ.

These are a great pair of headphones at a very reasonable price.

Buy them today from our Amazon Associates Tech Store page
here.


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Sennheiser Momentum Headphones

Sennheiser Momentum Headphones

Sennheiser Momentum Headphones - Review Part II

In August 2012 I became an official YouReview reviewer for Sennheiser after winning a Facebook competition. I eagerly awaited my first review product which came in January 2013. The wait was worth it as the Momentum Headphones I was sent to review are stunning.


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My first review and unboxing video are here

The official Sennheiser page is here

After using these amazing headphones almost daily for the last 5 months in a range of applications here are my findings.

In the home

These headphones are extremely comfortable for daily wear when listening to music sat or working around the home. The Circumaural design feels very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Weighing in at only 190g they feel incredibly light for their size. I found that even after wearing for several hours the contact pressure of 2.8N didn’t cause discomfort.

In the car

The Momentum headphones are perfect for long car journeys. They are extremely comfortable (see above) and the design of the circumaural capsules makes it a closed design reducing very effectively background noise. Having worn them on several hot days (yes they do exist) the breathable material of the headband didn’t leave me feeling sweaty!

On a train

I took them recently for a moderately long train journey from Birmingham to Manchester. I was initially concerned that the large size of the carrying case would be cumbersome for the rest of the day. I was pleasantly surprised, the hard carry case fitted well into the bottom of a rucksack and whilst it definitely did take up space it didn’t feel bulky or heavy.

Sound engineering

As a part-time Performing Arts Technician having a decent pair of headphones to wear for extended periods of time has been a struggle to find. I have been really impressed with the Momentums as they provide excellent sound quality with very realistic, crisp and bright audio. Combined with the ambient noise cancelling and comfort these have become my tech headphones of choice.

iPhone and Mac compatibility

The inline remote with microphone is an excellent addition to the Momentum headphones. The iOS and OSX compatibility works well and I have been very impressed with the quality of phone calls. The ability to play, pause, skip tracks, adjust the volume, accept, reject and access Siri from the smart remote is a real bonus.

Summary

Overall these are an excellent pair of headphones and whilst some may flinch at a price tag of £250 this is excellent value for money and I believe will last a very long time. After 5 months of daily use mine still look pristine.

In summary, if you are only going to buy one pair of headphones for work or for pleasure I would recommend these 100%




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