High Resolution Technologies makes some of the very best and most affordable digital-to-analog converters on the market. The company's newest model, the MicroStreamer, is a tiny thing, just 2.5 inches by 1.2 inches by 0.4 inch, and since it's USB-powered it doesn't have a power supply or require batteries. It works as an external sound card for computers, tablets, and some smartphones. It's also a high-quality headphone amplifier. It was designed in the U.S., and the little guy's circuitboard's components are mounted in Southern California. The aluminum case is made … Read more
Our friends at CNET Asia got their very lucky hands on an HTC One for a brief test drive with the device's promising new camera. Indeed, it's worthy test since the shooter is one of One's most interesting features.
Though the One's camera has a 4-megapixel resolution, that's not the whole story by any measure. As Brian Bennett wrote in his First Take earlier this week, the camera features an updated ImageSense system, new ImageChip 2 hardware, and a revamped light sensor. HTC says that UltraPixel Sensor will be able to create more detailed pixels. … Read more
I'm usually a sound-first guy, but when it comes to evaluating headphones, comfort is a very close second. So even when I love the sound of a headphone, if they start to hurt my ears after a half an hour, that's a deal-breaker.
That's why I'm happy to report on a remarkably comfortable and great-sounding headphone, the MrSpeakers' Mad Dog. That's an odd name for a headphone maker, but MrSpeakers' Dan Clark started out as a speaker designer. Now he extensively modifies Fostex T50RP headphones, a headphone that I've never cared for. Clark transforms … Read more
Right out of the box, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD and Nook HD+ are pretty sweet tablets. CNET commended the Nook HD for its "light, comfortable screen and sharp design," while dubbing the Nook HD+ a "fantastic tablet value."
The advantages in doing so are plain: Not only do you get full access to Google Play and all the apps therein (Barnes & … Read more
I was bowled over by Anthony Gallo Acoustics' original Reference Strada when I heard it at a hi-fi show a few years ago. The small speakers projected a sound that rivaled the scale of big, flat-panel speakers, like my Magnepans. I never got around to reviewing the Strada, but when I heard that the Reference Strada 2 was coming out I let the company know I wanted a pair ASAP.
Unboxing the speakers it was impossible not to be impressed by the solidity of the cast-aluminum chassis and brushed stainless-steel spheres. The Strada 2 is 13.5 inches tall, and … Read more
There's no doubt that the best of today's receivers sound great and come jam-packed with a vast range of features. Even entry-level models paired with a decent 5.1 speaker/subwoofer system can do a fine job, but some buyers aim higher. They may have invested in a 65-inch or larger display, or maybe a video projector and a 120-inch screen. They crave a sound that matches the grandeur of the picture, and they can get that only with separate components like the Outlaw Audio Model 975 Surround Processor and Model 7125 Power Amp.
The Model 975 Surround … Read more
Can't get enough Katniss Everdeen? The next movie, "Catching Fire," won't hit theaters until November, but you don't have to wait until then to return to Panem.
The Hunger Games Adventures takes you there, after a fashion, challenging you to explore, battle, and, well, make money. It's kind of a quest-oriented FarmVille, and in fact the game originated on Facebook.
If that's not your thing, or you prefer more action, check out Hunger Games: Girl on Fire. It's an endless runner that's all about running, jumping, and shooting.
Here, you need … Read more
To be honest, I've never heard a Bluetooth speaker I liked, because better sound was available from wired speakers, like the AktiMate Micro model. They're sold in pairs for $499, so you get true stereo sound, a rarity even with higher-end Bluetooth and most other wireless alternatives like the $600 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, $600 Bose SoundDock 10, or $399 Sonos Play:5. Those three are perfectly fine for what they are, but wired stereo speakers from Audioengine, Emotiva, and AktiMate sound better, much closer to what I hear from traditional hi-fi speakers. True, they're not … Read more
I like digital photo frames. I think the reason most people don't is that it was always a hassle to add new pictures. The Kodak Pulse solved that problem nicely, as it could receive photos via e-mail and pull them directly from your Facebook account -- but, alas, it's a discontinued product.
But here's a thought: Why not turn a tablet into a photo frame? It's got a great screen (and a touch screen at that), access to the Internet, and a slim, countertop-friendly design. All you need is the right app.
The Google Play Store … Read more
I've heard and liked DeVore Fidelity speakers before, but the new Orangutan 0/93 was different. Even when listening to mostly unfamiliar music I fell in love with the sound from the get-go. The Orangutan 0/93 brings out the best in all genres of music.
That's the key; all speakers play tunes, but they don't always connect the musical dots as well as this. I've heard lots of speakers that sound really nice, but for one reason or another the music doesn't draw you in. No problem here, the Orangutan 0/93 does just … Read more