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Recent AV Gadget Reviews

Speakal BTS8 Windows 7 Computer Phone Preview

Speakal BTS8 Windows 7 Computer Phone Preview

It's a phone. It's a PC. It's a phone. It's a PC. Speakal, a company driven by its passion for sound, intelligent technology and innovative designs, is apparently ecstatic to announce the BTS8, an office phone system that doubles as a personal computer. The integrated Windows 7 OS enables users to manage and record your phone calls, answer emails, and even video chat with the on board webcam via Skype. The 5" LCD display can be connected to an external monitor via VGA for enhanced visibility. Additional capabilities include fax receiving, SMS text messaging, media player, contacts management, and a calendar empowering the BTS8 to be the ultimate communications and multimedia powerhouse. You can even browse the web and reach your data remotely for optimal connectivity.

It's a phone. It's a PC. It's a phone. It's a PC. Speakal is apparently ecstatic to announce the BTS8, an office phone system that doubles as a Windows 7-based personal computer. Is this the future?

— January 06, 2011 14:34 in AV Gadget Reviews

Otterbox Reflex Series Cases Preview

Otterbox Reflex Series Cases Preview

To feed the tech-hungry horde at CES, OtterBox revealed the new Reflex Series, an entirely new case line for the iPhone 4 and BlackBerry Curve 8500/9300 series. We got a taste of the new series in the upper level of South Hall 3. Leveraging OtterBox's knowledge and expertise in device protection, the Reflex Series unites two resources - polycarbonate and TPE rubber - in an unprecedented single layer concept. Inspired by the crumple zone of a car, this case not only takes a hit, it recoils and springs back, ready to protect again and again. The most important part of a vehicle during an accident is the occupant. The same concept is applied to the construction of the Reflex Series case, protecting its precious smartphone cargo in the event of drops, dings or bumps.

To feed the tech-hungry horde at CES, OtterBox revealed the new Reflex Series, an entirely new case line for the iPhone 4 and BlackBerry Curve 8500/9300 series. It's a case that crumples - on purpose.

— January 06, 2011 14:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Microlab MD332 iPod Stereo System Review

Microlab MD332 iPod Stereo System Review

iPod docking systems and speakers are a dime a dozen - and since most are made in China from inferior parts, they are almost literally a "dime" a dozen. But every once in a while a product comes along that puts audio first and it's a pleasant surprise. All we could really say about the Microlab MD332 was "wow". Our first impression remained that single word until we were able to temper our excitement with a bit of down-to-earth evaluation that revealed some other "features" of this player that neatly dropped it from its lofty perch, back down the the realm of "mortal", fallible products. The MD332 plays loud. In fact, we got it up to 89dB SPL in-room and it never once compressed either the top end or the bass output. It really is that good... to bad it's got some hang-ups as well - read on

All we could really say about the Microlab MD332 was "wow". Our first impression remained that single word - at least until we were able to temper our excitement with a bit of down-to-earth evaluation

— December 28, 2010 22:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

Skooba Design Checkthrough Executive Brief Review

Skooba Design Checkthrough Executive Brief Review

For quite some time now, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began phasing-in new security protocols that allowed "checkpoint friendly" bags to be screened with the laptop still inside. These bags had to be designed in such a way that the scan of a laptop was not interfered with and nothing would be piled on or near that part of the bag as it passed through the x-ray machine. The goal of the new program is to reduce inconvenience to travelers, speed up the security screening process, and reduce the congestion now plaguing the system. During the development stages the TSA provided a list of guidelines and technical requirements for prospective bags and Skooba Design submitted multiple designs and their Checkthrough Executive Brief is the result of their efforts.

The TSA provided a list of guidelines and requirements for carry-on bags and Skooba Design submitted multiple designs and their Executive Checkthrough Brief is the result of finessing multiple designs

— December 02, 2010 04:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Olive 03HD Music Server Preview

Olive 03HD Music Server Preview

Looking to consolidate your entire CD collection? Look no further than the Olive 03HD Music Server. The Olive 03HD music server features their own Music Engine which seamlessly integrates innovative touch-screen technology with intelligent software designed for people who collect music and care to hear it in original quality. Simply insert your CD, and the O3HD automatically recognizes, labels and imports your music at the touch of a button and categorizes it by genre, artist, album and track. The 03HD sports premium 192kHz/24bit DAC's for high resolution audio recording. Purists need not worry as the 03HD is built with a very quite Teac transport and the HD is cushioned into 4 layers of padding to drop the mechanical noise and the unit is passively cooled with no internal noisy fans.

The Olive 03HD Music Server allows a user to consolidate their entire CD collection bit for bit identical with uncompromised sound quality up to 196kHz/24 bit resolution and unsurpassed ease of use.

— November 30, 2010 06:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Optoma Neo-i iPod Dock and Pico Projector First Look

Optoma Neo-i iPod Dock and Pico Projector First Look

The Optoma Neo-i is the unlikely marriage of an iPod/iPhone dock and pico projector. The projector can deliver an image of up to 120" in its native WVGA (854 X 480 pixels) resolution in 16:9 format. Yes, that'd be a blurry 120" but it can do it. In fact, the 50 ANSI Lumen Pico projector uses an LED backlight behind its 0.3" WVGA DLP color wheel which means that the power draw on the Neo-i is so low that it can be run on batteries. The contrast ratio is spec'd at 2000:1 with a 60% uniformity. The Optoma Neo-i is a bit over a foot and a half wide, almost nine inches deep and a bit over three inches tall. It may be a bit bulky for a "pico" projector, but it weighs in at under 2.5 lbs so you won't be adding much to your overall load. The Optoma Neo-i isn't actually categorized as a portable device (even Optoma says so) but we're betting that they'll show up in more than one boardroom.

The Optoma Neo-i is the unlikely marriage of an iPod/iPhone dock and pico projector. The projector can deliver an image of up to 120" in its native WVGA (854 X 480 pixels) resolution in 16:9 format.

— November 02, 2010 20:30 in AV Gadget Reviews

Logitech Revue GoogleTV Hands-on Full Review

Logitech Revue GoogleTV Hands-on Full Review

I can't remember a time when a product had more hype (or potential) than when Google announced GoogleTV. The trouble was, the leaked video and descriptions were somewhat vague and nobody truly had a real grasp on what the technology would hold. We, of course, wanted to get our grubby little hands on it as soon as earthly possible - and that was facilitated by our relationship with DISH, who sent us a Logitech Revue as soon as they had one in-hand. For anyone truly looking to unlock the full power of GoogleTV, realize that DISH is the first (currently only, as far as we know) to fully integrate their DVRs with GoogleTV without the use of IR emitters or a convoluted interface. With most DVRs, there would be no way to access recorded material, or even program new recordings from the guide via IR, due to the complexity of the tasks involved - at least not without a really manual, unimpressive process. While the newer DVRs and set-top boxes have the potential to integrate well, DISH jumped all over it and we're able to review the Logitech Revue with full DVR integration with a VIP 722 HD DVR.

DISH and Logitech have worked together to bring the Revue GoogleTV to consumers in a way that integrates full DVR control and search along with Internet browsing and apps in a fresh, new way.

— October 29, 2010 09:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH ViP 922 SlingLoaded DVR Review

DISH ViP 922 SlingLoaded DVR Review

We've been fans and clients of DISH for some time, and have been following their ViP®922 DVR with great interest for nearly two years. When it was finally released, we jumped all over it and quickly requested one to integrate into our system. Somehow, and we're almost embarrassed to say this, we missed out on the Sling phenomenon, so it was with great enthusiasm that we were determined to try out all of the great networking features included in this fully SlingLoaded High Definition Satellite DVR. After all, Echostar, sister company to DISH, acquired Sling back in 2007 - and this is their first product to integrate both technologies into one box.

We've been fans and clients of DISH for some time, and have been following their ViP 922 DVR with great interest for nearly two years. When it was finally released, we jumped all over it.

— October 25, 2010 05:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

Bryston BDP-1 High Resolution Digital Music Player Preview

Bryston BDP-1 High Resolution Digital Music Player Preview

Bryston introduced a new product category with their new BDP-1 high resolution digital music player which focuses on performance and ease of use. he Bryston BDP-1’s sole function is to give music aficionados the ability to enjoy their library of high-resolution digital music files (resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz are supported) residing on a USB storage device, which in turn is directly connected via standard USB cable or thumb drive to the BDP-1 digital music player. Optionally, the BDP-1 can be connected to a home network using a router and Ethernet connection solely to enhance operability via network-enabled devices such as a computer, Apple® iPhone™ or iPad™, which can then provide access to playlists, album artwork, etc.

Bryston introduced a new product category with their new BDP-1 digital music player which focuses on performance and ease of use. It even have networking functions to interface with an Apple IPad.

— October 01, 2010 14:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Dymo Rhino 5200 Backgrounder Label Maker First Look

Dymo Rhino 5200 Backgrounder Label Maker First Look

We love Dymo's Rhino label printers. They work. They stick. They can be left outside in the rain for a week and still function (oops, yes we actually did this and it still works!). At CEDIA Dymo Industrial showed us the newest addition to its innovative, durable industrial grade hand held label printer line: the Rhino 5200. Professio­nal installers in the data communication, electrical, maintenance repair and operation, construction and broadcast industries can now use Rhino 5200 advanced features, including "Hot key" technology.

We love Dymo's Rhino label printers. They work. They stick. They can be left outside in the rain for a week and still function (oops!). At CEDIA Dymo Industries announced the Rhino 5200 label maker.

— September 24, 2010 06:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

Dymo Rhino 6000 Backgrounder Label Maker First Look

Dymo Rhino 6000 Backgrounder Label Maker First Look

We've already stated that we love Dymo's Rhino label printers. They just work well. Now they work well with a PC, so you can make labels in one location, and email them to another. This essentially turns your label maker into a label PRINTER. That's what is offered by the new Rhino 6000. The tough, oversized and ruggedly portable Rhino 6000 seems to fit well into any jobsite – it’s packed with time-saving shortcuts for labeling any installation quickly and professionally. As the latest addition to Dymo Industrial's label printer line, the Rhino 6000 is designed for professional installers looking for the best industrial labeler to improve the efficiency and quality of their on-the-job needs.

We've already stated that we love Dymo's Rhino label printers. They just work well. Now the Dymo Rhino 6000 works well with a PC, so you can make labels in one location, and email them to another.

— September 24, 2010 06:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

Vizio 7" Edge Lit Razor LED Portable TV First Look

Vizio 7" Edge Lit Razor LED Portable TV First Look

Vizio announced nationwide availability of their new 7" Edge Lit Razor LED LCD Portable TV (VMB070). By expanding Vizio TVs to portable models it enables consumers to enjoy TV and entertainment from almost anywhere. With an 800x480 widescreen "high resolution" Razor LED panel, an integrated antenna, and a sleek design of less than 1" thick, the device seems like a perfect entertainment solution for tailgating, in the kitchen, or even the workshop - anyplace you want to catch your favorite broadcast or pictures with a brilliant, LED high-resolution picture.

Vizio announced nationwide availability of their new 7" Edge Lit Razor LED LCD Portable TV (VMB070). By expanding Vizio TVs to portable models it enables consumers to enjoy TV in a small package.

— September 21, 2010 12:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Intelix DIGI-HD-COAX HDMI Extender Preview

Intelix DIGI-HD-COAX HDMI Extender Preview

If you need an HDMI extender, using existing cables rather than having to install dedicated Ethernet, optical, or HDMI cables makes a lot of sense. What is going to be the deciding factor in the success of the Intelix DIGI-HD-COAX extender is the price. If they can come in significantly under the competition they've got a real chance at rising to the top of the heap in a very specialized market. Plus the integrated built-in amplified signal splitting is something that will definitely have more than a few installers putting the DIGI-HD-COAX on their shortlist when they come across an installation that requires it.

While not the first on the market, Intelix has recently released their new DIGI-HD-COAX balun. This unit is HDCP compliant which means you won't have to worry about compatibility issues.

— August 20, 2010 09:10 in AV Gadget Reviews

Plaster Networks Powerline Adaptors Preview

Plaster Networks Powerline Adaptors Preview

Are powerline network solutions new? Absolutely not. But Plaster Networks and their AV200 and PLN3 Adaptors have a few things to offer. While their $30 a year monitoring and update system is a bit on the pricey side, we love how the system can integrate any HomePlug AV device and can support up to 64 devices on a single network. We also like how that there aren't dedicated transmitters and receivers so that you can pick and choose exactly what you need for your particular installation. The price, at $130, is very competitive as well. If you are looking at acquiring a network over powerline solution for your home, Plaster Networks should be high on your list.

Plaster Networks AV200 and PLN3 Adaptors (which had us thinking they found a way to send signals through drywall!) has a network-over-existing-powerline solution that is very versatile!

— August 17, 2010 05:05 in AV Gadget Reviews