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Recent AV Gadget Reviews

Dish Hopper and Joey Whole Home DVR Review

Dish Hopper and Joey Whole Home DVR Review

Whether you use DISH's Hopper and Joey for satellite TV, or you use cable—the traditional way you consume live and recorded television content is by utilizing a DVR or set-top box in every room where you want to watch TV. And, typically, those separate boxes don't talk to each other. But what if you just had one DVR? A big one. And it allowed you to watch anything you recorded anywhere in the house? That's the basic premise behind DISH's new Hopper & Joey Whole Home DVR System. We've reviewed lots of DISH DVRs in the past, from the well-regarded ViP 722, to the redesigned, Sling-integrated ViP 922. But the Hopper & Joey is a complete redesign of the way you'll record video and watch TV.

We've reviewed lots of DISH DVRs in the past, from the well-regarded ViP 722, to the Sling-integrated ViP 922. But the Hopper & Joey is a complete redesign of the way you'll record video and watch TV.

— June 26, 2012 10:30 in AV Gadget Reviews

Otterbox Armor Series iPhone 4/4S Case Preview

Otterbox Armor Series iPhone 4/4S Case Preview

Having just experienced Otterbox's new RealTree Camo Cases for iPhone 4/4S, we were surprised to so quickly see them debut another case... a stronger case... One that makes their Defender Series look like a little girlie case in need of Daddy to saver her from the big bad fall... or drop kick... into a swimming pool. In either case, the new and not-here-just-yet-but-almost Armor Series case is a monster. It is much more streamlined than the former 3G Armor Series case, which really was so ugly as to be unusable by anyone who had even a modicum of aesthetic sense. Instead of the bulky side-clasps of the former model, the new case sports a svelte new design. It's still bulky, mind you, but in a much more agreeable way that is sleek and refined.

The new Armor Series case from Otterbox is a monster. It is much more streamlined than the former 3G Armor Series case and offers dust, fall, drop, and waterproof protection.

— May 29, 2012 09:55 in AV Gadget Reviews

iHome iP4 iPod/iPhone Portable Stereo Review

iHome iP4 iPod/iPhone Portable Stereo Review

The iHome brand, known for its iPhone-compatible clock radios and other iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock systems, is continuing its tradition of offering straightforward functionality and great sound for a reasonable price with the iHome iP4. But this time, they’re wrapping it up in an aggressive package - the classic ghetto blaster! But there’s more to the iP4 than show; at its foundation is a tactical technology selection. iHome is all about the millions of worldwide iPod and iPhone users - Google Android and other Bluetooth streaming music phones need not apply.

The iHome iP4 iPod/iPhone Speaker Dock system - straightforward functionality and great sound for a reasonable price. Prepare yourself, though... It's retro. And when we say "retro" we mean it.

— May 29, 2012 00:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Updates Remote Access iPad App with Retina Support

DISH Updates Remote Access iPad App with Retina Support

DISH released it's iOS and Android Remote Access apps some time ago. To be perfectly honest, they got the job done, but didn't offer much in the way of stability or efficient use of the platforms. Now, DISH has completely reengineered the iOS app to take advantage of the iPad's larger screen - and also to address multi-tasking and ease-of-use. The new (and still free) app improves the performance and enhances the on-screen dashboard so customers can easily find and watch their favorite programs. Customers can continue to watch live and recorded TV anytime, anywhere using the app in concert with an Internet-connected DISH receiver and a Sling Adapter. On the iPad, DISH offers the added ability to stream thousands of titles from an expansive on-demand library of Blockbuster @Home titles and premium networks.

DISH has completely reengineered the iOS app to take advantage of the iPad's larger screen - and also to address multi-tasking and ease-of-use. The new (and still free) app is amazingly better.

— May 16, 2012 09:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

Newer Technology Power2U USB Receptacle Review

Newer Technology Power2U USB Receptacle Review

It seems like everything needs a USB power supply these days. iPads, smart phones, Kindles... the list goes on. The bottom line is, it's very likely that your office, your kitchen - possibly even your bedroom is littered with a myriad of power adapters - all designed to charge these portable devices. Newer Technology's Power2U is an innovative device that combines two USB charging ports with a standard Decora-style electrical outlet or receptacle. That means you eliminate the need to use a bulky power adapter to charge your devices. Instead, you just plug in a USB cable and you're good to go. And the 2A (2000mA) rating means that there's enough juice to charge even power-hungry devices like the new iPad.

Newer Technology's Power2U is an innovative device that combines 2 USB charging ports with a standard Decora-style electrical receptacle. That means you eliminate the need to use bulky power adapters.

— May 09, 2012 00:10 in AV Gadget Reviews

FastMac U-Socket USB Receptacle Review

FastMac U-Socket USB Receptacle Review

Not much has happened to the electrical outlet in the past 85 years. Not much at all... except for the fact that more and more devices require power. There was a time when toasters, vacuums and televisions were about all that ever needed to be plugged in to an outlet in the standard home. But now... now we've got all manner of electronic gadgets. And that's where the U-Socket comes in. With smart phones, Kindles, and all manner of portable electronic devices, your wall outlet might look sort of Frankenstein-ish with a host of wall-warts, adapters and USB chargers all plugged in. And who wants to manage all that clutter? Apparently not FastMac, who invented the U-Socket as a way to wed the standard wall receptacle with a pair of 2.6A (2600mA) USB outlets.

Not much has happened to the electrical outlet in the past 85 years, until FastMac invented the U-Socket as a way to wed the standard wall receptacle with a pair of 2A (2000mA) USB outlets.

— April 29, 2012 19:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

OtterBox iPad 3 and iPad 2 Defender Series Case Review

OtterBox iPad 3 and iPad 2 Defender Series Case Review

The question remains of how I like the new OtterBox Defender Series case for the iPad 2 and 3 versus the older case. I believe that, in almost every way, it is superior. I love the new stand functionality, the screen protector (remove it if you don't agree), and the ability to use full-sized headphones without removing the case. It is rugged, attractive, and functional. The only real knock I have against it is that the front "home" button is much harder to use, something that I'm hoping will improve with use over time. What's important is that the owner of the iPad (unfortunately not me) is happy with the case.

The new OtterBox Defender Series case for the iPad 2 and 3 has improved stand functionality, an included screen protector, and the ability to use full-sized headphones without removing the case.

— April 24, 2012 06:30 in AV Gadget Reviews

IOGEAR Wireless 3D Digital Kit Preview

IOGEAR Wireless 3D Digital Kit Preview

The GW3DHDKIT Wireless 3D Digital Kit from IOGEAR is really meant for a second display. Supporting full 1080p and 3D, it makes it very easy to send your high definition content from one room to another. While it could be used in a room to send to a main display (and would be fine as long as you aren't sending anything greater than 5.1 audio), we think it is best utilized to increase the number of places you can see the same content. Pair this with an RF universal remote, and you'll be able to seamlessly walk from one room to another with your content following you. Now all you have to worry about is finding your remote.

The GW3DHDKIT Wireless 3D Digital Kit from IOGEAR is really meant for a second display. Supporting full 1080p and 3D, it makes it very easy to send your high definition content to a second room.

— April 15, 2012 18:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

Parasound Zcd CD + MP3 Player Preview

Parasound Zcd CD + MP3 Player Preview

A CD player with a 3.5mm input and USB port with MP3 playback? For home theater it doesn't really make sense. But with 24-bit, 192kHz-capable DACs, integrated preamp, and a $400 price tag, the Parasound Zcd is an intriguing solution for industry professionals. With its diminutive size (half a rack space wide) and huge feature set, we're betting home theater buffs on a budget might even take a close look at this. Parasound may have designed the Z-line of products with industry professionals in mind but we wouldn't be surprised to see this one jump across the line into budding audiophile. We've seen it happen before.

Parasound may have designed the Zcd with industry professionals in mind but, with its feature set, we wouldn't be surprised to see this one jump across the line into budding audiophile.

— April 09, 2012 06:20 in AV Gadget Reviews

iHome iA91 App-enhanced Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio Review

iHome iA91 App-enhanced Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio Review

I woke up at 5am this morning thanks to the iHome iA91 App-enhanced Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio for iPod. Let's just break down that sentence... First off, the name is incredibly long, so let's refer to this thing as the iA91 iPod Clock Radio... or iA91. I woke up at 5am because the iA91 has dual alarms, so you can set one for during the week and another for weekends. I decided to test it out and, for some reason, 5am seemed like a great time to wake up and start my day. The iA91 is very flexible. In addition to having two configurable alarms, you can wake up to your iPhone or iPod, the AM/FM radio, or the classic buzzer. You don't want to wake up to the buzzer - just trust me on that one. The LED display is dimmable in 7 steps, making it the perfect bedside clock, because it won't blind you as you try and fall asleep.

Thanks to the iHome iA91 App-enhanced Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio for iPod I woke up at 5am this morning. I woke up at 5am because the iA91 has dual alarms - and that's really practical.

— April 03, 2012 06:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

DVDO AIR WirelessHD HDMI Connection System Preview

DVDO AIR WirelessHD HDMI Connection System Preview

At $399, the DVDO AIR isn't the cheapest option out there, but it is surely in the lower half of the market. On top of that, it has size (we think, exact dimensions haven't been provided yet) going for it. With uncompressed 1080p and 3D plus 7.1 surround sound transmitting over 60GHz, the DVDO AIR looks to be a good, interference-free, solution for those that absolutely can't run a wire. The DVDO AIR is shipping now and looks to be a very competitive solution to your wireless HDMI needs.

With uncompressed 1080p and 3D plus 7.1 surround sound transmitting over 60GHz, the DVDO AIR Wireless HDMI Kit looks to be a good, interference-free, solution for those that can't run a wire.

— April 02, 2012 04:45 in AV Gadget Reviews

Atlantic Technology WA-5030 Wireless Transmitter/Amp System Preview

Atlantic Technology WA-5030 Wireless Transmitter/Amp System Preview

Is the Atlantic Technology WA-5030 worth $400? With a complete wireless solution including stereo 30 watt amps, we're guessing that a lot of people will say yes. But if you think you might need an additional Atlantic Technology WA-50 receiver (without the amps) sometime down the line, you are better off buying the Atlantic Technology WA-50 set with an additional Atlantic Technology WA-5030 receiver (with amps) for the same price. Either way, you are getting uncompressed, CD-quality audio streamed digitally up to 300 feet. That's pretty impressive.

Is the Atlantic Technology WA-5030 worth $400? With a complete wireless solution including stereo 30 watt amps, we're guessing that a lot of people will say yes.

— March 30, 2012 05:45 in AV Gadget Reviews

TEAC Distinction CD-3000 SACD Player Preview

TEAC Distinction CD-3000 SACD Player Preview

The new Distinction line from TEAC certainly seems to be well thought out and well matched to each other. The CD-3000, in particular, with its 192kHz upsampling before decoding and dual differential DACs has us excited. But without knowing exactly how the players work (in particular, which codecs are compatible over the USB connection) and if it can put out multichannel over the coaxial input, we'll have to wait to see how it all shakes out. Still, we can't help but think that TEAC will have some winners on their hands here. With prices that range from expensive to OMG!!!! (or, as a true audiophile would rate them, too cheap to be any good to affordable), there is something here for any budding audiophile.

The TEAC Distinction line certainly seems to be well thought out and well matched to each other. The CD-3000 with its 192kHz upsampling before decoding and dual differential DACs has us excited.

— March 20, 2012 20:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

OtterBox Commuter and Defender Cases for Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

OtterBox Commuter and Defender Cases for Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

If you don't use headphones with a full-sized terminal, don't mind a bit of slip (which is great for getting the phone in and out of your pocket quickly), want unfettered access to the touchscreen, and need moderate protection, the OtterBox Commuter Case for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be for you. The Defender series is much more bulky but provides a full shell of polycarbonate plus an integrated screen cover and silicone sleeve. For us, we love that we can finally use our high end headphones with our OtterBox Defender case. Basically, no matter what you need or how you use your phone, OtterBox has a case for your Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

OtterBox offers a Commuter and Defender Series Case for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Basically, no matter what you need or how you use your phone, OtterBox has a case for your Galaxy Nexus.

— March 07, 2012 08:10 in AV Gadget Reviews