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I'll be honest. With a flurry of meetings to attend during E3 and free time nonexistent, I wasn't initially excited about seeing Astro's updated A50 wireless headphones. Don't misunderstand me, I'm a fan. I've used the crap out of my 1st generation pair for gaming, Rock Band, and VR sessions. But when I hear "updated," I envision a few new bullet points to put on the retail box for marketing purposes, just barely justifying a new version. This is thankfully not the case with the new Astro A50s.
I went hands-on and ears-on with an Astro engineer during E3, and walked away super impressed. My only criticism? Astro probably should have stamped these with a brand new model number because they're a substantial improvement over not just the originals, but even the most recent iterations.
Bose's celebrated QuietComfort headphones are going wireless. Like its predecessor, the new QuietComfort 35s feature patented noise-canceling technology.
Also included: custom Bluetooth said to offer a strong and consistent connection wherever you are, mics inside and outside the cups that respond to unwanted noise and filter it out practically immediately, a new EQ said to "balance sound at every volume, for any genre", and handy buttons for power, volume, play/pause, and answer/end calls on the right cup.
As for battery life, you get up to 20 hours from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
HTC and JBL have partnered to make a sweet-looking set of earbuds that offer noise-canceling thanks to the power of USB-C. If you connect it to your smartphone, it draws power from it to feed the onboard adjustable active noise cancellation circuitry.
The Reflect Aware C headphones also include an in-line remote with volume controls and a built-in mic. More, they're powered by 14.8mm drivers and come complete with sweat proof ergonomic ear tips (three sizes available) for especially active people.
Pricing and availability are not yet known.
Suitable for those wanting to game on a Microsoft Windows PC, Sony PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, Corsair has today announced its VOID Surround headset - adding a wired version to the previously all-wireless product range.
"Most gamers don't play on just one platform, so we wanted to build a headset that can be used anywhere" said Corsair's headset product manager, Joshua LaTendresse, with this headset adding the same sound quality and comfort enjoyed in our VOID 7.1 RGB wireless review. Made with a cast aluminum construction and microfiber ear cups, lovers of leather should look elsewhere.
This headset functions with Dolby 7.1 functions only when plugged in through USB, as we're not being offered a 'true surround-sound' experience here - but as my reviews go to show, that's not really a bad thing. Being released with an MSRP of $79.99 compared to the newly-announced wireless RGB white model at $129.99, this product is available for purchase immediately.
With a minimalistic design and body constructed of birch wood, the 'Get Up Stand Up' home Bluetooth speaker system by House of Marley is a fancy new addition to this saturated market.
When a market is saturated you have to do something different in order to stand out from the crowd, with Hosue of Marley opting for this great wooden design and frame, while including what seems to be a decent audio setup. Available for $329.99 from Amazon or the company directly, this unit offers two 4.5-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters and an internal amplifier for maximum sound output.
Connection options include Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX and RCA, while the speaker can be completely controlled via the supplied remote. As for extra features, this speaker has an included USB port in order to charge your smartphone while in use.
When you're simply wanting to run the best house parties, it seems that Dashbon is the company to call up. Its new invention is called 'Flicks' and these two models offer up to eight hours of playback when operating off an internal battery while pumping out sound at the same time.
Available in a 140WH model which is priced at $599 and a 280WH model at $699, these LED projectors both display content in 720p HD, offer a HDMI connection that includes smartphone support, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The smaller edition provides four hours of movie playback or 28 hours of Bluetooth jams while the larger 280WH model offers the claimed eight-hour movie experience or 56 hours of Bluetooth music.
Weighing in at 6.17 lb (2.8 kg) and 7.72lb (3.5 kg) respectively, you can further connect these all-in-one projectors to your Roku Streaming Stick, Google Chromcast or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
New to the world but not to us, Epic Gear has just announced its new THUNDEROUZ headset to the world - something that I've been pre-release testing with a review to follow soon.
This headset features Epic Gear's own EG-Amp technology, working as an amplifier for the headset when plugged in through USB, supporting the provided 3.5m AUX connection. Another unique feature on offer here includes the touch sensor on the side of the earcup, allowing users to seamlessly change through different lighting modes and effects, great for those after something a little more fancy.
Sporting 50mm neodymium drivers, plush leatherette earcups and a stereo 2.0 sound configuration, this headset will be available mid-March for around $79.99.
Known for its wide range of mobile accessories and reliable power banks, Arctic has recently announced a new company direction - gaming headsets.
Announcing the P533 Series in a recent press release, this technology and lifestyle brand has signified a slightly altered company direction. The two headsets on offer are identical in specifications but offer different color schemes, being released in both Racing and Military color schemes.
Sporting cloth earcups, a 2m extension cable, a 3.5mm AUX connection, neodymium drivers and compatibility with Xbox, PlayStation, tablets, smartphones and PCs, this new range is available for $79.99 from the company directly.
Guitar maker Fender is now in the headphones game with its Fender Pro In-Ear Monitors line. Designed and assembled in Nashville by last year's acquisition Aurisonics, the price ranges from $99 to $499, depending on which of the five models you choose.
The higher-end models include 3D-printed Digital Hybrid Technology (DHT) shells, which are based on thousands of ear scans with the aim of creating a universal fit (Fender claims they 95 percent of ears will love them). Some others feature Hybrid-Dynamic tuned Balanced Armature Array (HDBA) for a "rich, full frequency response with substantial bass."
An update to the Amazon Echo now lets Alexa read you a nice story. And this new feature has a chance of replacing you as the head minstrel, reading bedtime stories to your kids.
This update comes completely free to all owners of the Echo, and works rather simply. Just ask Alexa to "read "insert book name here" and she'll start exploring the depths of that particular novel. Unfortunately her voice isn't quite so natural sounding as of yet, but it's quite the innovation, especially if you'd rather listen to that while engaged with other activities. She's able to read any book in your Kindle library.
The interesting thing is how this will conflict with another Amazon company, Audible, which serves up actual narrated audio-books. Granted, Alexa isn't quite as sultry and smooth as some of the great narrators used for Audible books, but given time we could see a rise in the popularity of using a well-developed AI to do such things instead. Siri even sounds a lot more natural now, even if some of her responses are pre-programmed.