JBL Synchros S100a In Ear Headphone Review

JBL is a familiar brand when it comes to audio devices, and it is not surprising for them to have a line of in-ear headphones. Late last year, JBL released the Synchros lineup of headphones and what we have is the entry level in-ear headphone – the JBL Synchros S100a. What a nice pair of in-ears these are…minus the quirks. Design and Features The overall look and feel is really quite clean specially this white or Glacier color variant that we have on hand. A black or Onyx color variant is also available. The housing of the drivers probably has the most premium vibe out of the whole product. This is probably due to the die-cast lightweight aluminum design of the housing. I really like the unpainted aluminum look on the Glacier variant because it looks clean and goes well with other devices with similar finish. The outer side of the housing has hashed groves around the edges which adds some texture to the tiny thing. The JBL logo is painted on the flat surface and was actually peeling off on our review unit…that can be a good thing if you hate brand logos. I wish that they etched the logo instead…using paint gives an impression that they got a mass produced in-ear headphone and plastered the JBL logo on it. Another thing you’ll quickly notice is the angled design of the ear-buds. It’s up to your preference if you like this or not, but I had a hard time fitting the Synchros S100a correctly. A simple trick I did was to switch the left and right buds…but that screws up stereo. The JBL Synchros S100a comes with a mic and remote that’s housed in plastic. The plastic feels OK…it doesn’t feel cheap nor does it feel premium, and it looks good. If anything I wish they’d smoothen out the edges where the plastic meet a little more. Do keep in mind that the remote of the Synchros S100a is not optimized for Apple...

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Harman / Kardon NC Noise-Canceling Headphones Review

Harman / Kardon has a line of headphones and what we have here is the NC or noise cancelling variant. We’re here to see how the Harman / Kardon NC over ear headphones performs from an average Juan’s perspective. Design and Features One look at this pair of headphones, you will immediately notice the square earcup design. Once you get past that, you’ll find that the earcups are matte black and that the headbands are made from steel with a nice brushed finish. Overall it feels very robust but not as heavy as some over ear headphones. The padding on the earcups looks to be made of memory foam and is covered by super soft leather like material. The earcups shape covers the ear very well and the padding is very comfortable. Other things you can find in the box include two cables, an airplane adapter, an extra headband, and a black leather travel case. Yes, you read it correctly, there is an extra headband. The Harman / Kardon NC’s headband can be changed depending on your head size because it does employ an adjustable headband. The one that’s attached to the earcups upon opening the box is the small headband while the extra headband is labeled large. Switching headbands is a fairly easy task. A visual guide is included in the box to help you along. Basically, to change the headband, you’ll remove the inner headband first, then twist the earcups backward, and then pull them away from the headband. Attaching the other headband is just as simple, you’ll just have to go through the process in reverse minus the twisting of the earcups. The connecting points in the headband and the earcups are all made from steel and they look really tough. So I wouldn’t worry about breaking the pegs with normal use. Also, you can’t interchange the earcups from left to right so we won’t have to worry about accidentally mixing up them up. The two cables included in the box...

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JAYS a-Jays One Earphones Review

Mar 06, 14 JAYS a-Jays One Earphones Review

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Gadgets, Reviews

Review: JAYS a-Jays One Looking for an earphone? Consider the entry level earphone from Jays – the a-Jays One. Jays, a Swedish manufacturer, is focused on making earphones and headphones that are reasonably priced without sacrificing sound quality. And they’ve hit the mark with the a-Jays One. The a-Jays One represents the entry level earphone of the a-Jays line up that promise heavy bass. The minimalistic design of the a-Jays One suits my taste very well and will surely appeal people looking for a low profile earphone. The housing has a semi-glossy finish and the back has the Jays branding plastered on it. I personally would have liked it better without the branding…but that option is available for higher models. The housing looks tough enough to endure some punishment, but I’m a careful guy so I think this would last a long long time in my hands. The a-Jays One comes with 5 pairs of silicone rubber sleeves in different sizes so we can pick one with the most comfortable fit. The silicone also works well in reducing ambient noise. I do not think that the silicone has enough hold to endure rigorous activities…unless you really stuff them in the ear. One highlight of the a-Jays series is the flat tangle-free cable…this doesn’t mean that the cables can never be tangled though. But in the rare chance that the cables get tangled, the flat cable makes it easy to untangled. The L and R labels are found on the inner side of the cables, right after the point where it meets the housing. I wish they made the labels a little more discrete though. The gold tipped 3.5mm audio jack is angled…this design has its advantages over the standard straight audio jacks. One advantage that I like is how the angled jack will not be so easily removed if the cables get tugged. The jack also designed to plugin a smartphone even with a cellphone casing or bumper on it. The sound quality is deep...

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Urbanears Zinken Review

Jan 03, 14 Urbanears Zinken Review

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Gadgets, Reviews

This is not the first time we’ve encountered this particular pair of headphones but it will be the first time this gets featured here at PTB. So how does the Urbanears Zinken fare? Build and Design As far as build quality and design goes, the Zinken definitely carries the Urbanears DNA with a pastel color scheme and the use of rubbery plastic materials. The headphones are closed and the size is what you’d expect for an on-ear headphones. The leather and foam that make up the ear pads are very soft and comfortable. The ear pads are supported by thick metal hinges that allows the ear pads to be folded inward to make it easier to stow away. The headband is nice and thick with a layer of thin padding that’s also covered in the same leather used in the ear pads. For a better fit, the Zinken utilizes an adjustment mechanism for the headband. The L and R channels are distinguished by etched letters on the metal hinges. A quicker approach would be to use the audio jack ports to distinguish the left from the right. The Zinken has a couple of audio ports; one port is 3.5mm found on one channel and the other is the 6.35mm port found in the other channel. Once the cable is in place, the extra port functions as an extension which allows us to plug another headphone or earphone. To compliment the dual port design, the audio cable or TurnCable has two different sized ends, and as you might have guessed, one end is 3.5mm and the other end is 6.35mm. If you need a 6.35mm jack, simply plug the 3.5mm jack to the corresponding port on the Zinken. If you need a 3.5mm jack, just plug the 6.35mm jack to the 6.35mm port on the Zinken. This is a nice feature that offers solid flexibility for people who jump from mobile devices that uses a 3.5mm jack to a studio sound board or turntable that uses...

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Canon Pixma MX927 All-In-One Wireless Printer Review

Dec 21, 13 Canon Pixma MX927 All-In-One Wireless Printer Review

Posted by in Featured, Imaging & Photography, Reviews

Canon is a familiar printer brand and we are lucky to have a Canon printer with us to test. The Pixma MX927 is an all-in-one printer that supports wireless printing for small to medium sized offices and it will be interesting to see how it performs printing photos. The Pixma MX927 has a slew of neat features and I’d like to mention those before tackling the print quality for photos, starting with the all-in-one design. The Pixma MX927 can print, scan, copy, and fax documents – these vital and common tasks in the office are handled by the Pixma MX927 with ease. Dedicated buttons are available to select the different modes of the printer and a 3” LCD displays the different settings for each mode. You might think that a multi-function device like this would have a lot of buttons, but Canon cleverly designed a keypad that changes as we switch between modes. The variable keypad is back lit and the values are not printed on the button. This makes the Pixma MX927 look uncluttered and easy to use because we are only presented with buttons that we need for a specific mode.   We can actually use the Pixma MX927 without a computer. We just have to refer to the LCD screen to manage out tasks. We can plug a USB flash drive or set it up to access the internet to download and print files without using a PC.    The Pixma MX927 is also WiFi ready and I did not have any troubles setting it up with my home network. We can set up Pixma Could Link to print files from popular cloud solutions like Dropbox or Evernote, or photos from Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. The Pixma MX927 is also Google Cloud Print ready so we can print files from our Google accounts. We can also setup an email address for the Pixma MX927 – any attachment sent to the email with be printed right away. Compatible with Apple’s AirPrint,...

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Divoom Bluetune Solo Wireless Speaker Review

Dec 12, 13 Divoom Bluetune Solo Wireless Speaker Review

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Reviews

The Bluetune Solo is another wireless speaker from Divoom, and this one is much smaller than their Onbeat-200 but promises to deliver more oomph. Let’s see if it does live up to its X-Bass label. The Bluetune Solo is a single speaker system that allows us to stream our music via Bluetooth and also answer our calls and function like a speakerphone. Unlike the Onbeat-200, the Bluetune Solo lacks volume controls and a 3.5mm audio jack input. But like the Onbeat-200, the Blutune Solo can function as a speaker phone and also does not come with a charger. The Bluetune Solo’s form factor is something that can definitely be pocketed…but a noticeable bulge will be hard to hide. The design is very reminiscent of a short soda can…or a futuristic hand grenade. The metallic matte finish on the main body will make oil smudges noticeable but the matte finish will not show any fingerprint. The top and bottom sections are capped off with a shiny silver plastic material that feels durable, but this will probably be the first parts to crack if the speaker gets dropped. The top is where we find the speaker grille, the X-BASS label, and the only button on the device. The button is used to answer phone calls and initiate the Bluetooth pairing sequence.    At the bottom, we have the power switch, a rubber lining, and a thin line of metal grille at the sides. The bottom panel is also were we find the 3.5mm auxiliary lineout and the micro USB charging port. The button at the top and LEDs at the bottom side grille lights up while it is on. Items included in the package is a nice and sporty drawstring pouch and a micro USB cable that’s used to charge the device. Like the Onbeat-200, this little bugger also does not include a charger… though it’s more understandable for this smaller device to exclude that. Pairing the device is pretty simple and I did not encounter...

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Divoom Onbeat-200 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

Nov 09, 13 Divoom Onbeat-200 Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

Posted by in Audio & Video, Featured, Reviews

Wireless speakers became a nice gadget to add on to a gadgeteer’s arsenal ever since it was popularized. Divoom is just one of many manufacturers out there and the entry level brick-looking speaker that they have is called the Onbeat-200. Design   The Onbeat-200 has a slightly ruggedized look and feel with the rubber walls that cover most of the device. The specifications do not indicate any shock resistance, so do not be fooled by its rugged looks. The front and the back are covered with a metal grille that’s designed with wavy creases to provide some depth and styling to an otherwise flat surface. The buttons up top allows us to control our mobile device. The raised plus and minus buttons allows us to adjust the volume, go forward, or backward a playlist. The square button in the middle allows us to stop or resume the music or answer a phone call. Generally the controls are pretty similar to an iRemote or that controller on the Ear Pods. Underneath the unit we have two raised sections that serve as stands for the Onbeat-200. Though these should be pretty flat and stable, I noticed that it was not perfectly flat and bulged in the middle. This made the speakers rock a bit. If this is a defect for the unit I have, then something this obvious should not have passed quality control. Despite the slight rocking, the rubbery material did compensate by providing good grip to prevent it from sliding easily to ensure that the Onbeat-200 stays put. On the side, the Onbeat-200 has a power toggle switch, a micro USB port, LED battery indicator, and the auxiliary 3.5mm audio port, and a hand strap slot. The micro USB is there to charge the speakers but the Onbeat-200 does not include a charger in the package. In the box, we have a micro USB cable, a 3.5mm audio cable for a wired connection, a hand strap, and a user manual. I am mentioning the...

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Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Oct 25, 13 Nokia Lumia 1020 Review

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews

Nokia recently launched the Nokia Lumia 1020 which is a huge improvement from their original PureView phone which was the Nokia 808. This time around, it’s slimmer and runs on Windows Phone 8 with some handy camera apps built-in. We were able to spend some time to tinker around with Lumia 1020 especially its 41-megapixel camera. Design and Construction The Nokia Lumia 1020 takes its cues from its predecessor, the Nokia 920, and in truth, there’s no real ground breaking difference as far as aesthetics go. It uses a durable polycarbonate unibody chassis that has a matte finish. The phone is not the thinnest out there, but it was the compromise made to accommodate the Pureview camera module. At the front there’s the 4.5” AMOLED screen with the standard capacitive touch buttons for Windows phones.    We have the microSIM card tray up top beside the 3.5mm headphone jack (covered by the sticker there). Then we’ve got a charging and micro-USB data port at the bottom along with the mic and speakers. At the right we have a volume rocker, the power or sleep button, and the camera trigger. But the most important feature of all is evident at the back side of the Nokia Lumia 1020 where we can see the slightly protruding Pureview camera module. The size of the phone is undeniably large and hefty for its screen size but it somehow fits comfortably in my hands. The extra weight, compared to other large screen smart phones, is actually quite nice. It feels like I’m holding a solid and durable device. Nokia Philippines is also bundling a Camera Grip accessory with the Nokia Lumia 1020 at no extra charge. This is an exclusive freebie for the Philippine market. The Camera Grip has a trigger button up top, and a tripod mount at the bottom. The front has a hole where the Pureview camera fits perfectly, and then we have a rubbery strip for improved grip. We can see the thicker grip which...

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A sneak peek of Windows 8.1

Microsoft granted us a sneak preview of Windows 8.1 here in Manila before it was made available as a free upgrade last Oct. 17. The seemingly incremental update includes many small adjustments that improve overall usability and user experience that add up. Kazuhiro Arai, Microsoft Philippines Marketing and Operations Director; Mae Moreno, Microsoft Philippines Windows Client Business Lead Some notable changes are the return of the start button, better customizable tiles and background, easy enterprise access, app locker, and improved multitasking split screen. Yes the Start button is back but it works different in Windows 8.1. What’s nice is that now we can shut down the device without using the power button by using a menu option when we right-click the Start button. The right-click menu also allows other “traditional” options like bringing up the control panel, search, run, task manager, and file explorer just to name a few. Now we can also customize and organize the Live Tiles much quicker. This is done be allowing us to select multiple tiles, resize them as needed, and organize then in groups. The background can now also be changed by using a wallpaper that we can further customize by “tweaking” the color. It’s not clear though how the color changing will work if we use an actual photograph as the background, or if it is possible at all. Another demoed feature is the improvement in the multitasking split screen interface. In Windows 8.1, we can now adjust split by dragging it left or right to allot more screen space for an app we’re running. Also, Microsoft removed the resolution limitation for split screen multitasking; so now it doesn’t matter how small the resolution on your tablet is. Microsoft Philippines also showed how simple it is to setup a Windows 8.1 device in an office network. They made an interface in the setting menu where all we have to do is put in the company domain and that’s it. No more troublesome trips to the IT support...

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Lenovo launches four new A-series budget smartphones

Lenovo releases more A series Android smartphones, with the new dual-SIM Lenovo A269i, A369i, A516 and A850. Targeted for the students, these budget friendly phones are still equipped with solid features. “…We are strengthening our smartphone footprint in the Philippines with the “value for money” A series smartphones to cater to the youth market who wants to be connected 24/7 and to the rest of the Philippine population who have yet to own a smartphone,” said Michael Ngan, Country General Manager, Lenovo Philippines. The new A series lineup are more usable and responsive because they are powered with dual and quad core processors that run on the latest Android OS, unlike other entry level smartphones. The new smartphones also come with an IPS screen that provides accurate color rendition and superb viewing angles. Lenovo A269i The Lenovo A269i is the low-end of the A series lineup and is a very economical and practical smartphone. Despite being the most affordable unit in the lineup, the A269i is packed with dual SIM support, a 2 megapixel rear camera, 256MB RAM, 512MB internal storage, a microSD card bay, 3.5–inch HVGA screen display, and a 1GHz dual core CPU running on Android Gingerbread OS. The Lenovo A269i is available in black and is designed simply to get things done. Available by the end of October, this smartphone has a low, low Php 2,799 price-tag. Lenovo A369i The Lenovo A369i is a great and inexpensive alternative to many feature phones. With the Jelly Bean OS and a 1.3GHz Dual-Core processor, this phone provides a smooth smartphone experience and can handle games as well. The slightly bigger 4” HVGA screen display allows for a better viewing experience…and it’s a dual-SIM phone too. This smartphone is available in two colors, black and white, to fit your personality. The A369i is now available for Php 4,499. Lenovo A516 The Lenovo A516 comes in charcoal grey and is designed with elegant curved edges for improved ergonomics. The large and vibrant 4.5” IPS screen...

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