Audio Visual Gear

Review: Myvu Crystal 701 Personal Media Viewer

Even though the screen is small, I enjoy watching video on my iPhone and iPod Touch. No, it will never match the experience of watching a movie on a 50 inch hi-definition LCD, but it is more than merely functional- it is a pleasant experience. I’ve had my eye on Myvu’s various offerings for some time, watching carefully as each new one was released. I have wondered if they really worked.  And, assuming they did work, wondered whether the experience of watching video through Myvu would be that much better than viewing on my iPhone. So, when the opportunity to…


Review- Cygnett’s GroovePowerPack and GrooveSafari: Complete Accessory Pack for iPod

The number of Apple-branded media devices in my house has grown significantly over the past year. With the number of devices now floating around my abode it is always helpful to have an array of available connectivity, charging and docking options. (This became even more important when upgrading the devices to the new 2.0 firmware since it significantly downgraded their battery life.) Problem is, those accessories can add up quickly. Enter Cygnett’s GroovePowerPack and GrooveSafari. The GroovePowerPack has every connectivity option you might want for your iPod or iPod Touch. It includes- Each piece of the GroovePack is simply styled…


Jaybird JB-200 Bluetooth Headphones and Adapters

Bluetooth stereo headphones are really starting to proliferate.  Not all headsets are created equal, that much is certain.  While I do like my standby headphones, the Insignia Bluetooth headphones, sometimes I wish I had a lighter set for when I am working out; this set fits the bill nicely. Jaybird sent me the JB-200 headset with adapters for the iPod and for standard stereo headphone jacks.  The JB-200’s come with a nice dock.  To charge the headphones, you plug the USB cable into the USB charger; I have also tried a standard USB port and the Ted Baker charging kit,…


Agent18 FlowerVest for iPod Touch Review

As part of her transition to the iPhone after years as a devout Treo user, my wife has been using an iPod Touch for the last month. At first she was using a hard-shelled case I had “laying around” to protect it. That changed last week when I received a box from our friends at Agent18 containing two of their new FlowerVest cases for the iPod Touch. “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself upon opening the box, “a flowered case… how am I going to review that?” “Nice cases,” said my better half, “I’d love to use one of those.” So…


Orb Mod 2 Speaker System Review: Getting aA Big Sound from a Small Speaker System

In case you have not been able to tell from my plethora of media player and headphone reviews, I am something of an audiophile (heck, I was even a DJ at parties and weddings in college).  I have built my home theatre system over the past couple of years, carefully selecting each component.  The one thing which has always eluded me, however, are quality speakers which will fit in my space without sacrificing sound quality.  I have a set of bookshelf speakers that I got in law school.  They were cheap…and they sound cheap.  Not terrible, but nothing to write…


The AblePlanet LINX AUDIO Wireless Infrared Headphone Review

Every time I see that commercial where the older couple is laying in bed, the one where the wife growls at her husband, “can you turn that down?”, and then he sighs as he pulls out this cheesy looking amplifier device so he can watch TV in peace without turning the sound up any higher, I think man…if he only had a set of wireless headphones. If he did, then he could enjoy his show and she could sleep in peace and not be such a cranky witch. Seriously. I recently got to test just such a solution, and today…


iHome iP99 iPhone Radio Dock Reviewed

I’ve been using the iHome IP99 as a clock radio for the past week. This $149 device claims to filter out the annoying “buzz buzz” that is commonly heard when the iPhone receives or sends data. With other standard radios you can get around this issue by putting your iPhone into “Airplane” mode. However that means you won’t receive any calls or data. The iHome claims to fix this by filtering out the buzzing. Does it work? Sorta kinda. Keep reading for the details.


USBFever iPod/iPhone FM Transmitter Review

There isn’t an easier way to get your iPod’s sound out to a car stereo than using an FM transmitter. No wires, no cassette adapters, just plug it in, tune your radio to the right station and out comes your music. Problem is at lot of the time they are rubbish. I have tried several over the years and none of them could produce a clear signal at any time, it was constantly crackly and awful. A few days ago when I received the USB Fever FM Transmitter I was expecting more of the same, but I was pleasantly surprised.


Review: Insignia Pilot 8GB and the Insignia Bluetooth Headphones

I have a confession to make: I am a iPod owner who dislikes his iPod. I don’t hate the iPod; quite the contrary, I really like it but am frustrated by it’s caretaker, Apple. For everything Apple has done right, there’s lots of things that it has done wrong. For example, if you look at the files on the iPod itself you’ll see undecipherable file names for each of your music files. Plus there’s Apple’s Love/Hate relationship with DRM. Then there’s codec limitations. You can listen to MP3, AAC,Protected AAC, Apple Lossless, Audible, WAV and AIFF, but what about open…


The KICKER iKICK iK500 Stereo System Review

Back in the late 80s, when every spare dime I had went into car stereo components, I bought my first KICKER product. It was a subwoofer speaker box which fit perfectly into the space behind the seats in my silver Alfa Romeo. Never mind that it took up valuable cargo space; I still had a trunk, and I got a free back-massage every time I turned on my stereo. When I sold that car, I was able to unplug a few wires and easily remove my rear speaker system; that box was eventually transferred into several more vehicles before I…


The Maximo Products iMetal iPhone Headsets Review

As anyone who owns an iPhone can tell you, a slight problem becomes apparent when you want to replace the stock stereo headset, namely that the iPhone’s headphone jack is deeply recessed, and the average 3.5mm plug simply can’t fit inside without trimming the rubber shielding the plug. When you are considering dropping some serious coin on a headset, the idea of butchering it simply doesn’t appeal; that’s when a model made specifically for the iPhone is the only “right” choice.



Logitech Z Cinéma Advanced Surround Sound System Review

When I first saw these speakers I thought that they looked great, and the fact that they came with a remote was a bonus.  Let’s see if they stand up to my standards in regards to audio quality and compatibility with my favorite OS, Linux. In the package was a sub woofer with two satellite speakers, as well as a Windows Media Center compatible IR remote control.


M2 Media Converter Review: Play Your Videos The Way They Were Intended to Be Seen…on Any Device.

One of the problems I have always found with gadgets and technology is that the more useful they get, the less useable they become.  What does that mean, exactly?  Well, the best way to explain this is by looking at an example, such as digital video.  I know an awful lot of people (many of whom read Gear Diary) who like to watch videos on the media players or iPods.  The problem here is that digital video is not a particularly useable medium.  In fact, it can be downright difficult, with dozens of different formats available.  It always seems like…


The Whoomp! Earbud Enhancers Review: Apple’s Dirty Little Secret

I’m no Apple-basher. Sure, I use a Dell at work and an HP laptop at home, but my girlfriend is on Apple laptop number three in the past four years, and I went to college near Cupertino in the second half of the 1980’s. If you went to Stanford, you just accepted that you were supposed to pay three grand for a Mac SE and an Imagewriter. So I did. iPod devotee? Yup, that’s me too. At last count there were four different models in my household, and iTunes should send me a Christmas card. But there’s one thing that…


Logitech Harmony One Review

Based upon the fact that I write for a site like Gear Diary, it should come as no surprise that I suffer from a long-diagnosed addiction to gadgets.  Of course, one of the biggest problems with this collection of gadgetry is that each one comes with its own remote control.  Many components in my system are different brands, resulting in incompatible controls.  While I could find a universal remote at any electronics store, this usually involves a complicated system of programming the controls manually by entering a series of numeric codes for each component.  Setting up a remote like this…


Review: Sansa Sessions, free music for your new Sansa Fuze

SanDisk has recently announced their new Fuze MP3 Player and also a companion to the player, a card for a free MicroSD card that has music with no DRM on it to promote over 50 new artists.  This is called Sansa Sessions.  Some of the artists included on the MicroSD are All Time Low, Ladytron, Magnet, Nada Surf, Of Montreal, The Coup and many more. Image courtesy of  SanDisk Sandisk sent me the 512 MB MicroSD which not only had  55 tracks of music on it, but it also had 8 music videos and some low res bmp’s of the…


The SimpleTech Signature Mini USB 2.0 Portable Drive Review

Is it ever possible to be too obsessive about backing up your data? I’ve learned not to think so. Need I remind anyone of the events of March 1? Yeah, I thought not. Since the crash I have learned exactly how obsessive some people can be when it comes to their backup methods. For instance, many of you read the transcripts – perhaps with some amusement – where Ewdi told me his method: Here is what gives me piece of mind on our network: I use two hard drives, 1 is main and 1 is mirroring (in case 1 hdd…


DLO StrapWrap Review

[Ed. note: Just for fun – leave a count in the comments section of how many times the word “strap” appears in this review, and I will choose a random winner (of an equally random prize) from the correct entries on April 3rd. Update: questionfear is the winner!] As summer is approaching, I often don’t have a handy pocket that I can stick my MP3 player into since I’m no longer wearing a coat. Sure, I can wear a shirt with a pocket on the front, but then I couldn’t wear a lot of my wardrobe since I have a…


The Targus 100W Auto Power Inverter Review

I just missed posting this review in time for Texas’ Spring Break, but it should still be timely for everyone who plans on traveling this summer. I’ll warn you now though, in order to use this product you’ll need to give up one of your vehicle’s cup-holders. Why would I ask for something so uncivilized? Because by giving up a cup-holder you might just gain the means to charge up to three devices at the same time, all from a single cigar lighter or power port. Intrigued? I was, which is how I came to be in possession of the…