Portable Media Players


Boomstick Lets Crappy Headphones Sound Better

Sitting on the kitchen table when I returned from CES were a pair of nondescript black earbuds. You know, the free type that reinforce the notion that you get what you pay for. “What are these?” I asked. “I used them for a conference call today,” said Raina. They were the perfect test earbuds for the new Boomstick headphone accessory. I’ll admit it. My work with Gear Diary has spoiled me. I’ve heard $1500 headphones from HARMAN that use the latest technology and were tuned by none other than Quincy Jones. I’ve reviewed Blue’s first foray into the headphone market….


Logitech Harmony Smart Remote Universal Remote System Review

When I first had the opportunity to check out the Samsung GALAXY Note 8.1 tablet, I didn’t expect to think much of the inclusion of an IR blaster that allows the tablet to function as a smart remote for your tv and media system. Much to my surprise, I liked having the option to use the tablet to control my various entertainment systems. After all who needs to juggle multiple remotes when one device can replace them all? The Griffin Beacon (read about it) sought to do just that by turning your iPhone into a remote using an iOS app…


Libratone Zipp AirPlay Speaker Review

Last week I offered a first look and video of the Libratone Zipp. The airplay speaker fuses European aesthetics with Cupertinian technology. The round speaker works fine at home, but it also runs on battery power so you can take it on the go. Libratone, who already offered two different speakers designed for home use has now made a speaker that is ready to, as they put it, “Leave the House”. From Libratone: Share your music anywhere, anytime! Libratone Zipp is an easy-to-use, wireless sound system wrapped in changeable Italian wool. Stream your favourite tunes with PlayDirect™ and AirPlay technology, directly…


The Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player Review

I love Sandisk’s Sansa line because they are cheap, use standard connectors and work on just about any OS.  So when they offered to send me the new Clip Zip to review for Gear Diary I jumped at the chance.  Will it be as nice as their past devices?  Let’s find out. The Clip Zip is the next version of the Clip.  My friends in the Linux community have much love for the Clip.  It’s cheap, supports Ogg Vorbis codecs, and it connects to your computer as conveniently as any flash drive. That means you can us any OS that…


Saved by ‘Old’ Technology!

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – the iPod Touch is the worst iPod I have ever owned. Why do I say that? Because one of my main listening modes is in the car to and from work and between different offices, and changing anything requires you to look at the iPod Touch – and therefore away from whatever else you are doing! And as Carly mentioned here, that can be a very dangerous prospect. For a long time I used a second generation 4GB iPod Nano, but the screen slowly stopped functioning and then the…


SanDisk Brings Out the Sansa Clip Zip

While I do like iPods, I still love other MP3 players as well.  One of my favorites is the Sansa Fuze+ after the latest firmware update.  Sandisk also has made many other Sansas, and one of the Linux community’s favorite ones has been the Sansa Clip.  Just when I didn’t think the Clip could get any better, Sandisk brings out the Clip Zip, which adds some nice things to the Clip’s form factor. Stylish, Feature-Rich Player Delivers Affordable On-The-Go Music Experience   ·         Packed with features, including a larger color screen, compatibility with all major music formats, a stopwatch, an…


Review: Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iOS

It looks funny. It does exactly what it promises. And, at least for me, it is in the running for “iOS Accessory of the Year”. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit but I’m pretty serious about how cool I think this iOS hardware/app combination is. The Griffin Beacon is the universal remote on steroids. With this odd piece of plastic powered by four AA batteries and a free download from the App Store I have taken my Samsung HDTV remote, my TiVo remote AND my Apple TV remote and put them away. Now all I need is one of my iOS…


iPad Accessory Review: Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage

Storing information in the cloud is all good and well but with tiered data plans becoming the norm the idea of constantly streaming music and video becomes a bit problematic. After all, depending upon your plan, streaming just a couple of movies could all but do in your monthly allotment. That leaves just three possibilities. You can either constantly juggle the content stored on your mobile device (a royal pain), you can buy the largest capacity device possible And be selective about what goes on it (expensive and the iPad tops out at 64GB) or you can find some way to access…


Review: Aluratek Cinepal HD Personal Media Player

Something has changed with my use of all of my devices. Due to memory issues, I have gone back to using dedicated devices. I listen to music on an iPod rather than my iPhone and have been looking for a better way to show off my photos and videos than the iPad. It is funny how I have gone full circle with the devices back to a day where I kept many things separate. The Cinepal HD Personal Media Player is a product that could solve some of my issue of photos and video. Let’s take a look. The Cinepal…


The Consequences of Distracted Driving

I got into a fender bender last night. Luckily no one was hurt, and as for the damage to my car (see above), well, that’s what insurance is for. In the aftermath, though, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking on how easily I let myself get distracted while driving, not just yesterday but in general…and fortuitously, this afternoon I came across my old iPod shuffle. If you’re wondering how I went from distracted driving to iPod shuffle, it’s not that crazy a leap. I usually use my Droid for music in my car, either using the built-in music…


GD Quickie: Sansa Fuze+ Firmware Update Makes the Fuze+ Usable!

A while back I reviewed the Sansa Fuze+ from Sandisk.  Back then, the way the player was locked would wreak havoc with it.  You would lock it and then the heat of your body would unlock it even when it wasn’t moving all that much in my pocket. Well, Sandisk has released an update to their firmware that changes the lock function and moves it from holding the play button in to lock to pressing in the power button on the top.  To unlock, you just tap the power button which takes a lot more effort to do and now it is…


Review: Monsoon Vulkano Deluxe Pro

I spent a large portion of the summer building a nice deck just outside my back door.  Once it was finished we would sit out there under the bright Texas stars and I would tell my wife I needed a way to watch sports out there.  My WiFi is full strength on the deck, but I could rarely watch live sporting events.  If only I could watch on my iPad or iPhone or even laptop.  Enter the Monsoon Vulkano to grant my wish!  The Vulkano sports technology for TV placeshifting, digital video recording, internet video playback, universal plug and play…


Review: Sandisk Sansa Fuze+ Media Player

Sandisk has long produced the Fuze line of mp3 players and while they aren’t nearly as popular as Apple’s products, they do indeed have a following within certain communities.  Since Sandisk has long had compatibility with open codecs such as Ogg Vorbis , the Linux and Open Source community loves them.  Many of my friends have them and I purchased the last generation Fuze for my wife.  I was impressed with what Sandisk had done with the device as well as with its price.  Sandisk was nice enough to send me the new Fuze+ to review.  Did it improve upon the…


Review: Altec Lansing MIX iMT800 Dock for iPhone and iPod

I grew up in the 80’s.  The 80’s was the decade of big hair, hair bands, break dancing and boom boxes.  Never have I seen a dock for iPhone and iPod that brings back memories from the 80’s like the Altec Lansing MIX iMT800. The MIX has big boom box looks like no other dock I have seen.  In the 80’s, the middle portion of the boom box would have been dominated by a cassette deck.  Instead of a cassette deck, this one has port with a dock connector and an arm that slides up to take the iPhone or…


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: The Sony Walkman…Now With Bluetooth

There it was.  At last!  Writ large upon the outer wrapping of the new Sony NWZ-A828K Digital Media Player (which most of you will know as a Walkman).  There were the words I have longed to hear from a media player for so many years.  The box read: WIRELESS. Enjoy music wirelessly with the supplied Bluetooth stereo headset. Yes, that is right folks.  This will be my first media player review without the patented Bluetooth rant.  And really, having found a media player with Bluetooth, I might as well end the review right here.  Nice job, Sony!  But no, as…


The Archos 604 WiFi Review

Rounding off my list of the three personal media players (PMPs) that I plan to review–I’ve already done the Cowon A2 and the Creative Zen Vision W–it’s time for the Archos 604 WiFi. (I didn’t do an unboxing on this one, kids; sorry, I’ve just been too durn busy with “real” work.) The Archos has specs very similar to that of the Zen Vision and the Cowon A2: 10.23 oz (290g) 4.3″, 480×272 screen 133mm (wide) x 78mm (high) x 18mm (thick) 30 GB hard disk space 5 hours rated of battery time built-in mic built-in external speaker A/V port…


Creative Zen Vision W Unboxing

After my disappointing experience with the Cowon A2 –and yup, I did return it–but still determined to see if a personal media player (PMP) can be a good thing to have around, I decided to give the Creative Zen Vision W a try (I’m still on the waiting). Once again, the basic specs of the device are intriguing: Creative Zen Vision W (the widescreen version), available at various places for around $300 (30GB) or $375 (60GB) 9.7oz/276g (30GB); 10.5oz/297g (60GB) 4.3″, 480×272 pixel TFT screen (landscape mode, ‘natch) built-in FM radio personal info management (PIM) capability–according to the web site,…


The Cowon A2 Personal Media Player Review

This has been a very, very difficult review for me to write. Most gadgets, I find I either like them, or dislike them, or just feel kind of “eh” about them. The Cowon A2, on the other hand, arouses some pretty powerful conflicting feelings in me. I’ll try to give you all a full idea why throughout the review, but the bottom line for me with this device is, I’m totally conflicted, and there is no bottom line. So read on, and decide for yourself. I’ve been playing with the Cowon A2 personal media player (PMP) for a few weeks…


Cowon A2 Unboxing

I recently got a “Thanks for all your good work!” bonus from one of my contracts as I was eased out the door, and couldn’t wait to spend it on something. So, being a gadget fiend, I had to spend some of it on a gadget, of course. As folks who read here regularly may know, I’m a totally obsessed fanatic about viewing movies on portable devices–Windows Mobile devices, Palm devices, what have you. Recently, there has been a lot of development in the portable media player (PMP) area, where the devices are getting more and more sophisticated, and there’s…