reviews

WaterField-wallet

When you buy a smartphone wallet case, the chances are you’re going to have to make some cutbacks — because the vast majority of them only carry a small number of cards. But that’s not the case with the Finn wallet from WaterField Designs, which has plenty of space for your phone and all the cards and cash you can carry.

Finn by WaterField Designs
Category: Wallet Cases
Works With: Everything
Price: $39+

Finn’s available in four different sizes: the size 25 model is designed to be a wallet only, but the other three — size 27, size 42, and size 69 — are designed to carry your smartphone as well. Of course, the larger the Finn, the bigger the smartphone you can stash into it (and the more it’ll cost you).

I’ve been reviewing the size 25 and the size 69, which measures 5.5 inches by 3.3 inches, and is designed to carry an HTC One or a Galaxy S4, according to WaterField’s website — but it’s compatible with a whole bunch of other smartphones, too. I’ve mostly been using mine with a Nexus 5, but I’ve used HTC, Samsung, and BlackBerry handsets with it, too.

WaterField calls Finn “the best wallet ever,” so let’s see if it lives up to those claims.

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YU2 by Kanto
Category: media speakers
Price: $229

Kanto’s YU2s seem to come from a time when speakers were solid, simple structures; proud temples to sound that said of their owners, Hey, I’m serious about music, and I know what I’m doing. Aesthetics were important, of course, but unquestioningly took a backseat to sound. Sound was king.

If you haven’t heard of Kanto before, that’s OK — the Canadian outfit just sprouted up in the Vancouver suburbs around five years ago. The YU2s are Kanto’s latest speakers, the smallest of their lineup of a half-dozen or so, and they’re designed to fit unobtrusively on a bookshelf or desk and play music from your computer or mobile device.

The YU2′s performance during our review, however, was nothing short of astonishing — and they could very capably substitute for larger speakers in a variety of roles.

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Street By 50 ANC Headphones by SMS Audio
Category: active noise-canceling headphones
Price: $280

Surprise: These cans aren’t quite the flashy, youthful boombasts their outward appearance suggest (yes, that’s a good thing). And, surprise: There’s much more here than simply a nod at the term “active noise cancellation.”

SMS, which is helmed by Rapper 50 Cent, jumped into the headphone game just shy of three years ago. At that time the lion’s share of attention was directed toward their wireless Sync cans, which stream music via the somewhat uncommon Kleer technology. But that doesn’t mean the rest of SMS’s broad, diverse lineup should be ignored, and that assertion is well-supported by the performance — and, yes, dash of flash – of the wired, active noise-canceling Street by 50 ANC headphones.

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MA750i by RHA
Category: canalphones
Price: $130

There aren’t many in-ear monitors made of steel. Aluminum? Yes. Plastic? Wads. But steel-bodied IEMs — now that’s a rare find. There’s good reason for this: Though the material is solid, hard-wearing and, according to some, produces a cleaner sound, it’s heavy — which can make steel-housed IEMs often uncomfortable and annoyingly ill-fitting.

But forget all that. Scottish-based RHA have managed to make the stainless steel-bodied MA750i supremely comfortable and well-fitted, even under heavy action. In fact, RHA absolutely nailed it perfectly with these ‘phones in every single category that matters, with only two or three minor trade-offs.

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Urchin by Boom
Category: Bluetooth speaker/speakerphone
Works With: Bluetooth
Price: $150

What really sets the youthful, rough-and-tumble Boom Urchin apart from the rest of its brethren in the crowded Bluetooth speaker market is its flexibility.

Like other ruggedized BT speakers, the Urchin can withstand splashes and moderate abuse — but Boom has also equipped the Urchin with a smart array of effective, fun, useful little accessories that allow the Urchin to easily tag along on adventures that might be awkward for other speakers.

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