Posts tagged reviews-2

kanto-yu2 003

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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Noise-cancelling headphones are suddenly all the rage. It certainly seems as if every big player in the audio game has at least one model that features active noise-canceling, usually accompanied by other luxury features — and with a corresponding luxury pricetag. Even manufacturers who’ve only recently begun making cans, like Logitech UE and Klipsch, prominently feature active noise-canceling in their model lineups.

It may even seem as if the technology has been added to some models simply because it’s become the feature du jour — an impression strengthened by the fact that not all noise canceling is the same. Not even remotely.

None of the headphones in our showdown — the Klipsch Mode M40 ($350), the Logitech UE 6000 ($200) or the Monster Inspiration ANC ($300), the noise-canceling version of the regular, passive Inspiration model we reviewed last year — exhibits the powerful noise-canceling ability that can almost completely drown out noise, like that of the Bose QuietComfort 15. Nor do they sit on the next level down, with NC performance similar to, say, Audio Technica’s ATH-ANC7b (although one here comes close).

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As video surveillance goes, Netgear’s VueZone system is about as easy and user-friendly as it gets. But does VueZone sacrifice power and performance for ease-of-use? We tested the two-camera system, which cam with two motion-detecting cameras, four magnetic mounts and the master gateway for $290. It also came with a one-month trial subscription to the Premier service subscription; the no-frills Basic service, which allows you to montitor up to two cameras remotely from your computer, is free.

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I have a complicated relationship with gloves. On the one hand, I love that they keep my fingers from falling off in frigid weather. But then there’s the frustration at their complete lack of cooperation when I’m trying to use the touchscreen on my phone. As a result, I end up either constantly removing and re-donning my gloves in an endless cycle that freezes my delicate fingers anyway — or abandoning my phone altogether in disgust.

The problem is that most touchscreens rely on our fingers to act as conductors, and conventional gloves block that conductivity. But glove-makers have rolled with the times, and there are solutions — gloves that allow conductivity to pass through the glove’s fabric and onto the screen. One of the most buzzed about is Outdoor Research’s Sensor Gloves ($69), which use real leather that doesn’t appear or feel any different than leather used in non-conductive gloves.

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