reviews

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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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We first caught a glimpse of the Wikipad back at CES in 2012, when it was formally known as the 10-inch WikiPad:3D, but a lot has changed in the past year. Today, the Tegra-powered slate hit the shelves as a 7-inch Android gaming tablet with some pretty impressive specifications.

The Wikipad was essentially designed to compete with the likes of the NVIDIA Shield and the Archos GamePad. The team behind this new gaming tablet are hoping that it has got what it takes to battle against its competitors and be the king of the mobile-gaming market.

But does this 7-inch tablet have what it takes to make its way to the top? I’ve been testing it for the past three weeks to find out.

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Anyone dismissing the Sony MDR-X10 headphones as simply yet another bombastic, over-the-top, celebrity-designed fashion statement for teenage bass junkies would be wrong. Easily forgiven, but wrong.

While most of those descriptive terms ring true — the big, lurid cans apparently received design input from none other than big, lurid entertainment personality Simon Cowell, and they’re definitely aimed toward the bass-obsessed — the X10s differ significantly from their brethren, and actually stand out prominently against an ocean of boom.

In other words, if you’re looking for bass-heavy headphones, this is your first stop; but even if you’re not, the X10s are so good they might win you over anyway.

MDR-X10 by Sony
Category: Headphones
Price: $200
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