Loudspeaker Stories September 28, 2015

expiredDaily Deals: APC Back-UPS 550VA 8-outlet UPS $42, BenQ 1080p DLP Projector $630, more

In this morning’s Daily Deals, Amazon is offering the APC Back-UPS 550VA 8-outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply for $41.99 with free shipping as one of its Gold Box Deals of the Day. As a pricing comparison, it carries a list price of $70, but generally sells for around $57. Today’s deal is the best price we’ve seen in years for this UPS. It feeds battery backup power to your computer, home theater peripherals, and other electronics during power outages. The added juice will give you enough time to safely power down your gear or access important data. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from 2,962 Amazon reviewers.

Amazon also has APC’s Network Backup UPS on sale for $40 shipped (Reg. $65). This UPS is designed to keep your wireless router and other low-power network gear running during a power outage.

More new deals for today

BenQ (MH680) DLP Projector Black/Silver $630 (Orig. $2,000) | Best Buy

Continue on for a roundup of our best deals:

Loudspeaker Stories September 24, 2015

If regular portable speakers don’t appeal, try the Lyrix Axis. It levitates, charges wirelessly, and pumps out great sound. You can currently grab one for $140 shipped via 9to5Toys Specials.

The speaker part of the Lyrix is the floating orb, which is kept hovering by the electromagnetic base. The base also provides wireless power, although the orb has a rechargeable battery, meaning it can be used independently for hours of playback. Along with impressive Bluetooth audio quality, the orb has physical controls and an LED belt that provides a colorful display. The lack of sound distortion is particularly noticeable; because the orb is levitating, it does not make other surfaces vibrate. When the base isn’t being used to charge the speaker, it can also charge other USB devices via the in-built port.

If you are trying to find a gift for the person who has everything, this is definitely a good option. The current deal takes 30% off the regular price, and shipping is free to the Continental US.

Loudspeaker Stories June 28, 2015

I’ve been using the Eton Scorpion II Model NSP101WXGR Rugged for over a month now. Eton specializes in making durable emergency weather radios and this is their new “everything portable model”. In the small package, it contains:

  • A STRONG.5W LED flashlight. Lots of USB batteries contain LED flashlights now. This one is brighter than all of the others’ put together. It is a real flashlight as opposed to a pen/key light.
  • Receives AM/FM/NOAA Weatherband radio. The radio is great with the antenna pulled out pulling in many stations. I don’t like the design of the buttons (would almost be impossible to navigate in the dark) and the speaker isn’t great. Overall a win though because you are trying not to die not hear the “midtones and lows”.
  • The digital Tuner also has a clock which turns on any time you hit a button.
  • It is super small, portable and rugged with a cool green tone design. I love the design and it is totally droppable and water resistant.
  • 5V 1A USB output charges smartphones with a 800 mAh lithium battery. This isn’t huge but will give you a few hours in a crunch. Even more impressive, there are 3 ways to charge the battery: hand crank, Solar and MicroUSB. The solar isn’t going to keep your iPhone charged, but it will keep the device ready for when you need it in a window. The hand crank will charge your phone. Like a fishing reel, about 20 cranks will add a bar of battery to the device. I think you could probably operate the emergency radio on solar alone. 
  • Bottle opener – because just because the lights are out doesn’t mean you should stop the party.

So I see two use cases for this device. One is an emergency device that you keep at home in a window solar charged for when your power goes out. That’s where I used it.

However, with the carabiner and the ruggedness, I think i this is geared toward campers and cars where it can clip to your backpack and provide you with lights, radio and extra power (bottle opener) when you need it.

At $50, it seems like a very worthy investment for me. expand full story

Loudspeaker Stories June 4, 2015

The Bose Soundlink Mini is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker of its size to my ears and I’ve tested quite a few. The sound is simply unbelievable and Amazon’s reviewers confirm my experience.

But it had some drawbacks in convenience that others like JBL and Ultimate Ears were able to capitalize on to make more “Well rounded” speakers. Bose had a proprietary AC charger, it couldn’t be used as a speakerphone, its battery life was mediocre and it also could only pair with one device at a time.

Bose_SoundLink_Mini_speaker_II (2)

We knew something was up last month when Bose dropped the price of the Soundlink Mini to $179 across the board  and today we find out that our gripes above have been addressed with the Soundlink Mini II.

Bose_SoundLink_Mini_speaker_II (1)

What’s new? We got just about everything we wanted and frankly expected when Bose released the smaller feature rich $129 Soundlink Color. Bose now lets you charge with the standard MicroUSB plug. That means you can use USB computer ports and plugs, external batteries and a whole ecosystem of products you already have to keep the Soundlink Mini II charged. Paradoxically, you won’t need to charge it as often because it now has an almost double-sized battery and playing time now rated at a more premium 10 hours. It will continue to have a charger stand which I found very convenient in the previous model.

The Mini II also now has a mic, allowing you to make speakerphone calls.  I haven’t tried it (review is on the way) but I imagine Bose has taken great care to eliminate echo and blow out its noise canceling technologies with this product. I really can’t wait.

Bluetooth pairing has also improved with it remembering  8 devices and actually pairing two at the same time. Also voice commands help with the pairing process.

Finally Bose has added some cosmetic touches including an updated beveled accent and a micro-perforated steel grille (though no mention of water resistance/proofing). I didn’t really ask for these but will take them.

Pricing/ordering/loving?

This is guaranteed a winner with pre-orders starting today at Bose.com for the same $199 price point (and currently on Amazon) and shipping from authorized retailers on June 21st. Prices on the original Mini stood firm during its whole run so there seems to be little reason to wait on this one, unless you want to get our review which we hope to have up by the time they go on sale. Update: Here’s the review and the money quote: “Inch for inch, Bose produces the best sound of any portable speaker I’ve ever heard”

Remaining gripes are few but there is no USB out to charge your phone like the JBL Charge II and the form factor isn’t quite as convenient as the Charge II or UE Boom (cup holder form factor FTW). Also water resistance again like the Boom or JBL Charge would be a cherry on top. The tradeoff is of course sound which we know the Bose Soundlink Mini II will blow the others “out of the water” (Son, that’s a water proofing joke).

Bose Press release and additional images follow: expand full story

Loudspeaker Stories May 22, 2015

4e0f0856e7293634242b968173b286809a610533 main hero image

9to5Toys Specials currently has the Veho Retro Leather Bluetooth Speaker for $65 with free shipping. It is$40 cheaper than Amazon and combines wireless audio with classy looks to make a great gift for Dad.

Unlike many of its competitors, the Veho stands out visually with classic elegance rather than brash colors. The carry handle is made from leather, and the housing is made from brushed aluminum. But this speaker also makes its mark with sound — it delivers an impressive six watts of audio through dual acoustic drivers, coupled with two speakers. In combination with a crystal-clear wireless Bluetooth connection, this makes for a high-fidelity sound. The Veho has a 1,800mAh internal battery, which can last for 8 hours of playback, and a microphone for handsfree calling. This is all packed into a speaker that is 2.08 inches thick, and weighs just 1.23 pounds. Order it now to guarantee delivery by Father’s Day! (US only)

  • High-quality brushed aluminum housing
  • Clear Bluetooth connectivity
  • Stylish retro leather strap
  • Built-in microphone for hands-free calls
  • Dual acoustic drivers and two powerful speakers for a wide audio spectrum
  • 1,800mAh battery for up to 8 hours of playback time

Get 62% off the Veho speaker here.

Loudspeaker Stories October 14, 2014

Verizon wireless has the Logitech UE Mini Boom for only $79.99 shipped as their “Accessory of the Month” for all of October. That’s $20 off the regular price and the best offer we could find. We gave it rave reviews at 9to5mac giving its benefits over its predecessor:

So what’s different?

1. The whole internal structure has changed to optimize the type of sound the Ultimate Ears group wanted to provide.

2. It is both louder and crisper at higher volumes as well. It is another class…to quote Spinal Tap, they’ve gone to 11 and further. As you can see in the video – the sound of the Boom at 1/3 is what the Box didn’t hit until 2/3rd of the way.

3. It has the same pairing capabilities as the more expensive, full sized Ultimate Ears Boom speaker (see video) to make stereo sound and improve the volume some more. Left/Right sound separation are a big deal here.

4. The Bluetooth range has now increased up to 50 feet from 33 which is a result of improved antenna design and power. Interesting note: The second speaker can be even further because it pairs with the first speaker, not the phone.

The UE Boom lets you pair two devices at once (the speaker remembers the last eight connected devices). You can stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth from up to 50 feet away with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours. expand full story

Loudspeaker Stories August 15, 2014

Amazon is offering the Omaker Ultra Portable Metallic Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker in Pink or Blue for only $15.99 Prime shipped when you use the coupon code: VBM26USJ at checkout. That’s a $64 savings off the list price and the lowest we’ve seen for the speaker.

Omaker sent us a review unit this week and it works darn well for a $16 speaker. unnamed

Their words:

It has a metallic finish with simple design. It features Bluetooth 3.0+EDR and it’s “unique and compact ostrich egg fashion appearance slips easily into your bag for use on the go.” It’s high definition and surprising fullness realized through a 4W driver and bass port – outclassing other similar-sized portable speakers. Built-in big capacity Polymer Lithium Batteries allow for a playback time of up to 8 hours.

Ours:

Is it going to give something like Logitech’s Boom line a run for its money?  No, not at all. But it is pretty nice and a nice accessory for a mobile device. It pairs easily and it actually says in broken english “MOMI IS WAITING FOR YOUR CONNECTION” and then confirms your connection. Then when you lose connection, more broken English.

It sounds a little bit better than the speakers on a MacBook Pro and yet it can fit in your pocket and make speakerphone calls very nicely though we heard an echo in our testing).  It has lasted over 5 hours in our brief testing.

It received 4.6/5 stars and great reviews from Amazon customers. We’re in agreement. If you need a speaker and have $16 to spend, then go for it! expand full story

Loudspeaker Stories February 13, 2014

Update: Newegg is also offering a pair of Pioneer SP-BS21-LR Bookshelf Loudspeakers for $50 + $3 shipping. That’s 50% off the regular price, the lowest we’ve seen and cheaper than most used listings. They have received a 4.6/5 star rating among Amazon customers.

Newegg is offering a pair of Polk Audio 35B compact bookshelf speakers for $100 + $2 shipping. That’s nearly $150 off the original listing, $48 better than Amazon’s current listing, and the lowest we’ve seen this model go for by around $17. They feature a frequency response range from 55Hz to 25kHz at 8 Ohms with 20-100 watts per channel. Today’s deal is available in both black (above) and the cherry wood color (below).

The Polk Audio 35B monitors have received a 5/5 star rating among both Amazon and Newegg customers. The Polk Audio Ebay storefront has some great prices on a number of other Polk Audio devices and speakers as well.

Polk Audio 35B compact bookshelf speakers: $100 + $2 shipping (Reg. $249)

expand full story

Loudspeaker Stories February 10, 2014

expiredSony RDPX200 Lightning wireless Bluetooth speaker dock: $98 shipped (Reg. $180)

Amazon has the Sony wireless Bluetooth speaker and Lightning dock for $98 shipped. That’s $82 off the regular listing of $180, and matching the lowest we’ve seen it drop to. The RDPX200IPN features stereo playback, wireless audio streaming for bluetooth enabled devices and a lightning connector dock to charge your iPhone or iPod. If you’re interested in even more portability, there’s the 300IPN model which will run on batteries and has FM radio.

This model has received a 4.2/5 star rating on Amazon.

Sony RDPX200IPN wireless Bluetooth speaker & Lightning dock: $98 shipped (Reg. $180)

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