The Gadgets Page

October 7, 2015

Beats Pill+ Speaker Is Coming Next Month

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:19 am

Beats Pill Plus image via The VergeIt looks like the Beats Pill+ will be released next month and cost about $225.

I haven’t been that impressed with Beats products, but this feature is really intriguing to me.

The new Beats Pill+ companion app will enable users to control the speaker using a smartphone, with features including the ability to control music from two Bluetooth sources and sync two Beats Pill+ speakers together for either simultaneous or dedicated right and left playback.

It’s cool that you can purchase two of them and get REAL stereo separation. The audiophile features aren’t impressive enough to conquer my doubts, however. The biggest problem I have with the Beats Pill+ is something so seemingly trivial that it shouldn’t stop me from buying one, but it does.

It doesn’t have a handle.

I want to be able to EASILY carry the speaker, whether it’s playing or not. I don’t want to put it into a backpack. I want to carry it. With a handle. That’s built-in.

I looked long and hard for a good speaker system that would let me play my music from my phone or the radio. I ended up going with the Sangean PR-D15.

Sangean PR-D15 FM-Stereo/AM Rechargeable Portable Radio with Handle at

It plays my music. It plays the radio. It can use rechargeable batteries. It cost me less than eighty bucks. And most importantly, it has a handle, so I can easily carry it. The Beats Pill+ might be super cool and all, but I want something that I can USE, even if it looks like a square box from the Eighties.

Beats Pill+ Image Via: The Verge: Beats’ Pill+ is its best speaker ever

September 30, 2015

TiVo Bolt Looks Cool AND Skips Commercials

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:15 am

I haven’t had cable for a few years now, but if I did, I would immediately be buying this TiVo.

TiVo Bolt DVR from The Gadgets Page

That cool design is both beautiful and functional:

That funky arc shape isnt just there to stick out visually however, as VP Jim Denney told us it also allows the smaller box to vent from the bottom. Its a rather unique design, and in our short time using it the box stayed cool and quiet.

Additionally, The Bolt has the ability to skip commercials. That alone makes it worth having.

Now, the DVR isn’t as good as some. It has four tuners (some of the best have six), but being able to record FOUR shows at a time is plenty good for me.

Gadgets like the TiVo Bolt make me wish that I had cable again. In a lot of respects, I do miss it, and having something like this stylish DVR might just convince me to join the fray again.

January 13, 2015

CES 2015: SK Telecom Smart Beam HD

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Play Ic200c - Mini Projector DLP LED at Amazon.comSK Telecom has been making Smart Beam projectors for a while. They are tiny little projectors that work with your smart phone and project on a wall or screen. They use LEDs for their light source, are inexpensive and you can buy them right now on Amazon:

Here is a commercial for them that shows how they work with a little bit of sentiment thrown in:

This year at CES, they have upped the ante a bit. Instead of an LED light source, they are using a laser and it also has auto focus, so no matter where that wall is, it will be clear and bright. They were showing it off in the bright lights of the showroom floor with barely a cover over the screen and it was easy to see.

CES 2015 SK Telecom Smart Beam HD from The Gadgets Page

We tried to show how quickly and easily it refocused on the James’ shirt, but it didn’t show up well in the picture. Let me assure you, it refocused perfectly on his chest just as well as the screen behind him.

CES 2015 SK Telecom Smart Beam HD from The Gadgets Page

Long ago, we researched digital projectors and they were HORRENDOUSLY expensive. To see these tiny boxes that cost less than the replacement halogen bulb in the old projectors is AMAZING!

January 10, 2015

CES 2015: Sony Thin Television

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

“Hi, Mom, I just wanted you to know we’re in Vegas.”

“Why are you in Vegas?”

“We’re going to CES.”

“Oh! I saw that on the news! They have a that is thinner than an iPhone there! You should go see it!”

I’m not really into really thin televisions, actually. Ever since TVs got thin enough to mount on the wall, I’ve been happy. No need to go thinner, as far as I’m concerned.

But my mom wanted to see it, so I tracked it down and found it for her…

They’ve name it the Sony Bravia X900C and it IS really thin on the top (4.9 mm), but there is a wide bit at the bottom, so it’s not like you can have this television mounted to your wall and it will only stick out that 4.9 millimeters. It will still stick out two or three inches from your wall.

“I sent you a video of that TV, Mom, did you get it?”

“How did you send me that video?! That’s amazing!”

“I’ll teach you when I see you again.”

September 4, 2012

DIY Tangle-Free Earbuds with Embroidery Floss

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:02 am

Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial showing you how to make your favorite earbuds both colorful and tangle-free using embroidery floss.

DIY Tangle-Free Earbuds with Embroidery Floss from The Gadgets Page

The tutorial suggests using the Chinese Staircase knot style to create this, but you could just as easily use the similar knotting style with only ONE thread because you’re going around the edge of the earbud cords, you only need ONE strand of embroidery thread instead of three like they’ve shown in their tutorial.

Either way, you’ll end up with earbuds that won’t tie themselves into knots every time you shove them into your computer bag or pocket.

July 6, 2012

Giving Yurbuds a Second Chance

Filed under: Audio and Video — Ian @ 10:00 am

One of the nice things about working at Gadgets Page is getting to try products that other people didn’t like. Yurbuds are earbuds designed to stay in while you’re exercising. Like many earbuds Yurbuds has mixed reviews and I think this is the cause; Yurbuds, because they are designed like custom earbuds, may not fit a certain type of ear. Like many products that come in multiple sizes they may not fit everyone. This is much more apparent in a product like shoes. Nothing made in bulk can be perfect. These just fit a lot more people than some others do like the apple earbuds.

Personally the Yurbuds fit me quite well and are much more comfortable than anything else I’ve tried. They stay in my ear and they don’t hurt after a short period of time of wearing them. I like them and find them much nicer than headphones and other earbuds.

Yurbuds are quite expensive though. The ones I have sell for about 35$ or 40$ on Amazon. Thats the same as a few cheaper pairs of earbuds, but whether or not its worth it is up to you.

Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at Looking at other reviews I noticed that reviews almost alternated in saying “The sound is amazing” and “The sound is horrific.” Though the truth of the matter is that the sound doesn’t really matter much while you’re exercising.

One thing that bothers me about them is I can’t get the covers to stay on the earbuds it came with. When I put them in my pocket for a while the covers almost always fall off. Its only a minor annoyance, but still.

In my experience with them I have found that they work as advertised for me, but that doesn’t mean that they work perfectly for everyone. I like them and they work for me, and I think that you should give them a shot.

March 7, 2012

Yurbuds: Not Quite Good Enough

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 9:36 am

In January at CES, the nice people at Yurbuds gave me a pair of their ear buds to test for The Gadgets Page. After two months of using them, I’m finally ready to write a review.

The promise was that Yurbuds would stay in my ears through the sweatiest workouts and they wouldn’t hurt. At the booth at CES, they measured my ears and said that the size 5 buds would fit in my ear, stay there and not hurt me.

That’s a tall order. I’ve never been able to use the Apple earbuds because they just fall right out of my ear. I’ve always had to use the in-canal ear buds, but after a half hour running, they hurt and need to come out, not to mention the gross factor of ear buds that have been in my ear canal and covered in ear wax. Blech!

The folks at the CES booth were quite adamant about the correct way to put the Yurbuds in my ears. I made sure that every time I put them on, I twisted them into my ear, just like they showed me.

I’ve tested the Yurbuds for the last two months, during the cold walks and runs of January and February. Honestly, I was quite impressed with them. They had only fallen out once, when my hand hit the cord and literally YANKED them out of my ears. I used the microphone once when my mom called during a workout and she was able to hear me and understand me while I talked. I used the button to advance past songs that I was sick of and it was handy as well.

But yesterday was different. It was a warm day for my walk, so all I did was throw on a hoody instead of piling on the fleece and layers. I couldn’t keep the damn earbuds in my ears. They fell out three or four times on my half hour walk. After two months of great workouts, I couldn’t understand why they stopped working, and then I remembered. During the freezing walks of January and February, I had always worn my fleecy ear band. Not only did it protect my ears from the cold, it was keeping in those Yurbuds. Yesterday, it was warm enough that I didn’t need extra protection. That’s why they kept falling out.

Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at Amazon.comThis morning, the freezing wind whipped the house noisily, so I bundled up. My Yurbuds stayed in place under my ear band and hat. I realized, with disappointment that the promise was not to be. Ear buds that shape just do not stay in my ears unassisted, and if your ears are shaped the same as mine, sadly, Yurbuds won’t work for you.

As soon as the weather warms up, I’ll have to relinquish my Yurbuds and return to the gross and painful in-canal ear buds that I’ve used for the last three years. I really hoped that Yurbuds would work for me, but sadly they weren’t quite good enough.

If your ears usually work with this shape of ear buds, then you’ll be immensely happy with Yurbuds. You can purchase them here: Yurbuds V10-11ID-10601 Inspire PRO Earphones at

January 19, 2012

Earbud Knitting Kit

Filed under: Audio and Video — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

There is a design flaw in this Earbud Knitting Kit from UncommonGoods.

A truly awesome earbud organizer would not only roll up into a untangled mess in a little package, but also be a cross body bag to hold your iPod or iPhone. These earbuds aren’t connected to the case, so they are just something that makes your earbuds more bulky, but less tangled.

December 6, 2011

Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports Headphones

Filed under: Audio and Video,Reviews — Christy Strebe @ 11:39 am

Polk Audio UltraFit 3000 Headphones at Amazon.comThe nice folks at Polk audio sent me the Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports headphonesto review. They were such a nice surprise to arrive in my mailbox because they are AWESOME. These are the first pair of head phones I’ve used that don’t come out while I’m riding my spin bike. Usually I have to put my head phones back in three or four times. The Polk Audio Ultra Fit 3000 Sports headphones have an ear hook that looks like it would be uncomfortable to wear, but once they were in place I didn’t notice it.

The sound quality is remarkable too! The headphones come with three different cable lengths, so if I have my iPhone in an arm strap I don’t have a long cable dangling down, or I can attach the headphones to my Nano and clip it on my shirt collar.

The cables are also flat so it doesn’t get all tangled up if I just throw it in the pocket of my gym bag (they come with a nice carrying pouch where they are normally stored). I would definitely recommend these to anyone who’s headphones routinely fall out, or if you’re just looking for a great pair of sport headphones.

November 17, 2011

Technical Innovation + 12 Years = Progress

Filed under: Articles,Audio and Video,PDAs and Phones — Michael Moncur @ 6:16 pm

Today, Apple’s iTunes Match service went live. For a small yearly fee, iTunes Match allows you to keep all of your music online. Apple stores it in their iCloud servers, and you can play or download it from your computer, iPhone, or iPad. To save you the trouble of uploading your 100GB of music, Apple’s service conveniently scans your MP3s. If iCloud already has a copy of the song—quite likely given Apple’s user base—it will simply “match” the song rather than uploading it. Thus, you can have access to your entire music library from all of your devices in a very short time.

Thanks to iTunes Match, you have a backup of all of your music, instant access from anywhere, and the chance to upgrade your MP3s to a higher quality.

Sounds like progress? To me it sounds like a blast from the past.

Remembering My.MP3.Com

January 2000. Google was only a couple of years old. Facebook didn’t exist. Apple was a company that sold funny-looking computers. They wouldn’t introduce the iPod for another year. The most sophisticated smartphone looked like this.

This was when, originally a site for musicians to share their own music, launched a feature called This was a cloud-based music service that let you stream your entire music collection from any computer. It used a matching algorithm so that you wouldn’t have to upload a track if they already had a copy. Does that sound familiar?

Unfortunately, didn’t ask for permission from record labels. They were sued by Universal Music Group for copyright infringement, lost to the tune of $53 million, and went out of business.

What if there were no legal objections? I’m still not sure would have succeeded. It was limited to music you bought in CD form at a store—there was no way to buy music from their site. It’s hard to scale servers to support this kind of load, and their service was limited by the technology of the time—you had to use a computer to access your music, and few people had broadband Internet access.

Progress Takes More Than Technology

This is an important lesson in how technical innovation is only a small part of progress. had the cloud servers 12 years ago, and they had the same matching concept as iTunes Match. They even had a great domain name. But they didn’t have the industry connections to make it legal or the infrastructure to make it practically useful.

Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, along with the first version of the iTunes music store. While the iPod and later Apple products are mainly praised for their design and technical features, Apple also made amazing progress in doing all of the legal wheeling and dealing necessary to make the whole thing legitimate. It took years for iTunes to reach the point where it had licensed music from all of the major publishers, with some popular bands like the Beatles taking 10 years. Finally, after a ton of work from Steve Jobs and Apple, iTunes Match brought the same features as to the real world. The service is much more useful, too, since you can play music from your phone over a 3G network.

My point here is not to complain that copyright law needs to change (which it does) or that we live in an overly litigious society (which we do). But if you’re wondering why a new feature hasn’t been released yet on your favorite gadget, or if you’re considering selling something yourself, remember that a great idea and a technical innovation always have the potential to bring progress. But if the company doesn’t deal with the legal issues and the infrastructure, It just might take 12 years to arrive… and it might be a different company that succeeds with the idea.

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