My Review: Bose QC 35 Headphones

Long time no write I know. Soz.
Welcome to my review of the Bose QC35 headphones. This is my first ever Bose product, and, I must state now that I am not the original owner of these. I don’t have any of the original packaging, just the carry case, headphones themselves, audio cable, airplane adapter and USB charging cable.

Slight spoiler alert, I’m not too bothered about not having the original packaging; it doesn’t look like I’ll be selling these any time soon.

Background

So, this is the first product of Bose’s I have ever tried, and I wanted them ever since I tried them in a Bose store, but then I didn’t get a very good sense of how these headphones really performed, just that they had a very nice first impression.
Fast forward just under a year, someone was selling them for quite a discounted price, so I jumped at the chance.

Features and specs

When you buy these knew, you get the headphones, weighing in at 300G, quite a nice carry case with plenty of space for the headphones and all cables. I can’t say anything about the presentation in the box because I didn’t get it.

They are Bose’s current top of the line noise cancelling model; the next model up from the QC 25’s, and let me tell you, it’s a much needed upgrade. Instead of using AAA batteries for the noise cancelling tech, Bose has integrated a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which offers up 20 hours of listening time, and charges via micro USB. But, I think what enticed me more towards these headphones instead of any of the other Bose models, was the added convenience of Bluetooth.
It doesn’t feature aptex connectivity, but does feature NFC (for one-touch paring if your device supports it). The battery life doubles to 40 hours if you’re listening via the 3.5MM jack. It also features a 3 button remote for control of music, volume and calls on the right ear cup. The 3.5MM jack is on the left cup, and the micro USB on the right. The music controls only work via bluetooth, and there is no in-line remote on the cable.
You can clearly feel the microphone used for calls on the right ear cup, but that isn’t the only microphone in the product. Bose’s sound sucking technology uses microphones inside and outside the ear cups to truly isolate you from any sound.
Design wise, the headphones look similar to their predecessors. The switch on the right cup acts as an on/off switch and to pare a new Bluetooth device. The headband is quite chunky, and is padded with leather, as are the ear cups. And I will tell you now, they’re comfortable. The outside of the cups are aluminium too, which is a nice touch.

You can also download the Bose connect app for your smartphone, but this doesn’t offer up any audio tweaks, it allows you to update the software, adjust the sleep timer, change their bluetooth name, voice prompt language and use Bose’s “music share” feature to share audio to another pare of headphones at the same time. That really is it for the app.

Speaking of voice prompt’s, the headphones have text-to-speech technology that lets you know how much battery you have left when you turn them on, and which device it is connected to. It can also tell you the name of the person who is calling when the phone rings. The headphones can connect to 2 devices at once, but remember up to 10 devices. When you are connected to 2 devices, simply start playing music on your first device , and if you stop and start playing something on the other one, the headphones will switch. Handy if you are listening to your iPod (other portable music players are available), and get a phone call. If you want to force it to connect to a 3rd device while it is already connected to 2, simply slide the switch to the right until it tells you it is looking for the device you want, and if it finds it, it will disconnect one of your other devices.

To start paring, simply hold down the on switch, and the headphones will tell you “ready to pare”. Simply look for the Bose’s under your bluetooth menu on your device, and select them, and bingo, you’re connected. How easy was that?

So, what do I think?

Now that I’ve covered everything I can think of to cover about the features, design and specifications, it’s time to get into why you’re reading this. What I think of them.

Quite simply put, I think they’re well worth their £300+ price tag. The first thing I thought when I sat down to do some proper listening was wow.
These have made me appreciate the music I’m listening to, more than other headphones have, … and I own a lot of headphones.

I thought the active noise cancelling would impact the sound of the music greatly, but Bose seem to know what they’re doing in that department. (I’d hope they would, they’ve been the market leaders in this field for years). Even without the active noise cancelling turned on, they still do block out quite a lot of noise, but slide that switch on, and you get whisked away to a world where only the music you’re listening to exists.

The noise cancelling does apply pressure on your ears, but this is normal, and once you get used to the strange sensation of being at one with your music and your own thoughts, you don’t notice at all; only when you turned the headphones off while still waring them do you notice how much they have been blocking out.

The noise cancelling tech is very good at blocking out low rumbles, e.g. engines, but I find that it also does well with blocking any noisy environment. In fact, it’s so good at blocking noise that when you’re on the phone, the headphones allow the phone mic to pass through so you don’t end up shouting at the person on the other end of the phone. The only scenario which the headphones don’t perform well with is wind. Because there are microphones on the outside, the wind does cause you to hear wind noise in your headphones, but I’ve read that this is the case with any active noise cancelling cans.

Sound wise, they just sound excellent with anything that I’ve thrown at them, and I’ve thrown a lot at them. I’ve given them 320K spotify streams, 256 AAC iTunes match files, 320K cd rips, and very high quality FLAC files, and it’s handled all with ease.

These headphones use a digital equaliser that adjusts the sound on the fly for you, and even at lower volumes, you don’t lose any quality.

The first album i pressed play on was a 320K CD rip of Ed Sheeran’s latest album ÷ streamed via bluetooth from my MacBook air using iTunes. From the first upbeat opening guitar chord of ‘eraser’ to the closing piano chord of ‘save myself’, I was hooked. (And not just because it is a fantastic album that even after several listens I’m still as impressed as release day).

The headphones kicked the album up a notch. I’ve listened to this album on a lot of different sources and these headphones certainly knew what they were doing with it. Bass frequencies were certainly prominent but not so overpowering that it’s uncomfortable to listen to. You certainly get to experience the broad frequency spectrum that these headphones can offer.

I tend to listen to a lot of hiphop and r&b; songs that pride themselves on their baselines, so I was eager to see what these headphones would make of say, drake’s 2016 Views album. So that’s exactly what I played next.

Again, I was impressed by the headphones ability to make you lose yourself in what ever you’re listening to. Certainly, in a song like Too Good, drake’s tone can be easily determined on top of the rest of the music. Similarly in a song like ‘One Dance’ it is hard not to tap your foot.


I’ve listened to a lot of different music through these over the past couple of months (also the series 13 Reasons Why on Netflix); as anyone will tell you my shuffle is varied; I’ve been listening to iTunes shuffle while I write this, so I’ve heard everything from Lethal Bizzle to Takethat), and the only thing I have really come across is that it is very quick to notice when you are listening to a lower quality of recording; baselines aren’t as tight, and the rest of the spectrum can sound a bit muddy; still listenable though. This isn’t really a problem, unless you start listening to anything below 320K mp3 or 256K AAC.

Something good to round off this sound section though, they are very quick to highlight background elements in a track, say, background reverb on vocals, or a guitar or piano. Acoustic recordings sound very good.

When I Switched to a cable instead of using bluetooth, I didn’t notice a dramatic step up in quality, which speaks volumes about how good these things are via bluetooth, and how good bluetooth audio technology is these days. I’ve tried bluetooth headphones in the passed where the switch is definitely noticeable.

The lack of an EQ doesn’t bother me really; I’ve found myself not wanting to ever tweak anything.

Battery life is very respectable, although I haven’t done any timed tests, I am finding Bose’s claims to be very accurate, as I have only had to charge these things a handful of times since I got them, and I’ve certainly put these things through their paces; listening for hours at a time. They are really comfortable to ware for long periods ; I could easily use these on a long hall flight.

The head band is very adjustable, to make sure that what ever the size of your head, the headphones will fit snuggly around your ears.

Verdict

I’ve ben trying out these headphones for the passed couple of months and I can honestly say I’m impressed. From the research and from what I’ve read, the QC 35’s were the upgrade the QC 25’s didn’t know they needed. Apart from the batteries. I can imagine that got irritating. I wouldn’t know, having never owned a Bose product before.

To summarise, very worth the price tag, and if you are in the market for a high end set of noise canceling headphones, certainly consider these, as I believe they offer superior sound quality.

A bit expensive I know, but if you want to pick them up on Amazon, click here.

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one.

My review: IWantIt IBTLI14 Wireless Speaker Dock

I am a representative for the bar at college, which means I get to make decisions that could affect the bar, if we have any activity nights, etc.
In the old college bar, we had space for a pool table, stage and all this lovely stuff, but when we moved over to the new building, we only had the canteen, which as you may be able to imagine does not have space for a pool table. (It barely has space for us all to eat in it.) So, the pool table sat there, not being used and looking very forlorn. A staff member had made some noise about possibly buying it for a club he’s a part of or something like that (it was a while ago and the details escape me). We negotiated a price with him and eventually came to £50 which we were all happy with. The idea was to use this £50 to buy games or other activities to do in the bar. Long story short, I tried asking people what they wanted a few times but every email I ent out got minimal responses. I talked to the manager of the bar a few weeks ago and asked if the money was still there as on nights where I don’t DJ there are a small rather rubbish set of computer speakers on the bar that really don’t go loud at all. I asked her if she thought it was a good idea to replace them and use the money we have to buy something nicer. She agreed it was a good idea and asked me to find what I wanted. Enter, the IWantIt IBTLI14. I had a budget of £50, and this thing looked incredible for £49.99. (I’ve done a bit of research by the way, and amazon has the same dock for over £100, and this one is on sale at curries which is where we got it from.)

What does £49.99 get you?

For £49.99 you get:

  • An apple lightening dock
  • Bluetooth
  • USB play and charge
  • 3.5MM aux
  • 2 internal speakers rated at 30 W (15 W + 15 W)
  • signal to noise ratio of 50DB
  • A remote

What’s in the box

There’s not that much in the box, you get the dock itself with none-removable power cord, the remote, a 3.5MM aux cable and the paperwork.
First impression
When I first took it out of the box my first impression was the size; I was expecting something a lot smaller for £50, however on first look, it looks like this thing could put out some serious loudness, which is what we wanted from it as our old speakers didn’t go loud at all.

Description

On the front of the dock you’ve got the 2 speakers behind cloth, on the top you’ve got 4 buttons (a source selector, pause, and volume down and up). On the back you have a power switch, the permanently attached power cord, an Aux Jack (cable included) and a USB port. On the top you’ve got a release mechanism that pops open the lightening dock, and that’s about it for describing the unit.
The remote is your typical remote you’d expect to get with a dock like this; a rather small affair with a coin cell battery. On the remote you have a power button in the top left, then a source button then you have previous play and next, underneath previous there is a mute button, and under that is a treble down control, opposite that is a treble boost control, below those you have the same for bass and then volume is at the bottom.

Review

We’ve been using it pretty much every night in the bar since we got it, and I’ve honestly got to say, we made an excellent choice. It does exactly what we wanted, and them some. However, for this review I’ve borrowed the unit to really get a feel of how it performs.
Sound wise, it’s more than capable of going to a very high volume, which was one thing that surprised me. Paring with Bluetooth is simple, the unit defaults to this when first turns on. You can tell this as it admits a beep, and then the unit is in paring mode. Paring is as simple as tapping the device in your Bluetooth settings, Waiting for the connection to take place, and then enjoying your music. For my own listening, I would recommend that the EQ be all the way up for both, as this seems to make the unit sound its best. I really like the way the unit is designed, the wooden finish makes the unit aesthetically pleasing to look at, and also means that it doesn’t attract as many fingerprints or dust as a glossy finish.
Sound wise, it can pump out some volume, however, like with most systems, it does start to distort the lower frequencies at higher volumes. Speaking of that, lower frequencies are presented quite well, the midrange frequencies can sometimes get lost, vocals are well presented. Overall is a nice listenable sound, the one thing that really lets it down is the stereo separation. Nothing can really be done about it, I just think that the speakers are maybe a little bit too close together, and it’s hard to distinguish between them while casually listening. I have noticed that things do seem to get a little bit better once you start turning the dock up.
The remote can sometimes be very temperamental, as is the case with the majority of these sorts of systems, however I’ve found that for the most part, it’s responsive when pointed directly at the unit, however sometimes my iPod refuses to respond to the previous, play and next buttons when docked, but pointing it at either a combination of the speakers or the iPod itself seems to work. The line-in function works as expected, and one thing I have noticed, unlike some other systems like that, you don’t notice a change in quality greatly when playing from a Bluetooth and a wired source. As with most of my reviews, I’m using the review product while I write the review and this is no exception. I am currently playing a Spotify playlist, and it’s sounding all right in the background. The remote is responding quite well from where I’m sitting; which for once, is not right next to the dock, I’m sitting in a chair next to a radiator because it’s a little bit cold, and the dock is on a table against the opposite wall.

Verdict

This is a lovely purchase, and if I had the need for one in my daily life, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab this one. It has a couple of shortfalls with the sound, but for what it is, it’s certainly not bad.
I have no idea what USB play and charge is at all, however the USB port does charge my phone, but I don’t know what the playing function of that is, as the sources cycle between Bluetooth, aux and iPod. I reached out to curries to ask them if they had a PDF manual as I couldn’t find a thing anywhere else online but I didn’t have any response. The Bluetooth function of this dock has to be its best feature. And it certainly can provide room filling sound for say, a gathering, or a barbecue.
Thank you for reading, and see you in the next one.

Getting fit with a Fitbit: An Update

Hi guys,
Sorry it’s been a while since my last Fitbit update, and I have had a few requests for an update, which has humbled me slightly because I never knew people actually read the stuff I put up here. I do enjoy writing in here, I just don’t have the time really when I’m at college.

It’s been just under 2 months since I got my Fitbit charge, and I still use and like it. Nothing has really changed accessibility wise, although I have written a post of their forum about fixing a couple of gripes I have with the iOS app, but I’m not sure if the forum was the right place to get the developers to notice as nothing has been done. I’ll keep trying to find an actual email address. The post is here.

The problem I had early on was that I kept forgetting that it was another thing with another battery that needed charging, and sometimes the app wouldn’t give me a notification of its battery being low. However, once you get into a routine of charging it every couple of days or so its fine. I only know where its alive when I hold down the button to start a workout, or if its still syncing to the app.
I would like an optional vibration when the battery is getting a bit low, so I’m going to go post in the forums about that.
The charge has had an update which I did the other day, and I’ve noticed a few issues with syncing after the update; it doesn’t seem to be as instantaneous as it was before the update; it takes a couple of goes to get all info.
I’ve taken part in a few challenges and these are rather accessible in the app, you can see most of the info you’d want to. The only other thing I’d like to see is messages becoming fully accessible, as you can tell if someone has cheered or jeered you. If it’s a plain text message, you can see what it says and reply.
The leaderboard between you and all your friends is all accessible.
So, just a quick update then, but rest assured I will let you know if there are any big developments. If you have any questions at all regarding the Fitbit or the app and their accessibility, post in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one!

Google Chromecast (2015) review

Welcome to another review from me. This time we’re taking a look at the actual Chromecast.

Background

I bought this because I enjoyed the simplicity and ease of use of its audio counterpart, and I wanted a way to turn my TV that isn’t smart, smart. This seemed like the easiest way to do it, rather than buying a hole new TV, or buying say, an apple TV. Sorry this review has taken so long to put together, but I’ve been away at college and I don’t have a TV there, plus the network restrictions make things like a Chromecast a pain to use there, so I just got it delivered home. I bought it on black Friday as Google were doing an offer where you got £20 google play credit when you bought one. Plus, it’s 30 quid for a little disk with an HDMI connector that means I can watch Netflix on TV. How can you not?

The box is pretty much the same as the Chromecast audio’s; same design, and the Chromecast is presented the same. The difference between the two is that the Chromecast has a permanently attached little HDMI cable, and the audio has grooves on it, like a vinyl. Under the Chromecast, you have the power adapter with quite a long micro USB cable.

Setup was just as easy at it should be. Plug in to TV, plug in power, switch TV to HDMI, open the Chromecast app and follow the instructions to add a new device. On my phone, like with the Chromecast audio, I had to join a network it had created to get the app to interface with it at first. As soon as that was done, I gave it a name, turned off guest mode, made sure the time and country were right, and joined it to my network. At this point, a small video played on the TV telling me a few things I could do with it, and telling me that I was all ready to go.
The Chromecast app told me I had 3 video apps that were castable, these were BBC iPlayer, Netflix and youtube. I loaded up Youtube, and the TV icon appeared and I connected straight up, found a video, hit play and it started playing out of the TV. You can even make a queue with youtube, and it’ll just play through your videos.

Review

So I started using it on Saturday, and it’s now Monday and I can say I bloody love the thing. Almost as most as I love its audio counterpart. I love how easy it is to load up the Netflix application, find your Chromecast, and watch Netflix on the big screen. I like that the audio described programs are not exempt from casting, (I’m watching house of cards at the minute), and it just goes up their straight away, no problem. This is also true of shows from the iPlayer. Getting audio described programs to play when already connected to the Chromecast on Netflix on iOS can be a bit tricky, as the elements to do this are not currently labeled, nor are any of the controls that are on screen; voiceover sees them, there’s just no label so it’s hard to tell where you are. On my Nexus however, all of this is labeled. I have contacted Netflix to see if they can resolve this. I haven’t tried it yet, but the Chromecast app on my nexus tells me that All4 (channel 4’s catch up service) also supports casting.
I really like the design of the Chromecast, but its glossy finish leads me to believe that it’ll be a fingerprint magnet, but as it’s designed to be one of those things that you set up and leave, I’m not too worried about that. I would have liked to see a removable HDMI cable, even if it was just a small one though, because if you don’t have space for the Chromecast to hang where your HDMI port is, you are going to need a HDMI extender, which I think google do sell, but still. Plus, if that plug breaks, you’ve pretty much got to buy yourself another Chromecast. I do however, like the length of micro USB cable you get with the device, just in case your sockets are quite a way from your TV. I like the idea of the backdrop as you if you have photos stored on google photos, flicker or Facebook, you can have the Chromecast shuffle these. I don’t have it connected to any of these services, and just have it display photos from around the web, and different landscapes and works of art, ETC.

Final thoughts

I personally love what Google are doing with the Chromecast line of products. I’ve always liked the idea of the Chromecast, but I wasn’t too sure about the design of the first generation, so I’m glad they’ve completely redesigned it. On my TV, the HDMI port is recessed slightly on the side with all the other ports, so the Chromecast just hangs there. My last thoughts, I think the Chromecast range is a way of smartening up your older not so smart technology that doesn’t need to be replaced as it’s still fully functional on the cheap. Hats off to Google.
You can pick up your own Chromecast from the Google store, or if you’re in the UK I do believe Curries stock them.
Thanks for reading!

My review: Chromecast audio

When google announced this little box of tricks that connected to your speakers and turned any normal system into a fully connected one, I was intrigued to try it out.
I’m going to run through getting it out the box, setting it up and how I find the range of apps available. My main one that I will be using though is spotify connect however I will me trying out other services like google music.

Google music

Speaking of Google music, I’ve been having a bit of trouble with uploading my own collection. The music manager application is completely inaccessible to mac and windows users due to the way its designed and built. I tried the web app for chrome and on mac it’s a little bit difficult as chrome isn’t the best of browsers to get around, but I managed to get a few tracks uploaded. However, I tried uploading a big folder but I can’t see the status of the upload; progress, ETC. Anyway, back to the main point of this post.

Unboxing

It’s a very nice google style box; the same type (just a bit smaller) that my nexus came in. You don’t get a lot in the box but the device itself is presented first. If you don’t know what one looks like, it’s a small round disk, with grooves on it like a vinyl.
A picture of the Chromecast audio
It has an input for the micro USB cable, a 3.5 output jack and a button which I think resets the device although I’m not sure. Surrounding the device in the box is a small 3.5MM to 3.5MM cable; trust me it’s small. Once you’ve lifted the device out there is a very nice power adapter and a longer usb to micro USB cable then I was expecting. Good quality as well. And that’s it.
Setup was the easiest thing I think I’ve ever done, plug the device in to power and your system, choose add a device in the Chromecast app, choose Chromecast audio, join the WiFi network it has created, play a test tone, enter a name, join your WiFi and then you’re ready to start casting things. It is as simple as that.
Of the apps I had installed on my phone, I could cast from: Google play music, spotify and TuneIn radio.

First impressions and review

Spotify was my first choice as it’s the service I use the most and pay for. I loaded up a playlist, hit the button to choose a spotify connect device and my Chromecast appeared straight away. One double-tap, and pleasing tone later, music stopped playing from my phone and through my speakers. Honestly it was so easy I found myself thinking “surely it can’t be this simple”, but it really is.

I went into the Chromecast app just to play around and see what settings I could tweak and fchange. You can change the name of your device, the WiFi network, timezone, time format, language, turn the feedback sounds on and off, turn on and off guest mode (more that in a bit) and turn on something google is calling “high dynamic range, for AVRs and HiFi systems”. I turned this on as I had it connected to my 2.1 system at the time and it made one hell of a difference. Before it sounded a bit flat and boring but this made the sound louder and boosted all the frequencies. As I write this (not at the time of posting) I’ve got it connected to our sound bar playing a spotify station and the ‘high dynamic range’ is making a big difference there as well. I then moved on to tune in because I thought “Hey! £35 internet radio!” But alas, this was not to be had. Every station I tried to cast brought up an error saying that I couldn’t cast it. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to use this as a radio but Spotify is good enough.
Screenshot of error in TuneIn radio
I also tried a couple of tracks that I had stored in my google music library and no problem there, tap cast and they start playing. I also just tried Rdio and the app is a little bit difficult to get around but I managed to get that playing through the Chromecast audio no problem.

I would like to see more apps, e.g. it would be nice to have an app that could cast your music stored on your phone, but I suppose google users have that with play music. Also, Google did try and get Apple music support on board but it never came through. I have yet to try this with android but as soon as I do I will be back with my experience.

Verdict

It’s a lovely little device that works like a dream, as long as you have a Rdio or SPotify subscription or are a google play music user. It does exactly what it says on the tin though, it’s turned my speakers from boring offline speakers to WiFi-enabled ones that I can play Spotify one without paying over the odds for a dedicated streamer or something like a Sonos system.
Thanks for reading, and keep watching out for more reviews in the future.
Thanks!

Getting fit with a fitbit: Setup and initial thoughts

Ok, so the Fitbit arrived yesterday morning and I spent the afternoon getting everything set up and working; nothing ever goes to plan does it? In this post I detail my experience of setting up the charge, which could have been smoother but I blame my phone for that.

The box itself for the charge is a rather nice box and the charge is nicely presented inside the box.
In the box there is also a rather short charging cable, some warranty info and a USB adapter for syncing to your PC if you’re not using a smartphone.
I opened the Fitbit app on my phone, chose the first unlabelled button, and chose the charge. Then came the bit where I needed sited assistance. It was asking for my height and other info. I’m not sure about the gender or weight screens as I didn’t do those but the height screen doesn’t allow you to input your height using voiceover. After this though, you enter your full name, email and password, agree to their terms and then you’re ready to connect your charge. This is where I had a couple of problems. I plugged the charge in and held the button down for 3 seconds like it told me to and eventually when it connected I was presented with a keypad on my phone and I couldn’t tell what it was asking for. I know now that it was asking for the code that was being displayed on the charge itself but as soon as that was entered it was happy. It said that the process of setting up the Fitbit could take up to 10 minutes. The process bar was moving along nicely until it got to 98% and then it was stuck there. I let it for a bit and then tweeted Fitbit support asking them what I should do. They said I should restart the Fitbit by holding down the button for 10 to 12 seconds until the version number was displayed. After I’d restarted the app it brought up an error about not being able to complete set up but then it appeared to be set up fine. Cut out a couple of hours of frustration trying to get the thing to play nice with my phone, as it didn’t appear to be syncing properly as it still said the battery was empty even when it was fully charged. I need to email Fitbit about that actually as a side note, as textual information such as the battery indicator and version number ETC is not accessible with voiceover. Anyway I did a bit of research as my Fitbit said it had an update available but the app was failing to update it. I ended up connecting the wireless PC dongle to my mac and installing the application for mac, which showed that my Fitbit was up to date even though the app still said there was an update. I ended up having to reset my network settings on my phone to reset my Bluetooth connections, and after that it works fine with no problems; even the call notifications and silent alarms are working fine.
One of the main reasons I went for the charge was because I knew it had a button on the side which, if held down causes the Fitbit to vibrate and this starts a workout. Once you’ve finished your workout you hold the button down again and vibrates to let you know you’re done. You can then see how long you worked out for, calories burned and distance covered. I’ve yet to reach the goal of 10000 steps in a day, but its supposed to vibrate to let you know.
I also tried out the sleep tracking last night and although it’s a little bit confusing to read your stats with voiceover, if you spend a bit of time you can figure out what they mean.
I haven’t been using the device for a full 24 hours yet so these are my initial impressions but I think I’m going to really enjoy using it, and if Fitbit’s app team are as responsive as their twitter crew, we’ll get along just fine.

Please stay tuned to my blog as I will keep you updated on my progress with the device after using it in my normal day-to-day life.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one.

Getting fit with a fitbit: introduction

Ok, I’m going to level with you now. I’m not the fittest person you’ll ever meat. I could do with losing a bit of weight. These past few weeks I’ve been going to the gym and going to spin classes but I had a problem. Especially at the gym, I couldn’t see what the machines were telling me. It was all well and good going but I had no way to keep track of how many calories I had burned, ETC. I needed some way of finding this out. Enter, fitbit. Fitbit’s line of products are designed to help you lead a healthier lifestyle. You can get a range of products, ranging from trackers you clip on to your shirt, to a fully functional smart watch. You can even get a WiFI enabled scale that tracks your weight. I had seen a growing trend in sited people having these and I thought they were a brilliant idea. I decided other than going for an apple watch which was a little out of my price range, I should try one of these out.
In this series of posts, I’m going to be documenting my experience. The fitbit I have decided to go for is the fitbit charge. It is a wristband that tracks calories burned, steps, floors climbed and even helps tracks your sleep. You can see all of its data on its smartphone app or sync it back to your PC. I will be using an iPhone to track my progress.
I’ll be covering everything from taking the device out of its box, setting it up, setting an account up, using it, and how I’m getting along with it.
It is due to arrive some time this week; hopefully it arrives before I go back down the country on Sunday.
I hope you enjoy this series and I think I’m going to enjoy writing it as its something I’ve never done before. Not only am I challenging myself to get fit, I’m also challenging myself to keep this series up because when I looked for information on this topic I didn’t find much.
Thanks, and see you soon!

Review: A bluetooth stereo adapter I got from Ebay

Hi everyone, in this one I’m not going to be doing much writing as this time I’m doing an audio review. This is of a bluetooth adapter I got from Ebay a few months ago that let’s you turn any set of speakers into a bluetooth enabled system.
I paid £4.99 for it and I haven’t looked back.

I recorded this using my zoom h1.

The audio is imbedded below however if you have any problems, contact me and I’ll send you the direct link to the file itself.
I hope you enjoy.

Thanks, and see you next time!

My Review: AKG K451 headphones

Introduction

Hello there and welcome to another tech review. This time I’ve got the AKG k451 on the go headphones. I picked these up for just under £40, and I’m really excited to try them out.

Background

I had been interested in buying a new set of headphones for a while. I’ve got an in ear pair that I like, and a pair of Sennheiser PX 200-II’s which are really good for travelling with but I’ve gotten a bit bored with how they sound.
I first came across these headphones while browsing WhatHifi as I like to do. I read their review and was quite impressed that they hadn’t actually been able to fault anything. I thought “surely these things are going to cost quite a bit!” But was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on the Superfi link in the “Where to buy” section and saw £38.99. I proceeded to purchase them with free delivery (always nice) and it is now Wednesday (2 days on), and I’m expecting them to be delivered well, about now. Side note: I like delivery companies that let you know exactly what’s going on with your parcel and text you with the delivery window. According to the tracking info, I’m stop 62 and am next on the driver’s journey. Massive shout to UK Mail for providing such a brilliant service. In fact, there goes the door bell now. I should probably go and get that. Ok, got them, let’s get these bad boys out of the box.

What’s in the box

So, once I’d gotten in to the box, we have a nice hard carrying case which includes all the paper work that you get with the headphones which is well, I have no idea. I’ll get someone sited to tell me and update this post accordingly. Update: It’s your warranty card and a peace of paper that tells you what the remote’s functions are on the cable. Also in the case you get a cable without the remote and mic should you want to use that. Ok, so under that we have the headphones themselves which have been very cleverly cable tied in to the packaging. As has the cable with the remote and mic. Several cable ties later, I have the headphones and cables out and assembled. The headphones themselves look very nice, but we’ll get in to my full review later on. Also in the box you get an adapter to convert the normal 3.5MM plug to a 6.3MM jack should you want to use that. One thing I will note which I think is a nice touch though is just above the ear cups themselves there is braille (A L and a R) to indicate left and right, obviously. The cable looks to be a really nice quality and is 1.2M in length. Each end has a 3.5M connecter, something that I like an I wished my Sennheiser’s had.

First impressions

My god!!!!!! I just happened to be sitting on the sofa with my mac writing this post when the headphones arrived so I unboxed them and plugged them straight in. I had iTunes playing in the background but the song that was playing had just ended so I was waiting for it to transition. My playlist was on shuffle so i had no idea what would come up. It turns out it was Marvins Room by Drake.

The pounding baseline soon braced my ears and I was blown away. The headphones fit really comfortably and are very well padded. I wrote the unboxing section listing to voiceover and my iTunes in the background and I am very impressed. For their size, you wouldn’t really be expecting them to sound as well as they do, but they do. Alex and voiceover’s sounds don’t sound half bad with them either which is always a plus. They go bloody loud. However they do block out background noise very well; I have my music at a moderate volume, and I can barely hear myself tapping away on the keyboard. Like WhatHifi, I haven’t found anything to fault them on yet but I’ve only had them about half an hour. I’ll use them for the next day or 2 and then get back to you with a more in-depth review.

My full review

Ok so I’ve been using these headphones for a bit now and have decided. I really like them. Even as I sit here in the same situation I was originally; iTunes in the background, on the sofa, I’m still impressed by the quality of sound these headphones produce. However I will say they do leek a little bit, especially at the high volumes, but that’s kind of to be expected with headphones this size and this design. My Sennheiser’s don’t leek noise as much but personally I don’t think they go as loud.
They fit really comfortably; the headband allowing for plenty of adjustment. The headband itself is nicely padded, giving the AKG’s extra comfort. They also just feel sturdy on your head; they’re not going to fall off in a hurry. I do like a pair of headphones that can fold, I just think it looks neat when the headphones aren’t in use and the AKG’s manage to tick that box rather finely, however I still haven’t really figured out if I’m putting them in the case the right way yet. Update: I think I’ve figured out how to get them in the case. They do fit in there but it’s a bit awkward to get them in. When the cups are folded, there are spaces for them
to go face down and the case just zips shut.
I’m still impressed with the level of comfort they have to offer and the way they fit snuggly over your head and don’t grip. They aren’t like other headphones I’ve tried that hurt your ears when you wear them for a considerable length of time either. Honestly, they are that comfortable that when I plugged them in to my DAB radio to listen too while I was in bed last night, I ended up falling asleep wearing them. For a good few hours. I suppose I just got lost in the sound.
I’ve been listening to a varied range of genres over the last day or so with them and I have to say, they do perform exceptionally well with a wide range of music styles. I played probably one of my favourite albums to come out in a good while (X By Ed Sheeran); just on iTunes, and that’s when i truly noticed how well these headphones performed with acoustic music. Bass is well presented and the headphones do a good job of separating different instruments in the mix. You can also appreciate effects like reverb more.
After that I thought I’d try them with a very different genre of music. So I put on Royal Blood by Royal Blood and I found out it’s not just acoustic music these headphones do well. The pounding drums and guitar lines are very well presented however they leave plenty of space for the vocals to come through.
I have yet to play anything other than iTunes 256 KBPS AAC and Spotify’s “extreme” quality (equivalent to 320 KBPS) however, and I really need to get my FLAC collection out to really make the most of how they sound. That’ll be next week though so I’ll stick a bit at the bottom of the post when i do dive in. Even now just listening to iTunes again, I’m noticing how well Daft Punk’s ‘get lucky is presented. A very good buy I think.

Conclusion

Am I telling you to buy these headphones? Should you run out and snap some up for yourself? That’s not for me to decide. I’m just putting forward my review and experience of them. If you want to purchase a pair on my judgement then go right ahead. All I’m saying is if you’re looking for a pair of foldable affordable headphones that sound great then go right ahead.
I’m really happy with my purchase and hope if you go ahead with it you will be too.
I know I don’t post here very often but that’s because I run out of things to say quite quickly which is why I like my twitter more because it forces me to get to the point.
If you enjoy my blog posts however, and want to see more of them, give me a subject to talk about. Either tweet me, or contact me through the contact page.
Thank you very much for reading, and see you next time.

Update

Ok, it’s been a few weeks now (sorry), (well I did go on holiday; and yes, I did take the headphones), and I’ve been listening to them pretty much exclusively. In fact, I’m listening to them now and I’m still as impressed as I was when I first received them. I did say I would update once I’d listened to some high resolution audio with them, I don’t really know what I thought I was going to tell you, “It sounds, … the same as the difference between if you listen to a 320K MP3 and flac file on any good hardware” (it does sound bloody good). In fact, I’m sitting at my actual desk on my windows PC listening to foobar shuffling my flac library at the present time of writing this. (Which is a Saturday at 22:06, cause you know, all the 18 year old kids sit updating their blogs on a Saturday) … I digress. In case you care, I’ve got the headphones plugged into my Behringer UCA222, using the cable without the inline remote. If you didn’t care, too bad, you can’t unread it. I did have one problem though; when I was using these with my nexus7, I noticed the volume controls on the remote weren’t working but when I complained on twitter, a very kind person informed me that that’s an android problem so it’s nothing to do with the headphones. I have listened to a few more albums with these though and I’m still in love with them. I’ve also been listening to a few audio books and movies and it’s not just music they perform well with. As I mentioned before, TTS doesn’t sound bad through them either, especially on iOS, which is my preferred book reading medium these days. Anyway, that’ll do for now, so I hope you’ve enjoyed this little update, and see you all in the next one.

My review: Pure Move 2500 portable DAB radio

So hi everyone and sorry for the length between posts but I really had nothing to blog about.
So for Christmas, I received a Pure Move 2500 pocket sized portable DAB radio. I had been in the market for something like this for a while now but never bothered to do anything about it other than look at different products on Ebay.
I had come across this model and had done a little bit of online research on it and most people from around the internet gave it pretty positive reviews. It seemed pretty expensive though and I didn’t really want to risk it as I didn’t know what would be accessible and what wouldn’t be.
So, i was pleasantly surprised to receive this particular radio as a Christmas present.
For those who can’t see, it is the size of say, and iPod classic, possibly a little bit smaller. So it kind of looks like an iPod with an old iPod style wheel in the centre for navigational purposes. The thing itself doesn’t talk but once it’s all set up you don’t really need it too.

In the box is the radio itself, a charger (I have looked because I was curious and you can charge it using a standard micro USB cable (but you don’t get one with it)), the headphones and a user manual, ETC.

I had someone sited go over what does what so now I know.
You will need someone sited to set the language for you once you get it out the box but after that, you’re all good.
Ok, so you want to have the headphones connected when you’re going to turn it on. This is because the headphones act as the arial. It says you can use any pare of headphones with it but I haven’t tried that yet, the ones that it comes with are pretty nice (in fact, I’m using them now). There are 4 portions of the wheel; top, left, bottom and right. Oh yeah and the select button in the middle. The top button is the menu button, left takes you in to the list of stations or fi you’re on FM it brings you in to a list of frequencies. The bottom button switches between DAB and FM and also acts as your power button: press it to turn the radio on and hold down for a few seconds to turn it off. The right button is a preset button but I haven’t set any presets up yet so I’m not really sure of how it works. To select a station, press the left hand button, scroll to it and hit the select button. There’s an EQ and other setting but the menus don’t talk so I’ve never really been in there. Volume is controlled by the wheel when you are listening to a station. There’s a key lock switch at the top as well to stop you from pressing stuff when it’s in your pocket.

My review
Well, I love the thing. I’ve been using it for just under 2m months now and I love the thing. I’ve been on trains with it, long car journeys, walks around college, ETC and no faults at all. The FM portion comes in very handy as I like to take it to football matches and the commentary is only available on the BBC local FM frequency, not on DAB or AM and I had no problems with it at all. Even walking around town afterwards there were no problems. It’s also quite handy that it charges via USB as my nexus charger fits it so it’s one less charger I have to carry around.
In conclusion I’m not really sure what to say. It’s a lovely radio if you are willing to pay its price tag, and I’m not really sure of any other products that are really around that do the same.
You can pick one up
Thanks for reading and as always, your comments are welcome.

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