DIGITALLIFE SOUND &VISION
headphones have often been accused of lacking a bit sound-wise, but I find little to complain about in that regard with the BeatsX Bluetooth in-ear headphones.
The special Apple-made chip inside also means pairing and connecting to iPhones, Macs, iPads, and Apple Watches is mercifully free of the usual Bluetooth faff. IF there’s a better bargain in the headphone world than these beauties, I would be astounded. They sound amazing – better than many more that are more than twice the cost. Exceptionally good value for money at a knock-down price.
high-def audio, piped direct to your ears by a pair of specially designed 45mm drivers. They look cool, too, and offer an outstanding 38 hours of playback time on one charge, as well as a built in mic so you don’t have to miss that call when your ears-deep in your favourite playlist. THERE is nothing about this pair of cans that isn’t top class – your tunes will never have sounded better, and the noise cancelling is second to none. Also includes a passive listening mode, so you can keep on with the music even when the battery is flat. Folds up tight PLAY a digital guitar on the go without the hassle of having to carry an actual guitar with you. It might be great for practicing, but that’s not all it’s good for – it’s a midi controller too, so if you can play the guitar, with the Jamstik, pictured above, you can also play any other instrument, too – just as soon as you plug it into a computer. I WOULD recommend the Echo Dot, Amazon’s mini Alexa smart speaker that was just updated with better louder speakers – but they won’t be back in stock until after Christmas, so popular have they been. If you can’t wait till then, the Dot’s big brother, the Echo itself, is reasonably-priced and packs an even better sound. It’s the best way to get Alexa in your home in time for Christmas...
Sonos One is a fully-fledged Alexa-enabled speaker, too, but adds sensational sound quality into the mix. If you’ll be listening to a lot of music, and care about how it sounds, this is the Alexa speaker to go for. Get two for a stereo pair. AT the time of writing I can’t think of anything cooler than Teenage Engineering’s tiny pocket synthesizers and sound generators. They come in a variety of flavours – drum machines, sequencers, samplers and more – and allow you to create beats and tunes on the go. IT might be a bit pricey, but the Roli system of computer-controlling musical instruments could be all you need to make the next hit. Combining a keyboard and a touch-sensitive “block” you can play with taps and swipes, it works with any digital audio workstation on any computer platform, and looks and sounds like it could be the future of music making… If the set is out of your price range, these components and others are available standalone.
THE one thing that annoys me about today’s big-screen TVs is how they dominate the room when they’re off as well as on – great slabs of black plastic standing like the 2001 obelisk in the corner of your room. That’s why I love The Frame. Not only is it a superb TV, excelling at all the things a TV should, but it almost looks better when it’s off – resembling a picture frame. A series of fine art paintings can be displayed, and the display is sensitive to the ambient light, so it could actually pass for a painting when turned off. IF you want a cheap way to make your TV smarter, look no further than this bargain streaming stick. Powered by the excellent Roku system, the NowTV stick obviously gives you access to the contract-free Sky TV bundles on offer, and the recent addition of Netflix makes it a no brainer.
future of TV is apps, says Apple, which is perhaps why its TV set top is starting to gain some traction – there are lots of apps for it. Next year Apple is rumoured to be planning to offer its own streaming TV show bundle and has invested in original programming with big names (Steven Spielberg and Oprah). THERE’S nothing like watching a printed photo come to life before your very eyes, and that’s exactly what you get with this little beauty. Fujifilm has created a tiny gem of modern technology with a retro twist – an instant camera for the Instagram generation.