August unveils $49 Connect accessory enabling Internet access to its Smart Lock

Smart lock maker August announced its latest device today at CES 2015 simply dubbed ‘Connect’. The August Connect is an WiFi-connected device that plugs into a power outlet in your home to provide the Bluetooth-connected August Smart Lock with a constant Internet connection. August says its latest accessory enables several new features for owners of its smart lock product… Read more

Braven announces $99 Fuse wireless audio mixer that pairs with your Bluetooth devices & speakers

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There are a lot of audio mixers and DJ controllers on the market specifically for iPad and iPhone users, but so far most require you to run cables or dock your device in a rather large unit. The latest option that we got a chance to try during CES today is Braven’s new Fuse Bluetooth audio mixer, a lightweight wireless option that lets you connect two audio sources and your output all through Bluetooth: Read more

CES 2015: Avi-on shows sub-$60, next-gen smart home lighting solutions

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How often is merely showing up with a working lightbulb enough to attract a crowd? At a dimly-lit event held tonight by the Bluetooth SIG ahead of the 2015 CES, Avi-on demonstrated such modest magic using an early implementation of Bluetooth mesh wireless connectivity.

The company’s upcoming Bluetooth light switches ($30-$35), light dimmers ($40), and lightbulbs ($20) will be the backbone of an upcoming home lighting system with General Electric branding, and promise to eliminate the need for in-wall light switch wiring.

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Zagg announces iPhone 6 Speaker Case w/ detachable Bluetooth speaker & backup battery, more

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Zagg, the company behind many of our favorite Bluetooth keyboards and cases, today announced its latest creation, the ZAGG Speaker Case for iPhone 6 with detachable Bluetooth speaker. Not only that, but the case also packs in an 1800mAh backup battery, which the company says will get you approximately “8 hours of additional talk time, and can be shared with a friend.” Read more

Fugoo Bluetooth speaker differentiates with 40hr battery, incredible waterproofing and robust ecosystem

IMG_20141229_133347Note, I originally was going to review this in early 2015, but Amazon is having a pretty insane 1-day deal on it and I love it sooo…

Fugoo is the best Bluetooth speaker you’ve probably never heard of. I got mine after a few readers (and PR folk) rightfully noted its omission from our Best Bluetooth Speaker of 2014 list. I have been listening to it ever since and yep, it should be among the top and for $135, it is a no-brainer… Read more

Review: iHome’s iBN10 sheds the dock and alarms for a minimalist new four-speaker design

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I’ve reviewed a lot of iHome clock radios over the past nine years. They weren’t all formulaic, but there was a very clear evolutionary line from the original 2005-vintage, iPod-only iH5 to the iPad-ready iDL95 released last year: take two speakers, stick a clock in the middle, center a dock on the top, then make the enclosure sort of flat but pleasantly curvy. iHome had a winning general concept and look, which it updated annually with small feature, color, and shape tweaks. But its new $120 model iBN10 breaks the mold in several ways.

The dock’s gone, the clock has been glammed up and shifted to the right, and there are four speakers inside, rather than the standard two. iBN10 is also atypically handsome, built and billed as an “executive music system” by discarding the faux metals that iHome’s midrange speakers have become known for, and adding speakerphone functionality. This isn’t iHome’s first Kleenex box-sized speaker, but it’s definitely the most sophisticated.

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Best Bluetooth Speaker of the Year: JBL, Beats, Bose, UE Boom, Jawbone, more

Best-Bluetooth-speakers-2015(TL;DR: Winner, best size, best sound, runner-up best apps, best budget, best $300)

It has been a solid year and a half since our last Big “Best Portable Bluetooth speaker” competition, though we’ve done tons of updates to it in the months since.

A lot of our favorites are still around while others have been updated and new players have emerged. And what about our previous champ: the Ultimate Ears Boom? Spoiler alert: a new winner has emerged. Read on to find out who takes our Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker award… Read more

Gift guide: Premium headphones & earphones for the music lover in your life

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Apple makes great phones, tablets and computers; earphones not so much. The ones that come free with the iPhone look attractive, but they’re pretty much worth what you pay for them when it comes to sound quality.

Great sound, though, doesn’t come cheap, which is why a pair of premium headphones or earphones can make the perfect gift for someone who loves their music but perhaps doesn’t have the budget to really splash out on themselves.

If you’re buying for a musician, check out the more studio-oriented recommendations in our music gift guide. For those who will mostly use their headphones while on the move, read on …  Read more

Review: Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket

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I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

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The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide StereoRead more

Bluetooth 4.2 stops eavesdroppers, increases data transfer speed & brings direct internet access

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced an updated Bluetooth spec, version 4.2, that introduces a number of new features alongside enhancements to speed and privacy. The update also allows for Bluetooth over IPv6, which along with an upcoming update will allow devices to have a direct connection to the Internet and open up new possibilities for Bluetooth sensors and other accessories. Read more

Here’s why beacon networks are the way to go for retailers & app developers supporting iBeacon

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If you’re a retailer, you have two options when it comes to deploying Bluetooth beacons. You can deploy the hardware yourself and build an accompanying mobile app for the experience, or you can open the experience to existing apps that users already have on their device using a beacon network. Some retailers have decided they want to own the experience and have everything go through their own mobile app, but new data suggests that might not be the way to go. Read more