As we close out the year and approach Christmas, here is a quick review of some stellar items we have reviewed over the past few months.
Audyssey Lower East Side Speakers. Truth be told, we were interested in the Airplay-enabled Lower East Side Audio Dock Air that seems to have been struck by production delays. In the meantime, we are in love with the standalone LES powered speakers (right). Very simple I/Os and almost perfect desktop-level sound makes these incredibly good for the small room or workspace. Sure, they will fill up a medium sized room, but you will find much larger/expensive setups for that. $199 Amazon. Bonus: If you want Airplay functionality, throw in a $95 Apple TV and an Optical cable.
Doxie Go Wireless scanner: The magic is putting an Eye-Fi card in the SD card slot that allows automatic Evernote/flickr Cloud synchronizing. I use this at the front of my house without a computer where mail comes in. Important stuff is run through the scanner and sent to the Cloud before it hits recycling. Standalone Cloud scanners are the future. It also does traditional Desktop scanning via USB. ($150-200 at Amazon.)
Atari Arcade. This little plastic iPad “dock” (does not work with iPhone 4) adds a joystick to the 100 Atari applications for $15 app (at present no other games support this – but more are planned). The quality is good and the gaming is certainly nostalgic. It was fun to teach my kid the games I played when I was his age (which is probably why this thing is such a hit). It would have been much better with a pass thru charger and landscape options. Still, fun. ($59.99 Amazon) iCade is a more expensive option.
iHelicopter.net sent us a review unit after we showed their latest preview of their missile-shooting iHelocopter. After a few weeks of playing with this iOS device controlled (through an earphone dongle) helicopter, I can say it works as expected. I have only used it inside but it has survived a lot of hard “landings” as well as direct hits on the ceiling and walls. The reason this one is so notable is that it shoots missiles through a spring-loaded system. Yes, this works and with the gyroscope going, it is easy to hit your target. ($69 shipped free globally.)
Logitech Tablet speaker. Initially we were down on this little gadget because, let us face it, it is not a “looker”. However, after playing with our review unit for a number of weeks, it has come in handy on a number of occasions and it produces impressive sound considering its size and portability. It clips to your iPad, is charged via USB and plugs into the headphone jack. The rechargeable batteries last for 8 hours. (Amazon – as low as $22)
Western Digital TV Live. Sure Apple TV does 90% of what this thing does, but if you want stuff like Hulu Plus, Spotify, Facebook or compatibility with DLNA and non- iOS compatible videos, this little $90 1080P TV works great. It also has a full sized USB port for hooking directly into USB Sticks, wireless keyboards, and hard drives. ($89.99 – Amazon.) Also, consider Roku devices that start at $45.