Apple reboots its eBay refurbished store, iPhone 5 (unlocked) starts at $449

apple-ebay-iphone-store

Update (7/10 9:00am): Looks like the store got pretty popular this week. It has been updated with the following message: “More inventory coming in on Friday – We are currently replenishing our inventory for our Factory Certified store, please check back soon!”

In late 2012 we uncovered an eBay store that was selling Apple certified refurbished products (iPad, MacBook, iPod, more). Though never officially confirmed by Apple itself, this storefront had all the makings of being officially tied to Apple in some capacity. This store is still live on eBay, but has not offered an item for sale since March of 2013. We speculated that Apple outsourced the sales to a 3rd party middle-company which allowed it to sell its wares without tax in many states even though eBay told us exclusively that they were dealing with Apple on the project.

It now appears that Apple is once again testing an eBay store, but this time is only offering iPhones for sale. Presently, there are six different pre-owned iPhone 5 configurations available with prices starting at $449 with free shipping. The store layout and verbiage is extremely reminiscent of the previous Apple eBay store. All items include a 1-year warranty, receive a complete burn-in, and final quality inspection is performed by Apple. Up until now, Apple has never sold pre-owned or refurbished iPhones so it’s possible that this eBay store is even more temporary than the first.

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Durable/wearable Bluetooth speakers: The Boombot Rex and the Divoom Bean

We’ve had a lot of experience reviewing the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but what haven’t yet covered speakers so small, you can actually wear them, put them on your bike, or listen to them in the shower. We have two for you today.

The first of these is the $30 Divoom Bean, a small, durable little Bluetooth speaker that looks a little like a ‘smurf lock’ and is the size of a large egg with a carabiner attached (blue above).  It weighs almost nothing and it charges via a micro-USB port on the bottom. It only has 2 buttons on it, a power button and ‘phone’ button. You’ll need to change volume from your phone or other A2DP Bluetooth device and this device seems to automatically switch off after a few minutes of inactivity. It also functions as a speakerphone.

How did it fare in our tests? Read more

Jawbone releases $299 Big Jambox, more power and features

The main gripe we had in our original Jambox review was that sound is not as big as other (bigger) portable Bluetooth speakers.

While both of these products sound great at low volumes, the Logitech has much bigger speakers and simply blows past the Jambox at higher volumes. At its loudest, the Jambox hits about four to 10 levels of the Logitech—it is really no comparison.

The Jambox produces the kind of sound that can be the background music at a dinner party, run a conference call or office presentation in a small conference room, or just listen to your music in a hotel room. I would even recommend it for sitting on a porch or terrace and reading a book. However, you will want more on windy day at the beach or when using it in the kitchen while the dishwasher is running. At 30 feet away, the Bluetooth can tether and you will definitely feel lacking.

Jambox, as if it were listening, introduced the new “Big Jambox” today, which has a bigger sound, longer battery life, and more buttons. As you can see below, you can now control the play/pause and moving forward/backward tracks right from the Jambox. On the downside, it appears that charging the Big Jambox requires a dedicated power cable. The previous version charged via micro-USB, which still exists to set up the MyTalk smart apps.

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We are in line to get our hands on one of these when it launches May 15 for $299.  We will hopefully have a review shortly.  The gallery follows: Read more