Tag-Archive for » iPhone bluetooth headset «

Smart headphones could be the smartglasses for the rest of us

What if your headphones were smart enough to know where you are, which direction you are facing and could play 3D sounds capable of giving you directions – without the need for a screen or glasses strapped to your face?

The Intelligent Headset from Danish audio specialists GN can do just that using built-in sensors that relay information to a smartphone or tablet and allow the headset to know where and what you are facing at any time.

“It took us under two years to develop the headphones, which are based on our sister company Jabra’s Bluetooth headphones, upgraded with a gyroscope, GPS and compass integrated into the top band,” said Lars Johansen, one of the developers of the Intelligent Headset.

Wearable technology, hidden in plain sight

The headphones do not obviously look like a piece of wearable smart technology, unlike smartglasses like Google Glass. The only sign that they are more than Bluetooth headphones is a small lump in the headband that contains the extra sensors and electronics.

Intelligent Headset
Intelligent Headset Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

“They connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet and allow us to use 3D positional audio to give the wearer real-time audio feedback on their actions or location – they’re like an audio version of Google Glass,” explained Johansen.

Like Google Glass, the Intelligent Headset has a lot of potential for all sorts of innovative uses in audio and gaming, but also in navigation and support for blind people.

Gaming, walking, touring and talking

While GN has opened up the Headset to developers, and is currently seeking “killer apps”, its in-house developers like Johansen have already come up with some very interesting applications.

Intelligent Headset Zombie X game
Intelligent Headset Zombie X game Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Johansen has developed an iPhone game called Zombie X, which uses 3D-spatial audio to simulate an immersive zombie attack in a 360-degree space around the wearer. Players have to pinpoint the direction of the attack using audio alone. As the player rotates, the direction of the audio source changes, and once the zombie is right in front of them hitting a button will fire a gun and take the beast down.

Other applications being demonstrated included an audio tour of a museum, which explained to the wearer what they were looking at with the touch of a button. Some exhibits emitted sounds associated with their function, like the sounds of water pouring for a fountain or the puffs of steam for an engine, allowing the wearer to pinpoint the attraction’s location by the direction the sound source.

Intelligent Headset audio tour
Intelligent Headset audio tour Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

GN’s 3D-audio technology also allows immersive music listening experiences. Wearers can walk through an orchestra, for instance, and hear the individual instruments pass them by. The headset could also recreate a concert, where it sounds like the user is standing in the middle of the crowd.

‘Something smaller, more discrete’

Besides entertainment, GN sees applications for helping blind or partially sighted people with navigation, using directional audio cues to indicate which way they need to move or where a building is, like an audio version of satellite navigation.

The headset is still in development, but pre-orders are available now costing $420 and shipping in July this year.

• Google Glass – wearable tech, but would you actually wear it?

Sound World Solutions introduces first Bluetooth Series personal sound amplifier, CS10

Sound World Solutions announces the availability of the CS50, the company’s second model in the technologically advanced Bluetooth Series of personal sound amplifiers. The CS50 features an Apple iOS 7-compatible customizer app, enabling users to adjust sound performance from an iPhone.

The CS50 is designed for consumers who need occasional help hearing but don’t want a hearing aid. Also functioning as a high-quality Bluetooth headset for mobile phones, it will operate up to 15 hours on its rechargeable battery. In addition, it can stream a variety of audio sources including music, audio books and podcasts. The CS50 features improved directionality for listening assistance in noisy environments, such as restaurants.

“Directionality is the only way to improve intelligibility in noisy environments,” said Dr. Stavros Basseas, co-founder and president of Sound World Solutions. “We are very pleased with how much background noise the algorithms of the CS50 can attenuate. It is dramatically better than even our previous product.”

Out of the box, users can adjust volume and access settings designed for specific environments. They can also toggle between three preset amplification profiles. The device allows even greater personalization using a free app for Apple iOS 7, Android, Windows or Mac OS X. The app walks users through a short personalization program to create a customized sound profile. The app also has an equalizer that allows users to adjust treble, mid-range and bass frequencies to further personalize their sound.

Sound World Solutions Introduces New CS50 iPhone-Compatible Personal Sound Amplifier

PARK RIDGE, Ill., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Sound World Solutions announces the availability of the CS50, the company’s second model in the technologically advanced Bluetooth Series of personal sound amplifiers. The CS50 features an Apple iOS 7-compatible customizer app, enabling users to adjust sound performance from an iPhone.

The CS50 is designed for consumers who need occasional help hearing but don’t want a hearing aid. Also functioning as a high-quality Bluetooth headset for mobile phones, it will operate up to 15 hours on its rechargeable battery. In addition, it can stream a variety of audio sources including music, audio books and podcasts. The CS50 features improved directionality for listening assistance in noisy environments, such as restaurants.

“Directionality is the only way to improve intelligibility in noisy environments,” said Dr. Stavros Basseas, co-founder and president of Sound World Solutions. “We are very pleased with how much background noise the algorithms of the CS50 can attenuate. It is dramatically better than even our previous product.”

Out of the box, users can adjust volume and access settings designed for specific environments. They can also toggle between three preset amplification profiles. The device allows even greater personalization using a free app for Apple iOS 7, Android, Windows or Mac OS X. The app walks users through a short personalization program to create a customized sound profile. The app also has an equalizer that allows users to adjust treble, mid-range and bass frequencies to further personalize their sound.

“Regardless of how comfortable the user is with technology, they can get benefit from the CS50,” said Basseas. “All of the settings can easily be accessed from the controls on the device. Users with smartphones can achieve a deeper level of programming and control with our optional app. The product is capable of being as simple or as sophisticated as the user wants it to be.”

The CS50 is available for purchase at www.soundworldsolutions.com in right- or left-ear versions for $349.99, backed by a no risk 30-day money back guarantee. Each kit contains two rechargeable batteries, a charging station, carrying case and a variety of ear tips for customizable fit.

Sound World Solutions introduced its first Bluetooth Series personal sound amplifier, the CS10, in February 2013.  This revolutionary product garnered widespread media attention from CBS News, National Public Radio and the New York Times, and was named a finalist in the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards.

Sound World Solutions

Sound World Solutions designs, manufactures and sells premium performance consumer products that help people rediscover the power of connection, recognizing that sound and clarity are an integral part of human interaction. In 2013, the company introduced its first product based on a design platform that brings affordable functionality to millions of people who require occasional hearing assistance. Sound World Solutions also collaborates with organizations providing hearing health studies and services and on–the–ground solutions in developing markets throughout the world.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140416/75372

Get your ears on, old school

cb-radio-smart-phone-handset

Instead of a Bluetooth headset or one of those old-fashioned telephone handsets, attach the CB Radio iPhone Handset to your smart phone for some Smokey and the Bandit fun.  It has a mute button that silences the other side like a real CB radio handset, so it’s not going to qualify as a hands-free device and probably won’t be legal to use while driving in all states.  There’s a microphone built into the cord, and a dial on the side to turn it on/off and adjust the volume.  The handset also works as a speaker for listening to music.  It’s battery powered, so it won’t drain your phone’s battery.  Although it specifies iPhone in the name, it will actually work with any phone with a 3.5mm headphone jack.  (The answer and hangup button won’t work with all phones.)  It’s currently on sale for $9.99 at ThinkGeek – a 50% savings.

Latest gadgets ease the cruelty of travel

I don’t often quote poetry in this column, but indulge me a bit of leeway when I steal from T.S. Eliot when he wrote, “April is the cruelest month” (first line of “The Waste Land”). If he were around today this might be a reference to the technology trade show travel schedule, in which conferences seem to hit particularly hard in April once winter doesn’t have its hold on flight delays.

Luckily, gadget-makers understand the cruelty of travel, and are always creating new devices that help the mobile worker/road warrior ease the pain of a hotel room with few outlets, or expensive in-room Wi-Fi. Here are three gadgets I’ve recently tested that can help you on your next trip:

The scoop:Trek (N300) Travel Router and Range Extender (model PR200), by NETGEAR, about $60.

What is it? This small box acts as a miniature travel trotter that can connect to hotel wireless and public Wi-Fi hot spots, providing a bridge connection for multiple devices via Wi-Fi. When you return home, you can use the device as a Wi-Fi range extender (to fill in any wireless holes you may be suffering from), or even as it’s own router (if you don’t yet own one). The unit comes with a built-in power plug, two Ethernet ports (one for a WAN, the other for a LAN), a USB port for attaching a storage device, and a USB cable (if you want to power the unit from a USB port instead of the wall outlet).

Why it’s cool: The multiple functions of the Trek make it more useful than a single-function travel router, extending its value. But the main reason you’ll love it is to extend wireless connections for multiple devices (PC, phone, tablet) when you travel. With hotel Internet service costing $15 per day or even higher ($20+ per day in some cities), this router can help you maximize that connection by allowing Wi-Fi to multiple devices. If you tried to connect three devices, for example (PC, phone and tablet) to the hotel’s wireless, you might end up paying three different charges for that access.

Having tried several travel routers in the past, I was a bit skeptical with the Trek, mainly because hotel wireless setups usually involve browser authentication (you can’t get to the wider Internet until you pony up the cash). However, I was very pleased to see that the Trek device and NETGEAR Genie software could easily set itself up for the multi-device sharing. After plugging in the device to a power source, I flipped the switch on the Trek to “Wireless”, then connected my computer to the Trek’s SSID (both the SSID and the password are on a sticker on the unit). This triggered the Genie software to scan available wireless signals, letting me choose the hotel’s wireless network. Once the Trek connected to the hotel network, it opened up another browser window/tab to let me authenticate, at which point additional devices could connect to the Trek without having to worry about additional charges. As long as any new device connects to the Trek instead of the hotel network, you should be fine.

Some caveats: It’s likely that you’ll only be using this device as a travel router, as you probably already own a home router. You might want to use this as a wireless range extender if you don’t yet have/need one of those, but then it could cause some worries if you then have to grab it for your next trip. If you really need a wireless range extender, the best bet is to buy a separate one. At least NETGEAR is giving users the option for the additional features, so it’s hard to ding them too much for this.

Grade: 5 stars (out of five)

The scoop:Voyager Edge Bluetooth headset, by Plantronics, about $130.

What is it? The latest Bluetooth headset for mobile phone users, the Voyager Edge is smaller than the company’s more professional Voyager headsets, yet maintains many of the modern features we expect to see these days in a headset. This includes voice instructions for pairing, a slider power button, and easy-to-reach buttons for call activation and volume control. The Voyager Edge also includes a carrying case that doubles as a power charger, so you can recharge the headset while keeping it in a laptop bag, purse or in your car. Lights on the charger indicate power levels for both the headset (when it’s docked) and charger.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD 12 Bluetooth gadgets for geeks +

Why it’s cool: I liked the smaller design – while I enjoyed using the company’s Voyager Pro headsets (including the UC models for taking calls at work or using them for VoIP calls), I can see how the smaller version would appeal to people who are out and about more and don’t want to constantly wear their headset. Pairing the headset to my phone (it supports iOS and Android) was simple – just put the headset on and listen to the instructions.

In addition to making voice calls with the headset, you can keep it on your ear and listen to streaming music or podcasts while you’re commuting. I wouldn’t use this while exercising – the fit inside the ear is pretty tight (it’s designed that way to stay on your ear, with three ear loop sizes and a plastic hook for more stability). The comfort on the ear lasts for about the time of an average commute – after about 30 to 45 minutes, you’ll want to take it off.

Some caveats: The Voyager Edge comes with a mini-USB charging cable and a car power adapter, but nothing that plugs into the wall – if you need to recharge the unit, you’ll need to find a USB port or head to your car. It’s not a huge deal, as most mobile workers will have one of those two options available, but I found it odd that a wall adapter was not included. Also, if you like using the plastic hook in order to get more stability on your ear, you have to detach it when recharging the unit via the docking charger, giving you a greater chance of either breaking the plastic hook, or losing it (like leaving it on your office desktop or home office).

Grade: 4 stars (out of five)

The scoop: DoubleUp dual USB charger for iPad, iPhone and iPod, about $40.

What is it? About the size of a hockey puck, the DoubleUp gives you two charging ports for USB devices (2.1-amp/10.5-watt) that can plug into a regular wall outlet. Small LEDs on the unit let you know when the mobile device is fully charged.

Why it’s cool: Power outlet space is often at a premium in hotel rooms, so any device that can give you extra charging capabilities is appreciated. In the case of the DoubleUp, you can basically get three devices charged instead of two (or even four if you use two of these units in a regular two-outlet wall port). If you need to recharge an iPhone and an iPod (or iPad), this handy device makes it slightly easier. While the marketing says it’s for the iOS world, you could certainly plug in another device via the USB cable (as long as the device supports that wattage/amperage). The unit is also small enough so you don’t have to bring one of those big power-strip extenders.

Some caveats: No cables are provided, so you have to bring your own. But at least you don’t have to bring along the power-prong brick.

Grade: 3.5 stars

Shaw can be reached at kshaw@nww.com. Follow him on Twitter: @shawkeith.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World’s Anti-malware section.

Technology makes hearing aids smaller, sleeker and easier to use

photo
As the first to market Made for iPhone hearing aid, ReSound LiNX is a completely customizable and discreet option for wearers. With this new device, wearers can stream high-quality audio into their hearing aids from their Apple device.

— ReSound LiNx

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As the first to market Made for iPhone hearing aid, ReSound LiNX is a completely customizable and discreet option for wearers. With this new device, wearers can stream high-quality audio into their hearing aids from their Apple device.
/ ReSound LiNx

When audiologists such as Dr. David Illich began practicing years ago, hearing aids were bulky. They were also designed to be removed at night or when showering or swimming, making the world of sound go dull to the person suffering from hearing loss.

But not anymore.

Like most technology in recent years, such as cellphones and computers, hearing aids have gotten smaller and sleeker, more advanced in what they’re able to do and easier for people to use.

“There (have) been more technological changes in the last three years than in the last 10 years,” said Illich, who serves as chief audiologist at Palomar Hospital in Poway.

In fact, he said hearing aid technology has evolved to the point where a patient recently told him that for the first time in decades he’s forgotten he has hearing loss.

Today, said Dr. Meghan Spriggs, a senior audiologist at the University of California, San Diego, hearing aids have improved in countless ways. They’ve evolved to the point, she said, where users can sync them with a Bluetooth headset for their cellphones and stream phone calls through the device.

Related

Hearing loss: 5 things to know

“Hearing aids aren’t what they used to be,” she said.

In addition, earlier this year, the first iPhone-compatible hearing aid — The ReSound LiNX — was introduced. The device, which is also compatible with iPads and iPod touches, lets users adjust features such as hearing aid volume, and bass and treble in each ear through an app. The device can also be used to stream music, listen to GPS directions and make phone calls through a Bluetooth. It also comes with a “Find My Hearing Aid” feature to help track down the hearing aid if it’s misplaced.

Illich said the device will also allow the iPhone’s personal assistant, Siri, to read emails to users through their hearing aids.

One of the features Illich said he likes best is that the model is “extremely user friendly.” He said a patient in his 90s recently came in for the phone-compatible hearing aid and knew how to use it within minutes.

“He took it over,” Illich said. “He walked out of the office (happy) like a little kid.”

In addition to working with phone technology, Spriggs said hearing aids are smaller and less noticeable than in the past.

She also said many people with hearing aids often heard squealing or whistling sounds, called feedback. But today most hearing aids stop that issue before it happens.

Connectivity is also better; there’s less fiddling with volume in noisy places because many automatically tone down unwanted sounds; and some have microphones that can identify speech while turning down background noise.

Illich said there are now hearing aids that can be worn 24/7 instead of being removed at night or in the shower.

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The Lyric hearing aid is worn for three months straight and users can sleep or shower with the device in the ear. It’s also hidden deep in the ear canal — just 4 millimeters from the eardrum — so it’s completely invisible. — LYRIC

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The Lyric hearing aid is worn for three months straight and users can sleep or shower with the device in the ear. It’s also hidden deep in the ear canal — just 4 millimeters from the eardrum — so it’s completely invisible.
/ LYRIC

He said the Lyric hearing aid is worn for three months straight and users can sleep or shower with the device in the ear. It’s also hidden deep in the ear canal — just four millimeters from the eardrum – so it’s completely invisible. When the battery dies after a few months, the device is removed and replaced with a new one. Instead of paying for a new hearing aid each time, patients pay an annual subscription fee.

Swap Your Yogi for a Headset

I’ve always wanted to join the ranks of those who are able to generate calm and focus in their lives using ancient mindfulness techniques, but it was hard to learn with overwhelming attention deficit. The frustrating difficulty is that meditation, perhaps unlike any other skill, cannot be observed. I can’t pay a coach to tell me if I’m “focused” or not.

Fortunately, there is new tech to the rescue: inexpensive, commercial-grade brainwave readers. For around $100, I strap on the NeuroSky, a headset that supplements my daily meditation routine with software that tells me when I’m focused or spaced-out.

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Cognitive scientists have long known that concentration is associated with brain-wave patterns observable through Electroencephalography (EEG). Combining wearable technology that detects certain brainwaves, scientists have designed software that alerts users with sights and sounds when they’re in a desired mental state. The experimental practice, known as “neurofeedback” has been growing in popularity as a drug-free alternative for Attention Deficit Disorder.

“Mobile neurofeedback systems and protocols that are derived and extend upon meditative traditions and practices offer a promising new direction and platform in mobile technology,” write Tracy Brandmeyer and Arnaud Delorme in Frontiers of Psychology. “These technologies would be not only for people who have taken interest in these kinds of practices or people who have already established themselves in a meditative practice, but for people who are looking for new methods to train, improve, and develop attention and emotion regulation.”

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For myself, the NeuroSky is a convenient, portable EEG device that provides most of the rudimentary meditation help I need. Whenever I’m feeling spacey or tired, I strap on the headset, hook it up to my iPhone via Bluetooth, and try to raise my “meditation” and “attention” score (image below). After 10 minutes or so, I feel like I drank a small cup of coffee—minus the jitters.

Computer-guided meditation is nice for those of us who have difficultly even understanding what focus feels like. To be sure, computer-guided meditation can be a very frustrating experience. It took me a while to understand how to get high scores on the software, mostly because I was meditating all wrong. Meditation isn’t forceful concentration, but a silencing of the mind. Before I figured this out, I spent many hours cursing at the technology on my head.

READ MORE How Does Your Lady Garden Grow?

Now, to be sure, neurofeedback is a controversial science, with a mixed history of clinical success. Even for those who believe in the benefits of neurofeedback, there is broad disagreement about which brain waves to look for. Engineers at the well-funded InterXIon, which is building a behind-the-ear alternative to NeuroSky called Muse, tell me that they look for much different brain wave patterns.

But, the basics of being calm, listening, and silencing one’s inner voice are a staple of any meditation. While we may not know the very best ways to design computer-guided meditation, any assistance can be enormously beneficial. For me, technology is a delightfully helpful crutch to scaffold me into more advanced meditative practices.

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NeuroSky is available now for around $130. Muse will be available sometime later this year for around $200.

Related from The Daily Beast

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Some early standouts are emerging in the world of smart watches

Chester Gould, the inventor of Dick Tracy’s iconic two-way wrist radio, could not have imagined the real thing. Teamed with your smartphone, a smart watch can display real-time fitness data; show phone, text and social-media messages; and even act as a remote control for your phone’s music player. Caveat: So-called wearable devices are still rough around the edges. But the three below are standouts in a rapidly evolving genre.

 • The Sony SmartWatch 2 ($200) syncs to your smartphone, and vibrates softly when you get a call, email or text message (including friends’ Facebook and Twitter posts). With a Bluetooth headset, you can use it to make and receive phone calls, view a list of recent calls, and control (play, stop and skip) songs on your phone. The 1.6-inch LCD screen is easy to read in bright sunlight, although the colorful 220-by-176-pixel resolution lacks the crispness of current smart-phone displays. The device runs three to four days between charges. The SmartWatch 2 works only with smartphones running Android 4.0 or higher. It comes with a few preinstalled apps, but you’ll have to go to the Google Play store to download the really useful stuff.

 • Although the Magellan Echo ($150) syncs to your iPhone, you cannot send and receive calls. But what the Echo does, it does well: display real-time feedback from sports apps, such as MapMyRun, Strava and Wahoo Fitness, running on your Apple iOS device. The Echo can run for months on a single inexpensive lithium battery. But miserly energy consumption involves trade-offs. The Echo’s 1-inch, 128-by-128-pixel display is reasonably easy to read, but it’s small and drab. Just to be clear: You’ll need to bring along your iPhone, too, which could prove cumbersome for runners.

 • Of the three watches in this review, we’d choose the upstart Pebble ($150), whose development was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. It is more versatile than the fitness-oriented Echo, and unlike the Android-only SmartWatch 2, it works with either Android or iOS — plus it costs less. Like the SmartWatch, the Pebble syncs via Bluetooth to your phone or headset to make calls, and runs a few bare-bones apps that let you display phone-call, text and social-media notifications. It also shows real-time data from fitness apps, and it lets you manage songs playing on your phone.

The Pebble runs five to seven days between charges, a little longer than the SmartWatch. Its 1.26-inch, 144-by-168-pixel display is reasonably sharp. The Pebble’s stable of popular apps is growing, with Yelp, Foursquare, ESPN and Pandora expected to release Pebble-specific versions soon.

Jeff Bertolucci is a freelance writer for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.

Hands-on review: PAX East 2014: Astro Gaming A38

Astro Gaming might be synonymous with serious pro-gaming headsets, but more and more the company is branching out into the personal audio space. The Astro A38 represents the gaming audiophile company’s biggest departure yet as a Bluetooth headset you won’t want to hookup with your PC rig or gaming consoles. Instead the A38 is a completely wireless, Bluetooth-connected headset for the PlayStation Vita and iPhone as well as iPad Air, or other mobile devices.

On the PAX East show floor we got a chance to try out a pair of A38s. Without a single audio connector or a microphone jack, the A38s are fairly plain and simple compared to Astro’s past headsets. If anything the A38 headphones look like a miniaturized version of Astro’s A30s as they both share the same offset design with the ear cup angled behind the headband.

Soft muffs

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review

The A38s also features a soft, synthetic leather material that sits on the ear like a cushion. Despite the soft touch of the headphone’s cups, they still clung tight because the material conformed to our ears like memory foam. The top of the headset is also lined with the same cushioning, which could come in handy for long listening or mobile gaming sessions.

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review

The similarities between the two headsets end here. Since there are no wires, there also isn’t any mixamp to plug into. Instead, the headphones pair the device to an iPhone or tablet as a regular Bluetooth device after pressing the power button on the headphone’s left side.

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review
The leftside of the Astro A38s

While these Astro headphones can also pair with the Bluetooth on a PC or laptop, an Astro representative explained that any games which require voice chat would turn the A38s into a pair of mono headphones. This, however, is due to a limitation of Bluetooth rather than the headphones.

Below the power button there’s also a multifunction button, which pauses playback when pressed once, tracks forward when hit twice, and jumps a track back when simply held for a second.

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review
And a volume rocker on the rightside

This same multifunction button is also used to answer calls when connected to a smartphone. While there might not be any visible microphone, there’s a small gap near the bottom of the ear cups. This isn’t a flaw in the headphones but a space that hides the A38′s noise canceling microphone. We didn’t get a chance to test out the voice quality of the microphone due to network issues on the PAX East show floor.

Noise (partially) canceling

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review
Removeable speaker tags are an option on the Astro A38s

Speaking of drowning out outside noise, on the PAX East floor, the A38s drowned out most of the drumming beat from the convention, but we were still able to hold a conversation with the Astro representative as she told us about the product.

These are not headphones that will completely block out outside background noise. Users looking for complete auditory isolation should consider the Bose QuietComfort headphones. The A38s are also not very noise isolating as they’ve been designed as open-ear (or on-ear) headphones, where the ear cups does not cover your ears completely.

That said, the audio quality on the Astro A38 is staggeringly amazing. The Astro A38′s produce a wonderfully clear full tonal range of highs and lows for music. Meanwhile, there’s also bit of punchy base that mobile gamers and movie watchers can enjoy.

Early verdict

Astro Gaming, Astro A38, gaming headsets, Bluetooth headset, audio, headphones, PAX East 2014, Hands-On Review

The Astro A38 headphones are an extremely luxurious pair of headphones for its $229 (about £ 136/AU$ 243) price. However, for the most part, the price tag is well worth. The A38s have an extremely comfortable fit and topnotch audio quality. It might not have the best noise canceling and isolating qualities, but that’s to be expected with the open-ear design.

From afar, people will still almost immediately recognize the A38s as a pair of Astro headphones and that’s part of the appeal. The gaming audio giant has taken its years of experience and made a great pair of regular headphones, but we’ll have to wait until we can put some serious listening hours in before we can deliver our final judgment on the Astro A38.

Three Simple Ways To Extend Your iPhone's Battery Life

The problem with smartphones is not that they all have terrible batteries. The tech inside their batteries has actually improved significantly int he last few years.

The problem is really that we’re just asking our phones to do a lot more complex stuff – and that takes even more power to do.

Take the iPhone, for instance. Left alone doing nothing, the iPhone can survive for a couple of days at least with no problems. It’s only when you start playing endless games of Plants Vs Zombies and Threes while browsing Twitter, listening to music and chatting on a Bluetooth headset that it gets tricky.

Fortunately, there is something you can do – short of buying a new phone. Or investing in this Israeli startup.

In the videos above we’ve collected three simple ways for you to extend the life of your iPhone’s battery.

Of course, you could just buy a new phone after all. And we’ve got you covered there too:

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  • HTC One M8

    The 2014 update to the HTC One builds on the same hardware features that won the original such a fanatical response, but keeps the essential DNA intact. The massive front-facing speakers are 25% louder, the UltraPixel camera adds a second lens for depth perception (so you can refocus an image after shooting it), and there’s a 5-megapixel ‘Selfie’ front facing lens too. [a href="www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/26/htc-one-m8-review_n_5035163.html?1395847758" target="_blank"REVIEW/a]

  • Sony Xperia Z2

    Sony’s latest flagship Xperia smartphone is a beautiful, thin and waterproof delight. It packs in a 20-megapixels still camera capable of 4K video, a sleeker form factor, a far better screen and built-in noise cancellation technology.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5

    This year’s Galaxy S adds water resistance, a slightly larger screen, a 16-megapixel camera and a heart-rate sensor into what was already a market-leading, powerful and sleekly designed device. It doesn’t rock the boat too much, but it didn’t need to. This is still up there with the very best Android phones.

  • Google LG Nexus 5

    The new Nexus 5 is based on the internals of the LG G2 – which means you get the same Snapdragon 800 processor, as well as the full version of Google’s new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, which integrates SMS messages into Hangouts, freshens up the design and adds new features under the hood. The camera is still a little lacking, while the design is functional rather than beautiful, but at £299 off contract it’s still a steal.

  • iPhone 5C

    The 5C was rumoured to be Apple’s ‘budget’ iPhone. It isn’t – and not only because it isn’t that cheap. The “proudly plastic” 5C comes in five colours (see what they did there) a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5c-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3899557.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech” target=”_blank”but has the same internals, screen and camera as the iPhone 5./a It’s essentially the same beautiful, high-end phone you already know and love, in a more colourful (and potentially divisive) design. As such it’s hard to see how Apple won’t sell a billion of them.

  • Nokia Lumia 925

    a href=”http://gdgt.com/nokia/lumia/920/” target=”_blank”The Nokia Lumia 925/a has the same great design and attention to detail we’ve come to expect from Nokia, but with some crucial upgrades from the 920 including a thinner, all-metal design and an improved camera.

  • iPhone 5S

    With the same ultra-clear Retina display as the iPhone 5, but now with an a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/10/iphone-5s-uk-pictures-release-date_n_3898775.html?1378818683utm_hp_ref=uk-tech” target=”_blank”added fingerprint sensor/a, a seriously impressive 64-bit A7 chip, an improved camera and a new gold design option, this is the best iPhone ever made. And with its consistent market-leading app selection, easy-to-use OS and delightful design, it’s hard to argue against it being one of the very best gadgets ever made too.

  • LG G2

    The LG G2 is an extremely high-end 5-inch, 1080p Android 4.2.2 smartphone whose major distinguishing feature is that it has three buttons on the back of the device, which are normally found on the sides. The G2 has its camera button and volume rocker on the rear, which for many people is enough to justify the purchase alone. It also has excellent battery life for this class of device.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note III

    The Note III is huge. It’s got a 5.7-inch screen, though with the same 1080P resolution as the Note II. It adds a new leather back panel, which gives it an ‘office’ feel in line with the productivity-plus-stylus theme of the device. It also adds a Snapdragon 8000 quad-core processor, some new software enhancements and a few new S-Pen functions into the mix. If you’re looking for a giant note-taking phone, this is still your best bet.