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Harman Kardon Enchant soundbar has Chromecast and wall-bouncing surround

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 23:00

If you’re on the market for new home cinema gear, the IFA 2018 isn’t disappointing. The Berlin event is always a great stop for AV equipment, and Harman Kardon is pulling out the stops this year with its new Enchant soundbar range.

Offering “high-quality sound without compromising on space or design,” it’s packing the company’s proprietary MultiBeam technology, which uses a digital signal processor alongside the soundbar’s side firing transducers to bounce audio off the walls for a surround sound experience.

It removes the hassle of a wired surround sound system, which delivers true surround sound from discrete speakers in favor of a single box. To achieve this, it uses what Harman Kardon is calling an Automatic MultiBeam Calibration system to map the dimensions of your room and match the bouncing audio pattern appropriately.

Chromecast built-in

The Enchant soundbars will be available in two different sizes. 

The 1300 will measure in at 44 x 2.6 x 4.9 inches, and uses 13 channels to deliver a max output of 240W. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with three HDMI inputs, and costs £899.99 (about $1,160 / AU$1,580).

As you could guess, the 800 has 8 channels of sound with 180W output. It’s smaller at 33.8 x 2.6 x 4.9 inches, and also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but just the one HDMI input. It costs £619.99 (about $800 / AU$ 1,090). There’s also a wireless subwoofer to accompany the range, with 400W output for £619.99 again.

Regardless of which model you go for, Chromecast is built into each of the Enchant soundbars, letting you stream shows from your mobile device or PC to your living room, and also allowing the soundbars to become part of a Chromecast multi-room audio system. The Harman Kardon Enchant range will be available before the end of the year.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

JBL Endurance Peak and JBL Free bring truly wireless tunes to your ears

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 22:26

You can't turn a corner at IFA 2018 in Berlin without stumbling across a pair of true-wireless earbuds, the sort that comprise two individual pieces, connected only by the magical power of Bluetooth, one for each of your ears.

JBL is doubling down on the format this year with two new models: the JBL Endurance Peak and the JBL Free.

First up, the JBL Endurance Peak, pictured at the top. They're aimed at sporty types, and are well suited to swimmers with their IPX7 waterproof rating.

Designed to comfortably fit most ear types without falling out, they feature "PowerHook" technology that allows them to intelligently turn on or off when you put them on or take them out.

Complete with a charging case that offers a speed charge mode that gets you an hour's worth of playback from ten minutes charge time, you get 28 hours of battery life overall, with 4 stored in the earbuds themselves and 24 in the portable case.

They'll go on sale in November for £129.99 (roughly $170, or AU$230).

JBL Free

The JBL Free are up next, and are more focussed on pleasing commuters.

They're again truly wireless, with a charging case that can provide 24 hours of playback when combined with the buds themselves.

Though they're not as rugged, but they're splashproof too thanks to an IPX5 rating.  Both the JBL Free and JBL Endurance Peak offer hands-free calling with an integrated mic, though the more discreet oval design of the JBL Free might make them better suited to everyday use.

Available in black or white, the set is available now, priced £119.99 (around $155, AU$210).

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

JBL brings Google Assistant to new Everest GA wireless headphones

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 22:22

JBL has announced the launch of its new Everest GA wireless headphones range, all of which is optimized for Google Assistant. In other words, you can have easy access to the world’s biggest search engine without so much as lifting a finger.

Announced at IFA 2018, the range includes the new 710GA over-ear headphones, combining JBL’s long audio heritage with intuitive voice activation technology from Google, which can be activated by using touch sensors on the earcup. This means you can send texts, make calls, and most importantly, control your music without missing a beat.

Sharing is caring

According to JBL, two hours of charging time will provide you with over 24 hours of music, making the 710GAs a great choice for busy commuters, long distance travelers, and those of us who are a little forgetful when it comes to charging our devices. 

They also come with JBL’s ShareMe 2.0 feature, which allows you to pair with any other compatible Bluetooth headphones, meaning you can share your music with your friends wirelessly and listen together without cumbersome wires.

Snug as a bug

Also in the Everest GA range are the 110GA in-ear wireless headphones, which come in three different sizes for a snug fit and improved comfort. The 110GA’s come with eight hours of playback from a two hour charge, and are also optimized for Google Assistant. 

JBL are yet to confirm the availability of the new range, however prices have been released, with the 710GAs coming in at around $300 (£230 / $400) and the 110GAs priced at around $120 (£90 / AU$160).

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

Waterproof JBL Charge 4 speaker doubles up as a portable battery

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 22:14

It’s hard to stand out in the Bluetooth speaker market at IFA 2018. With so many smart models on display, simple sonics just won't cut it. So the new JBL Charge 4, announced at the Berlin show, is a bit of a jack of all trades.

For starters, it’s a Bluetooth speaker, capable of connecting to two devices at once. That means you can share your tunes with a buddy without both having to keep swapping connectivity to the speaker first.

It can also play as part of a giant, 100 speaker soundsystem, with JBL Connect+ tech letting the Charge 4 hook up to dozens of other speakers of the same kind for simultaneous playback.

And, it’s also a portable battery pack, too. With 20 hours of audio playback per full charge of the Charge 4, you can hook up a smartphone to give it a bit of juice when on the go.

Wet and wild

Designed for pool parties, the JBL Charge 4 also has IPX7 waterproofing, letting it take a dunking without doing any damage to the electronics inside.

There are plenty of color options to choose from too, with “Desert Sand, Mustard Yellow, Dusty Pink, Grey Stone, River Teal, Fiesta Red, Ocean Blue, Midnight Black, Steel White, and Forest Green” shades all set to be available. 

Launching in October, it’ll cost £159.99, which is around $205 or AU$280 when directly converted.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

Beyerdynamic’s Blue Byrd wireless headphones fine-tune their sound to your ears

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 21:17

Over at IFA 2018, Beyerdynamic has introduced a new range of Byrd wireless and wired in-ear headphones, with three flavors on offer to suit different budgets and tastes.

All of these headphones benefit from an ‘ultra-flat’ design, meaning they won’t press on your ear even if you’ve got them in while listening to music while lying on your side.

The entry-level model is the Beat Byrd, which are wired headphones that offer what Beyerdynamic promises is clear sound backed with a powerful level of bass. This model will only be sold via the company’s online store, and will be available by the end of September costing €24.90 (around £22, $29, AU$40).

Stepping up to the Soul Byrd, this is again a wired model, with a premium build quality, promising to deliver a balanced sound with considerable clarity, Beyerdynamic observes.

You also get five pairs of silicone ear-tips in a range of different sizes, and an in-line three-button remote with integrated microphone. Soul Byrd headphones will go on sale mid-October priced at €79 (around £71, $92, AU$126).

Blue Byrd

Finally, at the top of the range we have the wireless Blue Byrd headphones, which do away with the cable in favor of a Bluetooth connection (although the earbuds themselves are still linked as you can see in the above image).

The built-in battery gives you up to six hours of listening, and the headphones can be recharged via USB-C. This flagship model also come with Mosayc sound personalization, which fine-tunes the sound to your own hearing (following an app-based hearing test conducted via your Android or iOS device).

If that system works as promised, you’ll get a sound fully tailored to your own ears, which is an exciting prospect.

Beyerdynamic’s Blue Byrd wireless headphones will be available before 2018 is out, with a recommended price of €129 (around £115, $150, AU$205).

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 turns your crowded commute into a silent retreat

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 21:15

In a show dominated by 8K TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung, Sony has a slightly different announcement for its IFA 2018 appearance – one that will be hard to keep quiet once the cans are out of the bag. 

Earlier today, Sony unveiled its new WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones, the sequel to the Sony WH-1000XM2, and the heir apparent to the highest seat in the noise-cancelling headphone kingdom.

The reason Sony stole the hearts and ears with the 1000XM3’s predecessor was its excellent noise-cancellation modes, Quick Attention Mode and aptX/aptX HD support, all of which will be available again in the 1000XM3. 

Like last year, you can expect a 30-hour battery that should easily get you across the Atlantic and back.

What’s improving this year, according to Sony, is the introduction of multiple microphones that will help calls come through cleaner and a switch from a microUSB port to a USB Type-C port along the earcup of the headphone. Along with that a Quick Charging function that provides up to 5 hours of wireless playback after just 10 minutes of being connected to a power source.

The sound of silence

In a brief demo with the 1000XM3 headphones ahead of IFA, we noticed a substantial improvement on noise-cancellation from last year’s 1000XM2 to this year’s 1000XM3 – even if the audio sounded relatively similar year-over-year. 

If you look at the bridge of the headphones, you’ll also notice a change in the padding which, along with the reduced weight, should make them more comfortable to wear during extended flights. (Hong Kong here we come!) 

Powering the 1000XM3’s noise-cancellation prowess is Sony’s new QN1 processor that’s faster than last year and offers more powerful processing, too – things we couldn't tell from our time with the headphones but a neat upgrade all the same.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 will be available starting in September for $349.99 (around £270, AU$479). 

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

Google Home Max is now available in the UK... for a high price

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 21:10

Google Home Max has officially launched in the UK. The smart speaker, which we feel is much more clever and better designed than its competitors, has been available in the US and Australia for a while, but finally UK customers have the chance to get their hands on one. 

How much will it cost me?

Now, here's the thing: the Google Home Max is now available to buy both in store and online exclusively from the Google Store and John Lewis, but it's coming for the rather high price of £399.

This is a little more than we were expensive than we were expecting, given you've been able to get the same product in the US for $399 for a while now, and apart from Apple most brands aren't matching pounds to dollars any more in international pricing.

That said, you can get the new speaker in chalk and charcoal colouring, so at least you've got some options to meld it into your home decor.

So what’s so special about it? 

The Google Home Max is a much larger version of the Google Home - but it’s 20 times louder due to the 4.5 inch high-excursion woofers installed. 

Like it’s smaller sibling, the Max also makes use of the Google Assistant AI, which you can use to control your home, answer questions and even set reminders.  

In addition, the Google Home Max is the first Google speaker with smart sound - a feature which allows the Max to adapt its audio to you and your environment by adjusting the sound to wherever you place it in a room. 

The Max supports Bluetooth and has an auxiliary port (see, it can be done, Apple), but also works with a wide range of music services such as YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Deezer and Spotify. There’s also the option to listen to old-fashioned radio channels, which will please many.

  • Catch up on all the latest news from IFA 2018
Categories: General Technology

Jaybird X4 Wireless Sport headphones: now water resistant and more comfortable

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 19:08

Jaybird has announced the latest addition to its X-series at IFA 2018 - Jaybird X4 Wireless Sport Headphones.

Designed for outdoor athletes, these headphones have been upgraded to now be water-resistant, rather than just sweat-proof, although there's no recommendation to take these things swimming, despite being able to submerge them for up to a meter for half an hour.

In addition, Jaybird claim they have a more comfortable fit than previous headphones in the series due to new silicon fins, ultra-soft silicon tips and exclusive-to-Jaybird Comply Ultra foam tips, which feature unique thermo-reactive foam that conforms to your ear canals for a more comfortable and secure fit.

If that’s not enough to tempt, the Jaybird X4 headphones also have eight hours' battery life, a new Speed Cinch cord management system - which allows you to adjust the length of the cable - and the sound can be fully customized using the Jaybird app.

Jaybird X4 price... talk to me.

The Jaybird X4 Wireless Sport Headphones will be available to pre-order from the Jaybird website staring August 30 and will release globally in September 2018. The headphones retail at $129.99 (£109.99 or around AU$180).

It's interesting that these water-resistant headphones haven't been tipped for swimming as well, but that protection doesn't sound like it can stand being slapped in and out of water - it's often the pressure of the water that will cause seals to corrupt, rather than just being submerged.

The headphones will also be coming in Black Metallic/Flash, Alpha Metallic/Jade for the general public, and a third color, Storm Metallic/Glacier, will be found at Best Buy and jaybirdsport.com 

  •  IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

New Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 speakers aim to reinvigorate Ultimate Ears’ classics

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 17:00

The Ultimate Ears Boom 2 is currently spearheading our list of the best Bluetooth speakers available, and for a good reason, but now we know it'll be getting a sequel along with its bigger brother, the Megaboom.

The Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 offer a fresh take on the familiar cylindrical aesthetic, with a new lineup of vibrant colors that match the playfulness of the previous iterations.

While the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 retain the water-resistance of their predecessors, they’re now officially dustproof as well, bumping the rating up from IPX7 to IP67. 

This is thanks, in part, to the durability of the swanky new material that encompasses most of the units – “high performance fabric, engineered for applications like motorcycle jackets and fire equipment”, according to Ultimate Ears.

This fabric also gives off a neat iridescent sheen, changing hue with shifts in light or viewing angle due to its two-toned color design.

Magic and music

Ultimate Ears has added what it calls a Magic Button on the top of the Boom 3 and Megaboom 3. This lets you quickly play, pause, or skip your tunes akin to the way some in-line remotes behave for headphones.

At launch, there will also be support to long-press the button to bring up favorite playlists from Apple Music and Deezer, although there’s currently no word on whether this will be compatible with other streaming services down the line.

The same 360-degree sound projection returns with the pair, but this time Ultimate Ears promises that the Megaboom 3 comes with a “deeper bass and improved clarity over the original Megaboom”, offering an overall warmer sound signature.

As for power, both units will be compatible with the Ultimate Ears Power Up charging dock (sold separately for $40/£35/AU$50) which was introduced alongside the company's Blast and Megablast smart speakers. 

Thankfully, the relocation of the new speakers' USB ports from the bottom to the side of the units means they can now be charged while standing up.

The Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 are due for release in September with the smaller of the pair costing $149/AU$199, while its larger sibling will set you back $199/AU$299. UK pricing yet to be confirmed.

Categories: General Technology

First look: Sonos Amp

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 03:44

Well, this was unexpected. Sonos takes years to do a hardware launch then it has three in the space of 12 months. 

But while the Sonos Beam and Sonos One were pushed squarely at consumers looking to upgrade their TV and audio setups, the Sonos Amp is catering to both the custom install market and those who want some oomph in their connected home setup.

It's taken Sonos over 10 years to update its Sonos Connect Amp. And this is an update as it will be replacing that old, still sturdy model. But replace it it has with an amp which is twice as powerful as its predecessor. 

What does that mean in real money? Well, it packs 125 Watts per channel - so this amp can power speakers that are that little bit demanding. It also has the added bonus of being able to power up to four speakers instead of two.

Design

And then there's the design. The Sonos Amp only comes in black. This, according to Sonos, is deliberate as it is the only color that custom install folks really care about - and that is a big bit of the market that this product is being pitched at, as it is a device that sits pretty next to your record player but also slots neatly into a rack. 

Design-wise, it takes its cue from the recent design flourishes of the Sonos Play:5 and Sonos Beam. The touch buttons and vertical light on the front have the same design as those devices, and on the top is a circular unit with the Sonos logo. 

It's much more compact than you would expect from a device of this magnitude and sitting next to the big screen where we saw it unveiled, it looked a little like a games console so certainly not imposing.

Features

The Sonos Amp isn't just about power, but connectivity. This thing is as connected as any other recent Sonos reveal. There's AirPlay 2, voice support and HDMI ARC so it will slot nicely into most TV setups. 

It also has analog for your record player and dual ethernet ports on the back. There's Wi-Fi too but this can be switched fully off when the ethernet ports are in action. 

The Sonos Amp can also be used to add stereo sound to TV, add wireless rears to a Sonos home-theater setup or, if you are feeling fancy, two Amps can combine for surround sound. 

Final thoughts

The Sonos Amp isn't for everyone. It's for high-end audio enthusiasts who want to modernize their setup and custom installers who are looking fo a connected solution to beef up an AV setup. 

But that's no bad thing - Sonos looks to have created a device that will fit into CI needs. It even surveyed 400 or so installers to see what they wanted and has opened up its API to accommodate this. 

This has lead to new features, which include: Line-in switching, volume passthrough and third-party notifications and alerts - so the potential is there to hook your smart doorbell up with your sound system. 

The Sonos Amp is out in December for custom installers. For the rest of us, it will be available in February for $599 / 699 Euros (other pricing TBC). 

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

Take a peek at Technics’ futuristic Ottava S SC-C50 wireless Chromecast speaker

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 02:57

At Berlin’s IFA 2018 conference we clapped eyes on the futuristic-looking new Ottava S SC-C50 speaker from Technics. The Ottava S SC-C50 has been optimized for seamless wireless connectivity, with built in Google Chromecast making it easy to tune into your favorite streaming services.

With a striking elliptical design, the SC-C50 houses seven speakers within its casing, including three mid-range speakers, three high-frequency tweeters, and a subwoofer, all angled to fill your entire room with sound.

Tailored sound

The speaker comes with three different presets tailored to different mounting locations, meaning that your music sounds great whether you place it on the floor or on a table. For audiophiles there is also an inbuilt microphone that allows the sound to be optimized using a smartphone app. 

As the SC-C50 is Google Chromecast enabled, music playback can be controlled using Google Assistant. However, the voice assistant isn't built in, meaning this only works if you already have another Google Assistant voice-activated speaker like also on your network to communicate with the Technics device.

Futuristic design

In keeping with the futuristic design, the speaker has a sleek OLED display and programmable buttons, meaning you can preset your favorite radio station, playlists, tracks, and more.

As well as AUX and USB inputs, the SC-C50 supports playback over Bluetooth, Spotify, Tidal, and Chromecast, making it super easy to listen to your favorite music no matter the source. 

No word on pricing yet, but the Technics website has a link for you to use if you want to contact one of its dealerships and retailers for release information.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

Sonos Amp revealed - new, redesigned amp for the connected age

Thu, 30/08/2018 - 02:03

Sonos has used IFA 2018 to announce a brand-new product and reveal that it is opening up its API, in the hope that it will be the center of your smart home.

The new product is a redesigned Sonos amp, which has twice the power of the old Connect amp and can be used it in a wide variety of situations. Oh, and you can stream music off of it too. 

It has an HDMI port on the back as well as audio inputs, so you can power your vinyl collection with it. 

It will support AirPlay 2 and has a new form factor and design which allows it to fit inside a rack configuration and can be mounted, or exhibited on furniture. 

The Sonos Connect Amp has been around for over 10 years now, so Sonos has redesigned the device and added more power in the form of 120 watts per channel. 

Sonos smarts

The Connect amp wasn't optimized for TV, so Sonos has rectified this by taking the HDMI Arc module out of the Sonos Beam and put it into this new amp. It also has an IR receiver so it can control your TV, too.

According to Sonos, this is the biggest advancement from the company in the connected home space so far.

Sonos has also revealed that it wants to be the center of the smart home and it will do this by opening up its API to developers. 

It will also be releasing a new set of control APIs which will make it easier for developers to integrate into the Sonos system. Some of these APIs will be ready for the Sonos amp so you will be able to do things like notifications through the Sonos system and volume pass through. 

The Sonos Amp will be out in February 2018 and will be $599 (€699, other pricing TBC) - but it will only come in black, the custom installers' color of choice.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

B&O's Beosound Edge is an expensive, awesome sculpture and speaker in one

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 20:22

Just in time for IFA 2018, Bang and Olufsen has launched the Beosound Edge home speaker – which, according to the designer, “sits on the edge of consumer electronics and gallery-worthy sculpture”.

The coin-shaped wireless speaker has been created in collaboration with modern designer Michael Anastassiades. The speaker itself is a metallic 3D circle, with a black matte fabric top and polished aluminium sides. Bang and Olufsen is expected to release new fabric colors over time.

Here’s the most interesting part

Although the Besound Edge has an undeniably imaginative and contemporary design, it’s the functionality itself which is most intriguing. The speaker not only looks unusual, but uses its shape to create a unique user experience.

By rocking the speaker back and forth, you can increase and decrease the volume – with the device rolling back to its original position when released. However, if you don’t want the rather large device taking up room on your floor, you can hang it up as a wall sculpture. 

What about the sound?

The Beosound Edge has proximity sensors that bring the the aluminium interface to life when you approach it. You then start, stop and skip taps which a simple tap on the surface. You can also control the direction of the sound using the Bang and Olufsen app.

The speaker contains a 10” woofer bass driver on one side, and a 4” midrange and ¾ tweeter on both sides. Additionally, the Beosound Edge debuts the Active BassPort 1 which provides accurate sound reproduction at lower volumes and more energized bass at higher volumes.

If that’s not enough, the Beosound Edge comes with Play 2, Chromecast2 and Bluetooth, while also supporting voice interaction when paired with either a Google Assistant-enabled speaker or an Amazon Echo device.

How much does it cost?

The Beosound Edge is retailed at a hefty £2,900 (about $3,700, AU$5,100) and will roll out to selected retailers in November this year. Can’t wait that long? The speaker is being showcased at IFA 2018

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Categories: General Technology

Audio-Technica debut its first true wireless earphones - the ATH-CKR7TWs

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 19:00

Audio-Technica has finally jumped on the true wireless bandwagon with the debut of its new True Wireless ATH-CKR7TW and ATH-SPORT7TW earphones, the company announced today at IFA 2018

The new in-ear headphones are said to combine Audio-Technica’s reputation for high quality sound with a truly wireless experience, and feature up to 6 hours of music from a single charge.

With a sleek design, the True Wireless earphones have been designed with audio precision in mind, using a carbon-coated diaphragm to reduce distortion. 

Get your workout on

The in-ears also come in a sports version, which have a certified IPX5 rating, meaning that they should be able to endure bad weather and sweaty workout sessions.

They also feature a nifty ambient noise hear-through function, allowing you to listen to the sounds of your environment by tapping the left earphone. The ATH-SPORT7TWs can handle around 3.5 hours of music per charge.

Taking it slow

Audio-Technica’s reluctance to release a set of wireless in-ears until now has largely been down to the Japanese company wanting to perfect the wireless sound quality, which can be lacking compared to wired headphones.

While wireless headphones have been around for a few years now, ‘true wireless’ is a relatively new concept, and allow far more flexibility than standard wireless models as they don’t need to be within a few feet of the music player. 

This is thanks to the rise of AptX, or in other words, ‘high-res’ Bluetooth audio. 

For casual listeners, sports nuts, and audiophiles alike, the ATH-CKR7TWs will be available in a couple of months at $249 (£229 / AU$339), while the ATH-SPORT7TWs will be priced at $199 (£179 / around AU$270).

Categories: General Technology

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7bs revealed - offer up a big refresh of its landmark cans

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 19:00

Based on its best selling professional studio headphones, Audio-Technica has refreshed its ATH-MSR7s in a bid to enhance their sonic performance and portability. 

The new ATH-MSR7bs are 55 grams lighter than the original, and are geared towards audiophiles who want to listen on the go without compromising on sound quality, with memory foam ear pads making them perfect for long listening sessions while commuting.

A sound legacy

Audio-Technica is renowned for its attention to detail when it comes to making its drivers, and the new headphones are no exception with a 45mm driver that features a carbon coated diaphragm to reduce distortion. 

The ATH-MSR7bs also have ‘Dual-layer Air-control’ technology, which regulates airflow for enhanced audio clarity. Audiophiles will be pleased with the balanced cable output connection, which in comparison to standard headphone cables, is far better at reducing signal interference and sound distortion, making for a clear listening experience. 

Style and substance

The updated headphones are available in stylish black or gunmetal, and come with a handy protective pouch to keep them in great condition on the go, and at $249 (£219, around AU$340) you will want to keep these cans safe and sound in your luggage. 

The ATH-MSR7bs will be available in the next couple of months. 

  • Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT review
  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Categories: General Technology

Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT wireless headphones arrive with massive 70-hour battery life

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 19:00

Audio-Technica has debuted its latest premium wireless headphones, the ATH-SR50BT and the ATH-SR30BT at IFA 2018, with the SR30BTs offering up a huge 70-hour battery life.

The over-ear models come with a dedicated Audio-Technica Control app, allowing users to control the headphones’ noise reduction feature for a more natural listening experience in noisy environments. 

Quality sound

Combining cutting edge audio technology with the freedom of wireless listening, both sets of headphones come with touch and swipe controls on the left housing, which can be used to control the volume, as well as a switchable hear-through function so you can tune in to your environment. 

The ATH-SR50BTs boast an impressive 25 hour battery life, a fold-flat design for easy storage, and come in classic black or brown-grey finishes. 45mm drivers are said to ensure accurate and dynamic audio delivery over a wireless connection, and audiophiles can opt for the use the included 1.2m cable for studio quality playback. 

Long battery life

Coming with an even larger battery life of 70 hours are the ATH-SR30BTs, making them perfect for long haul flights. Designed for long periods of listening, they are a little more lightweight than the ATH-SR30BTs, with a relaxed around-ear design. 

The ATH-SR30BTs support Bluetooth 5.0, and come in a range of stylish colors including black, blue, pink-gray, and natural grey. They will be available to buy in Autumn 2018 for around $99 (£99 / AU$135), whereas the ATHSR30BTs are nearly double the price at $199 (£179 / around AU$270).

Categories: General Technology

Latest Apple AirPods 2 release date prediction spells bad news for fans

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 05:56

If you’ve been patiently waiting for the next generation of Apple AirPods, we have some good news and some bad news. 

The good news is that you’re likely going to see the Apple AirPods 2 mentioned on stage at Apple’s September iPhone event … but, bad news, you probably won’t be able to bring them home until sometime next year. 

The information comes by way of Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis who reports that while the new water-resistant AirPods won’t hit the market until late 2019, a version of the AirPod carrying case that supports wireless charging that we've heard rumors about in the past could be available as early as late September.

That means that we'll probably see the AirPad-ready AirPods case on stage during Apple's September event with a release date to follow shortly after.

Even better, on the software side of things, Apple may potentially add 'Hey Siri' support to the original AirPods by the end of the year – and make that a cornerstone feature of the true wireless earbuds moving forward.

All about that info

Curtis got this information during a tour of Apple’s Asian hardware suppliers and compiled a report of observations and predictions that was put out to investors. This report was subsequently obtained by MacRumors

While MacRumors didn't post the report in full, it did post product highlights – many of which focusing on the AirPods and the next-generation iPhones.

That said, also mentioned in the MacRumors post was a cheaper HomePod that could launch in 2019, which would help Apple compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. While a small Apple HomePod would make sense to us, other analysts suggest that it very well may take the form of a Siri-enabled Beats speaker instead.

There's no telling how many of these products will make their way on-stage during Apple's next keynote that's supposedly slated for September but, based on the Barclays report, Apple's next-gen AirPods could very likely make an appearance.

Categories: General Technology

Bose Home Speaker 500 costs as much as three smart speakers combined

Wed, 29/08/2018 - 04:19

Bose is finally ready to join the smart speaker revolution with its new Home Speaker 500, the company announced today. This $399 or £399 (about AU$550) smart speaker will have Alexa available from the start, and then add support for AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant later down the road.

What sets the 500 apart from the slew of smart assistant-equipped speakers on the market (besides its sticker price) is that it features a small screen that will display album art and the integration of Bose’s proprietary mic technology found in Bose headsets and headphones that will allow the speaker to hear commands better over loud music. 

The speaker stands at a fairly stout 8 x 6 x 4 inches (H x W x D) and uses two custom drivers pointed in opposite directions that, according to Bose, helps the speaker deliver true stereo separation from a single unit by bouncing sound off surrounding walls. That’s a big claim, obviously, but one that could be feasible given the brand’s historical contributions to audio development.

Bose might very well have cracked the code when it comes to unibody stereo separation but, unless people are able to hear it for themselves, it might be hard justifying the sticker price – what amounts to be the cost of a Google Home, Amazon Echo and Sonos One, combined.

Smart soundbars, too

To coincide with the announcement of the Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose has also announced two new soundbars that will also come with smart assistant integration – the Bose Soundbar 700 and Bose Soundbar 500.

Like the Home Speaker 500, the soundbars will launch with Alexa support and be joined by AirPlay 2 with Siri and Google Assistant later.

Setting the soundbars apart, however, is a slightly different technology:  Bose PhaseGuides. Sounding like something ripped from Star Trek's holodeck, PhaseGuides use the acoustics of a room to "place discrete sound in places where there are no speakers" – which sounds like Dolby Atmos without the overhead channels.

The soundbars will join the Home Speaker 500 on store shelves starting in October and will rock a complimentary price of $549 or £499 (about AU$750) and $799 or £799 (about AU$1,089), for the Soundbar 500 and the Soundbar 700, respectively.

Categories: General Technology

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