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Audio

  • Google Home, Amazon Echo can fight HomePod, but where are they?

    The smart speaker arena looks set to go into overdrive as Apple finally joined the party last month with the HomePod. Featuring an array of audio hardware and smart adjustments, the device is pretty interesting. Then there's the Apple Music integration, as you use your voice to sift through tracks and playlists. Taken together with the audio chops and there's little wonder why Apple is positioning it as a high-end audio speaker. It may be marketed as a speaker first and assistant second, but the truth is that it still plays in the same space as Amazon and Google's products. And...

  • Samsung working on smart Bixby speaker – report

    We've seen Amazon, Google and Apple step up to the plate with smart speakers, but now, it looks like Samsung is the latest company to deliver this type of gadget. According to the Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter", Samsung will launch a voice-activated speaker that uses the Bixby assistant as its backbone. The publication adds that launch timing is "far from determined", owing to delays surrounding the English version of Bixby. The English version of Bixby is currently in beta preview in the USA. Bixby's delays didn't stop Samsung from launching the Galaxy S8 (review) with a Bixby...

  • Logitech G433 headphones review: stuck in the middle with you

    Can gaming headphones really be used on the bus, or the train, or even walking to work? That's what the Logitech G433 is trying to answer, the peripheral company's latest every-wear gaming-slanted 'phones for the modern human being. It's an unusual product direction for Logitech, usually known for making ridiculously overdesigned cans that are either laced with LEDs and weird colours or enormous earcups and creaky plastic frames. You wouldn't really want to be seen in public wearing the company's G633s for instance, but the G433 is tamed, somewhat, in both bling, weight and comfort. Hell, it might actually appeal...

  • ‘Google Home six times more likely to answer questions than Alexa’

    It seems like voice assistants are the new battleground, with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung all delivering services in this regard. But arguably the two most hyped products in the field right now are the Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers. Which one is more effective though? Well, marketing firm 360i has conducted research, finding that Google's product was six times more likely to answer your questions than Amazon's Alexa assistant inside the Echo. The firm used proprietary software, dubbed Voice Search Monitor (VSM), to pose questions to the speakers. And these weren't just one, two or a dozen questions...

  • Google Cast heading to select Bang & Olufsen speakers by June-end

    The premium audio genies at Bang & Olufsen have announced a new partnership with Google that allows users to stream music to its supported wireless speaker sets via Google Cast. Google Cast -- the same WiFi-based tech Google uses to beam information wirelessly to its Chromecast dongle -- will soon be supported by the BeoSound 35 and BeoSound Essence. The technology lets "you enjoy entertainment streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn directly casted to the network speaker," claims B&O in a presser. Google Cast also uses a pair-free, Bluetooth-free system, which allows multiple users to connect to the same...

  • Nativ wants to make music a visual experience for audiophiles

    This is a strange opening sentence, but bear with me: music is becoming ever more visual the deeper we sink our lives in the internet and the so-called Internet of Things. This is largely thanks to faster connections, the prevalence of screens and services like YouTube, Netflix and the audio equivalents. A new IndieGoGo product exemplifies this fusion. A company dubbed Nativ, under the wing of CEO Michael Li, aims to craft a "state-of-the-art high-resolution music system" from which users can access a bevy of multimedia. The Vita, which is the business end of the system, is an 11.6-inch touchscreen on...

  • B&O Play H6 DJ Khaled Special Edition review: you love these gold slugs?

    Splashing the cash on Bang & Olufsen's latest product will get you more than just a pair of quality cans; it'll get you DJ Khaled's blessing too. That's right. That chap who quips "We The Best" on almost every track he produces now boasts that very phrase emblazoned on a set of gold-tinged Scandinavian headphones. That's not a bad way to live. "Stunning one-piece music systems that make your music sound and look beautiful" is how Bang & Olufsen describes its B&O Play range, and that's true for the most part. The B&O Play H6 DJ Khaled Editions are no exception. As...

  • UE Roll review: quirky looks, clever design, brilliant sound

    Ultimate Ears is a mental company, and that's a compliment. It's a company that breaks the mold, and doesn't quite care what its neighbours are doing either. With the UE Roll, the company has shoved everything that makes a portable Bluetooth speaker great into a package no larger than Kobe Bryant's left hand. As the name suggests, it's made by Ultimate Ears, a subsidiary of German peripheral maker Logitech, that focuses on premium audio products. The "Roll" part is a bit more peculiar. It's more flying saucer in shape than any roll I've ever seen. It also seems to have...

  • Hardcore ASTRO gaming headsets now available in South Africa

    The ASTRO range of headsets and accessories are now available in South Africa. Local video games distributor, Megarom Interactive, has picked up the licence for the range. Garnishing high reviews on the likes of Amazon.com, ASTRO's products are primarily focussed around circumaural and supra-aural headphones for PC, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation. "We are very excited to welcome Astro as part of the Megarom offering and to the South African gaming community. With a great globally following already, we look forward to growing the brand inside South Africa, and help Astro take gamers to the next level of their gaming experience," says Alan...

  • Philips BT2500 wireless speaker review: shiny summer sounds

    "What's the bloody difference between them all?" That's often a cry I hear from those trying to choose their latest portable boombox. And while it might sound a bit melodramatic, it's actually a valid question. Portable speakers practically all live and die by the same premise: they play music from another device using some brand of wireless witchcraft, and barely ever deviate from that. But the few good devices either do this particularly well, or have a few jokers up their sleeves. The Philips BT2500 wireless speaker is more of a tale of the former. It's crafted using a rather fetching mix...