Monday, July 7, 2014

Brand Used: Personal Audio Device Collection Review (Divoom, Apple, JBL, tJays, Skull Candy, Banshee, etc)

Without even noticing, I just realized the other day that I have a lot of audio accessories/ speakers. I didn't buy all of them as some were given as gifts, tokens and some purchased. I get to use them in different situations but some of them are just there for display now, not because they're not working, but because I find some more convenient than the other.

Because I want to feature them here in my blog, let me do a different kind of review. Most reviews that come out are usually items that are brand new. Given that, of course, the condition is still pristine and near perfect so some flaws won't appear until you use it for a period of time. I've thought of this for some time now so readers can really see how something really works as some gadgets when brand new works well but fails to work the same way after a few uses. From now on, everything I review that is not brand new will be titled, "brand used". I'll just try to mention how long I've used it so people can expect the condition of the device after a period of time. To put things into perspective, I don't abuse "laspag" my items. Consider it normal usage and wear and tear.

Brand Used: My personal audio device collection reviewed

Bluetooth Speakers
Divoom Bluetune POP
Other than being wireless, the clarity of this speaker is exceptional. Portable and rechargeable, battery lasts 4-5 days to date from combined casual listening of around a few hours each. It uses a micro USB for charging. I usually listen to classical music using this (for my baby) and acoustic music sounds as nice here as well. Don't expect much on the bass as it's understandable because of the size of it. Pairing via Bluetooth is also very easy. Don't expect to be able to use this on parties as the loudest volume won't even be heard when people are talking at the same time. As you can see, it doesn't scratch easily even after some time. Still looks good and no problems encountered whatsoever. A worthy buy considering this device costs less than 2,000 pesos at the time of acquisition around a year ago.

[Photo to follow]
Unbranded Branded Speaker
Weird title, right? Unbranded because this is one of those China-made speakers designed to be given as corporate giveaway. Branded because there are corporate brand marking on it. I got this is a giveaway from an event I attended a couple of months ago. Since it was a giveaway, I wasn't expecting much from it. Surprisingly, it sounded nice whether I use it to listen to music or watch movies. Also, other than the Bluetooth speaker function, it has FM radio and you can insert a TF/MicroSD card with music files in it and it will play them for you. The controls on the speaker would be for volume, previous and next track, Bluetooth mode and an AUX/USB charger slot. The only annoying thing is the voice prompt everytime you switch the mode from MP3 to Bluetooth. Battery life is bad. After a few hours of charging, it can only last for an hour or two to think that I only got it a few months back.

Aux Portable Speakers
Divoom iTour Rock
Pardon the dust since I didn't bother cleaning it because anyway, this is a "brand used" review. Let me go straight to the point. Since this is a rechargeable portable speaker, you need to charge it to be able to use it. It used to last a few days before it needs recharging but maybe after a year or so, I needed to charge it more often as the batteries don't last that long. Because of that, I don't get to use it as much but I now use it as my desktop speaker so I can easily plug it in whenever it needs additional juice. Charging is quick but not as convenient as the others because you will be using a special charger for this device. It would've been great if they just placed a microUSB charging slot for this like the others. Basing it on its size, audio quality performs really well for such a small speaker. It also has bass but don't expect it to handle max volumes. For bass rich audio, medium volume is recommended otherwise, it will sound very bad "sabog". Because of the matte texture, it gathers up dust quickly (as seen in the photo). Hard to clean the inside of it so after awhile, it won't be as presentable already.

JBL OnTour
Not sure if this is the first or the second edition but regardless, this is one of the nicest portable and non-portable speaker that I have. You have the option to listen to it plugged in or using batteries for extra portability. You can use rechargeable batteries if you want but you have to charge it separately. Because it's a JBL, my expectations were a bit higher and it didn't disappoint! Rich and clear, it can also handle loud volumes but not that intense on the bass side. For the appearance, it still looks shiny like a white piano and the performance didn't change any bit. A worthy investment if I may say so.

Banshee Audio 5.0 Surround
Yup. A portable speaker (not so actually) that has surround sound and a bass port! How cool is that? It even comes with an iPod stand (not in picture). This is my very first purchased personal audio device. I used it before to watch movies or play music on parties. The piano black finish is still pristine to date and it still works great! I think I got this way back 2003 or 2004. It's a decade old already but it still works well. Looks good too, don't you agree? The downside though that you cannot use this with some televisions as this is not shielded. I tried it with one TV and while the audio worked perfectly, the TV picture got distorted like there was no signal even though I was watching a movie from a my harddrive. I consider it portable because of the size but you cannot use it where there is no electricity. One of my favorites to date! Way back, I think I got this for only 1,900 pesos. Can't remember exactly.

Fish Speakers
This is a waste of money if you ask me. It's more of a novelty item more than anything else. Yes, it's a speaker that wags its fins to the beat when you play music. Audio is mono so don't expect much other than pure entertainment from the colorful lights display in the opaque parts of the rear end. This purchase is worst than impulse buying. It's money thrown on water. We got this last minute because from Malaysia, our flight back to the Philippines was already on last call and we have money left to spend. Rather than just saving it, we decided to get one last souvenir and we ended up buying this. Well, it still works to date so I guess it's okay. It's been used ever since for less than an hour and on display for almost 6 or 7 years now. Don't buy novelty speakers.

Apple original headphones - I think my ear holes aren't normal. It doesn't fit well in my ears that I have to add an accessory for it to fit well. If you have this and it can't fit your ears as well, we have the same problem and the next headphones in this list is recommended for you as well. Or, you can just purchase the accessory that I got. It's called "Budfits" and my sister gave those to me. She bought it in Amazon because apparently, we have the same normal-earphones-falling-off-the-ears problem. When it comes to the sound quality, I am not impressed with this one. It's just so-so. An upside for this is the length of the cord can be easily organized with a "tightener" like device you can pull up after using. The downside though is the length of the headphone wires, I find it short and lacking. The finish of the product is a nice white color which turns yellow after some time. Because of that, it only looks nice when it's brand new. Not all white turns yellow. My JBL speakers mentioned above didn't turn yellow and that speaker is way older than this.

t-JAYS one - One of the best I've had. I also had other headphones but since I haven't used the others for a loooong time already, I didn't include them all. For the audio quality, listening to 320kbps of music is pure enjoyment combined with its noise canceling features -- it really works well. Crisp and it has the right amount of bass, it suits a wide range of music genre and this instantly became my "Deezer" music buddy accessory!  It fits my ears good as well because of the bud-like in-ear feature.  Made in Sweden, everything was well thought of. They also provided different sizes of ear buds and the packaging is premium. The length of the cord is also long enough for me and that is also why this became my instant favorite. Still works great after sometime and the quality remained the same.  A recommended purchase!

Skull Candy - I got this from another event way back. Although it sounded good (rich in bass), it's not comfortable for long time use as this can be a bit tight on the sides (it hugs your ears tightly). The ear portion has fur-like texture so it's nice at first but the tightness overcomes the soft furry feeling after some time. This headphone comes with extender so you can further lengthen the cord. Surprisingly, the fur-like part is still white! I expected it to turn black or yellow because this item is already 4 to 5 years old with me. I guess it has good quality materials and maybe I've taken care of it good enough for it not to get dirty. This comes with a pouch case. Maybe that's why.

Bluetooth Headphones
Evoluzn Bluetooth headset
The best thing about this is how it looks. It doesn't make you look like a cyborg with a hearing aid on your ear unlike most Bluetooth headsets do. I usually use this when traveling specially while waiting for my flight in the airport or even inside the plane. It's wireless so you don't get it tangled up often. Audio quality is not so nice but I'm not complaining. I'm sacrificing quality for convenience here. A few months back, I saw my friend wearing the same thing but a different brand. I guess this is one of the "unbranded branded" devices like the Bluetooth speaker I mentioned above.

There are also other ways to enjoy your speakers wirelessly. Before, I imported Belkin Bluetooth receivers and they are very useful. They don't cost as much as well and you get to use almost all speakers with AUX in wirelessly via Bluetooth connection. I didn't keep one for myself because I have a lot of devices already so I just prioritized selling them.

Without compiling them, I would have never known I am starting to accumulate these and I will never have noticed that I love music now more than ever. You'll be actually shocked on my favorite music genre as it ranges from 50s rock and roll to Carpenters to Michael Jackson to Backstreet Boys (90s kid here) to Maroon 5 and lots more. Do you have your ultimate favorite personal audio device? Share it with us so others can also know about it!

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Bluesconian said...

In my opinion, I think Globe have better plan rather than Smart, from the Gadget used by Globe iPad Mini than iPad from Smart. Go GLOBE!!! Go lang ng Go!!!