Read on for secure pocket-sized travel routers, hi-res music streaming, Stash Box power banks, BT keyboards and headphones, recycled plastic computer cases and sporty smartwatches!
Qobuz – High Res Music Streaming
While a large segment of music lovers still cling to vinyl and CDs the younger generation and those who live an on-demand, minimalist, and on-the-move lifestyle have embraced streaming for most of their movie and music needs. By now we are all familiar with Spotify, iTunes, and the evolving Google options and they are great for those who like music, but might not love it.True music lovers are the demographic @qobuz targets, streaming Hi-Res, and high-quality audio via some very well-realized apps that will deliver a sublime listening experience no matter your lifestyle Click To Tweet
True music lovers are the demographic Qobuz targets, streaming Hi-Res, and high-quality audio via some very well-realized apps that will deliver a sublime listening experience no matter your lifestyle. For those running home music servers, Qobuz also provides a download shop so you can purchase and fully control the hardware streaming of your digital music.
What impressed me most about @qobuz were the apps and web interfaces, all of which were pleasingly designed and packed full of engaging supporting content Click To Tweet
Take a deep dive into the world of music and sound. Rediscover music’s history, its secrets, its roots and its influences, with original editorial content, available exclusively to our subscribers (articles, reviews, interviews, videos and more).
What impressed me most about Qobuz were the apps and web interfaces, all of which were pleasingly designed and packed full of engaging supporting content. Some offer digital booklets that accompany albums for those that miss the days of sleeve notes. Generally, the content and images offered are of excellent quality and paired well with recommendations for similar artists and albums. You can also subscribe to emails of music news and new releases or they offer a very nice online magazine covering well-curated industry news plus album and stereo hardware reviews.
The written recommendations provided by our discographers are not texts copied from record company blurbs, but original texts that aim to enlighten you, and to help you re-discover the world into which that album was born. At Qobuz, we love the album format. We celebrate more than a century of discography culture!
This being an audiophile product I expected a focus on classical and jazz but was so happy to find I could also find my favorite metal, pop, blues, country, and even 60s psychedelia. This is not a limited catalog by any means and I merrily jumped between Country Joe & the Fish, Dylan, Metallica, John Coltrane, Creedence, AC-DC, and Bach causing some odd looks from my coworkers.This is not a limited catalog by any means and I merrily jumped between Country Joe & the Fish, Dylan, Metallica, John Coltrane, Creedence, AC-DC, and Bach causing some odd looks from my coworkers @qobuz Click To Tweet
Not all tracks are available in Hi-Res but depending on your needs you can seamlessly switch between different bitrates. This is a good feature for those switching between devices on data plans and those on fast broadband or home systems where every musical detail can be extracted and enjoyed. The interface really is great. It is very attractively laid out and easy to manage your library and connected devices. It recognized my external USB DAC and connected speakers and output a smooth and well-balanced sound even over good old fashioned wired earbuds.
The @qobuz interface really is great. It is very attractively laid out and easy to manage your library and connected devices Click To Tweet
Every week, the record industry delivers hundreds, sometimes thousands, of albums to our door. Our work is thus twofold: Every day, beyond the media hubbub, outside of the incessant stream of music news, we cherry-pick what is really interesting. We do this across every musical genre. This, again, does not sum up all that we do. Albums of the past constitute a huge, living museum that we work every day to curate and document.
It is a little more expensive than Spotify but at only $12.49 per month or $149.99 a year for the basic Studio Premier plan I think it is an incredible service. More plans are available for families or those wanting to mix streaming and downloads but the basic one serves up studio quality streaming up to FLAC 24-Bit up to 192 KHz, a surprisingly vast library and excellent apps for most devices. Sign up and enjoy a free 1 month trial with no strings attached here.
Skullcandy Crusher Evo Sensory Bass Headphones with Personal Sound
What better way to enjoy Qobuz’s excellent sound than with these new Crusher Evo headphones from Skullcandy? This latest upgrade in the Crusher line includes ‘Personal Sound’, Audiodo™ technology, working with a paired Skullcandy smartphone app it analyzes the hearing in your left and right ear, then automatically adjusts the audio to optimal levels for your specific hearing.This latest upgrade in the @skullcandy Crusher line includes 'Personal Sound', Audiodo™ technology, working with a paired Skullcandy smartphone app it automatically adjusts the audio to optimal levels for your specific… Click To Tweet
Having one ‘bad’ ear this was an interesting test for me but I honestly can’t say that I got a better experience after trying it out. Aside from this I have no complaints about the sound quality as overall it is excellent, bold and full of detail without leaning too far towards the bass.One other key differentiating factor with these headphones is what @skullcandy calls Adjustable Sensory Bass, which basically means that they vibrate! Yes vibrate, you read me right, they actually vibrate Click To Tweet
One other key differentiating factor with these headphones is what Skullcandy calls “Adjustable Sensory Bass”, which basically means that they vibrate! Yes vibrate, you read me right, they actually vibrate. The goal is to create a sense of full immersion into the music, video and VR content being consumed, and after testing them for the last two months I have to say my initial reticence has turned into enthusiasm, these headphones rock, and jiggle, great for gaming!
Sturdily made and very comfortable the Crusher Evos look the business in matt black or grey and I was able to wear them without the usual pressure pains for several hours at a time. They were a little tight out of the box but loosened up quickly and remained glued to my head no matter how much I moshed to Iron Maiden, nor did they loosen their firm grip while I ran to catch the Liverpool Street Tube back home. Like all passive, noise-canceling headphones they can grow a little warm in use due to the padding required to dampen exterior noise but it does not get to the point of becoming uncomfortable and was worth it for the calming effect of screening out the noise of the London commute.Sturdily made and very comfortable the @skullcandy Crusher Evos look the business in matt black or grey and I was able to wear them without the usual pressure pains for several hours at a time Click To Tweet
The Sensory Bass feature is easily activated via a slider, a nice touch which means you can really personalize your experience according to the media you’re using it with. The tech works by analyzing the audio signal input, boosting the bass at the same time as providing haptic feedback, and the effect feels like a pretty neat trick which I can see other brands catching onto in the near future, especially with the growing popularity of immersive VR experiences.You don’t have time to plug in your headphones every time you turn around and that’s why @skullcandy Crusher Evos give you an extra 4 hours of listening time from just a quick, 10-minute charge Click To Tweet
The Crusher advertises an impressive 40 hours of battery life. You don’t have time to plug in your headphones every time you turn around and that’s why Crusher Evo is engineered so whenever you get low, the Rapid Charge feature gives you an extra 4 hours of listening time from just a quick, 10-minute charge. After charging up my pair I can attest to the fact they were still going strong after over 32 hours of almost constant use. As this is a serious weakness of other wireless headphones I’ve tested in the past it was a major tick in the box for me. Oh, and don’t worry, you’ve got Tile™! The Crusher Evo features built-in Tile™ finding technology. If you ever misplace your headphones, you can easily “ring” them from the Tile App. So what might have seemed lost, is now quickly found.
They would be a pleasure to listen to for long periods and do not stress the ear while reproducing a variety of musical genres well @skullcandy Click To Tweet
I take my audio consumption very seriously so tested the Crusher Evos with a range of music from Jazz through Metal and on to some Baroque Choral and was pleased with the overall performance. With the bass slider set to zero it provides a solid, easy listen with no hard trebles or booming low frequencies to distract you from enjoying the music. They would be a pleasure to listen to for long periods and do not stress the ear while reproducing a variety of musical genres well. I generally prefer a more lively sound stage with more definition in the mids and trebles than was on show here, but that can also lead to fatigue, something I didn’t suffer with the Crusher Evos.
As I said, the real kicker here is the groundbreaking ‘Sensory Bass’ technology and in spite of my initial misgivings it turned out to be much more than a gimmick, and really added to certain kinds of experiences, especially since it is fully and easily adjustable so you can customize it to both the content and your preferences. I was keen to test it with movies and WOW, was this a revelation!Sensory Bass - set to half - brought a new dimension to every explosion and punch. It really was a huge boost to the experience and I was genuinely impressed at how much more immersed in the movie I felt @skullcandy Click To Tweet
With my eyes and ears busy watching ‘Iron Man 3’ the ‘Sensory Bass’ (set to half) brought a new dimension to every explosion and punch. It really was a huge boost to the experience and I was genuinely impressed at how much more immersed in the movie I felt. I instantly felt the vibration complementing the sound and visuals to make a greater experience than I have enjoyed before. I personally thought it worked best when set to low or medium, as pushing the feature beyond that became a bit distracting as the bass boomed and blurred out the music.
However, the tech really came into its own when paired up with Virtual Reality content. With the ‘Sensory Bass’ slider at max and watching the ‘Kong: Skull Island 360 Experience’ while the chopper’s thumping blades rattled my skull and the bone-shaking roar of Kong thundered through my body, the headset instantly brought up the level of immersion in the experience. There’s no question that these are now my go-to wireless VR audio headset of choice, period.The Sensory Bass tech really came into its own when paired up with Virtual Reality content, the @skullcandy Crusher Evos instantly brought up the level of immersion in the experience Click To Tweet
Overall these wireless headphones are both well-designed and solid-sounding. Plus, while not exactly cheap at $199.99 they are certainly not at the most prohibitive end of the audio market, and the Sensory Bass and Personal Sound features really add value, especially for gaming, movies and VR content. So if predictions of a booming immersive market for such content continues to materialize, it’s easy to see how they might well become a market leader in that space.
Pick up a pair here for $199.99
Keychron K3 Ultra-slim Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
Gone are the days of Microsoft branded monster keyboards that take up half your desk, have half-inch key travel and look like a pile of 1970’s crap. This incredibly slim and customizable keyboard from Keychron is the future and pops into a bag with ease so you can take it with you and have your personalized keyboard at hand and ready to work with whatever Mac, PC, iOS or Android device you have in front of you!
The small 75% layout is a popular form factor amongst keyboard users. It offers convenient access to all the essential multimedia and function keys in a small footprint. The K3 is super customizable and features the world’s first hot-swappable low-profile optical switch keyboard, which means you can hot-swap every key to customize your typing experience without soldering, just pop the switch in and it’s done. Get it working the way you want then connect the K3 to up to three devices, and swap between them seamlessly via Bluetooth 5.1. It also works (and charges) via a wired USB-C connection compatible with cables for most common devices out there.
|Backlight||White or RGB backlight options|
|Hot-swappable option||Yes (Keychron Optical)|
|Switch type||Gateron Mechanical or Keychron Optical|
|Connectivity||Wireless or wired mode|
|Keycaps||With keycaps for both Mac and Windows OS|
|Body material||Aluminum frame|
|Charging Port||USB Type-C|
TThe @real_keychron #Keychron K3 is one of only a few in the market that comes with a Mac multimedia keys layout for Mac enthusiasts Click To Tweet
Oh and it c
Mine came with an attractive leather sleeve to keep it safe and four different sets of keys. They really spoil me! After a couple of weeks testing I can say this will definitely be in my backpack for work trips and now I’m super familiar with its tweaked key travel and I’ve got the layout the way I want for my devices I can’t imagine being without it.After a couple of weeks of testing, I can say this will definitely be in my backpack for work trips and with the layout the way I want for my devices I can't imagine being without it @real_keychron #Keychron K3 Click To Tweet
The @real_keychron #Keychron K3 keyboard has more options and tricks up its sleeve than I can list here so I strongly advise you to check it out Click To Tweet
The Keychron K3 has more options and tricks up its sleeve than I can list here so I strongly advise you to check out the website here where you can pick the RGB version up for an incredible $84, just do it, trust me.
Battpak by OCTAVE
POWER BANK/SECRET COMPARTMENT/CARD HOLDER/TRAVEL SAFE/UNIVERSAL CHARGER
If you want high-tech cannabis gadgets Octave has what you need. They have just released a USB battery power bank #Battpack with a cool hidden stash compartment! Launched via an Indiegogo campaign these clever and useful little stash boxes are a must-have even if you are not stashing anything more exciting than your credit cards.If you want high-tech cannabis gadgets #Octave has what you need with the #battpak Click To Tweet
Yes, this is a real power bank with a 10,000 mAh battery and USB A & C connections but flick the “Adult Proof” button and you’ll find the secret stash compartment. It has a wallet for your credit cards, cash, and papers. It has a strap that will hold straws, cigarettes, whatever you want to keep private! The hidden open switch is rather clever and I took a few minutes to work it out without consulting the instructions.
It also contains a sleek stainless steel magnetic tray. This allows you to magnetize loose articles so they will not shake around inside, and provides a clean, contained surface for your convenience. Great for travel, concerts, and music festivals. Charge your cellphone anywhere and stash what you want on the go.#Battpack from #Octave also contains a sleek stainless steel magnetic tray. This allows you to magnetize loose articles so they will not shake around inside, and provides a clean, contained surface for your convenience Click To Tweet
- Includes a 3-way USB/Type-C/USB mini cord
- Highest Quality 10,000 mAh Battery
- Custom PCBA circuit board for universal charging
- USB and USB Type-C outputs
- USB type-C Input
- Fire retardant polycarbonate housing
- Hand-stitched vegan leather wallet
- High definition laser-etched OCTAVE pattern
Pick one up here for a currently reduced $74.82
The Re:cycled Collection from awesome bag makers Solo New York is a stylish range of bags made from recycled plastic. The goal is to.@Solo_NewYork has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to help restore our nation's forests so with every bag sold from the Re:cycled Collection, trees are planted to help restore U.S. National Forests Click To Tweet
Body size: 10″ x 14.25″ x 1″
Weight: 0.36 lbs
Material: Recycled PET Polyester
Body size: 11.5″ x 16.25″ x 1″
Weight: 0.36 lbs
Material: Recycled PET Polyester
The heathered grey material is made from recycled PET bottles, as the name of the collection suggests, and all around this is a reasonably priced and practical case that looks professional and stylish @Solo_NewYork Click To Tweet
This is a really nice fully padded laptop sleeve and apart from the full-length front zippered pocket, there are lots of places to keep more than just the computer. The simple black camo lining is not flashy but feels nice and is tough-looking and the back slip pocket seems to be showerproof which is nice.
The cool-looking heathered grey material is made from recycled PET bottles, as the name of the collection suggests, and all around this is a reasonably priced and practical case that looks professional and stylish while reassuring you that it is almost 100% recycled and a bit of your investment will go into planting more trees.
Body size: 12″ x 16.25″ x 4.5″
Weight: 1.37 lbs
Material: Recycled PET Polyester
Much larger than the sleeve this briefcase features a fully padded compartment that fits: 11″ – 15.6″ Laptops/Ultrabooks and 11″ – 15″ MacBooks. Like the sleeve, it’s full of useful storage including a front zippered pocket, an interior organizer section with a key clip. There is a comfortable and removable / adjustable shoulder strap and a back strap that slides over a luggage handle if you want to roll it around on top of your suitcase.There is a comfortable and removable / adjustable shoulder strap and a back strap that slides over a luggage handle if you want to roll it around on top of your suitcase @Solo_NewYork Click To Tweet
The black camo lining and the heathered grey material are still made from recycled PET bottles but are tough looking and also surprisingly lightweight. These are really nice bags for the modern wandering worker and the prices are very good for the quality you get.
Priced at about the same level as Samsung’s sporty Galaxy watch models the TicWatch Pro S does all the basic things we expect of a sports-focused smartwatch. It is a bit of an update from the previous year’s model but does nothing particularly flashy or surprising. There is a spec list below but it is worth pointing out that the insides of this watch are a bit old so the latest and greatest components are not included here.
Evolved for New Challenges – Your favorite TicWatch Pro 2020, now upgraded with VO2 Max, TicExercise 3.0, TicSleep 2.0, pool-swimming suitable, TicBreathe, TicHearing and Voice Memo.
So what’s New? The Pro S comes with minor upgrades to TicExercise 3.0, TicSleep 2.0 which features “More In-Depth Data”, a sleep weekly report, sleep advice and built-in relaxing music to help you get sleepy which is supported in ‘Essential Mode’ to save battery life at night (and won’t light up at night). TicWatch Pro S’s Layered Display Technology extends battery life to 2-30 days with a single charge. I got 8 days on my last test in mixed-use between Essential and Smartwatch modes which is fine..@Mobvoi_Official #TicWatch Pro S's Layered Display Technology extends battery life to 2-30 days with a single charge. I got 8 days on my last test in mixed-use between Essential and Smartwatch Click To Tweet
Your Accurate Smart Workout Assistant – Besides all your favorite features of Pro 2020, such as 13 workout modes, built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, steps & calories counter, speed & cadence monitor and TicMotion proactive motion tracking, we also added some cool new features to TicWatch Pro S
As is typical these days there are 1000+ watch faces so you can personalize your TicWatch Pro with many options available on Google Play. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100 chipset keeps it ticking but is a little old now and the 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage are adequate for general use..@Mobvoi_Official #TicWatch Pro S. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100 chipset keeps it ticking but is a little old now and the 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage are adequate for general use Click To Tweet
Wear OS by Google
45mm x 12.6mm
1.39” AMOLED 400 x 400 + FSTN display
Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™
RAM: 1GB / Storage: 4GB
GPS + GLONASS + Beidou + Galileo
Bluetooth: 4.2 / Wi-Fi: 802.11bgn 2.4GHz
Google Pay ™
Water and Dust Resistance
Accelerometer, Gyro, Magnetic Sensor,
PPG Heart Rate sensor, Ambient Light
Sensor, Low Latency Off-Body Sensor
Battery and Charging
Charging method: Dock with USB cable
Smart mode: 2-5 days
Essential mode: 30 days
Mixed usage: between 2-30 days
Military Standard 810G
Withstands temperature shock of between -30℃ to 70, operational between -20℃ to 55, 57kpa pressure, 44℃ solar radiation, 95% humidity, salt fog, sand and dust, shock.
The Pro S is a nice-looking and functional smartwatch that is middle of the range and does what you expect. Good quality no doubt but not the sexiest thing you could strap to your arm. It pairs well, has a good battery and is comfortable to wear. It runs on Google’s Watch OS and can run some Google apps as well as its own TicWatch selection of Health and Sleep apps including TicBreathe, TicHearing, TicPulse and TicSleep.If you just fancy a good-looking and practical smartwatch with a leaning towards health and fitness functions then the TicWatch Pro S is not a bad choice without breaking the bank @Mobvoi_Official #TicWatch Pro S Click To Tweet
It’s a bit chunky on the arm but the 1.39-inch, 400 by 400 Amoled touchscreen display is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 and is pleasingly bright and colorful. The watch has a military standard 810G certification against extreme temperatures, pressure, and knocks and the IP68 water resistance gives it a moderate score in the plungability dept.
To sum up, it’s a very serviceable smartwatch for casual fitness freaks. If you need to show off your wealth and status with the latest and finest gadgets out there look elsewhere but if you just fancy a good-looking and practical smartwatch with a leaning towards health and fitness functions then the TicWatch Pro S is not a bad choice without breaking the bank.
Check it out here and it retails for $259.99
Secure Travel Router
This tiny travel router is a geeks paradise! Packed full of security and privacy features the GL.iNet
This tiny travel @GLiNetWiFi router is a geeks paradise! Packed full of security and privacy features the GL.iNet Beryl GL-MT1300 is a high-performance new generation pocket-sized router Click To Tweet
If you are in a different city and hotel every day and depend on the web for your comms and data needs then the Beryl is the perfect travel companion. You can hook up via ethernet or Wi-Fi to public or hotel networks and be reassured that your info and data are being securely transmitted.
Beryl provides the best encryption and authentication with OpenVPN & WireGuard®, keeping your Internet connection private with support for 30+ VPN services. With the Web UI 3.0, you can set up a VPN server easily and access your files securely in a remote site as if you are at home.
.@GLiNetWiFi Beryl provides the best encryption and authentication with OpenVPN & WireGuard®, keeping your Internet connection private with support for 30+ VPN services Click To Tweet
I tested this out using ExpressVPN and Nord via OpenVPN and it is a cinch. There is no reason not to run a VPN on the Beryl as it offers a set and forget level of security. If you need to switch service or even location while on the go the Web UI 3.0 interface is simple and fast. Because of Covid my usual globe-trotting is on hold but this cute little router will go everywhere with me as soon as I’m free again!
If a VPN is not enough, Tor (The Onion Router) is pre-installed in Beryl. Your online identity and browsing data can be concealed from surveillance and third-party trackers easily with Tor. Your traffic is encrypted three times as it passes over the Tor network so your network will be extra safe! There is even DNS Encryption with Cloudflare which prevents eavesdropping and manipulation of DNS data via man-in-the-middle attacks.
Your Internet security can also be strengthened by getting the support of the latest DNS technologies such as DoT (DNS over TLS), DoH (DNS over HTTPS), Query Name Minimisation and DNSSEC Validation from NextDNS. To be honest this is now a bit above my head so I did not get to test it out but the options here are second to none if security is your goal.Your Internet security can also be strengthened with the latest DNS technologies such as DoT (DNS over TLS), DoH (DNS over HTTPS), Query Name Minimisation and DNSSEC Validation from NextDNS @GLiNetWiFi Click To Tweet
There is so much this little bunny-eared beauty can do I recommend you learn more on their website where you can pick one up for only $79.99.