Beats Studio 2.0 : Ideal Pair of Headphones for the Sporty

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to check out the new Beats Studio, known as Beats Studio 2.0, at the Apple Store and would like to share my experience with my fellow readers.

Figure 1 : Beats Studio headphones and accessories
Figure 1 : Beats Studio headphones and accessories [1]
Beats Studio features active noise cancellation which can be activated by pressing on the small button found on the right ear-cup (However, I was not able to experience this at the store maybe because the battery charge was low). This battery lasts for about 20 hours and can be recharged using the USB cable shown in Figure 1. There is a battery level indicator consisting of five LED’s under the noise cancellation activation button as shown in Figure 2. Active noise cancelling feature can be very handy when taking public transport.

Figure 2 ; Beats Studio Wireless with the battery level indicator [2]
Figure 2 : Beats Studio Wireless with the battery level indicator [2]

Design

As shown in the figure above, the headphones have a plastic exterior. However, there is a variation with the metallic exterior (titanium) as well for the premium look as shown in the figure given below.

Figure 2 : Beats Studio 2.0 with metallic exterior [2]
Figure 3 : Beats Studio 2.0 with metallic exterior [3]
These headphones are circumaural (over ear).  The ear-cups can be folded, making the headset more portable while traveling. The inner layer of the headband is made of rubber, so that the headphones will not slide if the user is running on a treadmill, for example. The ear-cups are more comfortable than those found in the Beats Mixr.

Sound Quality

The bass produced by the Studio 2.0 is punchy but not muddy as that produced in Mixr. The vocals are clear enough. I listened to some electronic and hip-hop tracks and they sounded amazing. If you’re an audiophile, you might find that the upper mid frequencies sound a bit harsh.

Price

The retail price of the Beats Studio 2.0 is £269.95 while Beats Studio 2.0 wireless costs £329.95. As every Beats product, these headphones have high price tags. These headphones should actually cost in the £100.00 – £150.00 range, considering the advanced digital signal processing (DSP) techniques involved, even though the materials used for manufacture is cheap.

References

[1] Beats Studio 2.0 headphones and accessories. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.chip.de/ii/2/5/1/2/5/8/9/2/beats3-e0c37dcf2c77372a.jpg. [Accessed 29 March 2015].

[2] . 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2014/03/18/f8d065a6-b0bd-11e3-a24e-d4ae52e62bcc/thumbnail/770×433/db9bb5457098136b7d5312bd2e7af02d/Beats_Studio_Wireless_35834962-06.jpg. [Accessed 29 March 2015].

[3] Beats Studio 2.0 headphones with metallic exterior. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://i.imgur.com/45e3TP8.png. [Accessed 29 March 2015].

Discover the Next Galaxy

Today I had the opportunity to get a hands on experience with the latest Galaxy devices of the Samsung flagship, namely Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and thought of sharing my experience with my readers. Design

Figure 1 : Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
Figure 1 : Samsung Galaxy S6 (left) and S6 Edge (right) [1]
The Galaxy S6 has a sleek design, which cannot be found any previous models. The four corners of the phone are curved (Figure 1). The front and rear consists of glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 4) while the rest of the body is made out of metal in both models, which give a premium feel.

Figure 2 : Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge [2]
Figure 2 : Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge [2]
As shown in Figure 2, the 3.5 mm headphone and charging ports can be found at the bottom of the phone. The grill at the bottom-right is the speaker, which could produce good (but not great) bass. Both S6 and S6 Edge have 5.1″ QHD AMOLED displays with a resolution of 1440 x 2560. Micro-SIMs cannot be used with these models as they use nano-SIMs. Performance Both Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa-core processors (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57) and 3 GB of RAM under the hood, which take multitasking to a whole new level [3].

Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor
Figure 3 : Samsung Exynos 7 Octa Processor [4]
I checked the RAM usage via Applications Manager and found out that the system uses 1 GB of RAM. I am not quite sure whether the phone might run slow after a lot of apps and widgets have been installed though as the retail devices run quite smoothly without any lag. The software which runs in both models is Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop). The Li-Ion battery in S6 and S6 Edge is non-removable and has capacities of 2550 mAh and 2600 mAh, respectively.

Figure 4 : Samsung Galaxy S6 camera [5]
Figure 4 : Samsung Galaxy S6  rear camera [5]
The rear camera on both S6 and S6 Edge is 16 MP and has optical image stabilisation while the front camera is 5 MP, ideal for taking selfies. The camera application has a shortcut too; just press the Home button twice. The only negativity i found in the camera is the design : The camera protrudes from the back, making it difficult to keep the phone flat on a surface. However, this problem could be solved by using a case.

The least amount of storage in both of these devices is 32 GB, which is quite large (although approximately 15.3 GB of this will be used by the system). This is the reason for the elimination of the micro SD card slot. I do not know why fans keep on complaining about this though.

Another cool feature that I found in both devices is wireless charging. You don’t have to carry the charging cables and adapters always as wireless charging stations are going to be equipped at places such as restaurants.

Here’s what I feel about the latest flagship devices by Samsung. To be honest, the Galaxy S6 looks like an iPhone 6 by Apple. Don’t just take my word for it, give them a try. Also take care when handling these devices as they are not waterproof !

References :

[1] Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.samsung.com/uk/galaxys6/images/kv-phones.png. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[2] Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://cdn3.pcadvisor.co.uk/cmsdata/features/3596185/Samsung_Galaxy_S6_Edge_800.jpg. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[3] Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Full phone specifications. 2015. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge – Full phone specifications. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s6_edge-7079.php. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[4] Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor. 2015 . [ONLINE] Available at: http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/articles/167183-thumb/samsung01148.jpg. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[5] Samsung Galaxy S6 rear camera. 2015 . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.samsung.com/uk/galaxys6/images/features-camera.png. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

Two Pills Prescribed by the Doctor. The Choice is Yours.

Summer is here and it is time to enjoy the sun. There is a slight problem. Your speakers are wired. How can you enjoy some decent music without wearing earphones or a headset? Fortunately, there are portable speakers, two of which have been introduced by Beats Electronics, namely Pill and Pill XL. Both of these have the capability to play music via bluetooth and NFC (Near-Field Communication) technologies. This blog post will help you to decide which speaker best suits your needs.

Beats Pills

Figure : Beats Pill XL (Black) and Beats Pill 2.0 (Blue) [1]

Battery

Beats Pill 2.0 (successor of Pill) is equipped with a 7 hour rechargeable battery while Pill XL is equipped with a rechargeable battery which lasts for 15 hours. If your evening BBQ extends to a party at night, your music will never stop.

Sound Quality

Here is the most important thing. A speaker is useless if it does not produce the sound to your heart’s content. I had the opportunity to compare the sound quality of Pill 2.0 and Pill XL. The quality of sound produced from 2.0 was very poor. The reason for this can be that the drivers of 2.0 are very small and hence the power produced is very limited. The Pill XL, on the other hand, does a pretty awesome job. It consists of “forward-firing 3-inch woofers and 1.25-inch tweeters and also a roughly 3 x 3-inch passive radiator in back for bass reinforcement” [2]. I think what the designers had in mind was portability and they did not concentrate enough on the key factor, which is sound quality.

Price

The retail price of Pill 2.0 is £169.95 and that of Pill XL is £269.95 (i.e. $199.95 and $299.95, respectively). In my opinion, paying £169.95 for a speaker that does not produce enough sound is absolutely pointless. Also, Pill XL should be sold at a reasonable price such as £80.00.

Do not take my word for it, give them a try. Comments on your opinion are welcome.

References

[1] Beats Pill and Pill XL. 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://0.tqn.com/y/stereos/1/S/5/C/-/-/small-large.jpg. [Accessed 28 December 2014].

[2] Beats Pill XL. 2014. [ONLINE] Available at:http://stereos.about.com/od/Audio-Shows/ss/CES-2014-New-Bluetooth-Speakers-A-G_6.htm. [Accessed 16 June 2014].

Wi-Power Technology : “Wi- What”?

Yes, you read it right, people. Qualcomm has introduced a new technology which enables electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets to be charged wirelessly, so that power adapters and cables no longer have to be carried when you travel.

wipower_phonelight

 

WiPower uses resonant based wireless charging to reduce the need for wall chargers, unsightly power strips, and congested wall sockets effectively. [1]

Here are some advantages of this technology :

  • True spatial freedom
    • Does not require the precise alignment of devices within charging area
    • Charge multiple electronic devices at the same time within the charging area without direct physical contact
  • Simultaneously charge different device types with varying power requirements
  • Metallic objects will not interfere with the charge process
  • Makes use of existing wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth to help minimize hardware requirements
  • By charging via surfaces, WiPower supports real world design requirements that blend into the home, office, automobiles and furniture
  • Reduces clutter by eliminating or reducing the amount of wires

Below is a clip showing how wireless charging works :

 

References :

[1]  Wireless Power Technology | Wireless Energy Transfer | WiPower. 2014.Wireless Power Technology | Wireless Energy Transfer | WiPower. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.qualcomm.com/solutions/wireless-charging/wipower. [Accessed 15 April 2014].

 

What is MIMO?

With the global availability of Samsung Galaxy S5 today, you must be wondering what MIMO actually is, since Samsung boasts about this technology, which has been equipped in their latest flagship device.

MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) is a wireless technology that uses multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time [1]. If a particular device has 802.11n, then that particular device is MIMO compatible.  The transmitter and receiver antennas are combined to minimize errors and optimize data speed.

MIMO

Before the introduction of MIMO, multipath effects were caused sometimes due to signal interference because single antennas were used at both ends of the communication link. When electromagnetic (EM) waves interfere with obstacles such as buildings and hills, the wavefronts get scattered and travel in different paths in order to reach the receiving end. This can lead to slow mobile internet speeds and data losses during transmission. At present, MIMO technology utilises these multipath effects to substantially increase the performance and range of transmission by using multiple, smart transmitters and receivers with an added spatial dimension. Higher speeds can be achieved with the availability of more antennas. For example, a wireless adapter consisting of three antennas can have a speed of 600 Mbps while an adapter consisting of two antennas has a speed of 300 Mbps.

The new iPad Air is another device which supports this groundbreaking technology [3].

The link given below further explains MIMO technology visually.

 

References :

[1] Wireless Networking — What is Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO)?. 2014. Wireless Networking — What is Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO)?. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/sb/cs-025345.htm. [Accessed 11 April 2014].

[2] What is MIMO (multiple input, multiple output)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. 2014. What is MIMO (multiple input, multiple output)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. [ONLINE] Available at:http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/MIMO. [Accessed 11 April 2014].

[3] Apple – iPad Air – Features. 2014. Apple – iPad Air – Features. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.apple.com/ipad-air/features/. [Accessed 11 April 2014].

[4] 2×2 MIMO antenna system 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://mwrf.com/site-files/mwrf.com/files/archive/mwrf.com/files/30/21225/fig_01.gif. [Accessed 11 April 2014].

Speaker Comparison

Last Saturday, I went to Arndale to do some window shopping and did a desktop speaker comparison at Currys. The two speakers compared were Panasonic SC-NE1, which uses “aero stream port technology” to deliver a deep dynamic rich bass (1), and Bose SoundLink Air, which uses “Bose waveguide speaker technology” to deliver rich detailed sound(2). Both of them were wireless speakers : Panasonic SC-NE1 uses Bluetooth and Airplay (technology used by Apple devices) as media for connectivity and the technology used in Bose SoundLink Air for connectivity is only AirPlay, which is a bit of a bummer. Both these speakers have auxiliary inputs, so they can be connected to the phone or laptop using a cable with a 3.5 mm jack, if AirPlay is an issue. The Bose speaker has a remote, so the speaker can be controlled from anywhere within range but the Panasonic speaker does not have this option.

https://i0.wp.com/brain.pan.e-merchant.com/6/8/21408586/l_21408586_001.jpg

Panasonic SC-NE1 (3)

https://i0.wp.com/brain.pan.e-merchant.com/9/4/17291849/l_17291849_004.jpg

Bose SoundLink Air (4)

  • First, I’ll give a comparison on sound quality. Both of them had amazing sound quality. However, the sound quality of the Bose speaker was better than that of the Panasonic one. The bass was much more punchier. Panasonic SC-NE1 contains a 3-1/8″ long woofer with a nano-sized bamboo cone and a 1″ tweeter. (1)
  • Next is the size : Bose Soundlink Air is compact and lightweight. It is the ideal speaker for someone living in a small room. On the other hand, Panasonic SC-NE1 is like a sound bar, so it is longer and heavier than Bose Soundlink Air.
  • Finally, the price : Bose Soundlink Air costs almost £ 300.00 and Panasonic SC-NE1 costs £ 115.00. Well, all Bose products are expensive.

In conclusion, if money and WiFi are not restrictions, then the Bose SoundLink Air is a better choice, in my opinion.

References :

(1) SC-NE1 Wireless Speaker Systems – Panasonic. 2014. SC-NE1 Wireless Speaker Systems – Panasonic. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/home-entertainment/wireless-speaker-systems/sc-ne1eb.html. [Accessed 28 February 2014].

(2) SoundLink Air digital music system | Bose. 2014. SoundLink Air digital music system | Bose. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/bluetooth-ipod-speakers/airplay-speakers/bose-soundlink-air-digital-music-system/. [Accessed 28 February 2014].

(3) Panasonic SC-NE1 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://brain.pan.e-merchant.com/6/8/21408586/l_21408586_001.jpg. [Accessed 28 February 2014].

(4) Bose SoundLink Air 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://brain.pan.e-merchant.com/9/4/17291849/l_17291849_004.jpg. [Accessed 28 February 2014].