Tag Archives : Wireless


Review: Olixar Qi-Tone Alarm Clock Bluetooth Qi Charging Speaker

In recent years, we’ve seen some outstanding developments in mobile telephony.  One such innovation has been the introduction of Qi (inductive power standard) wireless charging.  For the most part, the majority of modern mobile handsets (except iPhones!) now include Qi wireless charging as standard.  For most others there are phone cases available which support Qi.

Assuming you have native support or use a case, the next problem to solve is how you charge your device?  Enter the Olixar Qi-Tone Alarm Clock.  There are a few wireless charging options on the market, but is there room to integrate more features?  The answer is quite simply, of course!

Let’s take a closer look.

IMG_1453 IMG_1455

The Olixar fundamentally doesn’t require too many cables – wireless! – so what’s included is fairly minimal.  There’s a power cable with multiple plug support (very handy) as well as an audio cable and an instruction book.  The device is quite easy to operate, but the instructions are clear if you need to refer to them.

IMG_1455e IMG_1456 IMG_1458

The alarm itself is nicely weighted and feels very solid.  The time display (when unpowered) is only barely visible, it looks like a solid block of wood which is a nice aesthetic.  This is something which would look great on a desk or in a workplace setting, but equally not out of place on a bedside table.

Features

The alarm is more than just a clock and thermostat.  It features Bluetooth connectivity and has fairly impressive sound quality for built-in speakers.  Then there’s the wireless Qi charging capability to top it all off. 

The audio jack cable also provides a capability to plug in an external audio source, if you don’t have a Bluetooth option.  There’s also a built in microphone so you can engage with complete hands free teleconferencing,

Finishing touches

We’ve covered off the inclusions, the looks and the features but the real touch is seeing the unit powered on.  The display shines through the front of the device and looks amazing.  Don’t take my word for it:

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The device is also quite child friendly, as demonstrated in the second photo, above.  The unit features touch sensitive controls on the top of the device which is used to enable/disable Bluetooth, snooze the alarm and adjust volume levels.

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Finally – the alarm.  The alarm is quite surprising, it simulates an old fashioned alarm clock ring.  The only quibble with the unit is that to disable the alarm, you must press one of the four buttons on the rear of the unit.  This is slightly inconvenient if you place it in a location which is hard to access the back of the device.

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This is a nicely finished wooden alarm clock with some very intelligent features.  If you have a Qi or Qi-enabled device, you’d have to be tempted to look at this device for the home or the workplace.  Even if you lack a Qi-device, the bluetooth connectivity and other features make it a fine addition to your desk.

You can find many more interesting accessories from the great range at MobileZap.


A Brief History of My Headphones

As good technical people may tell you, a decent set of headphones can be the difference between a productive day and a really productive day behind the keyboard.  Being able to zone into the task at hand is made so much easier by an immersive sound, and excellent acoustics.

Over the past decade and a half, as a Software Engineer, as a Solution Architect and more recently as a Technical Delivery Manager; I’ve worn a variety of headphones.  In the early days these were cheap and nasty, but fairly reliable units which were easy to replace.

As time wore on, and as I could afford it, I started to amass a very eclectic range of headware.  With the recent purchase of the limited edition Tango from Turtle Beach, I realised I’d amassed a rather interesting assortment of headphones in a relatively short window of time…. so why not write about it?

It all started with a pair of…

Sennheiser TR130

Sennheiser TR130

This was my first decent wireless headset.  It came with rechargeable batteries which are still in the headset to this day (and they still work).  I suspect I bought this unit in 2006, but I’m not 100% sure.  It feels like I’ve had them forever, they even made it over to China when we lived there a little while ago.

Featuring auto frequency synch, over ear design and such a comfortable fit; they have been one of my best supporting gadgets for a long time.  Their range is pretty impressive, and they even work through walls in different rooms.  I used to wear them whilst mowing our lawns, way back in the day.

They now reside in the A/V room as an audio option for the projector.  There was a big gap until late last year when I bought my first decent pair of on-ear headphones, primarily for their noise cancelling feature.

Introducing the….

Sennheiser PCX250II

Sennheiser PCX 250 II

This travel ready set is ideal if you have limited space.  They fold almost flat and come with a handy pocket which can also store a small media player and extra batteries.  The noise cancelling isn’t great, but the audio quality is really superb, especially the bass.

The failing of the noise cancelling is partly to do with the fact that it’s an on-ear set; but it’s a great set for exercising with, or for travelling since they aren’t bulky.  I bought them primarily because I didn’t shop around, and it’s all JB Hi Fi stocked in the Sydney city store at the time.

This year I started working in an enclosed office which became very loud when a few people had a conversation.  Therefore, noise cancelling and over-ear design became a huge priority, so I bought…..

Bose QC15

Bose Quiet Comfort (QC) 15

These are realistically the best noise cancelling option on the market period.  There are some contenders, but Bose have nailed it with the QC15 and they improve with each generation.

Whilst they don’t eliminate all noise entirely, they do a pretty impressive job nonetheless.  You ideally want to be playing something through the unit (rather than just to engage the noise cancelling effect in isolation).  The only drawback?  It has to use a battery to operate.

It also came with a special cable for use with an iPhone, which allows you to use the set for making calls.  It’s a great unit, but not great for gaming as it only caters for a single source of sound.  When I’m gaming, I’ve got teammates on via chat, as well as game sounds from the console.  Therefore, recently I bought a….

Turtle Beach Tango

Turtle Beach

Call of Duty Black Ops II

Ear Force Tango

Which I’ve written up recently.  They seamlessly blend two sources of audio simultaneously from wireless (for game) and from up to two Bluetooth connections (for chat).  The set is made with memory foam, so over time the headphones will become even more comfortable then they are out of the box.

There’s a number of pre-set audio functions which are programmable, as are many of the controls on the set.  It features a USB recharge option which can be used while the set is in use.  Only sticking point at the moment?  It takes a few seconds longer than indicated to switch on or off certain functionality (like power, Bluetooth and headset pairing to the wireless base station).

Summary

Despite the disparate nature of the collection I’ve amassed, I still think each unit brings something to the table that the others don’t.  I’m amazed that the TR130 still functions, it’s been a really reliable unit.  The PCX was a little disappointing, but is still a really good option for travelling and the QC15 is a revolution in noise-cancelling terms.

Perhaps because it’s so new, I’m presently enamoured with the Turtle Beach Tango.  It won’t replace the QC15 as my desktop headset, but it’s really changed my gaming for the better with simply incredible surround sound.  I really to endorse all of them, for the benefits stated.


Turtle Beach Ear Force Tango – Gaming Headset

Turtle BeachTurtle Beach

Why hello gamers!  Just had to write about these, frankly, awesome headsets which have just been released today.

A friend and I have been waiting anxiously for over a month since we put our pre-orders in with EB Games last month at the Sydney gaming exhibition at Olympic Park.

We were in the process of buying the then leading set, the XP500, when we learned about the new Black Ops II Tango and Sierra headsets.

The most obvious difference between the slightly cheaper Sierra and the Tango is that the Tango is dual-band wireless.  They both feature dual audio input (game/chat) as well as pre-set audio settings and a USB port for adding new pre-sets.

One of the other factors is that the Sierra obviously doesn’t require any recharging, although the Tango is no slouch, giving out 10 hours of use off a single charge.  The best part?  You can charge the Tango whilst playing using a USB cable.

Turtle Beach Tango  Turtle Beach Tango Headset
Out of the box                          Meet the new kid on the block

There’s virtually no interference that I could detect, and the chat/game audio balance is simply outstanding.  Also, there’s support for true surround sound and the programmable pre-sets allows you to select from a wide range of options to optimise your playing style.

It comes with all the cables you’d need, including an adapter for your Xbox controller so you can use the in-game chat.  Another option is to pair your headset to a Bluetooth compatible phone, and you can take calls whilst in the action.  The headset also allows you to pair to two Bluetooth devices at the same time. 

Home Theatre  Old and New
Tango at home in the Home Theatre      Old and New: Sennheiser meets Tango

Honestly.. can’t wait to get this new gear into action playing the recently released Halo 4!  Tonight’s test run was a few magnificent rounds of Halo: Reach, and the results were impressive.  Can’t wait to hear Halo 4’s immersive sound effects in this baby.