Posts Tagged ‘music’

Sonos Play:1

November 27th, 2013 No comments

5 Stars

Sonos Play:1

Sonos is known for its high quality speakers, which when combined, make for a surreal home stereo system. The latest addition to the line is the smallest yet, the Play:1. Does this small, flour jar-like speaker live up to the name? Read on to find out.

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Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II

September 27th, 2012 1 comment

4 stars
SoundLink II Nylon

The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile speaker II is an update to what was already a popular Bluetooth speaker. I spent quite a few hours listening to the SoundLink II and was pleasantly surprised with the overall package, including its sound quality.

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Jawbone JAMBOX

June 19th, 2012 No comments

Jawbone JAMBOX Official5 Stars

I’m always looking for a more convenient way of listening to music. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the backyard grillin’, inside dancing with my kids, sitting at my desk or taking my morning shower — I want great sounding music, and I don’t want to have to jump through hoops to get it. The Jawbone JAMBOX is a promising speaker that aims to help me get my music everywhere, conveniently. After spending the last week with it, I have to say.. I almost did it again. You’re going to have to read to find out exactly what it is I have to say.

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How to rip your CD collection to lossless FLAC files

April 29th, 2012 No comments

Lossless music files, like FLAC, sound better than MP3s and are great for archival purposes. Encoding your CD collection to FLAC is pretty painless as you only need to use Exact Audio Copy (EAC).


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How to get started with Google Music

November 27th, 2011 No comments

Google Music is out of beta and Google is offering free storage of up to 20,000 songs that you can stream to Android and iOS devices or any computer. Here’s how to get started with Google Music:

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Philips Connect 3 Android Wi-Fi MP3 Player

November 27th, 2011 5 comments

Philips Connect Android MP3 player

The Philips Connect 3 Android Wi-Fi MP3 Player is a low-cost alternative to its Android cousin, the Samsung Galaxy Android MP3 player. Both devices also compete with the Apple iPod Touch. These are much more than just music players of course––with color touch screens, Wi-Fi connectivity, web browsing, and mobile app support––these are miniature tablets. Unfortunately, Philips sacrificed too much to make the Connect a value choice and ended up making it just a poor choice.


  • Less expensive than competitors
  • Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread pre-installed
  • Easy to use
  • Supports Android Market and Amazon Appstore


  • Poor screen
  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Buggy
  • Poor battery life
  • No camera
  • No memory expansion slot
  • No wall charger
  • Lots of crapware

Philips Connect box Philips Connect box open

The Connect looks like a miniature smartphone with large, physical control buttons. The buttons, however, aren’t backlit like on most Android smartphones, so you’ll have to hunt for them if you’re in a dark environment.

The right side of the Connect has volume buttons and a multifunction power/sleep button. The Connect’s built-in speaker is located on the same side and sounded slightly better than I expected. However, it’s still a poor substitute for quality headphones or a speaker dock.

Philips Connect speaker

The 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the bottom of unit, next to the micro-USB port. The left side of the Connect has a pinhole reset button and the top of the player has what looks like a lanyard anchor, though no lanyard or strap is included in the box.

Philips Connect bottom

Overall, the Connect feels pretty solid. The plastic housing doesn’t flex when squeezed and the buttons respond well when pressed.

The Connect has a 3.2-inch screen, which is smaller than both the iPod Touch (3.5-inches) and the Galaxy 4 (4-inches). The small screen size took a little getting used to, especially when trying to use the on-screen keyboard. Small screen aside, I was extremely disappointed with the display quality. At a resolution of 480×320, text looked terrible, which made reading emails in the Gmail app a pain. Icons and images looked slightly better though. Games like Cut The Rope looked acceptable but were by no means, high quality. YouTube videos worked OK, but colors were washed out and the glare was difficult to get over. A red stop sign on a test video looked orange on the Connect.

Philips has always supported tons of audio and video codecs–one of the most appealing aspects of their audio/video gear. The Connect is no exception when it comes to codec support. Unfortunately, all my test audio files sounded just awful. My lossless FLAC audio files never sounded worse. I tossed the included headphones after two songs and plugged in a set of Etymotic HF5 IEMs. Surprisingly, swapping out the headphones improved the audio quality only slightly. I also tried a pair of Monster iSport headphones and it was the same story.

The Songbird software for music library management is OK, but nothing exciting. The Connect comes pre-installed with several Google apps and some music apps. Unfortunately, the music apps can’t be uninstalled.

The Connect 3 supports both the Android Market and Amazon Appstore, so there are a lot of apps you can use with the Connect. I installed Cut The Rope, Bejeweled 2, Google Music and Winamp without any problems.

The version of Android on the Connect is 2.3.3 Gingerbread, the most current version of Android available until Ice Cream Sandwich starts rolling out. I’d be shocked if Philips pushed ICS out to the Connect, even if it were powerful enough to run it smoothly, which it isn’t.

Battery life on the Connect is rated at 25 hours for audio and 5 hours for video. The battery life for audio is significantly less than that of the iPod Touch and Galaxy. Granted, if I’m just listening to audio, 25 hours is plenty, but this isn’t just a music player, is it? It only lasted a few hours of tablet-type use (playing some games, checking email and surfing the web). The Connect doesn’t come with a wall charger either––just a USB cable. If you need to travel with the Connect, you’ll have to get your own USB charger or make sure you have your laptop with you.

For kicks, I decided to install and run the Quadrant benchmark to see how the Connect stacked up to other Android devices. It scored a 995, which is actually higher than phones like the Droid, Nexus One and Samsung Galaxy S, but lower than the Droid X.

The Philips Connect 3 Android Wi-Fi MP3 player is a disappointing Internet-connected music player. Sound quality is lackluster, screen quality is poor, and there’s no camera on the Connect. It also isn’t priced nearly low enough to be appealing, given all of its flaws. Unless you can find the Connect 3 at a blowout price, I’d recommend crossing it off your list and investing in an iPod Touch or the Samsung Galaxy.

8GB model available from for $139.99.

16GB model available from for $189.99.

* Review sample provided by Philips

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How to tune a guitar with your Android phone

September 14th, 2011 No comments

Tune a guitar with your Android phone:

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