You’re watching Best Tech, a series on PhoneDog that allows us to reflect on some of the best accessories that interact with our smartphones in some way, shape or form. Every episode is special but the products we have in this episode are especially impressive.
JLab Block Party Speaker and JLab House Party Speaker
First we have two powerful speakers that sound great for the price. The Block Party is a $150 wireless, multi-room Bluetooth speaker. Without installing any apps or connecting to Wi-Fi, you can actually connect up to 8 of these speakers together to play music simultaneously and blast music throughout your entire home.
All you have to do is power on your main speaker and power on the speaker you wish to connect to the main speaker. In this case, I’ll be pairing the Block Party speaker with the slightly smaller $100 House Party Speaker. I can press the receive button on the House Party and then press and hold the share button on the Block Party and viola, the speakers will be connected.
As for sound quality, both of these speakers are very good and will output pretty enjoyable sounding music. Each speaker has two Hi-Fi drivers and a DSP processor that fine tunes its audio to JLab’s liking. I cranked these speakers up to high volumes and they stayed relatively distortion-free. If you have a small room, I think the 20-watt House Party Speaker should be perfect for you. But if you have a bigger room, maybe a room that has high ceilings, I’d recommend you spend the extra money and buy the 50-watt Block model speaker.
Maverick Messenger Bag
Now if you’ve been following our PhoneDog coverage, you’ll know that I recently picked up the new 2017 MacBook Pro. It’s my first MacBook Pro, believe it or not, and it’s a lot of money and I’d like to everything I can to protect it. My friends over at Waterfield Designs sent me the Maverick Leather Laptop Messenger Bag to ease my worries.
The full sized bag is made to carry a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar via its padded laptop compartment so it’s perfect for my needs. It also features a tablet compartment that will conveniently fit the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and other similarly sized tablets. But the number one reason why I love this bag and Waterfield Designs products in general is the quality of their products. The Maverick features beautiful distressed leather. The bag itself consists of leather. There’s a leather strap and leather shoulder pad.
The Maverick Messenger Bag is pretty costly. It starts at $289 but it’s quality materials that should make it last a lifetime. They are not paying us for this review. I just honestly cannot say enough good things about the Maverick and the Staad Laptop Backpack which we reviewed in earlier Best Tech videos.
Blue Microphones Satellite Wireless Headphones
So we have another audio product for you today. These are the Blue Satellite Wireless Headphones and they are pretty amazing. You may remember our coverage of the Blue Lola Headphones a while back. These are an evolution of the Lolas. They have a similar futuristic design with ear cuffs that fit comfortably over my ears at least for long periods of use. The magic is really under the hood so to speak. So these cans feature two custom 44mm ultra responsive Blue dynamic drivers for audio output and two dedicated 30mm drivers for active noise cancellation. So yes, these have active noise cancellation.
Blue microphones, they are famous for their microphones of course so they know how important a good set of headphones can be when playing back your recordings. Usually you have to buy a headphone amp separately and strap it to your phone to play back audiophile audio. But not with the satellite wireless headphones. The satellites feature a built-in analog audiophile amplifier that pairs beautifully with the 44mm drivers. If you can see yourself to be a serious music listener, you should consider purchasing these satellite wireless headphones. They have a relatively high price of $400 but can certainly be worth it.
Xiaomi Mi 360 Camera
The last product is the Xiaomi Mi Sphere, which might be the first 360 camera to ever be featured in a PhoneDog video. This camera features two 16-megapixel Sony IMX206 camera sensors, one in the front and one in the back to create that 360 field of view. The hardware is not bad at all as it’s very thin and portable and even includes a small tripod in the box to properly hold the camera. But what’s more important than hardware when it comes to 360 cameras is the software. That’s something I’ve quickly learned.
The Mi Sphere has an accompanying app that will talk to your camera and actually convert your 2D images into 360 images. Without the app, the videos and photos you record will consist of two separate recordings for each camera sensor and it won’t be properly stitched together. You might be able to find a third party app to convert your files but if you use the included app, you should be good to go.
The biggest downside is that it can take some time to render and export each 360 recording but the result is pretty cool. The camera can record 3.5K video resolution, which is solid for a 360 video but don’t expect to get the same clarity from a standard 3.5K or 4K video file.
Some other features include the ability to insert up to 128GB microSD card. There’s IP67 water and dust resistance, three different shooting modes and a battery that supports up to 75 minutes of continuous shooting at 3.5K resolution.
You can purchase this device over at GearBest.com. They were generous enough to send this unit out for me for review. GearBest offers the camera at one of the lowest prices available.
With that last one, those are some of the Best Tech Products we’ve had the pleasure of testing this past month.