Bullz-Eye reviews Orb Audio People’s Choice

Orb Audio review.

If your browsing history looks anything like my own – lots of tech and games – chances are you’ve seen ads for Orb Audio’s line of quality speakers. With such a radical design, I always wondered if they were just a gimmick. After listening to the People’s Choice set that Orb was kind enough to send me, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite its relatively low cost, Orb delivers sound quality I have yet to see matched by small speakers.

For my full review, head over to the Bullz-Eye Gadgets channel.

  

Speakal iPig: Impressive sound quality in a cute package

Shopping for a gift for Valentine’s Day can be a challenge if you’ve been with the same person for a long time. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries add up, and it can sometimes feel like you’ve given that special someone everything they could possibly want. That’s obviously not the case, but if you’re completely out of ideas, you might want to consider Speakal’s iPig docking station for the iPod, which delivers surprisingly great sound in the shape of a bulbous little pig.

Available in pink, yellow, white and black, the iPig might look like something you’d pick up at the toy store, but it’s actually a pretty impressive piece of machinery – something you’ll quickly realize upon feeling the weight and durability of the system. The docking station can be used with any Apple iPod (there are six cradle pieces to choose from, but it even works without one attached) and though your iPhone will try telling you it’s not compatible, it actually is.

The system itself boasts five speakers with a total output of 25-plus Watts, including a 4-inch subwoofer on the bottom of the unit, two speakers on the front that double as the pig’s eyes, and two more underneath its ears. The ears also happen to include the docking station’s coolest feature: touch activated volume control that works better than I could have possibly imagined. Additionally, there’s a handy remote for all of the other controls like play/pause, fast forward/rewind, and bass and treble level adjustment, and you can connect the speaker to a TV or gaming console using the 3.5mm AUX input jack in the back.

Oh yeah, and not only does this speaker get loud (so loud, in fact, that I didn’t dare test to see how high the volume would go at the risk of blowing out my eardrums), but it doesn’t appear to lose any quality as a result. Granted, the cutesy pig design pretty much guarantees that no guy would want to purchase such a speaker system for himself, but between its impressive sound and portable, compact size, the Speakal iPig would make the perfect gift for that gadget-crazy lady in your life.

  

Amazon wants to be your digital media hub

Amazon box.Amazon’s been struggling to keep up in the new ebook market. With Apple fast encroaching and stealing away publishers with the promise of more flexible contracts, Amazon’s trying to keep its hand deep in the content cookie jar, in some cases with threats. But Amazon knows that books aren’t the only frontier. As some recent job postings show, the company is looking to get into game download distribution, like Valve’s Steam.

The news comes from Lazard Capital, market analysis firm that says, “As in other segments of digital media, we expect Amazon to pursue new opportunities as an aggregator of online games, similar to Steam (PC), BigPoint (browser) and others.” It would put Amazon in an interesting position that no one else holds in the market, sort of like the Wal-Mart of digital media. If this is true I’d say it’s entirely possible to see them get into the video market as well, with some sort of answer to the iTunes platform. I know plenty of people that currently choose Amazon for music over the Apple alternative.

The news is backed up by claims that Amazon is hiring somewhere in the range of 1,000 new employees, many of whom will be software developers.

Source: MCV

  

What happened to iTunes LP?

iTunes LP content.Remember six months ago when Apple held an iTunes event just to announce iTunes LP, the premium content service that was supposed to revive the album? According to most reports, nobody’s buying LP. Not a person. It’s no surprise, really. The target audience is a bunch of audiophiles who likely buy physical media for quality’s sake and that unmistakeable pretense of being one of the remaining few to own that physical media. Your average iTunes customer just doesn’t care that much.

Granted, there are only 29 options if you want to buy LP content, so it’s not like the format has any serious support behind it. But why was LP created in the first place? Was it something the fans were really clamoring for or was it something the labels wanted so they could try to squeeze a little more money out of digital content. I’m gonna go with that second one.

  

Gadget Teaser’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2

Today marks the second installment in our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide. If you didn’t stop by yesterday, make sure you get a look at part one. If you need additional holiday advice (no, I won’t help with your in-laws) just leave a comment below.

Livio Radio for Pandora/NPRLivio Pandora Radio
The Livio Radio is a great choice for any audio lover you know. The original debuted with built-in Pandora support, allowing users to listen to Pandora in any room of the house. The little screen makes it easy to browse through your favorite stations and you still get your thumbs-up/thumbs-down buttons for encouraging/discouraging specific tracks.

Livio also added an NPR specific radio to its lineup this year, providing access to some 800 NPR stations over a wireless connection. The NPR radio just started shipping this week. You can get either model for $199.99 from the Livio website.

Also Consider: Logitech Squeezebox Radio

Able Planet Clear Harmony Noise-Canceling HeadphonesAble Planet Clear Harmony Headphones
I reviewed Able Planet’s Clear Harmony noise-canceling headphones earlier this year and fell in love. I’d even pick them over the Bose QuietComforts because you can play music even if your batteries die (no active noise-canceling if that happens, though). These things sound excellent, last forever on a pair of AAA batteries, and tuck away nicely into a hardshell case.

The only thing that may scare you off would be price, but for this kind of quality you should expect to spend a little cash. Get a deal at Tiger Direct for $249.99.

Also Consider: Bose Quiet Comfort

Playstation 3 SlimThe PS3 Slim
Personally, I’m not a Playstation guy. Never have been. Never will be. But I can’t think up a good reason you should follow suit. With the recent size reduction and price drop, the PS3 is looking as good as it’s ever likely to. With the recent release of Modern Warfare 2 and Uncharted 2 Sony’s lineup got a nice facelift as well.

Be sure you shop around for the bundles, though. Some of them are region specific, but Sony is so far behind in the console race that it’s offering crazy deals to get this system into your home. Most everything will run you $299 for the 120GB model.

Also Consider: Xbox 360 Elite Bundle

Samsung BD-P1600Samsung BD-P1600
This Blu-ray player is a nice little mashup for all your media needs. You obviously get BD Live support, but you can stream HD movies from Netflix and hook this thing up to your audio system for Pandora, too. And though price may have held Blu-ray back in times gone by, the P1600 is going for $149.99 as a part of Samsung’s Black Friday deals. Check the Samsung website for a list of retailers and other Samsung deals.

Also Consider: Roku Player

Wii Motion PlusNintendo Wii Motion Plus
So you’re staying away from Blu-ray this year and you don’t want the PS3 Slim? I’d call you crazy, but Wii Sports Resort and New Super Mario Bros. Wii are plenty to keep you busy through the holidays. Just don’t forget to pick up enough Wii Motion Plus dongles for everyone to play along (with the first title, anyway). The tiny attachment dramatically improves the Wii’s motion-sensing abilities, so your jumper from the elbow can be just as bad as your game in real life.

Get a single WMP from Amazon for $16.99 or pickup the Wii Sports Resort Bundle (WMP included) for $46.99.

Also Consider: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 Bundle

That does it for this year’s holiday gift guide. Check back later in the week for a Black Friday Roundup including my favorite deals from the major retailers’ holiday ads. Happy Holidays from everyone at Gadget Teaser and Bullz-Eye to all of our readers and fans.