A Non-Violent Solution to Ending Headphone Tangles

In the world of headphone problems, somewhere behind having one ear go out and the other not (I believe they design these things like that to sell more) and straight up losing them, lies the burden of tangled cords.

It seems that taking even the most surefire methods to avoid this problem, like neatly folding them and securing them with a twisty-tie, yield no solution to this issue as somehow those cords always find a way to become this jumbled mess that makes the Griswold family Christmas lights seem like a simple knot.

I’ve long resigned myself to the fact that much like the two socks go in, one sock comes out dryer conundrum, tangled headphones are just one of those issues you have to deal with once in a while even if there is sometimes no valid reason for its occurrence.

Luckily, more innovative people than myself have not given up the good fight, and there does now exists what looks like a cheap, practical solution to this dilemma.

That’s the Nest Earbud Protector, and the idea behind it couldn’t be simpler or more welcome. It’s a silicone case you pop up, and put your earbuds in. From there you just wrap the cords around the spindle, pop it back into place, and your headphones are now stored in a neat package that keeps them safe from damage, and of course tangles. The best part is a simple yank of the headphones will free them without hassle.

Actually, the best part may be that the Nest only costs $10. Now sure, I could just buy a Bluetooth headset, but I’m still fundamentally against spending over $50 on a pair of headphones that aren’t for anything more than everyday commute use, and I feel like most Bluetooth headsets make me look more ridiculous than I care to admit.

If you’re incredibly stuck in your ways like me then, it’s hard to not recommend giving something so affordable and useful as The Nest Earbud Protector a look.


Consumers Are Getting Over Bluetooth Headsets

Douche on a Bluetooth.According to a new study, consumers are finally getting over their infatuation with looking completely ridiculous while using a hands-free headset. Bluetooth usage is down, at least in the headset sector, and so is satisfaction with most Bluetooth headset styles.

Only 26% of Bluetooth owners now use their headset every day, which is down from 43% a year ago. That’s what I call a sharp improvement. While there is the occasional comedic self-talker, I find most regular Bluetooth users to be among the rudest people I’ve ever met. Females are the worst, and usually only because they have long hair, which hides the headset from view. While bartending in Cleveland last year I actually had a woman wave her hands just inches from my face and snap at me because I interrupted her phone call when I asked her if she wanted a drink. Needless to say, she didn’t get one.

It seems it’s not just the social misconduct that’s turning people away from headsets – it’s style, too. “The style and design of the Bluetooth headset remains a pain point for consumers,” said Chris Schreiner, a Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “The number of Bluetooth headset owners that are satisfied with the style of their device dropped 27% since 2008.” In lieu of their once coveted headsets, consumers have turned to in-car sets for their higher quality microphones and speakers.

Source: Business Wire


Audio Review: YUBZ Magnum

The YUBZ Magnum.With the release of A2DP support for the iPhone, companies have started to make audio peripherals to take advantage of stereo Bluetooth support. That’s not to say the technology hasn’t been around for a while. It has, but it hasn’t been widely adopted for regular audio. Instead, it’s the connection of choice for wireless mouse and keyboard connections or phone headsets. The YUBZ Magnum, though, uses Bluetooth to deliver stereo sound through a powered speaker tube with just enough flair to make it desirable.

Appearance/Build Quality
The Magnum is a great looking device, though it may get your significant other wondering if you’re feeling a little..self-conscious. It’s a simple tube with speakers on both end, wrapped in padded leather, which features embossed buttons. The buttons are a bit hard to read, but after using the device for a half hour or so you should have the locations pretty well memorized. The bottom of the Magnum has a compartment for batteries (4 AA), an audio port for connection to any audio device, and an AC port for the included USB charger/USB wall adapter.

In the box you’ll also get a nice little carrying case (with a pouch for an iPod if you choose to connect via the included 3.5mm cable), the aforementioned USB to AC cable/wall adapter, and a 3.5mm male to male cable for audio connections. I think $110 is a little on the pricey side, but you get a nice accessory set and I can’t stress enough how great portability is.

Sound Quality And Features
The YUBZ Magnum.As with any A2DP audio device, you need to put aside your desire for high fidelity music from any source. The speakers sound pretty average over Bluetooth, though the sound does improve over line-in connection. The Magnum puts out surprisingly decent bass and can get loud enough to watch a movie or listen to over the shower.

The Magnum holds a strong connection, though I couldn’t quite get to the stated 30ft. Then again, I always tried with walls in the way, so outdoors, at a picnic for instance, you might be fine. It connected quickly and easily to both my iPhone and my MacBook and played continuously for almost 9 hours before the batteries died.

I did have a couple problems with features. Though you can control some devices with onboard controls, others don’t seem to work. The previous and next functions worked with iTunes when connected to my laptop but not with my iPhone. Really this isn’t a big deal, because in the applications for which I’d use this thing, I’m likely to have my phone or my laptop close at hand. If you’re looking for something you could use outside while your computers streams from inside, though, connectivity may be an issue.

A nice bonus on the Magnum is the built-in microphone. If you’re connected to a phone you can still receive and answer calls, transfer them back to your phone if you don’t want to use the speaker, and even redial if the call gets dropped. Just remember, it’s a wide-area microphone next to a pair of speakers, so the person on the other end will be painfully aware he is on speakerphone.

The Verdict
If you want a portable music solution for your phone that puts out decent sound, the YUBZ Magnum is a great choice. It makes a perfect companion to the beach or a local park, where you’ll be able to wirelessly stream music for hours without much worry. Just make sure you keep your batteries fresh. The unit is simple enough to do what it does well, without adding on a bunch of unnecessary features.

For me, the telephony features are really secondary and I can’t say I’ll use them much. It is nice, though, that the Magnum alerts you to an incoming call and will forward the call straight to your phone at the push of a button.