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Before You Buy 117
Show Tease: Coming up today on Before You Buy, we have ear buds, we have headphones, we have a 360 degree camera, and the Amazon Fire TV.
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Bandwidth for Before You Buy is brought to you by CacheFly, at CacheFly.com. This episode is brought to you by IFIXIT. You can fix it, and IFIXIT makes it easy. With free step by step repair guides, high quality replacement parts, and all the tools that you’ll need. For 10 dollars off your purchase of $50 or more, go to ifixit.com/twit, and enter the code ‘Before You Buy’, at checkout.
Shannon Morse: Hello my charming and wonderful friends of the internet. My name is Shannon Morse, and this is Before You Buy, TWiT’s product review show, where we get all our team, all our hosts, and everybody else in the entire office to review gadgets and gizmos. So I’m going to go ahead and jump right into it, we have plenty of reviews for you this week. Starting with Mr. Leo Laporte, and he has the brand new Amazon Fire TV.
Leo Laporte: I didn’t want to order this Shannon because…
Shannon: Why not?
Leo: Well I’ve got about a hundred different devices that I can use to watch Netflix, and Amazon streaming, and Hulu plus.
Shannon: That’s how I feel, I have my Roku 3 and it does perfect.
Shannon: So why do I want the Amazon Fire TV?
Leo: In fact, if you look at it, it’s about the size and almost the look for an Apple TV. A little bit bigger, square corners, we don’t do rounded corners here, they’re trademarked or something. It comes with a remote control, it’s exactly the same price as Apple TV. 99 dollars, has an HDMI cable on the back, optical out, that’s nice, I like that feature. It has an Ethernet jack, but it also has built in Wi-Fi, that’s what we’re going to use here today. And a USB port, they’re not, I don’t think they’ve said what I can do with that USB port yet. It isn’t running Android. Amazon didn’t say specifically, but we know it’s Android, and it’s the Amazon, Android store and all that.
Leo: You get the remote, but for an additional 40 dollars, you can also get a… it looks like a pancaked Xbox controller. It has all the same…
Shannon: Not a bad price for a controller.
Leo: No! And it has all the same buttons as an Xbox controller, with a few extras. See, here’s a play, rewind, fast-forward, because you can use this instead of the remote control. So it does all the things the remote control does.
Shannon: That’s cool.
Leo: Very much like a play station 4, an X box controller binds to the device. And since there are four lights here, I’m going to assume you can attach up to 4 controllers. That is the big difference on the fire TV. Amazon really promoted the fact that I’ll play games. So it is a TV streamer with some games.
Shannon: More than just Angry Birds, I’m assuming?
Leo: Well yeah, Roku 3 will play Angry Birds, but not very well. Traditionally these set top boxes don’t have a lot of horsepower, so playing games is difficult. This one is a quad core, QUALCOMM, Snapdragon 600. We found that out from IFIXIT that tore it down. It has a dedicated GPU, so actually gaming is pretty reasonable on here. You can play the same kind of games you’d play on your mobile phone. In fact, that’s why Amazon can do this, it’s essentially last year’s smart phone.
Leo: With last year’s processor it has 2 gigs of ram, that’s unusual in a smartphone, which does help the speed a little bit. You know what? I like it a lot, the interface is great. The big thing Amazon touts is the voice search, now let me show you a little bit how…
Shannon: Yeah, I was wondering about that!
Leo: Yeah, a little bit how that works. You saw Gary Busing saying, “I talk to my TV, and it never talks back.” Now it does. What would you like me…? Give me a TV show or anything you want me to search for.
Shannon: Ooo, TV show. Let’s do Dexter.
Leo: Dexter. So it’s like Siri, you press and hold the button, it listens, the search has been excellent. I haven’t had any trouble. But I’m going to point out something. Dexter…
Shannon: It found Dexter!
Leo: It did. But it happens to be on Netflix, right?
Shannon: Right. Yeah.
Leo: But it doesn’t know it’s on Netflix. So this is not universal search, what it’s going to do is it’s going to give me the amazon streaming version of Dexter.
Shannon: Ah, no! See I would love it if we could have a box like this that could search everything!
Leo: Wouldn’t you like universal search?
Shannon: That would be so cool!
Leo: I don’t think I blame Amazon for this, a number of people have noticed this and said, oh it favors amazon store, it doesn’t mention Netflix. I don’t see that as a problem. I think it’s more likely that Netflix didn’t give them the information…you’d have to give them your whole data base, right?
Shannon: The rights. Some kind of code, yeah.
Leo: And the ability to search it, and keep it up to date. Remember, if it were going to search, it would have to search not just Netflix, but also Hulu plus, I bought mine craft. Now notice, it’s not the full mine craft, it’s the mobile mine craft. The pocket edition, because think of this as an Android device. In fact, you can use your kindle fire Tablet as a second screen for this. It really is almost a Kindle Fire in a box. Here’s a game that is from the Amazon game studios, it’s the other thing they kind of tattered, is that they were going to do their own game development. This is called seve 0. It’s kind of a mix of Halo, oh I have to do this with the controller.
Shannon: Do you have to do this every time you use the game?
Leo: No, I don’t even have to use the remote, you can use the controller. But you see how quickly it connected. It’s very instantaneous. So this is a little bit of Halo, a little bit of tower defense. I think what you’re going to see is that all of these games are Android style, mobile, casual games.
Shannon: Right. Not crazy graphics.
Leo: Well you know what, let me go back to Asphalt 8, because that will give you a little bit better idea of what graphics can do. That is the racing game that everybody shows off. Asphalt 8 is pretty nice mobile game. By the way, notice I’m now still holding the controller but able to navigate this just as I would with a regular video device.
Shannon: That’s cool.
Leo: Let’s go into games, here. Here’s my game library. Oh you like Pinball HD.
Shannon: I do like pinball.
Leo: We should play that a little bit later on. Here’s Sonic, Here’s Asphalt 8. So pros and cons on this, you know, it is a me too device, but it has some nice features, it’s fast. In fact it’s faster than the Apple TV. Because they’ve put a fast quad core processor in it, a graphics card dedicated. And two gigs of ram. So it’s very fast. It plays games, and that’s kind of nice, although, as you have as your media streamer, an Xbox 1, for instance…
Leo: … It’ll play games too. It has the voice controller, the voice search is quite good. It just searches. Well it searches….Amazon will search what’s on the system as well. So it’ll find more than just stuff on the Amazon Library. And I like that. It’s a good remote. It’s got a decent controller, very Xbox like. The graphics are okay, it’s not bad. It does 1080 P playback, which is good for the video. And I’m not sure whether the games are 1080P or not, but. Wow! Watch out! Oh my gosh! I’m not very good at this kind of thing.
Shannon: So what about on the cons side?
Leo: The cons side. It’s a…we’ve seen this all before.
Shannon: It’s another one!
Leo: And you may very well already have a Roku, or an Apple TV, or an Xbox, or a PlayStation. Your TV may do most of the functionality on this. There is a big con, which it doesn’t have any HPO go. So it does have Show time, but no HPO go. I imagine additional applications will be added to this. This is really an app store, there is in fact an app store, so it may be HPO hasn’t made the deal yet with Amazon. Maybe that’s coming later.
Shannon: Man I hope they do. The more the better.
Leo: There’s another big surprising miss on this. Amazons own music is not here.
Leo: They have a really great system. I’ve uploaded all my music to Amazon Music. I can buy MP3s. This, I was…maybe they left it in the box! I couldn’t… no amazon music on this thing? This is an Amazon product! I actually like it a lot, I’m going to give it a buy, if you don’t already have 20 other things that do exactly the same thing. But this is very capable, what it really does, is it puts amazon in parody with everybody else. We’re waiting to see what Google is going to do with their Android TV. It’s, you know, I mean, Google’s got Chrome Cast, Apple’s got Apple TV. Everybody’s got something, and now Amazon is one of them. But if you don’t already have something like this, if your smart TV is not capable. It certainly does everything it said it was going to do. It does have an app store which means you’ll be able to buy more stuff to put on it. I love it because it’s from Amazon, I didn’t have to configure any of my Amazon stuff. It arrived knowing that I was Leo. And it said. “Hey, Leo.” So that was very nice, I like that part. Yeah, I would give it a buy, they’ve don’t a nice job, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just missing HPO go and Amazon Music.
Leo: That’s about it.
Shannon: It’s not bad! I have to say if I didn’t have a Roku, I’d think about it.
Leo: That’s the point.
Shannon: But I’m currently in a RoKu environment, so I’m going to stick with it.
Leo: Amazon is so late to the game, that pretty much everybody who was going to buy something like this, already has this. And now all TVs come with stuff. This is better than anything on any TV I’ve seen though.
Shannon: Yeah! I like it.
Leo: I like the voice. The voice unique.
Shannon: The voice is cool. I’m glad that it’s responsive.
Leo: Oh it’s very fast. Let me search for something else. TWiT. Now it’d be great if it had a TWiT application in here, but for some reason it gives me Monty Pythons Flying Circus.
Shannon: Well I think that’s rather close, but it could do a little better! Well thank you, Leo.
Leo: Sure, any time. I have something special I’ll show you at the end of the show.
Shannon: Oh! I’m looking forward to that!
Leo: We have to wait until midnight!
Shannon: Oh I think it know what it is!
Leo: We have to wait until midnight.
Shannon: Oh that’s going to be fun! Speaking of music, we actually decided to check out some headphones from Bryan. These are some new gaming headphones from ROCCAT, because we love rocket here. So let’s go ahead and check them out.
Bryan Burnett: This is Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, and today I’m taking a look at the ROCCAT KAve XTD 5.1 digital gaming headset. It’s a bit of a mouthful to say, but that’s okay because of the sweet 5.1 digital sound it delivers straight to your ear holes. The Kave looks a bit like it could have been manufactured inside of a Tran movie, with its blue accents that highlight the Mic, and light up the remote options like for volume. On the outside of the ear cups is a rubberized texture, which makes the headset easy to grip, and the ear pads are well padded, and made of a soft material. The cups fit well over my ears, which I would say are average size. But hard to say, because I don’t know of a standard measurement of ear size. But for those of you with larger ears might have trouble fitting the pads over comfortably. But you know what they say about people with large ears, they’re great listeners. I made sure to test this headset thoroughly, by playing more hours than I would like to admit of type ball, and they were very comfortable, even after a long session. Another note for those of you with glasses out there. These worked great even with my thick frames. The Kave also feels very durable, I’ve dropped it, twisted it, and sat on it a couple of times with no noticeable harm. The balance of the headset feels good, and the pressure is evenly distributed along my head, and don’t pinch at the bottom of my ears like some headsets have a tendency to do. The Kave comes with a remote that has a multichannel sound card with some cool features. The dial allows you to change your volume, but also after pressing the top button you can change the individual settings, without having to make adjustments to your settings in the software. There’s a button for switching to movie mode, and by far, my favorite feature is a speaker button. That allows you switch from your headset to your speakers on the fly. There’s even a port that allows you to plug in your 5.1 speakers if you have them. Taking a closer look at the remote, it is a mute button, that lights up the mic to let you know when you’re muted. And on the left, is a button for your phone. If you hold it down for 6 seconds, it’ll put the remote into paring mode, and using Bluetooth will allow you to connect your phone, and receive calls, and send text messages through the headset. On my Moto X I was even able to use the hands free option to make calls and send text messages. Now the most important part of a gaming headset, is the sound. Each cup has three drivers that provide good mids and highs. And it does suffer a bit on the lower end, but overall the sound is terrific. If you’ve never played a shooter game with 5.1 surround before, it’ll change your experience forever. Using this headset I was able to pinpoint players without ever having to look at the map. Jets were flying overhead, bullets were darting past, there were explosions happening in the distance, and all sounded crisp and clear, with just a bit of bass missing from explosions and other sound effects. But I can hardly fault it for sounding low on the bass side. It definitely worth the compromise for a 5.1 headset that isn’t very heavy at all. Now here’s a test of the mic audio, I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t sound great and its definitely not like the PR 40s that we use here at TWiT. And if there is one part of the Kave that fell budget it would be the mic. It’s by no means terrible. It does a great job for gaming, and when I took phone calls, people on the other end didn’t notice much of a difference from the phone mic, but it isn’t great either. Now the software also provides a lot of options for tweaking in the preferences for bass, EQ, and my favorite, voice modifier, which lets you do monster. I’m going to eat your babies. Hello this is the rubber ducky, sounds like I just inhaled a balloon of helium. And this is the man voice, which I would imagine would be coming from someone’s van down by the river, with a picture of puppies and free candy on the side of it. The voices range from funny to downright creepy. Now for some pros and cons. The Kave does a great job for a 5.1 headset. It sounds great, it’s packed with features that every pc gamer can appreciate. And even after a long tight and pull session, it didn’t weigh on my head or feel uncomfortable at all. The price is a bit high for a headset that you’ll only be able to use with your windows PC, and the headset is pretty bulky and tethered to its remote, so you won’t be wanting to travel with this. Now buy, try, or don’t buy. If you’re looking for a headset to listen to music with, or do some occasional gaming, and don’t need a mic, this headset is a bit of an overkill. But if you’re a gamer who doesn’t want to compromise, and want to know exactly where that sniper is firing from. This headset is a great choice, and I’m going to have to give it a buy. I’m Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, and I’ll see you next time.
Shannon: Alright. So that was the ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 headsets.
Bryan: Yes, and don’t worry, I tested them out a lot. There’s quite a bit of Tight and pull on them.
Shannon: And you did a great job gaming all day, being productive in the editor bay.
Bryan: Whatever it takes. 110% for Before You Buy.
Shannon: You do an excellent job, Bryan, thank you so much.
Bryan: Thanks Shannon.
Shannon: And those were a buy!
Bryan: Yeah! I liked them a lot, they’re very comfy.
Shannon: Maybe I’ll take them from you. Alright. Let’s go ahead and move on to our next review. With Mike Elgan. Hi!
Mike: Hey, how you’re doing?
Shannon: Thank you so much. So this is your first time on Before You Buy.
Mike: That’s right.
Shannon: It’s great to have you here with us.
Mike: Good to be here.
Shannon: So Mike is our TNT host. Tech News Today.
Mike: That’s right. Tech news director.
Shannon: On TWiT.tv. You can watch that, of course. So you have the Ricoh Theta camera, correct?
Mike: That’s correct, I say Theta, you say Theta, doesn’t matter, but either way, it’s a really compact thing, about the size of a bar of chocolate.
Shannon: So I reviewed something similar to this called the Galileo a couple of weeks ago, and it was a camera that could do 360 degrees, but it requires you to use an application on an iPhone, so this is just built in, all in one, Correct?
Mike: That’s right. You can just use the device, and then upload it, but it does have a IOS app and it also has an Android app, which is the one I’ve been using. I tried them both actually. But this is actually a very cool little device. You see that it has lenses on both sides, that’s how you get the 360 degree effect. And one of the coolest effects, Shannon, you can see this. It always follows you, it’s like a haunted house.
Shannon: Oh that’s creepy!
Mike: Yeah, because that is all glass lens there and that’s how they achieve the 360 degree effect.
Shannon: That’s weird. Do you end up with any kind of cut off from between the two sides?
Mike: There’s a little bit of a glitch in the matrix when you see where the seam is. And I’ll show you that in just a second, but you can see one of the things that’s cool about this is its’ very minimalist in terms of buttons and so on, so you can see that it has a standard tripod mount at the bottom. And this little thing flips open, and you can have the USB connectivity to your laptop or whatever.
Shannon: Oh okay.
Mike: And it has a single button, so if you’re going to use this standalone, you just press the button. So I just took a 360 degree picture.
Shannon: Oh gosh, right up my nose.
Mike: Right up my nose, so this is also called the nose cam. But it’s very handy. The problem with that button, and we’ll get to all the problems in just a second, but the problem is you think your nose is in this picture, you should see the size of my thumb when this picture comes up. Because there’s no way to use this button without your hand being in about 20 percent of the shot.
Shannon: Could you remotely take a picture?
Mike: You can, in fact. Let’s go through the rest of the hardware specs on this, and we’ll get into the software part. So it has 4 gigs of memory, which holds about 1200 pictures, for the size that it creates.
Shannon: That’s not bad.
Mike: It’s not bad. The images are actually 3584 X 1792. That’s the resolution on them when they come out. Now, so there’s…As I said there’s IOS and Android apps, you can take pictures and share them. You can change the brightness. That’s about it. That’s almost all you can do with this camera. It’s very, very simple. But once you have it on the app, and I’m going to bring this app over here so you can see it. This is the Android app. You can see the pictures that I’ve already taken, you c n see that they’re circular. If I’m going to take a picture, so I’ll go ahead and take a picture here, you see this green interface, I have this in the back ground. I’m going to take a picture just like that. And of course, we’re very close so I can have this picture on the other side of the room. That’s really the way to use this camera, is through the app, because then your hand isn’t in the picture. And you can also upload it to the theta site, and I’m going to show you that now, if we can kick over the laptop. Now this is the picture that I took about an hour ago, and that is Jason, once again making a Cameo.
Shannon: Oh it’s a bubble! That’s cool!
Mike: But you can see what happens is, as you move this around you see some of the cool effects on this, and this is totally 360, you see the ceiling, you see the floor, you see everything, and then you can zoom in on Jason. They should call this the Jason cam.
Shannon: Great moves back there, mike!
Mike: Yeah! Now this is very cool. I use this picture not only because Jason is such an awesome model, but you can see the seam there. You see that?
Mike: So this side is one camera, and that side is the other camera. And I’m going to zoom in there and you can see, there’s the glitch in the matrix, But normally… we’ll follow this seem up, and as you can, that’s it. You really don’t see the same normally. It’s only at the bottom, because, of course, there’s a device between the lenses. So that part of it is really cool. Another thing you want to notice is this is not super high quality. Cameras these days, including smartphone cameras are much higher quality than this, and partly because this is low light. So let’s look at a picture that has more light in the shot here. Okay, this is the fridge cam. This is the twit, refrigerator. So we got in there.
Shannon: Oh that’s cool!
Mike: And you’ll notice that there’s nothing in here but beer and yogurt. So that’s what we live on here at TWiT.
Shannon: We’re healthy eaters here.
Mike: That’s right. And healthy drinkers. So you can see, with more light, including a refrigerator light, this is not bad, you can go in and read the labels. Find out the alcohol levels of all the beer. So this is a very cool app, and again, this is one of the down sides… preview of some of the downsides. This is the app where you see this view, you see it in the app, and you can see it on this app. But if you upload to Facebook, you seem to get a link to here. So that’s a limitation of this device. And again, it’s a lot of fun. So the pros are that it’s instantaneous, I go boom, and I have 360 degrees. You can, of course, do panoramas with a regular camera, but of course it takes a while and you look like an idiot standing there, you know, going all over the place, so this has that advantage of being very fast. It stitches nicely and it’s a lot of fun. It’s just a fun, easy to use camera for the most part. The cons are that it costs 400 dollars.
Shannon: Oh wow! That’s expensive!
Mike: That is the mother of all cons. That is too much for this camera.
Shannon: That is really expensive!
Mike: That’s exactly right. So the quality is on the low side. It captures only 360 degree images. So you can’t take video. There are rumors that you’ll have video in the future because it has a microphone inside that hasn’t been activated yet. But for now, it’s only 360, you can do 180 photos, you can’t do regular photos. You can’t do anything except that special effect.
Shannon: That one thing. So you really have to be hardcore about 360 degrees photos if you’re going to…
Mike: That’s right.
Shannon: purchase this product. How long does it last? Because it’s off battery, obviously.
Mike: That’s right. It last pretty. I haven’t done a test all the way through, but its hours. The battery is not an issue with it. The biggest issue besides the fact that it costs 400 dollars, is it uses WIFI for connectivity. So it boots you off the WIFI you have. It always wants to favor the rooms WIFI, I’ve found, both at home and here at TWiT. And so I’m always reconnecting to the WIFI. And when I want to upload to internet, I have to reconnect. And it’s a real problem.
Shannon: Do you have to have WIFI to take photos, or can you just take pictures out in the wild?
Mike: To do anything with them you have to have WIFI, to get it off of this device you have to have WIFI, or to plug it in, and that’s an arduous process. So I’m going to give this a don’t buy. Because it’s too expensive, it’s too limited in terms of how you can use it. Now granted, there are going to be people who would love this, if you have some reason you need very instantaneous 360 degree photos, but 95% of the people listening to this, this is not the product for you. And just in comparison, you can buy a Nexus 5 for $349, that’s $50 less, plus it makes calls. And as you know, it takes photospheres.
Shannon: That’s true, it does.
Mike: And the photographic quality of those is going to be higher than this. It’s cheaper, it’s higher, it’ll take you a little longer, there’s a little bit more stitching in that.
Shannon: You look a little weird moving around with your camera. But that’s okay, for a phone.
Mike: That’s right, but I would generally recommend for people who want 360 degree photos, buy a Nexus 5.
Shannon: Awesome! Well thank you so much Mike.
Mike: Thank you!
Shannon: That was the Recco Theta.
Mike: That’s right.
Shannon: For 400 dollars. Wow! So expensive. Alright well, before we move on to our next review, I would like to thank our sponsor. Why don’t you hand me that little tool bag over there? This is pretty cool. This is from IFIXIT. Our brand new sponsor of the day. I fix it is an online repair manual for pretty much anything. You can find everything you ever wanted there. They have free, step by step guides, they have fool proof instructions for everything. From if you’ve shattered your iPhone screen, or you need to repair that red ring of death on your Xbox. Hopefully the Xbox one doesn’t do that. I don’t think it does. Or if you need to know how to swap out your battery on a Galaxy S3, it’ll show you how. IFixit has got you covered. They have 10,000 repair guides for everything from electronics, like your smartphone, your tablet, gaming console, to appliances. They even have guides for clothing, or how to fix your bike. They can even hook you up with the parts you need to fix it. Everything they sell is tested and guaranteed. Ifixit also makes the most trusted repair tools you’ll need for electronics, including this thing I have here. The protech tool kit. So this has 70 tools to assist you with any Maud, malfunctioning, or misfortunate that comes your way. The tool kits is good for… it’s adult standard, for electronics, for garage hackers. Anybody from the CIA to the FBI, to your 12 years old at home. But more importantly their unique tools are used to repair everything, and they’re used by repair technicians everywhere. It includes a 54 bit driver kit, with 54 standard, specialty and security bits. There’s Philip bits, analope bits, for your iPhone, and things like that. There’s even things called a triangle bit for McDonalds toys, because we all have McDonalds toys at home, right guys? I do. There’s also a swivel top precision driver, a flex extension for hard to reach screws, such as in your pc towers. And everything is ECD safe. They also have tweezers, for delicate manipulations. For watches and clocks and things of that nature. There’s an antistatic wrist strap, which keeps your devices safe from accidental static discharge, especially if you’re using electronics repair or if you’re working on ardurenos, or things like that. There’s nylon spongers, metal spongers, plastic opening tools, for prying and scraping. Especially good for tablet repair, and it’s lightweight, compact it’s durable, and you can roll it up and take it on the go with you, wherever you want to go. For repairs for professionals, and amateurs alike. Everyone can use it. It’s only $69.95 and it’s backed by one year warranty. This is great for hobbyists, home DIY fixers. For anybody who wants to use the protech tool kit for anything. I even use it for my eyeglasses, it’s so useful. Best of all, there are thousands of free ifixit guides to help you, for everything that you need to use. I think I said 10,000 repair guides, Yeah that’s quite a few. So with Ifixit, you can fix it yourself. You can ifixit.com/twit for free step by step guides. Ifixit also sells every part and tool that you’ll need. Enter the code Before You Buy, at checkout and you’ll save $10.00 off of any purchase, that’s anything, at $50 or more. That’s ifixit.com/twit, and use the code Before You Buy. And we’d like to thank Ifixit, for their support. Thank you so much IFixit. Next up! We have an awesome review! I’ve been looking forward to this one because I’m kind of getting into exercising, sort of. I’m a little lazy, but I should do it more. This is the new ear buds, Anthony is checking out Corbin Ears Crimson ID America Spark Ear sets, and the RHAMA600I ear buds. So let’s check them out.
Anthony Nielson: I’m Anthony Nielson and this is a round up review of three in ear headphones. First up is the urbanears Kransen, which goes for 39 dollars. It comes with three sets of ear buds. It’s comfortable wearing, and sports a clean minimalistic design. The ear pieces in cord, have a matte finish, and on the cord you’ll find a nice solid inline control and mick. But it doesn’t have a volume rocker. After the Y split, the cord is cloth lined, which feels sturdy, and ends with a right angle connecter that’s nicely reinforced. Though it doesn’t come with a carrying case, it does have a nice design to help you keep it tangle free. The two ear pieces snap together like Lego pieces. You can either temporarily store them around your neck, or coil it up and use the loop on the connecter to secure the cord. My only worries is that the added stress on the connecter using this feature could damage the cord over time. The sound quality is good for the price range. With 10 millimeter dynamic drivers that deliver a deep powerful bass. Slightly forward midrange. Highs that taper off in the end, and doesn’t distort at high levels. Though the dynamic range, can seem narrow, or flat, lacking clarity on the higha. Pros and cons? Pros: the built-in cable management is pretty cool. It has a solid built quality, and has an honored profile tune for bass lovers. Cons: There’s no volume control on the remote. And the soundscape is fairly narrow. So I’m going to give the Kransen a Try. ….Won’t love the sound scape but will appeal to those looking for a booming bass, on a budget. Next up is Id America Spark. Which retails for $60, but I’ve seen it going on line for as little as 42 dollars. The spark plug inspired design is sleek and distinct. Available in nine different color combinations, and comes with three sets of ear tips and a leather carrying case. The ear pieces are wrapped in three layers of aluminum casing that feels light weight but durable, and comfortable to wear. The cord is rubberized, and feels very thin. So thin that I question it’s durability. But I have not had any issues with it myself. On the cord, you’ll find an inline control and mic, made of plastic that’s small and unobtrusive, but it doesn’t have volume control, and feels a bit cheap. At the end, you’ll find a gold plated connector. The build quality in the leather case, is good, but for its design, it would have been nice if it had a shorter profile. It wouldn’t fit in a pocket easily. The sound quality is solid, like the Kransson, the 8 millimeters dynamic drivers have extra emphasis on the bass, it’s deep and punchy. But occasionally bleeds over the mids, which are slightly pulled back. The highs are a bit boosted, but clear and crisp. Over all, well rounded, and sounds comparable to earphones in the $80 range. Pros and cons. Pros: It has a stylish design. Very light weight, and has great performance for its cost. Cons, the cords durability is questionable, and the odd shaped case isn’t very useful. I give the id America Spark a buy! If you can get them online for $40, these are great sounding, and stylish earphones. Finally, we have RHAs MA6001 which goes for $89.95. But the MA6001 looks, and feels beyond its price range. With its styling and solid build quality. It comes with a nice hard carrying case, a clothing clip and a stainless steel holder for the seven other sets of ear tips included. The ear pieces are made with machined aircraft grade aluminum, on the inside, with plastic on the back. It feels nice and solid, but not too heavy. The cable is duel insulated with oxygen free copper. And the plastic covering gives it a slightly stiff, durable feel, and helps to prevent tangling. It also has an inline remote, and mic. With three buttons that have a nice tactile feel. The housing for the remote is also made with machined aluminum, and the y splitter and 90 degree gold platted connector follow suit. When it comes to performance, it’s custom dynamic 320.1 dynamic drivers like the id America Spark delivers a slightly V shaped sound, with more emphasis on the lows and highs, with the mids pulled back. However the mids are more defined a clear than the Sparks. The dynamic range feels large with big powerful bass, and sharp highs. And gives a good sense of space. Pros and Cons. Pros: The build quality is outstanding, and backs that up with a three year warranty. The look of the design is very clean, and has great sound quality. Cons: The remote seems rather large for what it is, and its punchy highs and lows aren’t for the audiophiles. I give RHAs MA600i a buy. If you’re that casual listener, who’s not looking for a flat response, and likes a clear punchy sound with massive bass, absolutely consider the MA600i. I’m Anthony Nielson, and that was my in ear headphones round up review.
Shannon: Alright. And that was Anthony Nielson, one of our top wonderful editors here, with three brand new ear buds for you guys to check out. I think I want to check out those RHA ones, myself. I’m kind of an exercise addict, so they might be useful for going excursing. Now we have Leo Laporte, back again, here over in the living room set.
Leo: So we had to hold this to the end of the show.
Shannon: We did, yes!
Leo: Because it’s just coming out now on AT&T, I think Verizon’s got it, this is the new phone. You know, this is the season… Spring is the season of the new phones, like Crocus, they emerge. The HTC the new one, the M8, Any minute now, I’m sure we’ll see a Nexus 5 from Google. But this is the new one Samsung announced at the Mobile World Congress and is now out available. Just came out on US carriers.
Shannon: So you just got this today?
Leo: Yeah, the Galaxy S5. This is the AT&T version of the Galaxy S5. So I haven’t had a chance to review it, but what I’ll do is I’ll show you it and talk a little bit about what we can expect.
Shannon: Yeah! Give us a first look!
Leo: And next week I’ll have a review. So this is an example, I think Samsung has gotten to the point now, where, they feel they’ve perfected it. So this is the S4, the S5 is a little bit taller, very slightly heavier, 15 grams heavier. Very slightly wider. And it’s about 1 millimeter thicker. So it’s not so very different from the S4. Let me get it out of the box.
Shannon: It looks very similar though.
Leo: It sure is similar, isn’t it? They’ve added to the battery life, a few hundred milliamp hours. They, of course, have a much faster processor. This is a quad core, QUALCOMM snapdragon, 801. Same one in the HTC 1
Leo: This was a 600 in the old S4. If I put them side to side, I mean one’s black and one’s white, but you can hardly tell the difference.
Leo: There is a big difference in the back.
Shannon: Oh that’s weird! It’s perforated almost!
Leo: Does this count a lot? It looks like a band aid. They’ve perforated, they’ve made a big deal about this, there’s going to be a variety of other backs on here as well. It comes in a variety of colors. The thing about the S5 compared to the other top of the line phones. And it’s always been this way with Galaxy, is you can remove the back, remove the battery. You got extra batteries, put extra batteries in. That’s a nice feature. The other big difference that I’m very curious, about is the camera. They’re now 16 megapixels, and they’ve added something that high end cameras have. Phase detection. Not face.
Shannon: Phase detection, what is that?
Leo: Phase detection, it’s a better way to focus. So phase detection focusing is a little bit faster, maybe a little bit more accurate. This in other words, the Galaxy S5, is going to be more like a camera. What else is there to say about it? Oh I know! One other thing I wanted to know, and I’m going to do it right now, how much free space? This is one of the unfortunate things on the Galaxy S4. 16 gigabyte phone only had about 8 gigabytes of free space.
Shannon: Because you have all the extra preinstalled stuff.
Leo: All the Samsung stuff. My sense is they’ve backed off a little bit. Oh yeah, you notice the round Icons. We saw those, they’re a little bit smaller, and the new quick settings window. Which means it’s going to take me forever to figure out where I can find storage on this thing. Maybe that’s the idea, everything is moved around and reorganized. I think though, the organization, because you can minimize these is going to make it a little bit easier to have the settings that they want, all the time. I’m sorry, my head gets in there. System is probably where we’re going to find this. Storage, there we go. So let’s see how much free space there is. And this is one of the things that was somewhat controversial about the old phone. And there was some controversy about how much free space there would be on the new one. So let’s see… The total space it’s a 16 gigabyte phone. System memory, used space, cache space. 10.93 gigabytes.
Leo: So Samsung did do it. They were able to get a little bit more space, not a lot! But a little bit more space in the phone. That means they probably reduced the amount of extra stuff. Actually they did, one of the things is you don’t automatically get the galaxy essentials, you have to download them from the Samsung store. So that’s a good thing so that’s a good thing if you didn’t want watch on, their TV app, if you didn’t want to watch… you can install it and uninstall it, so I’m glad to see that. But boy it doesn’t look very different. The S health club is still here, that means this phone can be used as a pedometer. Kind of as a fit bit, and remember this also has a heart rate monitor, now. But you have to stand very, very still to do that. And a figure print sensor, which is kind of cool. I’ll give you a review on that next week. I want to give it time to really play with it. But there it is, it’s a 5.1 inch screen. It’s still 1080 P. That’s the Galaxy S5, and it’s going to be available everywhere. This is the At&T model. I’ll use it this week, and give you a review next week.
Shannon: Yeah! I can’t wait to see your review on it!
Leo: I’m glad to see they’re not larding it up as much as they did.
Shannon: I’m very interested in the camera.
Leo: The camera should be really the interesting thing. And that’s become a battle ground. The Nokias the 1020, the 1520, the 520, those are great cameras, the 920. The iPhone is great.
Shannon: Yeah, it’s so important these days.
Leo: I’m loving the camera again on the M8, the HTC1 I was telling you about last week. So I’ll take a lot of pictures.
Shannon: We shall see. I can’t wait to see it! Thank you Leo.
Leo: In fact, let me start.
Shannon: Next week you’ll see his full review of the…
Leo: The full review!
Shannon: the Samsung Galaxy S5. That about wraps up this episode of Before You Buy today. Thank you everyone for your wonderful reviews. That’s everyone including Anthony, Leo, Mike Elgan, and Bryan, himself. I’ll come back soon with my own reviews as well. But for now, I’m going to stay strict hosting for you all. If you want to see more reviews… Hi! Leos over there taking pictures of me for us!
Leo: I’ve got to test the camera! I need a model.
Shannon: Folks if you guys want to share what you want to see on the show, you can always email us, we read our emails constantly, there over at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Laughs at Leo) Stay away!
Leo: Sorry don’t mind me! I just used Beauty face on you.
Shannon: Beauty face, huh? Oh boy, we’ll see more of those next week! Youtube.com/beforeyoubuy is our YouTube channel, where you can see all the full reviews that you can also see here on the show at twit.tv/byb. Thank you so much everyone! And remember, you’ve got to watch. Before You Buy! See you next week!