FSL Xylem In-Ear Monitors

 

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So I’ve had quite a few headphones I’ve reviewed on here. Most are completely adequate, with passable sound and mostly work with all my devices with minimal hiccups. I was ready to lump Future Sound Lab’s wooden in-ear monitors with them; All sizzle and very little steak. I was wrong. FSL earbuds are the goods. Let me share why.

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FSL uses a solid piece of eco-friendly wood for each ear, which is sonically superior to plastic and metal. It’s drivers deliver solid, quality sound with good bass response and sharp, clear highs. I would say they easily have superior sound than earbuds I’ve paid twice as much for. The wire is thin, but not so prone to tangles as some products out there. The microphone pics up voices well and does a decent job of filtering out ambient noise. The gold-plated 3.5mm connector snaps in solidly to all my devices, from laptops to tablets to phones to MP3 players. The controls work with every mobile device I own, which is a first. FSL even includes 3 different sizes of silicone tips to accommodate pretty much every ear size.

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The hits don’t stop there, though. FSL includes a neat self-closing neoprene case to carry my earbuds everywhere, and keep them shmutz free. Because let’s be honest, nothing is nastier than sticking earbuds in your ear with all manner of crud stuck to the silicone tips. But wait, there’s more! FSL believes so much in the quality of their in-ear monitors, the back them with a 3-year warranty and lifetime support for customers. Now that is impressive. Good luck getting anything more than 90 days of warranty from most consumer electronics. For under $13, you are seriously getting more than your money’s worth. I can’t tell you how many earbuds I’ve tried in this price range and been horribly disappointed more times than I can count. These are the best ones in this price range I’ve tried, and better than sets costing twice as much. I’m glad I got to try them, and I recommend them highly.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from FSL.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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Sentey B-Trek H9 Bluetooth Headphones w/Mic Ls-4560

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So, it seems when Sentey makes a product that hits, it hits a home run. But sometimes, it’s just a foul ball over the left field fence. Not quite a homerun but a solid hit none the less. This is one of those. You’ll recall from my last Sentey Flow headset review, the sound was nothing to write home about. These B-Trek Bluetooth headphones fix that in spades. The sound is pretty good. The 40mm drivers have even tones, decent bass, and don’t sound tinny or blown out. Wired or wireless, the sound is quality. These are Bluetooth V4.0 compatible, and have been tested to work solidly with my laptop, hubby’s Nexus tablet, and our phone. It holds the connection well too. Where it falls short, again, is in the “gaming” category.

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See, the last thing I want to hear is the carnage and destruction inherent to one of hubby’s Battlefield 4 multiplayer sessions. Especially while I’m painting my nails. And we thought this headset would be the solution. But, despite pairing with the Playstaion 3 with ease, try as we might we could not get sound through these headphones to save our lives from the unit. Not for the game, for Amazon Prime videos, for music…nothing. Just static and ticking. It was a huge let down. We have an email in to Sentey about this, but as of this writing we have yet to hear back*. If you want a decent set of bluetooth headphones that won’t break the bank, these fit the bill. If you want it for PS3 (or PS4, one assumes) gaming, you might want to look elsewhere.

I don’t feel the lack of PS3 support should be a dealbreaker. The sound is good, they seem well constructed and of better materials than the Sentey Flow headset I mentioned previously. They also fold up for travel, come with a spiffy hard-ish travel case that holds the headset, the charging cable and the 3.5mm wired connection. The wired connection also works without having the lithium polymer battery charged (Sentey reports battery life of over 8 hours!), so your tunes aren’t dependent on your battery either. You have play, pause, skip and volume controls on the headset as well (device support dependent, obviously), which is nice. They fit my head, and even hubby’s big ‘ol pumpkin head, so they should fit just about everyone nicely. The ear cushion cups are snug enough for workouts or light jogging, but know that prolonged listening during these activities might cause some trapped perspiration, but the upside is there’s very little sound bleed from the earpieces. They were comfortable to wear and not so heavy that you feel like your head weighs an extra 10lbs. Overall we’re fans of these Sentey B-Trek Bluetooth Headphones, but there’s definitely room for some improvement here.

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*A quick note: I attempted on 2 separate occasions to get some support from Sentey about the PS3/Bluetooth issue. Both went unaswered. I’m dismayed that, knowing this product was sent as promotion and knowing that I would review it, and their after-sales support, they ignored me. Maybe they’d be better about product support with a paying customer, but I’ll leave my readers to draw their own conclusions here. Major disappointment for us, though.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sentey.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Sentey Flow Kid’s Foldable Over the Ear Headphones w/ Mic

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I listen to plenty of music at night when I’m trying to unwind. In the day, too, when I need to take a break from my online duties. So when Sentey offered to put me in their “Power User” program to test some products, and offered these Flow Foldable Headphones…Oh, I was sooo game.

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To start, they’ve now labeled these for “Kid’s”, and that makes sense, because they aren’t loud, or made with “premium” components. They might work with a handheld gaming device, or most .mp3 players, and even most tablets. But try as I might, my phone would just not recognize them. Both tablets (Asus) and laptops (Asus and Toshiba) did, though. So maybe LG is funky in how they recognize peripherals. My husbands Sansa Clip+ also picked it up with no issues. So we could not test if the mic works, because the phone wouldn’t play nice. So I can’t say it works with EVERY device, but almost all of them. It has an in-line control button for playing/pausing, but that is also dependent on your device being configured for that type of control, so it can be hit and miss as well.

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The sound is passable. And they’re not labeled “L” or “R” like every other pair of headphones we’ve ever had, so that involves a bit of guesswork and possibly even switching them around mid-song or movie. They even fit over my hubby’s big ‘ol head, so they should fit over just about anyone’s. These Sentey Flow headphones come with a fully detachable 3.5mm audio, too. They make the claim that they’re gaming headphones, but our PS3 only connects with bluetooth headphones, and this has no bluetooth (I assume the PS4 is the same). So to make the claim that it’s good for either system is questionable at best. You can jerry-rig a connection with a two-into-one audio cable and the audio connections at the back of the console, but on their own, they can’t connect to the Playstation systems. I can’t speak for Xbox systems, either. It doesn’t have heavy bass, or “top rated sound”, as my husband’s $8 Skullcandy earbuds out-performed it in both categories. So Sentey is making so very dubious claims in their Amazon listing in an effort to get more search hits.

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Look at it like this: These are disposable headphones. They wouldn’t stand up to the rigors of workouts, running or jogging, but they’re light enough and compact enough for travel. They’re not in-the-ear buds so you won’t have the worries of hearing damage, like you would with earbuds, but conversely you can hear them if you’re in the same room or in a vehicle as someone wearing them, so you’ll know if they’re too loud. At under $13.00, you could do worse, but I’d be very surprised if they lasted long. And if they do get lost, or broken, thankfully no one will lose much sleep over them at this price point#senteyflow. Go into this with open eyes and buy them for what they are: Economical, disposable kids headphones that might last the summer.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sentey.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD6 Review

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I am no stranger to tech. Even though it isn’t featured much on my blog, tech tools have been invaluable to me in almost every facet of what you see on here. So when I was offered a chance to review an Amazon Fire HD6 tablet from Third Voice Marketing, I said “You betcha!”. I’m always on the lookout for things to make my life a little easier, and a multi-tasker like a tablet is a sure fire way to get many things done, even on the go.

I may have been spoiled by hubby’s Nexus devices. While only sporting 7″ screens, they make the most of the real estate and have fabulous visuals and specs to boot. Sadly, the Fire HD6 fails to meet my lofty expectations. From the start, it feels thicker, clunkier and heavier (though it is lighter!) than the larger Nexus 7. The screen almost looks to be set further into the device. It’s resolution is 1280 x 800 (252ppi), which is a far cry from the 1920 x 1200 (323ppi) I’m used to. For a stand alone reader that would be fine. When a major selling point is full access to Amazon Prime features like the HD VOD service, that isn’t so fine. More on that later. Both sport Corning Gorilla Glass, both have front and rear cameras, both have quad-core processors,wi-fi, bluetooth and access to a wide array of apps. So, since one is more expensive than the other, you’d be inclined to forgive the screen issues and focus on what Amazon got right. Right?
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What amazon got right was the price. Sold for as low as $84 recently, you’d be hard-pressed to find a quad-core device of equal build quality for less. and with 1GB of RAM, it should handle light mobile games, email and some light web browsing with aplomb. But when you get to the software, that’s where things go off the rails for me. Amazon skinned over the lovely Android Kit Kat OS with their own proprietary features, much to the detriment of the user experience. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to a pure Android experience, but the devices seems seriously hamstrung by the Fire OS. You lose access to the Google Play store, you lose access to a synced Chrome (and all it’s bookmarks with no way to import them), you lose access to the device synchronicity you’re accustomed to, and you’re forced into an ecosystem that is geared towards Amazon consumption at the cost of being truly user friendly.
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I found myself constantly frustrated by trying to do what I’ve been doing with my Android devices for years now, only have to try to learn Amazon’s way of doing it instead. Yuck. What’s worse is when you get into heavy web browsing, downloading, or typing, you get so much lag you want to fling the thing into the nearest wall. All the ports are at the top of the device, the single rear speaker is absolutely awful, and the camera, at 2MP, is positively anemic. Though it does sport an HDR mode and a wide array of editing tools, the pictures will never be anything to write home about, especially in low ligIMAG2381ht conditions. The screen size is frustrating for me tapping and touching with normal sized fingers, and Hubby couldn’t do squat with his much bigger Hubby paws. Amazon does sport it’s own app store, but more than a few of the versions of the apps available, while seemingly identical to their Google App and Apple App Store cousins, are usually a few versions behind. Because, let’s face it, there are two big dogsIMAG2382 on the app block, and it doesn’t make sense to spend a bundle on development for the two little dogs with very little market penetration, Amazon and Windows. Amazon has also locked the bootloader, which means no third party development is available, which is another huge upside for normal Android devices, and a liability for Kindles.
I like having access to my Amazon Prime benefits. I like being able to stream my free video and audio benefits seamIMAG2380lessly. I like the Kindle features that go above and beyond the Kindle apps available for all my other devices. I like that it is small enough to drop in my purse and not know it’s there. It seems to be very sturdily built with unobtrusive buttons that don’t get hit accidentally. And I like the price. Aside from that, there is also plenty to make me say that I doubt I’d buy a Kindle on my own any time soon. The proprietary, frustrating nature of the OS. The ads on the lock screen. The focus on the “Amazon experience” and not the customer experience. The lack of synchronicity. The screen. And some personal experience. The memory on my first device was corrupted, and the charging port was borked. Amazon sent a replacement next-day air. But after several rounds with their “customer service” chat to figure out how to connect the device to my TV for a true HD video experience (6 different chats got me 6 different failed methods), I eventually gave up and resigned myself to a 6″ sub-HD screen for the foreseeable future. I also don’t know how I only have 3.5 GB of space on a 8GB device when it arrives. Too small to download a movie, and very little space for apps, media, or really, anything.
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I’ve used Samsung Galaxy Devices, LG devices, Asus devices, and Nexus devices. Kindle is dead last in my user experience.I wanted to like my Kindle. I wanted one for some time. Amazon shot for the moon with their Kindle devices and instead, for me, shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps I expected too much. As I stated, for a reader, it’s awesome. If you don’t mind the screen or speaker, the access to Amazon’s Instant Video and Music is phenomenal. And Amazon gives a you a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee, but return shipping is at your cost. If it’s for youngsters, you have a relatively well built, relatively inexpensive device that they can stream the occasional video, play a few games, and read a few books. For a grown up, you’re better off buying a grown up device.
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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Third Voice Marketing.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Liztek: PSS-100 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker #Review #PortableWirelessBluetoothSpeaker

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Liztek PSS-100 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Built in Speakerphone, 8 Hour Rechargeable Battery (Black)

So lest you think that my blog is all about cooking and beauty, a girl’s gotta stay on top of tech these days too. And bluetooth speakers are all the rage these days. Because, even though they’re convenient, mostly earbuds suck. At least the cheapies I’m use to. There are some very high end ones out there that can reproduce fantastic sound. And while my phone and laptop have passable speakers, they’re not winning any awards for sound quality either. Hubby’s tablet is passable in a pinch, but speakers as thin as a nickel aren’t really cutting it for us.

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Enter Liztek’s awesome little bluetooth speaker, the PSS-100. I got to try this little guy for a bit now and for our devices, there’s no going back to the stock speakers for media. With play, pause, skip and back buttons on the speaker, it’s a cinch to control your music. Even watching a movie in bed on Hubby’s Nexus is a treat. Streamed music? Tinny no more! YouTube videos? Dy-no-mite! We can even stream TV shows, again, snuggled in bed, and the days of sharing ear-buds are no more.

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Retail Price Point: $36.95 via Amazon. Liztek products are carried at Costco, Fry’s and BestBuy too!

But hold on, did I mention this little guy has a mic? Yup, it’s also a hands free speakerphone. No more having the phone on the counter, no more wired earbuds and mic that rubs against your shirt and muffles every word. With the bluetooth 3.0 technology, we’re good up to 33 feet away. I have yet to break out Hubby’s tape measure to see, but we’re good with my purse and phone down the hall in another room. Answer and end buttons right there on the speak too. Snazzy. I think I’m in love. Normally, gadgets are strictly hubby domain. I think he’s been yoinked.

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At less than 13 ounces, and less than seven inches long, and just under 2 inches wide it feels tiny, but the twin 40mm speakers will fill an average size room with full, rich sound. It has a slightly rubberized feel so there’s no fear it’ll slip and fall and die a horrible death on the tile floor either. It’s rechargeable lithium ion battery is charged in 4 hours and is good for about 8-10 hours in optimal conditions. It also comes with a 3.5mm audio jack for those devices lacking bluetooth. There are audible notifications on connection, and while Liztek lists those as benefits, it’s the one single thing I don’t love about this device. It’s quite jarring to hear a loud female voice saying “Connecting!”. I could do without it, but it’s a minor quibble overall.

The Liztek PSS-100 comes in a host of colors and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It also has universal connectivity with Apple, Android, and just about any devices with Bluetooth capabilities. I’ve so far successfully paired it with our LG phone, HTC phone, Asus laptop and Nexus tablet. That’s 4 different manufacturers and zero problems. It comes packaged with a charging cable, the audio jack, and instructions. And it just looks cool too. Yup. Definitely yoinking this one. Sorry, hubby.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Liztek.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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