iHome for the Holidays, Part 1: Vanity Speaker or iHome iCVBT5

ihome-1Ah, yes, there is nothing like iHome for the Holidays. I have reviewed many iHome products many a time. So many times, that I just don’t feel like putting in hyperlinks. I’m going to close out this week with three different iHome products, and I’m going to start with the most unusual: the iHome Vanity Speaker or iCVBT5.

The iCVBT5 is essentially made to be that one vanity mirror that we all have to take a good look at ourselves. It has the 1x and 5x magnification settings, and it also has some bright LED action going on. The issue is that this vanity mirror is a speaker.

You can join it with a mobile device via Bluetooth or just a wired connection. The iHome Vanity Speaker is something that should be wireless, but it does require plugging it into the wall. I’m not certain if you should use it by your bathroom sink if you are worried that the cord could get wet. What is interesting is how the iHome iCVBT5 has a USB port, so you can charge something while you’re looking at yourself.

The one drawback for the iCVBT5 is that the box says full spectrum color, and I thought that meant you could make the LED light on it any color. That might be a great feature for the next version of this product, but sadly, the only color of the light is white.

Still, the iHome Vanity Speaker is a very, very useful item for any home in any room. It is available on the iHome website for $99.99.

Sound Cover Tablet Speaker from Onanoff

sound-coverIt’s been a while since I have reviewed a good Onanoff product, and since they make a lot of good ones, that is a shame. I will quickly summarize this product saying that it is a speaker made for tablets, and it is stated that it can boost the iPad volume by 400 percent.

I have to admit that this is one product that I thought would be something else, but when I reviewed it, it did more than I thought. You see, what I thought this was a speaker that can mount itself on the back of an iPad. The packaging says that it is from the iPad Air, so I thought this Sound Cover speaker was designed for the iPad Air, but honestly, I think it would work for any tablet.

In fact, I tried it out with my Android smartphone, and it worked with the Bluetooth for it. Yes, this speaker works wirelessly, and it works with an included wire too. In fact, out of curiosity, I connected this with my desktop, and I had a great speaker.

onanoff-sound-coverThe speaker is very thin, but it has a lot of power to it with a 20 kHz high frequency performance. The front of it vibrates intensely, so it would be a mistake to lean your tablet against it. You will notice how the speaker has a backing that can lean out, and the design is pretty impressive.

There are some other great features, such as a built-in microphone. It also comes with a travel bag, the 3.5 mm stereo cable, and a USB charging cable. The battery is a 3300mAh Lithium Polymer type, with 15 hours of playtime when fully charged.

In short, it is quite something, and should work with whatever you got. It used to be $199.99, but is now available on the Onanoff site for $129.99 in gold, silver, and black.

Our Hands-On Review of the BRAVEN BALANCE

BRAVEN BalanceIt’s been a while since we reviewed a decent BRAVEN product, and man, were we pleased to receive the BALANCE. The company has a reputation for making Bluetooth speakers that are durable and formidable, and this one is no exception.

What you are seeing here is the wireless Bluetooth speaker that is pretty flat, which is why I chose this shot here as an image. There is a Boost Mode which is very loud, and the side speakers are elastic which probably improves its overall loudness. At least, that is what I am assuming it does, because I am not an audiophile.

The BALANCE is well-named as it has a big battery of 4,000 mAh which can charge smartphones, and it has an 18 hour playtime. Oh, it is also a good BALANCE because it is certified IPX7 waterproof which means it is good for poolside and it can be submerged in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

You should be able to purchase the BRAVEN BALANCE for about $129.99 on the BRAVEN site, and it comes in the colors of Yellow, Pink, Black, Blue, White, and Orange. It also comes with cords for all kinds of countries, for some reason, but hey, that is one of its many BRAVEN BALANCE bonuses.

Secur Products Part 3: Bluetooth Speaker Lantern and Flashlight

Secur SP-5004_product_aOkay, I finally got around to reviewing my last of the Secur products, and you can read my reviews of the Folding Solar Powered Lantern and the Bluetooth Flashlight and Powerbank. This time, it is the Bluetooth Speaker Lantern and Flashlight, or SP-5004.

Let me start with the Bluetooth Speaker. I have no idea if this is a standard for Bluetooth Speakers, but it does tell you when it is time to pair, and when it has paired. It was pretty easy to get that set up, and I had some terrific sound coming from this thing.

Oh, and lets talk about the flashlight. As you can see from the picture here, the device can extend like a lantern thanks to a spring thing inside it. So you can turn on the thing and it will light an area around it. You can also flatten the thing, and it will shine in one direction like a regular flashlight.

So, like most Secur products, it can do a lot in one single package. It is just a matter of specs like can it play music in 8 hours, 4 hours of charging time, and 3 Watt Bluetooth Speaker. You should able to purchase it for about $59.95, and there is more information at the Secur site.

iHome Part 2: The iBT74 Wireless Color Changing Speaker

iHome IBT74Well, today’s iHome product isn’t like any that I haven’t seen before, but it is quite great. The iBT74 color changing rechargeable Bluetooth speaker is a gem of a product, and you can quote me on that.

Why would I say something like that? Well, it does kind of look like a gem, you know, a well-polished one. So, there are some really cool color effects that can do this thing where it slowly changes or blinks. There is a push-button thing to change it.

Syncing to the iBT74 is pretty easy through Bluetooth, and I had a brief problem syncing it, but I got through it. It also works via direct line-in via the included cable and any device with a headphone jack.

For those that want to use it for Bluetooth phone calls, that is possible. Another bonus is the convenient carrying strap included with it.

Something like this is quite good, and it is available for $59.99 on the iHome site.

Secur Products Part 2: Bluetooth Flashlight and PowerBank

Secur SP-5003_product_aOnce again, we are here to review another Secur product, and this one is the Bluetooth Flashlight and Powerbank, otherwise known as the SP-5003. In case you are wondering, this product just just about everything.

For example, if you need a light, it has it, and it is quite bright. It takes about 5 hours to charge, and the part that is the bulb just pops right off. Why would it do that? Well, if you connect a USB cable to it, you can charge a device. You will have to turn the flashlight on, and the reason why I say that is because I couldn’t get it to work until I did that.

Yes, when you pop off the bulb, there is a USB port there, and you can put on a speaker that is identical to the other side of the flashlight. The speaker is a 3 Watt job that syncs with a device to play some music and it plays 28 hours worth of it on a full charge.

So, it is a flashlight, mobile battery, speaker, and it is also a Bike Mount Bracket. Yep, it has a thing to put it on a bike, so now you have a light, and a speaker too. Not bad.

Okay, that is understating it. To say this product is “not bad” is wrong, because this product is absolutely great. It is available on the Secur site for $49.99.

Kürbis Bt Bluetooth Speakers from Thonet & Vander

Thonet and VanderI’m pretty pleased with Thonet and Vander, as I saw them on display at CES 2016, and their speakers look like something that would be prized by audiophiles. Sure, I am not an audiophile, as it is always difficult to review speakers and evaluate them for sound as I have only human ears.

So, now it is time to give the specs like how Kürbis Bt with a power output of 60 watts RMS, that’s 30 watts for each speaker. After testing it out with something simple like my cellular phone, I wasn’t expecting to get the sound that I got. By the way, the Bluetooth has a range of 10 meters.

Thonet and Vander calls this “Hammer Bass”, and it certainly hits like a hammer. Again, this is about all the science like an antimagnetic shield , the mesh protective cloth, as well as some bass reflex. Again, I don’t really know much about the sound and how it is produced, only that it is producing it. But hey, can you argue with 5.25-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters.

So, yes, I will recommend the Kürbis Bt speakers because, they are quite darn nice. You can find more information about it on the Thonet and Vander site, and on Amazon for $179.99.

Native Union Part 1: POWERLink and Switch Bluetooth Speaker

Native Union PowerLinkIt’s been a while since I reviewed some good Native Union products, and I was pleased to try out several new products that I am going to review during Black Friday week, and I will recommend them for holiday gifts.

I’ll start with the POWERLink, a charging cable that looks like it is in the shape of a woman with a long dress. Okay, I hope that no one thinks it’s weird that I describe it that way. Look at it, what does it look like.

Like Nomad with their charging cables, the Native Union POWERLink makes charging something easy as carrying with you. So if you are in a place where you need a quick boost, you have a way of getting some juice.

Granted, you will need a spare USB port to do this, but those are pretty common these days. The POWERLink can be something decorative, and that is something that works out really well for everyone. It is available to purchase on the Native Union site for $59.99.

Native Union SwitchThen there the Switch, which is a Bluetooth Speaker, and it sounds good. Best of all, it looks good, too. It reminds me of a long LEGO brick.

The way that I judge a Bluetooth speaker is whether or not I can use it without looking at the instructions. In this case, I was able to press the top, and then I was able to sync it in seconds. From there, I was playing music through it, and I am told that it will play music wirelessly for up to 14 hours.

Of course, it can be used as a professional conference call unit for hands-free or group settings. There’s also a convenient USB port for an emergency recharge, in case you got the CHARGELink handy. Yeah, you knew that was going to work its way back.

Anyway, you can get it for purchase on the Native Union site for about $129.99.

Our Review of the Mini LifeJacket 2

mini-lifejacket_blue_topWell, it has been a year since I reviewed any product from Altec Lansing, with the LifeJacket last year and this year, the Mini LifeJacket 2.

I will have to say that the LifeJacket 2 is a mini Bluetooth speaker that is a worthy mini-version of its predecessor. The Mini Lifejacket 2 is also IP67, which is waterproof/dustproof/shockproof and it floats.

As I have had a chance to try it out, it was quite honestly a big banging sound speaker. It is easily interchangeable with the original LifeJacket. This is after all what you look for with a Bluetooth speaker, and you can also have an onboard microphone for clear, hands-free communication.

If you are interested in more features, it has an Aux In and integrated carbineer. Then there is the Aux In and that threaded hole at the bottom for positioning on a tripod. Speaking of holding, the rubberized border of this Mini Lifejacket 2 makes if feel pretty durable.

If you want this kind of tech, feel free to head to the Altec Lansing site and pay $99.99 for the Mini Lifejacket 2.

MiPOW, Part 1, the BOOMAX

BoomaxI suppose that this should be Part 2, as Kris has already written about the PLAYBULB Candle. Today, I’m going to be writing about the BOOMAX, a Bluetooth speaker from the company.

I’ve been reviewing a lot of Bluetooth speakers in the past. Whenever I test them out, I always try and see how loud the speaker is. In this case, it was very loud, and the only time that the warning volume mattered. You get that weird warning when you turn up the volume loud? I know I do.

Yes, the speaker is loud, and I know the picture does not do a good job conveying the size, but it is a little bit bigger than your fist. I found that pairing it was a little difficult, but only because I had to hold down the pairing button longer than I should.

In short, the BOOMAX is quite a good Bluetooth speaker. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and an AUX-in jack to insure that works wired or wirelessly.

You can get it in Silver, Black, Light Blue, and Red on the MiPOW site for about $99.99.