2016

  • Forbes

    With Apple's AirPods delayed until who knows when, iPhone 7 owners looking for truly wireless earbuds have few options. The earliest releases (2015) from the likes of companies big (Samsung) and small (Earin) suffered from broken connections and inelegant designs. Bragi's Dash is probably the most famous one (I haven't tried those) but they're pricey due to its ambitiousness (it wants to be a fitness tracker too).What if you want just clean looking wireless earbuds, and nothing more? Crazybaby's very cool looking Air isn't ready for release yet. But three start-ups from China and Taiwan have respectively released its own take. I got the chance to test all three recently, and they're all pretty good.Let's start with the Erato Apollo 7, the best overall of the bunch and probably the best true wireless earbuds overall on the market right now. Several other reviews, including CNET and the Verge, have concluded that these earbuds have the strongest and most reliable connection in the industry, and my own testing came up with the same result. It took a few tries to connect both earbuds together (you start by turning on one to connect it to your phone/computer as the "master device," then you turn on the other to connect the two buds), but once it connected, I never came across problems again. The earbuds just worked every time: I take them out of its premium-feeling/looking metal charging case, turn on my phone's bluetooth and within a second the earbuds are paired.Sound quality, obviously, falls short of any good set of wired headphones/earbuds, but it's great for wireless earbuds, and more than enough to probably 90% of the population. There's a lot of clarity during podcast sessions and the bass is strong -- very noticeable when listening to Nas' Illmatic -- on this, more so than on any other wireless earbuds I've tried. That's due to the Apollo 7's 5.8mm micro-sized dynamic driver, whereas most other wireless buds (including Bragi's and Earin's) use the weaker armature drivers. The mids are also very clear, but the highs come out quite muffled.Speaking of muffled, though the Apollo 7 includes a mic for making phone calls, but unfortunately, the caller on the other end said she couldn't hear me clearly over several test calls using different smartphones. But I must conceded -- I have a deep and "mumbly" voice to begin with. Perhaps a better speaker wouldn't encounter these problems. I also did hear the caller clearly though.Taking calls and pausing music are all done withe Apollo 7's multi-functional buttons. There's one on each bud, which seems overkill, but it's there because the Apollo 7 can work as just a single earbud if you so choose.At 4 grams each, the Apollo 7 are considered light, but the bullet-shaped earpieces are quite big and the other end sticks out enough that I was worried about them falling out. The Taiwanese start-up does, however, offer additional earpieces, including one with a sport wing, that should hold them in place more securely.Oh, and if they do fall out and, say, fall onto dirt. It's okay -- these earbuds are fully water resistant so you can rinse them off and it'll work fine. You can't wear them to swim -- but it's good to know sweat and rain and faucet water won't damage them.The charging dock that comes with the earbuds, as mentioned earlier, is very well-built and feels very high-end, like something you store jewelry in. It offers two additional charges to the earbuds. The Apollo 7 lasted an average of three hours per charge, so you're looking at nine hours of use before you have to top up. The earbuds come in different colors (black, gold, pink, silver) and the charging dock matches the look. As always, I like black the best.At $300 though, the Erato Apollo 7 is actually pricier than the AirPod, but these are truly wireless earbuds that offer arguably the best sound and connectivity on the market right now -- and it's not ugly like the AirPods.For those who don't want to spend $300 for Erato's buds, the Jabees BTWins, at $99, is a good option, with one compromise, which I'll get to later. Just looking at the earbuds alone, these are every bit as premium-feeling as the Apollo 7, with the end opposite of the buds slimmer and smaller to boot. These are the most "hidden" of all the wireless buds right now, meaning it's got the smallest piece sticking out (don't even get me started on Apple's ugly AirPods...)Once you get to the charging dock, however, that's when you see some of the cost-cutting. The charging box -- this one opens up like a treasure box -- is made of plastic. It's noticeably flimsier and less premium than the charging dock on the Apollo 7. But, I mean, who really cares about what the charging dock looks/feels like? This is something you'll get over in 12 seconds and never think again.Sound quality on the BTWins is good, with even stronger bass than the Apollo 7 (not quite Beats-level of overkill). Acoustics in particular sounded brilliant on these. It's also a bit easier to pair than the Apollo 7. Recommended by ForbesBut, and this is a big but, the BTWins suffers from connectivity issues. On a few occasions during my testing, the right earbud would cut out for half a second. It's not too bad -- we're talking a combined 2 seconds of problems over an hour of listening, I'd say -- but it's enough to be jarring and take you out of the moment. But like I mentioned above -- the Apollo 7 is the only completely wire free earbuds to achieve perfect connectivity. The BTWins' problem is minor compared to the ones I've had on Samsung's GearIcon X.

  • EM

  • Intouch Rugby

    The Kavson Besiter Eclipse is the must have charger this year. It has one of the most powerful batteries available, which means you’ll never lose your charge when away.It can charge iPhone 6S up to 5 times and a Samsung Galaxy S7 up to 3 times over. The power bank has a maximum 2.1A output which means that devices such as tablets will charge incredibly fast. You can even charge the Eclipse and your phone at the same time. It’s stylish and is ideal to pop into your pocket or bag and carry on the move. Ideal for holidays and camping it’s a great charger and torch.The Eclipse Series power bank comes in 2 stunning colours, black & gun metal and white & silver. It has a powerful bright light that will ensure you get back to your tent or hotel room at night .The Eclipse even has sensors which displays the charge time when you pick it up, meaning you’ll always know how long you have before needing to recharge it.

  • Travelling politico

    The Mercury Series powerbank (comes in either 5,000mAh or 10,000mAh battery size) is a sleek and smart portable charger that every gadget fanatic should have in their inventory. The device comes in either black with a grey trim or white with a gold trim – so there is a colour combination to suit everyone’s phones and tablets. The Mercury is all about its smooth edges and expert designed exterior. The aluminium trim is made from the same 7000 Series metal that you can find on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.The Mercury is the first MFI powerbank available on the market so far, meaning that powerbank charges with a lightening cable and can charge an Apple device at the same time as it’s being charged itself. For those who don’t have lightening charge capable devices, the Mercury has a micro-USB slot – so any portable electronics that need charging on the go can use this powerbank. There are 2 standard USB slots, so you can charge more than one device at the same time.Inside there is a premium Li-Polymer battery which is smart enough to prevent itself from overcharging, overheating, short circuiting, or over currenting. Nothing can go wrong when you use the Besiter Mercury Series powerbank, nothing other than your device charging quicker than with any other charger on the market.This slimline 5.5″ powerful portable charger is a worthy companion and a great friend for business travellers who are constantly on the move and always on the phone. The powerbank is just a touch larger than most modern smartphones, so fits into the pocket neatly. It’s always there when you need it, doesn’t interfere with aircraft machinery when flying, won’t add too much weight to cabin bags or briefcases, and doesn’t need charging constantly.

  • Evening Standard

    Stuck at the airport with everyone else hogging the recharging power points or on a long-haul flight with dwindling iPad battery but only half way through Veep? The new power banks let you charge your smartphone on the go. Here are the top five — the higher the mAh rating the more power they store.1. Besiter MercuryNice and slim, with two USB ports plus lightning adaptor. Works with most devices including some laptops. When juice is running low it flashes its LEDs. Comes in black/grey or cream/gold. 10,000mAh.

  • MI Business Mag

  • Mobile Tech Talk

    This is perhaps the smallest speaker we’ve looked at here at MTT, and yes, it’s another Bluetooth speaker. Whilst most Bluetooth speakers boast about battery life, aesthetics or waterproofing, the Lker Grace Mini is content with being one of the smallest! To see what we thought of it and whether there is a punch packed from this tiny unit, read on.Lker Grace Itty BittyLet’s start with the obvious; this thing is tiny. Not just small – tiny! We’re looking at a device that’s just 4.2cm in diameter and has a height of 4.5cm, weighing just around 70g. See, tiny! In the box comes the unit itself, a USB to 3.5mm charging cable (yes, charging – we’ll get to that), a 3.5mm to 3.5mm AUX cable for connecting devices, a user manual and a leather carry case which is only slightly bigger than the device itself. Did we mention it’s tiny?The unit is available in multiple colours, although we have the Black version. It’s a glossy black too, but with a yellow braided lining to the speaker which accents the device nicely. The glossy black metal finish is offset by cut horizontal grooves around the circumference of the unit. Not only does it catch the light in some nice ways, but it helps with grip, and due to the grooves there isn’t much in the way of fingerprint grubbiness either. Result!Lker GraceLet’s take a bit of a tour. Along the top you can see the speaker recess and that lovely yellow accented speaker surround. The body is purely metallic with the contoured lines giving it a lovely feel, along with Lker Grace branding, a notification/power LED on the front, with the backside showing the 3.5mm port. On the bottom of the device there is a rubber ring for stability and to no doubt muffle vibration as well as the On/Off/Pairing button.Yes, you spotted it didn’t you. There’s no microUSB port for charging. Instead the unit serves power across a 3-pole audio jack connected to a USB cable. Strange