Gadget / Music: Time to Get Your Groove On

 5 May 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+

Technology has revolutionized the way we listen to music. From early MP3 players to fully functional iPods, the personal media player has truly grown into its own. But at its heart, every PMP is still just a way to get the best sound out of those microchips. So this time around, we’ll take a look at some cool gadgets you can use to groove out, starting with Creative’s new Zen Style M300.

Creative Zen Style M300 PMP

It may look like a slightly clunkier version of Apple’s iPod nano but this little piece of tech from Creative has a leg up on the old Apple. Not only does it pack in Bluetooth 2.1 to support completely wireless headphones but it also has expandable storage via the handy-dandy microSD slot.

Gadget / Music

The standard models come sporting either 4GB, 8GB, or 16Gb storage modules but with swappable storage you can keep playlists ultra-organized and don’t have to worry about syncing and re-syncing over and over again.

There’s also a built-in FM radio for those of you who want to keep it old skool (sorry, no AM bands here). Another throwback to the past is the lack of a touchscreen. Everything you need to do can be accomplished with a few button clicks and somehow that just feels right.

As far as battery life goes, the solid 20 hours of playback Creative promises is decent if not spectacular.

And how much would expect to pay for all of this audio glory? Think lower. The base model starts at just $40 and the top-of-the-line version checks in at just $90.

Hit up the Creative website for more details.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air

This monstrosity may be a bit ugly (or brilliant depending on your sense of style) but there’s no denying that the Bowers & Wilkins Zeplin Air is a fairly decent method of transposing your digital tunes into sound waves. Essentially, this thing is a 13.5 pound behemoth that pumps out the music.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air

The chrome iPad dock hides the three control buttons (everything else uses the remote) and the AirPlay technology makes everything totally wireless.

Around the back, the Zeppelin Air sports two bass ports negating the need for a separate subwoofer. While that may keep you from feeling the beats in your bones, it definitely does not deter from the sound quality. In general, this thing sounds great.

One annoying factor is the delay between pushing controls on your iDevice and the response from the Zeppelin. It’s just a couple of seconds (probably less) but that’s enough to make it frustrating trying to find a certain spot in a certain song.

While it makes a decent machine for average users, the $600 price tag really is much too high. You can find better sound systems for less but they just don’t look as cool.

Hit up the official Bowers & Wilkins website for all the details.

Altec Lansing’s Orbit USB Stereo

To call these peripherals speakers is really missing the point. They’re specifically designed to bring decent (though not exceptional) stereo sound to your portable PC for a reasonable price. That may not sound like much but if you’ve ever spent a lot of time using your laptop to play tunes or games you know the difference that good sound can really make.

Altec Lansing’s Orbit USB Stereo

And the cool thing is that they don’t need a separate power supply. The audio and the juice streams through the USB cord. That means you won’t have to go chasing down an open socket at the airport or plugging in only to find the rechargeable batteries are dead.

They got a little fancy with the design, not that I’m complaining. When you’re ready to store these things away you can twist them together to form a tube that fits neatly in just about any laptop bag.

At $50, they’re priced just right for what they do. Sure, you could spend more to get more but if you’re looking for some “disposable” speakers that you don’t care too much about knocking around, then these things are great. And you don’t have to worry about replacing those Double-As either!

Visit the official Altec Lansing website for more details and availability.

Disclaimer - Category: Computer, Control, Digital