A splendid speaker that's simple to set up
ALL-in-one is how I would refer to the ZVOX SoundBase 320.
The 24-inch speaker system produces 3D sound and the right amount of bass without external speakers, a subwoofer or messy wires to connect them. It's an all-in-one speaker your TV can sit right on top of, for a nice, clean look.
The ZVOX website says the SoundBase 320 works best with TVs between 32 and 47 inches. The site also lists other models for TVs ranging from 22 to 70 inches.
The speaker has a fabric-covered front grill to allow the sound to pass through, and the body has a wood finish. The 3D sound is produced by three two-inch speakers and a 5.25-inch subwoofer.
Setting it up is pretty simple --just choose between RCA analog, optical or coaxial digital inputs.
The speaker is perfect for a secondary family room or larger bedroom.
There's also a 3.5mm port on the front for connecting other media sources, and a wireless remote controls the volume and some sound settings.
DETAILS: US$199; www.zvoxaudio.com.
Tiny speaker makes big impression
THE Soundfreaq Pocket Kick is another great-sounding and space-saving speaker with its wireless (Bluetooth 4.0) feature and pocket-sized design.
It fits nicely in your pocket, but when you take it out and fire it up, that's when the big sound kicks in.
I'm a big fan of portable sound, and this speaker proves bigger isn't always better. The audio is produced from a pair of speaker drivers and a passive bass radiator inside a metal grill.
If you're one of the few left on this planet without a Bluetooth-enabled device, there's a 3.5mm line-in port.
A built-in microphone allows for hands-free calling, and a built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of use before a microUSB charge is needed. (This can vary depending on volume levels).
If carrying a speaker in your pocket isn't your thing, simply use the included wrist lanyard.
DETAILS: US$99; available in black, gold and platinum; soundfreaq.com.
Memory cards pass muster
THE Exceria 1000x compact flash memory cards are the latest from Toshiba, which have a maximum read speed of 150MB/s and a maximum write speed of 120MB/s.
This allows the cards to maintain the faster writing speeds of today's high-end digital SLR cameras and download the images to your computer at blazingly fast speeds.
I hit the shutter on a 14-frame-per-second camera. The card had no problem keeping up with the still images and would do the same with high-definition video.
You also get a free one-year copy of Toshiba's data-recovery software, along with a five-year standard, limited warranty. The warranty does not cover your images: backup, backup, backup.
DETAILS: Available in 32GB (US$129.99), 64GB (US$249.99) and 128GB (US$499.99) capacities; www.toshiba.com/us.
Phone car mount worth the cash
KENU has launched the Airfame Plus, one of those products I like to refer to as something you don't think you need until you have it.
The in-car mount is used to hold many of today's bigger smartphones within reach, but in a hands-free position mounted to a vehicle's air vents.
The expandable bracket has rubber holders on the top, bottom and sides to put a firm grip on the device. It can hold devices with a screen size of up to 15 centimetres, measured diagonally.
Once mounted with the rubber jaw grabbing onto the vent, the Airframe Plus can turn from landscape to portrait viewing positions just by turning it.
In case you're wondering about the air conditioning or heat, it doesn't block the air coming from the vent -- it redirects it. My co-pilot chose to shut the air off from the vent, but that's up to you.
DETAILS: US$29.99; kenu.com.
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