Trophy Cuddler Audio: Furniture just got more interesting

If you find it hard to get your other half enthused about sofa shopping, maybe this couch from DFS might spark his interest. You’re probably wondering why a site like Latest Gadgets is talking about couches, so let us enlighten you.

Trophy-Cuddler-Audio-Sofa

The DFS Trophy Cuddler Audio Sofa is a two-people sized couch that also features a built-in iPod entertainment dock with Bluetooth connectivity and USB port, speakers and subwoofer.
Is this starting to make sense now?

The Built in entertainment dock is exclusive to DFS and features iPod/iPhone/MP3 dock, USB port, auxiliary port, SD card slot & Bluetooth connectivity. The Trophy Cuddler also has the benefit of built-in speakers and subwoofer.

Now for the furniture stuff – it comes with metal feet or dark or light wood feet and has a 10-ear frame and springs guarantee.

Until the end of June the sofa is on offer at £699 (after that date it will costs £1,398)

We’re not convinced we’d go out of our way to buy one, but if you’re after a new sofa anyway, it’s certainly worth trying one out.

Available in DFS stores or order online at: www.dfs.co.uk

Small yet perfectly formed – Pioneer’s new range of Slim AV Micro Systems

Just announced by Pioneer is a new range of multifunctional AV systems. Small in size but big in functionality, the range can cater for most flavours of media, including Apple iPod and iPhone connectors, DVD, CD, AUX input, along with FM radio channels. In fact, everything you could dream of from an AV system.

Pioneer-AV-Micro

In total there are three models released as part of the range, the X-SMC5, X-SMC3 and X-SMC1. Each model boosts sleek looks with an all-in-one body and Apple’s AirPlay technology, allowing it to be used as a docking station for your i-device. The docking station itself is nicely integrated into the main body of the system, and smartly pops out at the touch of a button.

Taking up the minimum of space on your worktop, desk or bookshelf, the systems feature a small stand and speakers which grant surprisingly sharp performance. The 2x20w speakers are loud enough to be heard from across the busiest office or awaken you from the deepest sleep. For those who wish to keep their musical habits a more private affair, there are also ports to plug your headphones into.

Along with the docking station and speaker set-up, the AV systems include a number of technically-pleasing features. The AirPlay application allows users to stream music from their iTunes library held on any Apple device, PC or Mac through a WiFi connection. The Air Jam app (which is available for free in the iTunes store www.itunes.com/appstore/) allows up to four Bluetooth connected devices to create a collective playlist that can be played back through the AV system. Very clever, although be prepared for a few arguments when it comes to choices of song.

Oh, and did we mention the AV systems can also be used as an alarm clock? Indeed, the only worry you will have is deciding what format of media you will be woken up to…

For further information, visit http://www.pioneer.co.uk .

Magicbox Beam: Beam the world into your living room

We all want more and more from our gadgets don’t we? After all, cash is tight these days, not to mention space, so who needs two gadgets when one can do everything for you? I guess this must be the thinking behind the new Beam from UK-based consumer electronics outfit Magicbox.

Beam-dock

Not only is it an iPod and iPhone docking station (and there are plenty of those around) but it also offers DAB, internet radio and Wi-Fi connectivity. So, you can access your usual DAB radio, plus make your choice from more than 11,000 internet radio stations and pre-recorded podcasts and ‘listen again’ content.

Plug your Apple device into the dock (or even, dare we say it, a non-Apple MP3 player via the audio in jack) and you can access your own music library. Your iPod or iPhone can also be charged at the same time.

Content can also be streamed wirelessly from your computer.

The Magicbox Beam looks pretty stylish with its black matte and gloss chassis, and if space is short it can be taken off the base and mounted on the wall (and hooray – a wall bracket is included in the box).

Music comes through two 10-watt speakers, and control is via a 3.5inch colour TFT touch-screen or a remote control. As well as accessing all your own music, there is a digital alarm clock with snooze and sleep modes – you can choose which radio station will wake you up each morning. The FM radio receptor features RDS, so that you can easily see which radio station you’ve tuned into, and you can choose up to 20 presets to allow for quick access to your favourite stations.

The Beam costs £179.99. Find out more at www.magicboxes.com

Make a technical style statement with the CrystalDock iPhone stand

When it comes to accessorising your iPhone or iPod punters have an overwhelming amount of choice. ‘Luxury’ iPhone devices are quickly gathering speed on the technology bazaar and when, therefore, ‘the world’s first luxury accessory for the iPhone handcrafted from pure crystal glass’ submerges itself as the latest must-have iPhone fitment, one rarely bats an eyelid.

Crystal-Dock

Nonetheless being the ‘first’ luxury stand for charging and synching your iPod and iPhone devices that is handcrafted from pure crystal, the CrystalDock is worthy of a review, and if you are one to like donning expensive and enviable accessories in the office or at home, then our CrystalDock review is definitely worthy of a read.

Designed by the luxury brand CalysoCrystal, which focus primarily on technically innovative products, the CrystalDock is available in four basic designs, ranging from cool and edgy styles to classic and formal. Its casing is crafted out of a solid block of lead crystal, which CalypsoCrystal assure us, is significantly more magnificent than glass as crystal contains lead oxide which, in certain lights, creates beautiful optical effects – Ah so that what gives crystal its extra ‘sparkle’!

This dock, in its choice of material, whereby each individual device has, according to its creators, taken 15 pairs of hands to produce, undoubtedly exudes class, elegance and sophistication. If you are intent on making some kind of style statement, the CrystalDock is compatible with all models of iPhone, iPod Touch and iPod nano, as well as the 80GB, 120GB and 160GB late 2009 model.

A further selling statement murmured from the mouth of Matej Kurent, the successful entrepreneur, businessman and founder of CalypsoCrystal, is that these handcrafted pure crystal iPhone stands are, “excellent value for money”. Whilst we may suspiciously expect that the entrepreneur’s idea of what is ‘value for money’ is significantly higher than what the rest of us might regard as being ‘good value’, it comes as a pleasant surprise that the Crystal Docks range from a unexpectedly acceptable £299 for the limited edition CrystalDock “Aurora”, to an even more refreshingly modest £169 for the “Beau”, “Celestia” and “Dune” models.

Review: Soulra solar-powered sound system for iPod and iPhone

Our garden has been filled with the sound of music for the past couple of weeks while I’ve been trying out the Soulra solar-powered sound system for iPod and iPhone.

The first test for any gadget I try out is its ease of use out of the box. Like many of us, I simply don’t have the time or inclination to fiddle about with my new technology, spending a weekend reading the user manual before I get any joy. Happily, I had the unit out of its box and working within a couple of minutes, which gives it a big thumbs-up.

Soulra

My second bugbear is that every time I use a new piece of Apple-optimised gear, I find I haven’t got the most up to date gadget or piece of software and it’s suddenly not compatible. So I was delighted when I found my ancient iPod (circa 2006) was happily accepted by the sound system. So thumbs-up number two. The system is also compatible with iPhones.

Next, on to its solar charging abilities. The makers say that you’ll get four horurs of playback for every 10 hours of solar charging, or four hours of sounds for four hours of charging via the AC power cable supplied.

I tried it first on the AC power, just to check out the sound quality – which, with options to change the bass levels (although nothing else) – was excellent. A quick 10-minute solar charge got us up and running too, and I have spent the past couple of weeks with the unit on the garden table, providing non-stop tunes all day. The only caveat is that we have had an exceptionally sunny fortnight, so I have definitely benefited from the sun’s power. A simple display of lit icons give you info on whether it is being solar charged and how much juice is left in the battery.

Your tunes can be controlled either by rubberised buttons on the top or using the remote control, which we found worked from up to 20ft away.

The unit itself is good looking and has a rubberised body, which makes it feel a bit more durable for outside use – the solar panel flips up and does not benefit from the rubberised coating, so I’m not sure how it would stand up should it get knocked off a table while the panel was flipped up.

The body is also splashproof (if the panel is closed), so if it gets sprinkled during a rain shower it should be okay.

For anyone who spends a lot of time in the garden, goes camping or works on an allotment, this is an excellent choice of sound system to access all the sounds on your iPod or iPhone at a pretty reasonable £149.

Find out more at www.etoncorp.co.uk

Magicbox Tower iPod alarm dock review

More and more iPod dock alarm clocks seem to be hitting the market. After all it’s a natural fit – you have all that space by your bedside table, an iPod or iPhone (if you’re reading this your chances of owning one are oh so high) and a need to get up early. Whilst some tout an incredibly small form factor or an insanely cool look, magicbox are highlighting the Tower’s room-filling sound.

Magicbox-Tower

And fill the room it does. For something so small (it’s smaller than two tins of beans on top of each other or 15 cm if that’s how *you* measure things), the Magicbox Tower has an impressive bass-y sound, far less tinny than other iPod alarm clock docks I’ve come across. I’d happily use the Tower as an speaker without ever troubling the FM radio or alarm clock functions. The Tower is also surprisingly well built and has a nice solid feel to it. I didn’t drop my review unit (honest) but if I did, I’m pretty sure it’d be ok.

This multipurpose unit acts as an alarm, DAB/FM radio, iPod docking station and iPod charger and is compatible with all generations of the iPod and iPhone. The radio is also excellent, coming as it does, with an old fashioned telescopic metal aerial, instead of a wire which I’m used to seeing. Bundling in DAB radio is also a great addition at this price level and a nod towards the more advanced iPod docks on the market that come with amazing streaming capabilities (if you have the cash, look into the £200+ dock market and prepare to be blown away). There are also bundled station presets and you can scan for available stations.

The Magic Box Tower is about £70, placing it at the higher end of the alarm clock dock range. However for the price you get a DAB radio and a pretty amazing sounding iPod dock.

Logic3 release six iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch docks

Logic3 has decided that there aren’t enough iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch docks on the market. So they’re launching six. Six. It’s a sound policy: probability dictates that at least one will be pretty good.

Logic3iPad

Two are devoted to the iPad – the i-Station Podium and the i-Station Base. Both have the typical dock features of playing music and charging the device. That’s where the simplicity ends, however.

The Podium has a unique rotatable dock for twisting the iPad between orientation modes. Watch movies in landscape, for example, and spin it round for music listening or e-mail browsing.  The footrest moves, too, ensuring you get the best viewing angle whatever you’re doing.

It also comes with a free downloadable app that’s got a massive amount of functionality: clock, calendar, internet radio, alarm, voice recorder, sleep, weather information, equaliser control, nature sounds and a photo album. Essentially, your iPad becomes the perfect alarm clock-beating, wake-up companion. £69.99.

The i-Station Base is the compact option. It includes the above app, as well as a remote control and a clever cable management function to allow easy iPad rotation. £59.99.

The other four devices are all for iPhone/iPod Touch. The Combo brings a CD Player to the traditional dock, as well as an FM radio alarm (you can choose to wake-up to a buzzer or your iPhone, too). There’s a big LCD for telling the time, as well as a remote for distance control. £99.99.

The SoundBar is a heavy-duty dock. It’s got a powerful 30 RMS speaker system, which includes two 2-inch mid-range drivers and two 2.8-inch sub-woofers. Basically, it’s loud and full of bass. No CD player, but you will find an FM radio and two auxiliary inputs, for plugging in a TV, PC, another MP3 player – anything audio, really. £99.99.

The i-Station26 is aimed at the space-conscious SoundBar-buyer. The two speakers are 1.8-inch mid-range drives, and a single 3-inch sub. The auxiliary has also been dropped, but otherwise the rest of the SoundBar is here. £69.99.

Finally, there’s the Lite – the small, portable one. Charge it up at home and listen to your iPhone wherever you go. You can even plug in your iPhone while the Lite charges up, powering both devices. More FM radio has been included, too £34.99.

Vita Audio R4 and R2i: Premium all-in-one stereo systems

Design? Stylish. Components? Hi-tech. Sounds? Great. Sounds great, right? Vita Audio, a UK-based audio company, has released two premium all-in-one stereo systems that are sure to get your visual and aural attention – the R4 and the R2i.

Vita-R4

Audio R4
The big brother of the line-up, the R4 aims to replace any existing audio solution in your home. It’s got a multi-format CD player, iPod dock, USB playback, DAB/FM tuner and auxiliary inputs – all outputting at 80 watts.

As a premium product, it’s stacked with high-end features. The slot-loading (awesome) CD player lets you listen to audio CDs, MP3s and WMA discs, while the radio not only supports DAB and FM, but the new DAB+ standard.

The real jaw-dropper, however, is the RotoDial. Sitting atop the player, it’s the universal way to control the system. If you’d rather skip songs without getting out your chair, however, simply pull it off the top and it’ll work as a remote control. Use it to navigate through music on your docked iPod, for instance, or switch between audio inputs.

Or just put it on a chair’s arm to look cool – the aesthetics are really nice. Of course, what else would you expect from a device that’s colour options are “Rich Walnut veneer, Dream White and Midnight Black”?

The remote is just one of the many nice touches that make the R4 a really well-put together piece. Another is the gold-plating on the two auxiliary inputs, or the way the system stores headphone volume separately from speaker volume, so you needn’t worry about blasting your eardrums when you plug in a headset.

Vita-R2i

R2i
Just like the R4, the R2i’s cabinet is machined and hand-crafted from high density fibreboard, giving the system excellent acoustic properties. It’s also got DAB+, a line-in for MP3 players, an iPod Dock and some auxiliary ports.

What it’s missing, then, is its bigger brother’s CD player, USB playback and massive output – the R2i pumps out a much smaller 20 watts.
The plans for the remote control are also scaled down. The RotoDial still exists, but it’s fixed to the stereo. For remote control duties, you’ll have to make do with a slim-line extra controller. Sure, it’s not ugly, but the wow of the detachable RotoDial is definitely missing. The R2i is cute, and much cheaper, but is nowhere near as awe-inspiring as its older brother.