It seems to be the season for new and improved audio products and companies have been sending quite a few models for me to check out. Most of the gear I have checked out so far has been premium gear with rather high prices, but arguably of very high quality. My buddy Ricky, from RadioShack, asked if I wanted to check out some audio gear from RadioShack and I have spent the last week using a set of earphones, a wireless speaker, and a set of headphones. You can actually pick up all three of these accessories for the price of one of most of the others. Check out the rest of the images and my experiences with the products in this gallery.
I recently checked out the $50 RHA MA-450i earphones and think those are great earphones. I wasn't sure what to expect from RadioShack so I was surprised when these earphones turned out to be very well made with solid sound.
The Auvio earbuds arrived in a rather small blue and white box with the earbuds, zippered carrying case, ear clips, and three pairs of silicone eartips. I found the earbuds fit perfectly without using the earclips, but know that some people like attaching earbuds in this manner. The medium eartips were on the earbuds in the box and that is the size that fit me. Smaller and larger eartips are included. The 3.5mm headset jack connects to the cable at a 90 degree angle so this may present some issues with certain devices.
The 4.5 foot cable on these earbuds is flat and coated in soft rubber material. They stay fairly free of tangles and lay well along your body. There is a single button on the microphone controller that lets you answer and end calls or pause/play music. There are no volume controls present. Specifications of the earbuds include 20-20,000 Hz frequency, 16 Ohm impedance, and 102 DB sensitivity.
I listened to an assortment of music and podcasts and everything sounded great. While it doesn't match the sound of the Logitech UE 900 earphones, those ones are priced at $400. For just $49.99, the Auvio earbuds are pretty compelling. They are comfortable, well made, and I recommend them for those looking for a decent priced set of earbuds.
The flat cable on the earbuds helps keep them from easily tangling.
Note that the audio jack is positioned at a 90 degree angle.
I have tried several different portable speaker units over the past year so I know what to expect from them. Most of the ones I tried are priced at $200 and all sound pretty good. RadioShack sells the Auvio Bluetooth Portable Speaker for just $79.99 so once again I wasn't expecting much from the package that arrived. Specifications include 100-15,000 Hz frequency response, 4 Ohms impedance, two 2W output speakers, and Bluetooth 2.1.
I pulled the Bluetooth speaker from the white and blue package and my first impression was that the speaker was a bit large, but light in weight. It is attractive with a glossy black top, matte black back and bottom, with a matte black grill around the two sides and front. Auvio added a nice touch to the front right corner where the corner is cut off at an angle and the silver Auvio brand is present. There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the speaker to keep it from sliding around a table.
On the left side of the top you will wee a brushed silver large control button. The four sides of the button are used for forward, backward, and volume up and down. The center button is used to answer and end calls or play and pause music. To the right of the large button are two indicator lights for battery status and Bluetooth connectivity. The mic opening is below the Bluetooth status indicator. On the back there is a power switch, miniUSB port, and 3.5mm audio in port. I would have preferred to have seen a microUSB port since that is the standard today, but at least they do include a miniUSB cable to charge up the speaker. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to six hours and takes just under three hours to charge.
Audio sounded quite good on the speaker and it is more than adequate for audio in the office or work area. The speaker is not loud enough to provide audio for a large party or an entire home, but at $80 it is perfect for many of the scenarios where a person might use such a speaker. I made a couple of conference calls and was pleased with the call quality as well.
As you can see in this image, I have the Braven 650, Jambox, and Beats Pill to use for comparison purposes.
I personally prefer to use earbuds for listening to music while commuting, but there are people who like Bluetooth headphones for music and movies as well as listening to audio while in the office. The Auvio Bluetooth Headphones are available for $99.99. These are not active noise-canceling headphones and there is no option for connecting the headphones with a cable.
The Auvio headphones are quite a bit smaller than some recent over/on the ear headphones I have been trying and are extremely lightweight. The retail package includes the headphones, soft zippered carrying case, User's Guide, and USB charging cable. The charging connector is unique to the device and again I wish they would have used microUSB. There is extra padding on the inside of the top to make it comfortable on your head. The headphones and earpiece arms are covered in soft touch material. The earpieces are covered in soft leather material.
The charging port and indicator light are found on the left side. All the business takes place on the right earpiece where you will find volume up and down buttons down towards the button. On the outside of the earpiece there is the forward and rewind buttons, play/pause button, and multifunction key. The multifunction key is used to pair the headphones as well as answer and end calls. Auvio states that the headphones will last for up to 9 hours of talk or music playback. Specs include 20-20,000 Hz frequency response, 32 Ohms impedance, and 101 dB sensitivity.
The headphones are light and quite comfortable. They are also small so they do not block out all ambient sound. The buttons are large so it is easy to control the audio. I made a couple calls with the headphones and they sounded just fine.
I was surprised by the quality and performance of all three of these RadioShack Auvio products and if you are looking for decent audio products at great prices then you may want to check them out. I would like to see the speaker and headphones use a common microUSB port since they are readily available to make keeping things charged easily. I do think that many high end products have higher quality and performance, but it is nice to see low cost options.