You come in from a hot, sweaty commute, bopping to the Rachmaninov on your iPod, frug your way into the bathroom, strip off and then what? Risk jumping into the bath clutching iPod in one hand and hoping that you can keep your Sennheisers from getting wet? I think not, mon ami. You want to get yourself some of those iPod speakers.
Crave loves iPod accessories, but sadly many of the smaller standalone speaker systems we've heard are very disappointing. It's tragic to hear that faux-hi-fi iPod sound come burbling out of a white plastic accessory that sounds like an old tranny.
We've been hurt before, but at Crave we want to believe that a small arrangement of white plastic that costs less than 50 can make beautiful music. So let's take the Intempo Digital iDS-01 out of the box. Continue reading...
Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, is no stranger to the movie world. He founded Pixar back in 1986 and the animation studio went on to produce some of the world's most lucrative computer-animated films, including Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Now it looks like Jobs might be equipping the iPod to play back these same movies in a portable format. If the rumours are true, we can't wait to get our greedy little Crave lips around this treat.
We don't have any (genuine) pictures of the the video iPod, and Apple has yet to give any official confirmation that their Cupertino Oompa Loompas are working on the device. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has approached record labels and television companies about licensing their content. Plus Silicon Valley is going even more nuts than usual with frenzied speculation. Sounds convincing enough for us. Continue reading...
We noticed an interesting phenomenon at Glastonbury this year: instead of flyering or selling CDs, a lot of bands were handing out plastic cards on plug-chains. Intrigued, a Craver snatched one of these contraptions out of the hands of a promoter and scurried away into the crowds. It turns out these are a new means of getting demo tracks into the hands of fans. Most cards entitle you to one free iTunes download of an artist's music.
It's an ingenious means of self-promotion. These iTunes cards are much cheaper than a CD, and better-looking than a flyer. When a band you like hands you a card, you can type the card's unique code into iTunes and get downloading their tracks straightaway.
The iPod Mini turns at the end of the catwalk, flashes us a knowing smile, whirls its Clickwheel erotically and prances off into the dressing rooms. Here, iPods preen themselves, admiring each other's Dunhill leather cases and Belkin speakers, while others hum iTunes songs in the loo.
"Look at my delicious Bose speakers", one iPod drawls from a badly lipsticked USB port. "Check out my Logitech wireless headphones", says a blue iPod Mini while she adjusts the wig on an iPod Photo with a Griffin Airclick add-on.
The world of iPod accessories is a wild one, so Crave expected to enjoy Apple's iPod fashion show in London's Sketch club. We gazed with wide eyes as iPods flaunted this season's hottest accessories. Continue reading...
Two days after its launch and iTunes 4.9 has racked up over one million podcast subscriptions already. We've downloaded the new edition and spent the morning checking out what this software is capable of. If you've yet to dip your toe in the podcast world, now's the time. For the uninitiated, podcasting lets you subscribe to free radio shows, or podcasts, and have those shows automatically downloaded by your computer. You can either listen to them in iTunes or transfer them to your iPod.
Previously a bit of a maverick effort, Apple's integration of podcasting into the latest edition of iTunes has legitimised this hobbyist pursuit. As one pundit puts it, "Gourmet coffee was around for a long time, but it took Starbucks to put it on the map. Apple is like the Starbucks of podcasting." Continue reading...
The Americans have had it for years, but it's only just begun to arrive here. No, not gun crime, but Audible -- the spoken word MP3 website.
We all listen to music on our iPods, but you might not have considered listening to books-on-tape. Audible offer a convincing proposition: for £9.49 a month, you can download your favourite audio books, comedy, drama, radio programmes and audio editions of newspapers and magazines to play back on your iPod or MP3 player. Continue reading...
When you think digital radios, the cool minimalism of a PURE Digital may come to mind. But what if you want a blingtastic chromed-up silver egg? Step forward the GCR 1930 DAB stereo clock radio from Goodmans.
It's the size of an Easter egg from someone who doesn't want to buy you a really big Easter egg, but doesn't think a creme egg will quite cut it, and it offers everything you would expect in a stereo clock radio. Goodmans claim it's available 'in chrome and frosted glass effect finish'. In other words, silver and green plastic. To be honest, it looks a bit of a dog's dinner: from the front it's mainly egg, from the back the speakers makes it look like a menacing alien. Perhaps he wants his egg back.
If these MP3 players get any smaller we're going to end up inhaling one. It's not easy to tell from this photo, but the Samsung YP-T7 is the same size as a box of matches.Before you molest us with all the standard questions, yes, it does fit completely within the average human mouth. Yes, it will make short people look enormous. Yes, it is precisely one third the size of the standard iPod (to the millimetre -- is this some kind of conspiracy?).
So, Sony NW-E507, how do you plan to beat the iPod?
One of us will face the future, and one of us faces eternal darkness.
Right. You're the same size and shape as the iPod Shuffle, what makes you better than Apple's offerings?
I've got a serious-looking 'organic' LCD screen and a 50-hour battery life. Yeah, you heard me, fifty hours. When the iPod Shuffle runs out of steam, I'm going to throw him over the top rope, drag him down Know Your Place Avenue and check him into the Smackdown Hotel.
Sometimes Crave feels like there's only one way of writing about an MP3 player. We say that it could be an iPod killer, and tease you with the possibility that it's the non-Apple holy-grail of MP3 players you've been looking for. We work you into a frenzy. You are forced to read on.
You follow helplessly like an alcoholic behind a leaking Fuller's lorry. But then, just before you scream "God! This is it, they've finally killed the iPod!" we throw back the curtain -- and reveal that it's just another perfectly handsome but slightly less-able iPod imitation.
The Archos AV400 has been pronounced the world's best portable PVR, but we sceptical types at Crave don't take such claims lightly. Not only have we got hold of one to give it the thrashing of its little life, we've got the new upgraded 80GB model. Apple iPod 60GB? Ha! The Archos laughs at such puny storage.
First impressions of the AV400 are good -- it has a nice weight that will certainly hurt an opponent should we need to use it as a weapon, but with soft rubbery corners to help protect it when we inevitably drop the thing. We've built up a library of DivX files from all the portable players we've had in, and when we loaded them on the Archos there were some definite problems. The first episode of 24 looked amazingly crisp, but it was dropping frames and looked incredibly jerky. As a result, Kim Bauer's constant running wasn't nearly as satisfying to watch.
Welcome to the new Crave. We thought Crave's crack team of highly-trained gadget monkeys were having far too much fun to be left on their own, so we've decided to join them and Crave is now part of CNET.co.uk, a brand new Web site which launches today.
Crave will continue to keep you up to date on the latest gadget gossip, but will now also be able to give you access to in-depth product reviews on many of the things the Crave team have been lusting after, as well as to personal technology and consumer electronics News and Digital Living features to help you make sense of the technology you already own.
Oooooh! Pretty little thing isn't it? We can't help feeling its body all over, which is lucky because the Olympus M:Robe is a touch-screen MP3 player and digital photo viewer. Decked in black, it's an anti-iPod with a difference -- this one is actually plausible competition.
Jammed inside the M:Robe there's a 1.3 megapixel camera, a 20GB hard disk and a battery capable of 12 hour stints. If you're into visualisations, this MP3 player will sychronise graphics with music for that authentic club feeling on the 8am to Waterloo. Expect a full review soon. -CS Continue reading...
Although the movie buff gets a bad rep when he starts talking about the films of Kurosawa down the pub, for our money the music buff is far more annoying. You know, the guy who’ll tell you he saw Franz Ferdinand when they were playing pubs in Glasgow, who has that new Gorillaz album on Japanese import and who'll tell you whatever you have on your iPod is offensive to his impeccable musical taste.
But thanks to Sennheiser's RS 140s, you can finally stick it to 'im. The company's headphones have long been the choice of the musically attuned, but its new wireless technology makes them interesting to gadget fans as well. Thanks to clever use of FM waves they work up to 150m away from the transmitter -- you could even go for a quick jog with them on. In fact, when you lose the signal, you know that you've been exercising too much and should come back to the comforting warmth of your computer and the Crave website.
Can you recommend a good wireless streaming device? Nothing too fancy -- I just want to stream some MP3s around the house. Continue reading...
The buzz is building about Toshiba's Gigabeat range of MP3 players, set to launch in July. We like the look of these toothsome players, and it will be interesting to see how Apple responds to a rival taking a bite out of its portable music market with an impressively featured product.
First of all, the integrated 'Napster To Go' service lets you add anything you like to the player for £14.95 a month, with a selection of over 1 million tracks available. This should mean that filling the 10GB, 20GB, 40GB or 60GB sizes won't be too much of a challenge, but you can also transfer and store digital photos to view on the high resolution colour screen. As with the iPod photo, the screen will also display the current album cover.
When demo products arrive at Crave they look pristine. After our little devils have conducted their brutal testing, they're tangled bits of metal and broken circuit board. Not so the MP3 run: the tramp of sports players. This player arrived pre-soiled; the sweat of a dead man barely dry on its control pad.
We can already tell that the MP3 Run won't look great after a few weeks of use, because whoever reviewed it before us left sickly dark smudges on the cream coloured upholstry. There was no easy way of cleaning these stigmata off.
If there's one thing that frustrates us about the iPod, it's not being able to stop the music when you need to listen to someone -- the stranger in the lift, the friend in the street, the barista in the coffee shop. OK, the iPod has a Pause button, but pressing it doesn't do anything as we always have the Hold switch on. Otherwise the volume keeps changing as the player bumps around in our pockets. Grr.
In a perfect world, there'd be a way round this. You'd be able to configure the Pause button to override the Hold switch, in the same way that the Answer button always works on your phone, even when the other keys are locked. In our imperfect world, you can buy Apple's wired remote, but you don't get much sex appeal for your 25.
Wireless remotes are much cooler... Continue reading...
This is a device we long for so much our mouths have gone dry from dribbling all over the Cambridge Audio catalogue. The Azur 640h is Cambridge’s as-yet-unreleased music server. It’s a hybrid CD player that can store 300 uncompressed CDs on its internal hard disk and stream these over a wireless network.
If you’re a stickler for high-quality audio, MP3s don't cut it. Although they sound great on headphones and most low-end stereos, MP3s can't compete with the gut-punching authority of a 44.1kHz CD. The Azur doesn’t have to convert your CDs to MP3s (although it can). Instead, it records the uncompressed audio from your CDs at full resolution, so you won’t lose any of the original signal. Music played back from the hard disk will sound the same as the original CD.