JBL Unveils Authentics Series Of High-End Wireless Speaker Systems

In an unexpected surprise, JBL has unveiled two high profile wireless speakers at CES 2014, which are part of the company's new Authentics series. The JBL Authentics L16 (above) and JBL Authentics L8 wireless speaker systems both feature wireless Qi charging surfaces that will keep your smartphone charged as well as AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth connectivity, enabling audio to be streamed from any wireless device, as well as a seamless precision cut foam grill inspired by the legendary JBL Century L100 loudspeaker.

They feature authentic materials, system optimized low-frequency and high-frequency JBL transducers, and the meticulous acoustic design that is expected from JBL. With JBL Authentics speakers' 24-bit / 96 kHz digital signal path, you'll hear studio-quality sound. Audio CDs reproduce sound at a 44.1 kHz sample rate, at 16 bits per sample. But recording studios work at a 96 kHz sample rate, with 24 bits per sample. The JBL Authentics L16 and L8 wireless speaker systems support this higher, studio-quality sample rate and bit depth, all the way through.  The result is jaw-dropping audio quality and a wide stereo image from a single enclosure, ideal for any audiophile.

The JBL Authentics L16 Sound System features a walnut-veneered enclosure and supercharged three-way sound, with six 50W amplifiers driving six speakers to fill any room with exceptional volume and unbeatable audio at studio-quality 96 kHz/24 bit.  The JBL Authentics L16 also boasts all-around connectivity via AirPlay, DNLA and Bluetooth, as well as analog, optical, and on board moving coil and moving magnet phono preamps. The free JBL Music™ app gives control over the speaker through both iOS and Android mobile devices. JBL's L16 can be pre-ordered today for $1,000, and is expected to ship next month.

The JBL Authentics L8 Sound System is housed in a wooden enclosure with a gloss black piano-quality finish. JBL Authentics L8 Sound System supports studio-quality audio, at 96 kHz/24 bit.  Its exceptional audio quality comes with the latest wireless technology for connectivity with a wide range of devices via AirPlay, DNLA and Bluetooth as well as optical.  The free JBL Music™ app turns any iOS or Android mobile device into a remote control.  Enjoy studio-quality stereo JBL sound and wireless versatility from a single, stylish enclosure. JBL's L8 can be pre-ordered today for $600, and is expected to ship next month.

Harman Kardon's Aura Wireless Speaker System Combines AirPlay With Transparent Beauty

Harman Kardon's beautifully designed new Aura wireless AirPlay speaker is a self-contained home audio system combining the ultra-modern performance and precision of a hi-fi luxury sound system, whilst also boasting a unique, iconic transparent dome design inspired greatly by Harman Kardon's SoundSticks subwoofer. The Aura has a sound as rich and rewarding as its appearance with six 1.5" high and mid-range transducers plus a built-in 4.5" subwoofer delivering superior, Omni-directional, 360 degree sound. While elite features like built-in wireless Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay lossless audio streaming and DLNA introduce you to the convenience and multi-function advantages of complete connectivity. Harman Kardon's Aura is available now for $400.

Nir Schneider


JBL Intros Flip 2 Portable Wireless Speaker

JBL has introduced a new successor to its highly popular Flip portable Bluetooth speaker that brings with it feature and sound enhancements in an otherwise unchanged, familiar cylindrical shape; albeit with a subtle updated metal grille design. The award-winning Flip 2 portable wireless speaker by JBL brings rich sound into your portable lifestyle. The Flip 2 uses dual 40mm drivers and a built-in bass port in a speaker that fits in your hand. Plus it has a built in microphones and SoundClear echo and noise cancellation technologies so you can use Flip 2 as a hands free speakerphone and never miss a word.

The key notable differences over its predecessor is that now the Flip 2 uses a more traditional and convenientcharging method using a micro-USB port which will let users charge their Flip 2 speaker from any USB power. There's also a new white LED battery status gauge at the back, NFC support for quick tap-to-pair functionality, as well as a redesigned on-board button control cluster similar to JBL's Pulse speaker. The Flip 2 has the same 5-hour battery life as the original Flip speaker, yet it's slightly more powerful. JBL's Flip 2 is now out and available for $130 in black, white, red, yellow and blue colors.

Nir Schneider


Dell Introduces Affordable 28-inch 4K LED Monitor

Dell finally unveiled its new 4K display today at the CES 2014 showroom floor, and it's surprisingly affordable coming in at $700, which makes it the least expensive 28-inch 4K monitor currently on the market. Dell's P2815Q Ultra HD display features a premium IPS TN LED panel with a wide screen real estate of 28-inches, and a screen resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. The P2815Q features multiple input ports, and offers multiple adjustability features such as pivot, tilt, height, and portrait orientation adjustment control. It'll launch globally on January 23. The real question is, will it have a glossy or matte display? The answer to that question will remain unanswered for now, but we have a feeling it'll be matte.

Update: We now have more details about Dell's P2815Q:

  • 3840x2160 resolution at 30Hz, or 60Hz at 1920x1080 resolution
  • Anti-glare TN panel
  • Connections: DisplayPort (v 1.21)/Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4 (MHL 2.0), DispayPort out (MST), 1 USB upstream, 4 x USB 3.02 downstream (including 1 USB charging port with BC1.2 compliance devices on back)
  • Color Depth: 1.073 billion colors
  • Viewing angle: 170 degrees
  • Response time: 5ms
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Power Consumption: 75W

Nir Schneider


Lumo Lift Wearable Tracker Discretely Improves Your Posture

Didn't your mother always tell you to sit or stand up straight? Slouching can be a thing of the past thanks to this little wearable gadget created by a company called Lumo. It's called the Lumo Lift, and it's a little magnetic sensor clasp that attaches itself onto your clothing and gently vibrates whenever it detects that you've unknowingly turned into the hunchback of Notre Dame - so that you can straighten up your upper body posture at once.

Of course, it wouldn't be complete without a companion app to give you further data straight on your iPhone. It's also secretly a fitness tracker as it will track your daily activities and behaviours besides how well you've been keeping your shoulders back. If you're curious about your body and want a gentle way to discipline those poor daily habits of yours, Lumo Lift is one of the many new wearable trackers being released this year worth considering.

The Lumo Lift can be worn as a piece of arguably mundane jewelry, or discretely underneath clothing. The Lumo Lift will officially launch later this spring. But you can pre-order yours starting today for $69, in a brushed aluminum or black clasp flavors. Additional colored clasps are being sold separately for $10 in case you feel like customising that lapel pin-look.

Native Union's Jump Is A Smartphone Cable That Charges Itself

Jump is Native Union's one-of-a-kind, all-in-one Lightning connector cable and backup battery pack charger designed for the iPhone 5s, 5c and iPhone 5. Android, Windows Phone and any remaining BlackBerry users will be glad to know that the Jump is also being offered in a micro-USB version alongside the Lightning connector variant. Native Union's Jump combines a lengthy yet neatly organized Lightning connector to USB cable made out of a durable nylon material that works just like the one Apple provides with iPhones, but in the center it features a highly-portable battery pack with just enough juice to charge your iPhone back to 30% in case of an emergency battery drainage. You can technically use the Jump as a Lightning connector charge and sync cable with an iPad Air or iPad mini, but you definitely wouldn't want to use it as a backup battery charger for tablet use considering its ill-equipped battery capacity.

The all-in-one unit charges its built-in 800mAh rechargeable battery once it senses that your iPhone completed its charging, and intelligently switches the power from your computer's USB port or any other USB power adapter in order to charge itself without requiring additional charging cables like traditional backup battery packs. Though this may be an early flaw for the Jump if users won't be able to charge it by itself without having to connect its Lightning connector cable to an iPhone. Although we think Native Union may have simply left that small detail out with regards to charging the Jump on its own. Update: and indeed Native Union has reached out to us to clarify that the Jump will in fact recharge itself even when it isn't connected to a smartphone device.

The Jump features a cable organizer that let's you wrap excess cable when you're either charging your smartphone or fully wrap the 19" long cable around it when it's time to slip it into your pocket. And because the Jump is as light as two AA batteries and small enough to fit into your tiny coin pocket on your favorite pair of jeans, you won't have an excuse not to take it with you at all times. There are three battery status LED indicators to let you know the battery status of the Jump with a push of a button.

Native Union's Jump is currently available as an early pre-order gizmo over a Kickstarter for $35 - $40. Native Union is targeting the month of May as a final shipping date for pre-orders.

Monster Teams Up With UFC To Release Its Octagon Headphones

Monster is showcasing its new Octagon headphones at CES 2014, which Monster is releasing in partnership with UFC (Ultimate Fighter Championship) as the organization's official headphones. The headphones are designed to be unforgettably bold, featuring DJ-style swiveling over-ear cups with plush padded cushions and a red or black matte finish. Monster's new Octagon headphones have what may seem like an ultra-durable metal part construction.

Inspired and worn by world-class UFC athletes such as UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the Octagon headphones are designed to sustain the wear and tear of traveling and training. Features also include rotating ear cups, matte finish, and an ultra-durable construction.

They come included with a studio-type, detachable and anti-tangle coiled audio cable with an inline universal ControlTalk remote and mic module. Typical of Monster, no detailed specs were given regarding the Octagon's internal drivers. But the company says that its headphones feature Pure Monster Sound (whatever that means), and deep pounding bass. Classic Monster right there. They're available for pre-order right now for $280, and are expected to ship later this month. Batteries not required.

Nir Schneider