CES 2016 - Portable Music Summary

January 10, 2016

The start of the year always heralds a packed week in Las Vegas where the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hits full swing. The 2016 edition is no different. We summarize all the latest in the portable music scene.

Jaybird - The Freedom Wireless and X3 Wireless earphones. What is new is that these 2 units will be app driven. Check out our coverage on these sports in-ears.

JBL - The UA Headphones Wireless Heart Rate is a partnership with Under Armour. Apart from checking your heart rate at the touch of a button, there's a sweat-proof IPX5 rating and it comes with a 12-month MapMyFitness subscription. These Bluetooth clip-ons have a 5h battery life, go for USD 250 and will be available in Spring 2016.

The Sony WS414 Walkman promises a design that is salt-water proof and dust-proof. The 32g unit has an 8GB config, comes in black / ivory / blue / lime green and is available from March.

Totally Wireless Earphones
Although announced a while back, Bragi, Earin and Kanoa all proudly displayed their totally wireless earbuds. The Bragi Dash fitness-oriented device has 4GB storage and touch controls to track your jogging performance. 
Bragi Dash
Earin's super light 3.5 gram unit have a simple design that comes with a nifty charging capsule. This SGD 349 (USD 250 - 300) unit is already in production and we're currently reviewing this unit. Stay tuned!

The Kanoa offers water-resistance, a 6h battery life and hits the shops in May. USD 300 for these.

Neckband Headphones (Around-The-Neck Phones)
JBL - The Everest Elite 100 Bluetooth earphones rest around your neck and come with active noise canceling (ANC). They come with a 6h battery life and come in black / white variants. The Elite 100 will cost a fair USD 199 and will hit the shops in March. 
LG - The successful Tone series continues its legacy with the launch of the Tone Infinim (HBS-910) and Tone HBS-810 Ultra. They appear to have a better battery life than its predecessors and will be available in black / silver / rose gold from February in Asia.

Sony - The h.ear in Wireless is a Bluetooth neckband headphone, which is powered by a 9mm driver unit. Interestingly, there is a regular minijack for a connection to your source device when the battery runs out. Available in May.

Audeze - The SINE On-Ear Headphone, designed by BMW DesignWorksUSA, are supposedly the world's first on-ear planar-magnetic headphones. This translates to the promise of the sound of a larger model despite its lightweight leather-clad 230g frame. These wired cans go for USD 500 and are already available. Oh, and the Lightning cable is an option.

Technics - The EAH-T700 is one solidly (think aluminum) engineered pair of over-ears. The 470g weight put us in a fix as this is a unit likely meant for the home rather than to be used on the road. Powered by a 50mm dynamic driver and 14mm 'super tweeter', they promise a more than decent level of sound quality. The price is also more than decent at a heart-stopping USD 1,200.

Sony - h.ear on Wireless NC is as it says. Despite being a pair of digital noise canceling Bluetooth headphones, it still offers an impressive 20h of battery life. They are available in the same colors as its wired brethren released last year. Available in May. 

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  1. Headphones — the original wearable tech — have grown up. They've also become specialized; there's a pair for every use, from sweat-resistant fitness headphones to commuter-friendly active noise-cancelling cans. And each of those types comes with different fit options: on-ear, over-ear or in-ear.


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