Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Dec 1, 2014

Antec should be known by now for its mostly great, affordable accessories; we’ve had the opportunity to look at several of its offerings. Its line of headphones, as exemplified by the PULSE (which we reviewed a few months ago), are nice value propositions, and we expected similar of the Antec PULSE Lite Bluetooth Headphones that were sent to us to review.

So what comes in the box? Well, there’s the white headphones, matching white micro-USB charging cable, and ( I liked this small touch) a simple black drawstring carrying pouch.

The unit itself has a mostly hard plastic finish, with soft vinyl framing the ear cups. The headband is fairly thin, and is extensible by making use of a sliding mechanism that allows it to be adjusted to head size. The headphones have an interesting joint configuration at the cups, such that the cups can be turned “out” and folded up, making them more compact — and essentially, more portable — when not in use. The left cup is the business cup, housing the volume dial, micro-USB port and LED. The volume dial also serves as the Play/Pause and power button.


Altogether, it feels well constructed, and is reasonably comfortable on head.

Pairing it involved getting it juiced up, and then using the aforementioned power button to put the device into pairing mode. After pairing, we got to try out the unit in the real world. It works surprisingly well, providing decent output; it works well with different type of audio, with decent bass presentation. True audiophiles might consider some aspects of the output a bit muddy, but for the most part, it reflects sound quite well. The built-in microphone means calls can be handled if paired with a telephony device.

When compared to its big brother, the Pulse, one does notice the design differences; for example, I believe the former is more comfortable,and manages to be a better sound source overall. The range is on the low end, and I did notice infrequent interference when walls blocked line of sight. One thing I would have dearly loved is optional wired output, but hey, to be fair, more features equals less affordability.

All in all, at $48.99 (via Amazon), it won’t break the bank, and is a decent offering for the price range.

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Oct 16, 2014

Yes, batteries in mobile devices have gotten better, but in the spirit of being prepared, it just makes sense to have a backup plan. Way back when, getting a couple extra OEM batteries was sufficient. Now, sealed batteries are more commonplace, and having multiple devices at any given time is not unheard of; in any case, all those extra batteries start to add up.

Nah, it makes sense to have a portable battery, and when it comes to mobile power solutions, few are as capable of Antec; hence, checking out the new LifeBar 10 Portable Charger is far from a chore.

It’s a slick-looking unit, with subtly angled corners gently pulling out octagon-ish shapings from “regular” cuboid. At one end, there is a 5V DC micro-USB port that is itself bordered by two USB output ports.There are LED lights and a reset button. The polished exterior is nice to hold, and size-wise, it is quite pocketable at 5.39 x 2.81 x 0.51 inches and 9 ounces. Visually, it feels like it manages to be be stoic and relaxed at the same time.lb2 The review package (retail) also contained a white USB cable and documentation.

It’s advertised as a 10,000 mAh charger, so expectations are high. The LifeBar 10 came with half a charge, so I was able to get it going immediately. I tried it with several devices: S5, M8 and several devices. The charging rate is equitable, even when used to charge other charging units. With two devices being charged simultaneously, I wasn’t able to discern any loss of rate. Little things like the LED flashlight also make it a bit more useful in a crunch.

Also, the standby time is fairly remarkable; It held charge over several days.

Antec, with this piece, shows it is possible to have a decent product that, well, isn’t ashamed of looking good. It is fine accessory, and if we should be so lucky, its manufacturer won’t tire of bringing similar style to the marketplace.

Antec 4-Port USB Charging Station Hardware Review

Antec 4-Port USB Charging Station Hardware Review

Oct 3, 2014

I love my gadgets.

I’m told that as far as addictions go, it could be much worse, so there is that. With a family that likes to be connected, the most important resource in our home can sometimes be an unoccupied power outlet. With that in mind, and keeping with the drive to keep solutions simple, it’s relatively easily to see why a gadget like the Antec 4-Port USB Charging Station would catch one’s eye.

As with most things from Antec, the device looks sleek without being overly flashy, compact and seemingly well constructed. It is in the rough shape of a rectangular cuboid, except that the hard plastic exterior tapers into a curve on the one side of its 5x5x6 inch frame; it isn’t too heavy either at less than 13 ounces, and the sedate finish is only really broken by the USB ports and input slot. There is an LED indicator at the top; the package also comes with AC cable and documentation.

The four-port description in the product title pretty much tells us what to expect: it packs a pair each of 1A and 2A USB output ports so that one can charge multiple devices via this one piece. Officially, the wattage output tops out at 25W and 5A, uses AC input (100-240Vac, 0.8A, 50-60Hz) and offers temperature, voltage and short circuit protection.


In practice, this unit simply works. The 2A ports do charge noticeably faster than the 1A ports, and I also liked the latent benefit of having a neater charging area, as it helps give a bit of structure to the wayward cables. I was able to use it with phones, tablets and external batteries. It works as advertised with everything I threw at it. Because of it’s size, it is also infinitely portable, and is perfect for the go bag.

It’s probably not something I would have thought about prior, but is something I’d now rather not be without. The power hub is easy to use, and just makes sense to have.

Antec PULSE Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Antec PULSE Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Jul 14, 2014

The push to going wireless is alive and well, and Antec seems to be quite willing to take on the challenge, especially with its a.m.p PULSE Wireless Headphones

The review box which was provided to us showed the attention paid to product packaging. The product comes with the headphones, micro-USB cord, wall plug-in pins, 3.55 mm male-to-male audio cable, a carrying case with carabiner and paperwork.

The contoured black frame is mostly wrapped in somewhat glossy hard plastic with bendable ends that fold inside, a feature one almost expects in over-ear headphones to encourage compactness and portability. The cans are covered by soft, perforated material, and there is metal on the insides of the unit. The topmost inner part also has foam padding, and the cans are jointed, which allows them to rotate somewhat on a connecting axis. The right side has a micro-USB charging port, as well as a 3.55 mm port for wired sound feed. Also nestled on the right side are the track controls, volume rocker, LED light and power button. On the head, it is quite comfortable, and the innate flexibility of the set works well in real life, even when at rest around the neck, which it can do at 6.4 ounces.


Charging didn’t take too long, and pairing it via the Bluetooth 3.0 chip to an audio source is easy and intuitive; it’s a simple matter of tapping and holding the power button till the LED alternates rapidly between red and blue, and finding the headphones and linking from the source device. It worked well with all types of audio, and the clarity was quite impressive. The bass output isn’t as sharp with some songs, but overall, it was loud enough in the ear. It streams close to the advertised 32 feet distance.

It also works with wire via the removable audio cable. This gives the set even more functionality. The “call”button, which is smoothly incorporated to the right end, is a nice touch. The call quality can be a bit jagged though.

All in all, while the exterior part of the device is prone to smudging, and the joints make me wonder about how it will hold up in the long term, I still think it is a decent value overall.

The Antec AMP Pulse Bluetooth Wireless Headphones is available for $79.99 via

Antec a.m.p. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Antec a.m.p. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Jul 10, 2014

Portable output devices have more-or-less become must-have mobile accessories. Music? Podcasts? Word Cup audio? Heck, what about hands-free phone calls? These are things that the Antec a.m.p. SP-1 Bluetooth Speaker purports to take care of.

Antec was kind enough to provide us with a review sample; the clear casing hints at the product within, and the extra covering contains a male-to-male coaxial audio cable and a micro-usb cord. We received the pink units (it also comes in black, white, orange, red, blue and green).

The unit itself isn’t too big at all, coming in at 1.6 x 6.2 x 2.4 inches and weighing in at 1.3 lbs. The exterior is made up of hard plastic, and the entire shape is slightly trapezoid in appearance, with perforated labels taking up opposite long faces. On the one end, there are ports for the audio cable and charging, along with an on toggle. On “top” of the unit are hardware buttons for volume and pairing.


Pairing? Like most Antec Bluetooth products, pairing is seamless, as long as the unit retains a charge.

In real life, it does well with producing sound. it isn’t ear-splitting, but the monaural output is pleasing, if a teeny bit hollow-ish at the highest volumes. It boasts an official range of 30 ft, and in regular testing, I was able to maintain a connection just a little short of that in open space; walls and such introduced more distortion quicker at further distances. It also came close the advertised 10 hours of usage time.

An additional feature that it has that is becoming more ubiquitous across the board is the the speakerphone capability. When paired to a telephony device, it is possible to answer and converse with callers via the built-in speakerphone.

It’s a compact device that has great sound and multiple uses, which make it a viable option, even, I daresay, to stereo output snobs. Officially, it is listed at $99, though it can be had for cheaper via other online retailers.

Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver Hardware Review

Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver Hardware Review

Apr 29, 2014

When it comes to accessories, it’s easy to go for stuff that increases the functionality of existing hardware. That’s why stuff like Antec SmartBean Bluetooth Receiver is so relevant.

As the review unit Antec sent us showed, the device is relatively small, with gentle edges; the square body tapers into a clip that forms on the backside. There is a 3.55 mm slot that is built into the tapering top, while there is a micro-usb charging port at the bottom and a microphone hole on the side. It’s mostly made of hard plastic, mostly white with a light blue frame that encircles the white center square that serves as the play/pause button. On said blue frame, there are are control buttons forwarding and rewinding/skipping and volume. The clip is firm without being rigid, and altogether, it’s a compact piece of hardware that feels exceptionally light in hand. Also packaged with the unit is a USB cable and documentation. The unit is also offered with grey or pink accents.

Out of the box, the SmartBean requires a stated 2.5 hours of charging to prep it for pairing. After the sb8requisite charge time, long-pressing on the center button puts the gadget into pairing mode, and getting it linked to a Bluetooth source is easy as it gets. After the pairing, the utility of the gadget really comes forth.

What the SmartBean does is convert audio output devices with the standard 3.55mm input jacks into pseudo-Bluetooth devices; it is, in essence a wireless receiver. I connected a bunch of different headphones and wired speakers, and the puck handled the audio duties very well. The audio fidelity transfers well, with hardly any noticeable distortion. Smartphones, tablets, mp3 players, TVs, car auxiliary ports and more with coaxial connectivity are all supported, and the lessened amount of wires is nothing but positive. The presence of rechargeable battery can’t be taken for granted, as some competing products do not include this.

I liked the ability to take calls with the unit; on non-continuous calls, it came close to the advertised six hours of talk time. It claims a standby time of 130 hours too.

The range isn’t unlimited, of course, and with walls and such between the source and output, the audio did cut out, so the closer the streaming source, the better. Another gripe I have is one I have with several Bluetooth peripherals: the infernal flashing blue light. Yes, it makes sense, and it is a good indicator, but there are times I wish I could toggle it off.

When it comes down to it, the drawbacks don’t even come close to taking preventing the SmartBean from being a great pickup; pricing and functionality make it that much more of a steal.