Multishare USB Jak Hardware Review

Multishare USB Jak Hardware Review

May 20, 2013

As I have become more dependent on my Android smartphone I have started working more with streamed content. Reviewing the bCoda Jak gave me an opportunity to look at another way to use my device to be a multimedia dynamo. Better yet, in a house like mine with several Android devices (and consequently several different streams), the Jak promises to allows the user to wirelessly stream pictures, music and video clips from Android devices to stuff like TVs, projectors, car stereos and other smart devices with USB input.

I am still surprised at how small and lightweight the review piece is. It is about about the size of an ordinary portable jump drive, but lighter. It came in gentle green and, in my eyes, quite humble looking.jak4

The biggest part was pairing it. With the companion app from the Play Store, it was surprisingly easy. It handled the pairing and even updating the devices firmware. In my opinion, seamless pairing like this should be the norm with regards to this type of matchups.

As noted, the Jak works as a plug-in media receiver for just about anything that has a USB port. I found the output to be far from shabby; it handled music and onboard clips well as long as I playlisted them with the companion app. In my testings with several devices, the Jak’s performance was close to flawless. On my laptop, it invoked the media player and piped it through just about as nicely as I would expect on-board music to play. I was able to stream from different devices seamlessly.

The biggest drawback was the file set-up. I had to have pre-created playlists. While that could be optimistically looked at as some needed rigidity in the needed world of Android, I do believe that I would have preferred a more organic way of accessing media. Also, it is universal, but as far as I could tell, the app is Android-only for now, so for multi-platform households, it might be a bit restricted.

I think the Jak can still be a relevant piece of the arsenal for folks who have multiple devices and/or several output peripherals. It’s handy size belies it’s overall functionality, and it is an excellent way to go BIG with media.

Coda One Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Coda One Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2013

My favorite technological concept? Convergence. In stark terms, I like to be as functional as possible while carrying as few devices as possible. It’s all about creating a hub of business, fun and everything in between, with my smartphone as the center.

This is one reason I found the multi-use Coda One Bluetooth Speaker so compelling. I mean, for real? This accessory promised to fill gaps with regards to mobile uses of bluetooth: car hand-free peripheral, wireless speakers and an ad-hoc handset.

Again… for real?

The review device came in an inviting package, with USB cable, clip and car lighter adapter. I really liked the build 2013-04-22 17.52.37quality; I have seen folks use the term “feels good in hand” very ambiguously. Well, it made sense with the Coda One. It easily avoided being a barbell, and the gentle heft made it feel pretty, dare I say, confident. The design was pleasantly atypical, and made sense within the context of the device’s pledged goals. It was black, sleek and nice to look at, with the minimalist buttons, lighted indicators and cleverly placed ports.

Pairing to my phone was easy. My Android device easily found it, and the device announced the pairing robustly. The Multi-Function Button was a catchall function toggle of sorts, allowing me to switch modes. For the true techies, it supports Bluetooth 3.0. It did well in distance tests, and the visor clip made car testing a pleasurable breeze. Call quality was good both ways.

As a bluetooth speaker, it performed well. The output was good at short range, which made it pretty nice as a car accessory. For music, it did as well, but didn’t have the range of more expensive pieces. I’m an admittedly poor excuse for an audiophile, but I still thought the bass could have been a bit crisper. For stuff like music and podcasts, it held its own when close to me; at distance it was not as sharp.

I thought the use of the handset function was a bit gimmicky at first, but I found a major use for it: the final piece of a VOIP telephony solution for a tablet.For calls that came in while using the speakers, I simply adjusted volume and placed to my ear. Of course, the sound stream was not as direct as a “real” handset, but it did an adequate job.

All in all, the Coda Onemay not blow the roof off in any one category, but I felt its true value is in its overall utility and portability. It easily became close to indispensable, something that can be used for many things. It can be purchased on Newegg, eBay and Amazon, and moreinfo on this and other bCoda products can be found on Twitter and Facebook.