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.

KickStarter Spotlight: Intellacase

KickStarter Spotlight: Intellacase

Jan 30, 2013

It is amazing how many times I leave my phone in the car or forget to bring my keys out with me. Consolidating these two would be a dream and there are a few solutions available but their effectiveness is very questionable. One of the more complete and involved KickStarter projects that we have spotlit here, Intellacase is a smartphone case that incorportes within it a key fab for any modern car with keyless entry. While this does nothing for most car owners who still reside in the land of metallic gateways, a growing number of affordable cars are adopting the keyless ignition as a viable offering. Certainly for anyone who has a car that utilizes keyless technology this is an incredibly attractive opportunity. Image going out on the town, with the increasing prevalence of NFC payments, and being able to bring just a phone which has access to both wallet and car access.

Intellacase’s success hinges on automobile manufacturers adopting this and cooperating, and fortunately there are an incredible number of companies who have already hopped on board. These include major players such as Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura, Audi, and BMW. That kind of across-the-board commitment at such an early time in a product’s infancy is amazing and very impressive. One potential problem with attaching keys to a phone is that there are times where the owner is not the one who is driving, and for those who can afford restaurants with valet services, having keys tied to a smartphone is not exactly practical. Thankfully, the designers of Intellacase have made the intelligent choice to make the key component completely removable.

From just a few quick looks at the KickStarter page I unfortunately see a few problems that need to be addressed. Firstly, Intellacase is packing some serious junk in the trunk. It is huge. The large buttons on the back combined with the almost smartphone size of the detachable key fab make handling solely the keys seem very unwieldily. Unless the girth of the Intellacase is reduced I have a hard time seeing it becoming a must-have, especially considering that as of now a majority of the people it caters to can be very discerning about appearances. My other gripe is that it, as of now, is only offered on three phone designs: the iPhone 4 & 4S, iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III. This should be increased over time but it does highlight a problem with producing shelled cases which is that they can only sell to the people who own the phones that they support, and this will ultimately limit Intellacase’s appeal even more. All this being said I still feel that in the long run Intellacase will be incredibly popular and with their head start on the competition I can certainly see them being major players in the future.

Acceler8 Review

Acceler8 Review

Jan 5, 2012

As I believe I have mentioned before, I’m a terrible (video game) driver, meaning my total lack of steering skills has me constantly crashing into barriers. Acceler8 is different though, in that you and the rugged little cars are not racing on tracks, but on open dusty plains and dunes. And when a giant hill gets in your way you can always drive over it. Very satisfying.

At first it appears that there is not much new in concept, that it is your standard racing game. But the difference becomes apparent when you see the vehicles. Low cabs, aerodynamic frames, and giant tires. These vehicles just look like are meant to be driven in the desert. They want to go up cliff faces and down into valleys. And luckily the developers have made all of that possible.

They’ve been quite creative with the different tracks, making use of different climates and scenarios. One is an ice-covered landscape which will challenge your handling skills. Another has a cross-over which can lead to hilarious accidents. And another has you facing oncoming traffic. There are even night time races, with the stars shining overhead.

The game controls are exactly what you’d expect. Tilt to turn, with the option to adjust sensitivity to compensate for your own comfort level. For example I have a tendency to flail a bit when I play, so I needed to tone down the responsiveness to stop it from being just tragic.
You can choose your cars based on their handling/speed capabilities, and winning races earns you the cash needed to buy better, stronger vehicles. You also must unlock each successive track to play it, so there is always a goal for you to reach.

I’m such a big fan of the “screw it, I’m going over” attitude toward racing that I’m very glad the developers have made that possible. The cars are fun to drive, and the landscapes look very gritty and real.

It’s unfortunate though that the graphics processing speed needed to keep up with the cars just isn’t there. I had no problems when doing time trials, but as soon as I began racing other cars the graphics suddenly got very stilted and blocky. In fact the ground under each car literally became a glitchy block of colour. Perhaps have improvements are in order.