Monthly Archives: June 2013

3 Top of the Line Headphones for Running

Top of the Line Headphones for Running

Those who have an active lifestyle recognize that music is an integral part of their workout. There have been several scientific studies that proved this point. For instance, a New York Times article cited a study from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University in 2009. The team found that the subjects who listened to music while riding a stationary bike altered their degree of effort by 10%. It increased or decreased by that much, depending on the tempo. A similar study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2003 also found a 15% increase in the participants’ level of work due to music. Regardless of the results, it’s still hard to deny that a lot of people who exercise prefer to listen to music while doing their routines.

At the same time, many folks value sound quality too. After all, what good does your favorite song do if it sounds like a screeching tin can or a broken bass? More often than not, it will affect your mood as well as your performance. That’s why for individuals who work out regularly and likewise appreciate sound quality, there are top of the line running headphones for them.

While there are a plethora of headphones for running available in the market today, your choice should ultimately come down to the one with the best bang for your buck. In this article, we’ll look into three of them with good customer feedback and exceptional quality.

Bose SIE2i Sport Headphones (with mic)

Bose SIE2i Sport Headphones

This particular model comes with a mic. Bose claims that the audio is tonally balanced with crisp highs and deep lows, and that their very own StayHear tips conform securely and conveniently during intense workouts. It is also sweat and weather resistant. It’s compatible with most iOS and Android devices (3.5mm jack). All these features and more cost $149.95. With nearly 200 reviews, the consensus is that all the features of the Bose SIE2i work as advertised. It’s good for running even on extended hours and has clean sound. Even if they’re short, the cables don’t break easily. It’s expensive but worth the price.


Arriva Leo V2 Behind-the-Head Bluetooth Sports Earphone with Microphone

Arriva Leo V2 Behind-the-Head Bluetooth Sports Earphone with Microphone

This unit is Bluetooth-enabled as well as sweat and water resistant. You don’t have to worry about cables but will need to charge the battery every now and then. It is also lightweight at less than an ounce. For $70, does it live up to it’s claims? Customer feedback pretty much rated it as above average. Sound quality is better than many competing products. However, there were also some complaints about intermittent disconnections and convenience concerns.

 
 


Bang & Olufsen A8 Earphones

Bang & Olufsen A8 Earphones

The A8 is made of anodized aluminum and hard rubber. As a result, it delivers flexibility and durability. It also comes with a leather carrying case. At 0.8 ounces, it is as lightweight as the Arriva Leo V2. Although not positioned as a running headphone, it is sturdy enough to be used as one. As for the sound quality, it isn’t as good as the Bose SIE2i based on the reviews. Feedback is mixed on the “fit” department. At over $150, it looks good but isn’t for everyone.

 
 

3 of the Best Bike Locks Under $50

When it comes to the best bike locks available in the market today, it’s not surprising that the Kryptonite brand often comes on top. Since the early 1970’s, the company has developed a wide range of security products for bicycles, snow sports and power sports at different price points. Aside from Kryptonite’s reputation, it also prides itself in its legendary customer service, having replaced hundreds of thousands of locks for free as a testament to its commitment to provide truly secure products.

In this article, we’ll check out three of the finest bike locks for under 50 USD. Aside from the price, they were also selected based on hundreds of customer reviews.

Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock with 4-Foot Flex Cable

Kryptonite Kryptolok Series 2 Standard Bicycle U-Lock

This particular model from Kryptolok Series 2 comes with a Transit FlexFrame Bracket for easy mounting to the frame tubing. It also rotates 360 degrees in order to align with the bike’s frame more effectively. Moreover, it is made from 13mm hardened performance steel shackle which can resist cutting and leverage attacks. It’s disc-style cylinder is resistant to picking and drilling. At around $37, this is the best bike lock for it’s price point.

Pros:

  • The U-lock is sturdy as advertised. Crooks will have to bring a chainsaw with them to be able to cut through the metal. In other words, it will take them a while to get through the lock.
  • The price is a steal!

Cons:

  • The instruction manual is difficult to follow. It definitely needs improvement. You’ll be better off looking up for clearer instructions on YouTube.
  • The plastic mounting hardware isn’t easily replaceable and may also easily break.
  • At 3.6 lbs., it does add weight if you plan to carry the lock instead of mounting it.

Kryptonite Evolution Mini Bike U-Lock

Kryptonite Evolution Mini Bike U-Lock

The Evolution Mini Bike U-Lock from Kryptonite has an EZ-mount bracket as well as a lighted key for nighttime use. All in all, the package includes 3 keys (one is lighted and battery can be replaced). Like the Kryptolok Series 2, it also features a disc-style cylinder to better protect against picking and drilling. The steel shackle is made of 1/2 inch hardened high-grade carbon alloy. It has a short crossbar and shackle for a compact fit and better security. For a little less than $47, you’ll get a compact yet secure bike lock from one of the leading brands out there.

 
 
Pros:

  • At 2.3 lbs., it is lightweight and small enough (3″ x 5.5″) to fit in your back pocket – it’s greatest selling point.
  • Because it’s small, thieves will have a hard time getting through the lock with their tools.

Cons:

  • Will rust if left in the rain for prolonged periods.
  • The mounting bracket is sub-par and does not stay secure.

Master Lock 8291DPS Tuff Links Keyed 3-Foot Chain Lock

Master Lock 8291DPS Tuff Links Keyed 3-Foot Chain Lock

This bike lock features a hardened steel chain that’s reinforced with boron and titanium. It is then covered with a black nylon sleeve for additional protection. The keyway cover keeps the lock dry during rainy season. The package includes 2 keys. At $30, this is one of the best chain locks at its price point.

Pros:

  • The 3-foot chain is sturdy as advertised.
  • The locks is sufficiently durable that it can manage to soak in water for extended periods.

Cons:

  • At 5.4 lbs., it’s certainly heavy.
  • Key can potentially get jammed halfway in. Key in and key out carefully.
  • The sleeve is sub-par and can tear off easily.

 

Top 3 Running Headphones To Avoid

When looking for the best running headphones, there are definitely a lot to choose from. You’ll likely be overwhelmed with the plethora of brands available out there. Nevertheless, brands don’t necessarily determine the quality. No matter how reputable the company is, there are still some designs that it didn’t get right. In this article, we’ll look at the worst ones based on customer reviews. Then we’ll find out what alternatives are worth buying.

Sennheiser OMX 680 In-Ear Sports Earclip Headphone with Volume Control and Adjustable Earclips

Sennheiser OMX 680 In-Ear Sports Earclip Headphone with Volume Control and Adjustable Earclips

This running headphone claims to be sweat and water resistant and provides a secure fit when you’re working out. The reinforced cable based on DuPont Kevlar material is supposed to give you unmatched sound quality. But this product seems to have failed in the comfort and durability departments. Many customers have complained that it kept on falling off their ears. Moreover, some have claimed that it became painful after being worn for a few minutes due to its larger-than-normal size. The cables weren’t impressive as well. They said that the wires felt flimsy and didn’t last long enough. The price has been updated to $29.19 from $49.95, but you might be better off with a SoundSOUL U10 Sport which only costs $25.


Nike HJ030 Vapor Sport Bud Headphones

Nike HJ030 
Vapor Sport Bud Headphones

This headphone from Nike has an Ultra Lightweight design, adjustable earhook and a sweat-resistant earpiece. It’s aimed at athletes and audiophiles. However, many users have pointed out a design flaw in the hinge that connects the earbud and the earhook. The hinge eventually becomes loose as you move along with your physical activities. Even though the HJ030 has received good reviews about sound quality, it’s only sensible when the earbuds don’t constantly fall off. For $50, this product just isn’t worth the price. As an alternative, add $9 and you’ll get more than your money’s worth with the highly rated JVC HA-FX3X Xtreme Xplosives.


Arriva Sports Stereo Wired Headphones – Ipods / Mp3 Players and Phones

Arriva Sports Stereo Wired Headphones - Ipods / Mp3 Players and Phones

At $19.95, the Arriva Sports Stereo headphone prides itself in the one-size-fits-all department. It claims that no other headphone stays in place better. Whether you wear it under a helmet or with goggles, it fits snuggly on you regardless of your size. After all, it was designed and tested by the most demanding skiers, snowboarders and mountain bikers. But Arriva seems to have fallen short of its assertions. Several customers have stated in their reviews that the earbuds weren’t any better and that they easily fell off the moment sweat came out of their ears. The sound quality was mediocre at best. You can get an MEElectronics M6 instead for $19.98. It comes in several colors and does stay in your ear.

 

Best Amazon Kindles For The Money

Regardless of your budget or price range, there is an Amazon Kindle to satisfy your e-book reader desires. Since its first iteration in 2007, the product has gone a long way. Its price has significantly gone down as well. At this time, it now has a tablet variant that can do way more than just opening e-books and magazines. Nevertheless, it remains true to its purpose – to awaken the book lover in each of us in the digital age.

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With the exception of the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD, all other models feature an E Ink electronic paper display. This technology is capable of mimicking paper that’s being used in books and periodicals. Kindle also features unlimited cloud storage for all content purchased from Amazon. In some countries, units that are 3G-capable can access Amazon’s 3G “Whispernet” free of charge. Whispernet allows browsing through and purchasing from the store’s online catalog.

Price Range: USD 69 – USD 89
Amazon Kindle
For as low as $69, you can now own an ad-supported version of Kindle. “Ad-supported” means that “Amazon Special Offers” will be displayed at the bottom of the screen or during times when the device is idle. It’s really not as intrusive as you’d think. There’s definitely no pop-up window when you’re readHoweverook. Even so, you can upgrade to an ad-free version by paying $20 to get rid of the ads. If you just want the e-reader functionality without all those extras found in tablets, then this is well suited for you.

Notable Specs (regular Kindle):
Screen Size = 6 inches
Display = E Ink
Audio = Not Available
Connectivity = Wi-Fi only
Storage = 2GB on device plus free cloud storage
Battery Life = 14 hours without Wi-Fi
Interface = 5 buttons, no touch screen
Supported Formats = AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, KF8


Price Range: USD 119 – USD 199
Kindle Paperwhite
At this price range, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best bang for your buck if you are after an E Ink display. It also comes with built-in light that you can adjust manually or turn off completely. At the time of this writing, dimming/illumination issues have already been addressed via a firmware update. Currently, the cheaper ad-supported version ($119) is only available in the United States. International customers will have to fork out $139 for the ad-free version. Wi-Fi + 3G variant costs $179 (ad-supported) and $199 (ad-free).

Notable Specs:
Screen Size = 6 inches
Display = E Ink with built-in light
Audio = Not Available
Connectivity = Wi-Fi / 3G
Storage = 2GB on device plus free cloud storage
Battery Life = 28 hours without Wi-Fi
Interface = touch screen (2-point multi-touch)
Supported Formats = AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, KF8


Price: USD 139
Kindle Keyboard 3G
At $139, the highly rated Kindle Keyboard 3G (ad-supported) is a great compromise between the regular Kindle and the Paperwhite version. It isn’t touch screen but makes up for it via a built-in QWERTY keyboard. It also has stereo sound which allows for Text-to-Speech translation. The ad-free version costs $159.

Notable Specs:
Screen Size = 6 inches
Display = E Ink
Audio = Stereo speakers
Connectivity = Wi-Fi / 3G
Storage = 4GB on device plus free cloud storage
Battery Life = 28 hours without Wi-Fi
Interface = touch screen (2-point multi-touch)
Supported Formats = AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, KF8


Price: USD 159
Kindle Fire
If you’re looking for a full color display, then the Kindle Fire can be had for $159. It’s an entry-level Android tablet with a mediocre 1024×600 screen resolution and a 7-inch screen. It surely serves more than its purpose if you just want an e-reader. Should you also require the occasional browsing or listening to music activities, then the Fire should be good enough. The Kindle Fire HD improves on the previous model with a 1280×800 screen resolution that supports 720p high definition videos and dual driver stereo speakers that support Dolby Audio. It costs $199 (16GB storage).

Kindle Fire HD

Notable Specs:
Screen Size = 7 inches (supports up to 720p)
Display = LCD
Audio = stereo
Connectivity = Wi-Fi (dual-band on the Fire HD for HD streaming)
Storage = 8GB on device (Fire) / 16-32GB on device (Fire HD) plus free cloud storage
Processor = Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4430 (Fire) / Dual-core, 1.2GHz OMAP4460 (Fire HD)
Battery Life = 8.5-11 hours continuous usage
Interface = touch screen, 2-point multi-touch for Fire and 10-point for Fire HD


Price Range: USD 269 – USD 399
Kindle Fire HD (8.9-inch Screen)
At this price point, you can have Amazon’s top offering – the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet. Both models can support full HD 1080p resolution and can perform slightly faster than their 7-inch counterpart. They pretty much have the same specifications as the 7-inch model apart from the higher CPU clocks and 4G LTE support. The 4G LTE Kindle Fire HD is priced at $399 while the Wi-Fi version costs $269.

Notable Specs:
Screen Size = 8.9 inches (supports up to 1080p)
Display = LCD
Audio = stereo
Connectivity = Wi-Fi, dual-band
Storage = 16-32GB on device (Wi-Fi version) / 32-64GB (4G version) plus free cloud storage
Processor = Dual-core, 1.5GHz OMAP4470
Battery Life = 10 hours continuous usage
Interface = touch screen, 10-point multi-touch