Review: Apple In-Ear Headphones

If you’re anything like me, when you think of Apple headphones you probably think of cheap, tinny and just overall poor sounding headphones. This is what I thought until I purchased a set of Apple’s premium in-ear headphones late last month. While this line has been around for quite some time, they are worth a look.

Sound Quality

Apple In-Ear HeadphonesObviously, the most important part of buying any set of headphones is the sound quality. And currently, I’m quite impressed with the Apple In-Ear Headphones. They feature well rounded sound, with slightly overpowering ‘highs’. The bass is definitely subtle, so anyone who listens to heavy dubstep or rap may want to look elsewhere. But while listening to indie and acoustics, the Apple In-Ear Headphones performed great. Finally, these headphones feature stellar mids–in fact, the mids sound better than most in ear headsets I’ve used in the sub-$100 price range. If you can, borrow a friend’s set of Apple In-Ear headphones to see if the sound is a good fit for your music tastes. For the best sound, make sure to form a tight seal in your earlobe by using the appropriate tip size. The Apple In-Ear Heahphones include three different tip sizes, so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding a perfect fit.

Looks

Like the standard Apple earbuds, the Apple In-Ear Headphones look great. They feature the iconic white cable with a soft touch finish. The headphone jack is small, so the Apple In-Ear Headphones should work with any type of case you’re using with your iPhone or iPod. The headphones themselves also feature a white, plastic construction. Personally, I think this looks great and will match any white iPod or iPhone. The included tips are also white. These headphones also feature a standard, three-button remote control which you can use to pick up calls, pause music and perform a bunch of other features on your iOS device or Mac. I really like this remote as it allows for easy song switching when walking. I have not yet tested the Apple In-Ear Headphones with a Blackberry or Android device, so I am not sure how well the remote works with these devices.

Extras

Headphones CaseThe Apple In-Ear Headphones include a plethora of extras. For example, you’re given a durable hard case, a set of extra mesh covers and three sets of tips. The extra mesh covers are a nice addition as they can often get filled with ear wax and other debris. So when you’re washing one set, you can use the others while they’re drying.

Price and Conclusion

The Apple In-Ear Headphones come in at a steep $79 USD. While I personally think they are worth the money, some may beg to differ. There are many headphones in the same price range which may feature slightly better sound quality while ditching the Apple aesthetics and stellar warranty.

So in the end, it’s up to you to decide if the Apple In-Ear Headphones are right for you. Personally, I think they’re a solid choice for anyone who wants a slick looking, decent sounding pair of headphones to use on a daily basis in the sub-$100 price range.

Review: Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Admit it, we’ve all deleted the wrong file on our flash drives or wiped the wrong hard drive. Unfortunately, these files are unrecoverable if you don’t use an automatic backup service such as Time Machine or make backups of your flash drives. Luckily for us, Stellar Data has decided to fix this issue by making their own affordable data recovery software for Mac.

Stellar’s Mac data recovery software can recover files from almost any HFS, HFS+, HFS Wrapper or FAT based drives. This includes flash drives, hard drives and iPods in disk mode. In my review, I will show you how to recover these files and give you my thoughts on whether you should buy Stellar Phoenix for Mac. Are you using a PC? If so, check out this review.

Using Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Installing this recovery software is as easy as installing another Mac app: just drag and drop the app to your Applications folder. Once you’ve purchased a key for the software, you can register it via the “Registration Tool” where you can copy and paste your purchased key. At the time of this review, Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery costs $99 for a digital copy or $119 (plus shipping) for a physical copy of the software. If you’re purchasing for your school or business, prices may vary.

Once you’ve launched the app for the very first time, you may notice the only major downside to this application: the interface. The images seem a bit “cheesy” and the buttons are oversized. While the look is unappealing, it probably won’t matter to you when you’re in the midst of panicing after accidentally deleting an important essay from your flash drive.

Recover Data Button

To actually recover a drive, click on the obnoxiously large Recover Data button which is located towards the center of the welcome screen.

Since Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery can recover such a wide variety of files and media, you have to choose what you would like to recover. You can view this list which is located towards the top of the recovery window. After you’ve chosen your drive, you can choose the extent of which you would like to recover files, such as quick, advanced and deletion recovery. Keep in mind that the higher quality of the scan you run, the longer the recovery will take.

Recovering your drive is pretty simple:  after selecting your recovery options, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can actually recover your files. You’ll be prompted to select the drive that you’d like to recover (a flash drive in my case). Phoenix will now attempt to recover your files, which you can then select and choose where to export the recovered files.

Drive Selection

If you would like to create an image of one of your drives, return to the homescreen and press the Create Image button. You can then select the drive you would like to make an image of and choose a destination for the image to be saved.

What I Think

So far, I’m a huge fan of Stellar Phoenix for Mac. It has had no trouble recovering data from a wide variety of flash drives and external hard disks. All of the deleted files were recovered without any corruption or data loss. The only problems I ran into were “jumbled” file names, which can definitely get annoying.

All in all, I think Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery is a great deal as it only costs $99 for a single user digital copy. Comparable software can costs upwards of $200 and don’t offer the extensive features of Stellar Phoenix. If you would like to buy this software for yourself, head on over to Stellar’s website for more information.

Disclosure: I would like to thank Stellar Data Recovery for sending this software over for review.

Nokia Lumia 900: An iPhone User’s Perspective

Since 2008, I’ve been a dedicated iOS user and somewhat of a fanboy. While I’ve spent plenty of time playing around with Android phones such as the Droid RAZR and the HTC Desire, they’ve all been laggy and generally do not provide an enjoyable experience for me. But while Android didn’t stand out for me, another mobile OS did: Windows Phone 7.

To be honest, most Windows Phone devices have been pretty dull. The Samsung Focus, HTC Titan and others have looked like any other non-iOS. However, this completely changed when Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership and Nokia announced their new series of Windows Phones.

In case you’re unaware, Nokia originally announced the Lumia 710 and 800 in November of 2011. The Lumia 710 featured a whole new design while the 800’s design was carried over from the MeeGo-sporting Nokia N9. The Lumia 710 would be brought to the US via T-Mobile while the Lumia 800 would stay in Europe. This did eventually change as the unlocked Lumia 800 was offered in a wallet crushing media pack, which cost $899 at Microsoft Stores in the US.

Then CES 2012 rolls around and Nokia announces two more devices: the Lumia 900 and the Lumia 610. The 610 is meant for emerging markets as the expected price of the unlocked phone is sub-$250. The Lumia 900 on the other hand, is an AT&T-exclusive high-end Windows Phone for the US market.

Priced at only $99 (on-contract) in the US, the Lumia 900 rocks a 4.3″ touchscreen and a front facing camera. The US variant of the Lumia 900 also packs LTE connectivity while the international version is running on HSPA+.

Now that I’ve run down all the specs and history of the Nokia Lumia series, I want to give you my full thoughts on the Nokia Lumia 900 after I was given one last week. While this won’t be a full review of the Lumia 900, it should give you a good idea of an iPhone user’s thoughts on the device.

My Thoughts on The Lumia 900

I’m not one to complain about specs on a mobile device. As long as the device works flawlessly for me, I’m happy. So I honestly don’t care that the Lumia 900 only features a 1.4GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM. Why? The phone is smooth. Scrolling is fluid, app switching is fast and to be honest, it just works. So that’s a plus.

Lumia 900
The Lumia 900 features an absolutely out of this world design. I never thought I would say that a chunk of plastic is sexy, but I think I have to. The Lumia 900 (and 800, for that matter) has arguably one of the best phone designs I’ve seen in recent history. I like to think of it this way:  the iPhone 4/4S has the best industrial design while the Lumia 900 has the best “playful” design on the market.

As for Windows Phone 7.5, I don’t mind it. It’s a totally new idea, which didn’t copy iOS. The menus could be a tad more easy to use, but the “Live Tiles” are very nice and add a ton of functionality to the device. While there is a lack of applications in the Marketplace, the necessities are there and so is Angry Birds.

As for the screen, ClearBlack is nice, but not perfect. While it does allow me to see the screen better in the daylight, the pixel density is pretty horrible. With a screen resolution of only 480×800 (~217ppi), text can often seem blurry and images washed-out. I’m refreshed when I go back to my iPhone 4S’s 960×640 (~326ppi) screen.

The Lumia’s camera is also pretty bad. While Nokia claims the Lumia 900 boasts a 8-megapixel sensor, it sure doesn’t act like it. Images seem washed out and have an annoying pink spot in the middle. Please see the example below.

Lumia 900 Camera

Finally, I cannot currently comment on the Lumia’s LTE connectivity as I’m using it on AT&T’s PAYG plan, so I only have access to their HSPA+ network. On HSPA+, data is fast and call quality is pretty good.

While the Lumia 900 won’t replace my iPhone 4S, it’s a close runner up. It’s definitely the best Windows Phone 7 device on the market and Windows Phone 7 provides a nice user experience which can’t be matched by anything except Apple’s iOS. So if for some reason you’re looking for a non-iOS device on AT&T, the Lumia 900 should be your match.

Apple Possibly Replacing White iPhone 4 Models with iPhone 4S?

9To5Mac has reported that Apple Geniuses–customer support representatives at Apple Stores–are now being told to replace select white iPhone 4 models with refurbished iPhone 4S models. Multiple commenters on their post have confirmed this swap at Apple Stores and through Verizon’s iPhone insurance plan. While we have not completely confirmed the iPhone 4 for 4S swap, the comments seem believable enough.

Apple iPhone 4S

While you should definitely take this report with a grain of salt, the reported reason for the swap is supply issues in the 16GB white iPhone 4 variant. Apple is known to upgrade customers when supply is low, as they previously upgraded first generation iPod Nano users to sixth generation iPod Nanos after they ran out of first gen replacements.

While Apple has not yet made a public statement about this swap, they have reportedly made an internal statement to their store employees about these inventory shortages.  This statement also claimed that the replacement iPhones must be previously refurbished models. The report did not say when Apple will resume giving customers the standard iPhone 4 as a replacement, so try to get your replacement quickly if you’re eligible!

To be eligible for this swap (or any Apple warranty replacement) your iPhone must have a hardware issue which is covered by Apple’s standard warranty. Your local Apple store must also be out of stock of 16GB white iPhone 4 variants, so don’t be disappointed if you walk away with a refurbished iPhone 4. If you successfully swap your damaged iPhone 4 for an iPhone 4S, please let us know in the comments below this post.

[9to5mac via Razorianfly]

Canon Announces The EOS-1D C

Canon has just announced their latest cinematographer-centered camera, the EOS-1D C. The EOS-1D C looks the same as the standard EOS-1D X while adding a ton of spec upgrades which the professional videographer will love. The price is also “upgraded” to $15,000, which proves this camera isn’t for the amateur.

Canon EOS-1D C

The EOS-1D C offers 8-bit 4K (24 FPS) video recording with an 18-megapixel, full frame sensor. When recording 4K video, the 1D C only uses part of its high-end sensor which makes for a 1.33x focal length multiplication factor. However, this isn’t the case when recording 1080p (24-60 FPS) video as the camera utilizes its whole sensor and outputs the full 36mm sensor width. All of this footage is recorded on dual CompactFlash cards which you will need to purchase separately.

Canon also announced two new EF Cinema Zoom lenses which include the CN-E 15.2-47mm T2.8 L and the CN-E40-105mm T2.8 L. Both lenses are available in either EF and PL mounts to ensure maximum compatibility with Canon’s other Cinematography cameras. Keep in mind that the EOS-1D C is compatible with all Canon EF and EF Cinema lenses so you can continue to use your old lenses while attempting to raise more money for your short film.

Other notable features of the EOS-1D C include a built-in headphone jack for live audio monitoring, optional AC adapter kit and a Super 35 crop setting. This setting allows cinematographers to meet the industry standard in imaging format.

The Canon EOS-1D C will be available for purchase within the year. Since this camera is aimed at professionals, I doubt we will see this camera in stores.

[Source: Market Watch]

AT&T To Begin Unlocking Off-Contract iPhones

iPhone 4S

Today AT&T has released a statement stating that they will start unlocking iPhones starting this Sunday starting this Sunday (that is April 8, 2012). AT&T said that the unlocking service will only apply to off-contract iPhones and to members who have AT&T accounts in good standing. If you’ve terminated your AT&T contract or bought your iPhone off-contract, you are also eligible for this unlock. Here’s the full statement from the company:

“Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer’s account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.”

There are many reasons as to why AT&T may be doing this. The first being that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, received an email from an iPhone 3GS user last week. The user was temporarily moving to Canada and wanted to take his AT&T locked iPhone with him, but couldn’t. Tim reportedly told AT&T to unlock the user’s phone, which they supposedly did.

The second reason may be that AT&T has been under fire recently for their outrageous international roaming rates, charging just under $200 for 800mb of international data. International users who own an unlocked AT&T iPhone will now be able to simply swap SIM cards when traveling abroad.

As for me, I will be bringing in two iPhone 4’s to AT&T to be unlocked next week. If I encounter any problems, Techie-Buzz readers will be the first to know!

[9to5mac]

Five People Charged After Boy Sells Kidney For iPad

New iPad

You may remember that in April of 2011, a 17-year-old from the Anhui province in China sold one of his kidneys for ¥22,000 (roughly $3,400). The teen, who goes under the surname Wang,  claimed he sold one of his kidneys because he wanted an Apple iPad 2, but could not afford it. When asked by his mother how he acquired the Apple tablet, Wang told her about the sale. Wang is now suffering from renal deficiency, which occurs when a person’s kidney is too small to sustain normal life.

Xinhua News Agency, a government-run news network in China, has recently stated that five people have been charged with intentional injury of Wang. While we are not completely sure who these five people are, Xinhua said that the surgeon and the broker have been charged. Xinhua has not stated who bought the kidney.

The broker reportedly received ¥220,000 (approximately $35,000) for the transplant. While Wang only received ¥22,000, the rest of the cash was divided between the defendants and medical staff. As of now, we are unsure if the buyer of the kidney will be charged as the trade of organs has been illegal in China since 2007.

Unfortunately, stories like these are becoming a regular occurrence because of the growing popularity of Apple products in China. Scalpers are getting in on the deal by purchasing mass quantities of Apple products on launch day and selling them for large profits in  tthe grey market. In the end, this causes people to go to perform outrageous acts in order to get the latest and greatest Apple device.

[SAI]

Canon Launches the EOS 60Da

Yesterday, April 3rd 2012, Canon announced their latest DSLR, the EOS 60Da which is a camera designed especially for astrophotography. If you’re curious, astrophotography is the photographing of stars. This is the first upgrade to Canon’s astrophotography lineup since the release of the EOS 20Da, which featured an 8.2-megapixel sensor.

Canon EOS 60Da

The Canon 60Da is essentially the same camera as the original 60D using the same 18-megapixel APS-c sensor. The only major change that has been made to the sensor is that it has been finely tuned for extra-sensitivity to the hydrogen-alpha wavelength by using a modified infrared sensor.

The 60Da also brings an improved version of Canon’s ClearView screen by jamming 1-million dots into the same 3-inch screen. Canon has also stated that they will be including an output cable to monitor the 60Da’s live view on a TV. This will be extremely helpful when your camera is tethered to a telescope. Unfortunately, the 60Da will not include a t-ring adapter for attachment to a telescope so you will have to buy this separately.

If you want to pick up the 60Da for yourself, it’ll run you $1499 for the body, $500 more than the standard 60D. Kit pricing and availability have not yet been announced. The 60Da will only be available at select Canon authorized resellers.