Smartphones and tablets can do just about anything these days -- except deliver truly good sound. So this holiday why not give your loved ones audio accessories that will make the most of their devices. Here's some of the best gear for the ears:
If you want quality sound and don't want to feel tethered to your phone, try the Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Bluetooth earbuds. These well-designed $159 buds and clip-on controller use the latest Bluetooth 3 standard and cancel out 95 percent of all outside noise. Voice comes in crisp and clear, and music sounds great with a nice deep bass. The device works up to 15 feet away from your phone and effectively screens out ambient noise while you talk.
For a full, on-ear headphone geared to music listening, go with the Marshall Major Headphones. While they have an old-fashioned "pitch black" studio look, these $149 list-price corded phones deliver some of the most brilliant, live sound available on mobile headphones. The on-ears have fantastic sound, perfect bass, and -- true to Marshall's heritage as a premier amplifier maker -- deliver sharp guitar.
If you're looking for more style, you'll want the I-Mego Throne cordedheadphones. These pricey but high-quality $140 on-ears have striking copper ribbons over the cups that'll get you noticed. They're light and throw a lot of punch -- they're especially good for thumping electronic music -- but they can be a little mushy in the mid-ranges.
If you want style without bling, consider the more affordable, but good quality $99 Wicked Audio Solus corded headphones. These Beats competitors on-ears have oversized cups with the stylish red Wicked logo and a striking red cloth cable, great for DJ's. They're nicely designed, and deliver a surprisingly laid-back, naturally balanced sound, with good bass response and a nice kick on drums.
If you want to share the music from your mobile phone, the palm-sized FoxL v2 Bluetooth speaker really delivers some quality sound, with a deep bass that belies its size. And while the FoxL has some real punch and easily fills an average-sized room, the $200 price tag is a little steep, especially since the device sometimes skips. But it does work for 20 hours on its lithium battery charge.
A slightly more affordable option that's less heavy on the bass is the Braven 600, a $150 Bluetooth speaker made of aircraft grade aluminum that you can daisy chain. The Braven offers clear, natural stereo sound, has a built-in speakerphone and operates for 12 hours on a lithium battery charge.
If you want to listen to music in the shower without disturbing others, consider the iShower wireless Bluetooth speaker. This water-resistant plastic device delivers decent sound on three AAA batteries while a stream of water is running over it.
Finally, for traditionalists, there's the very cool Swissvoice ePure Mobile Bluetooth Station. This stylish $150 device looks like a modern take on a retro home phone, and lets you talk into a handset with your mobile phone. The calls over the handset are in super-clear HD audio, and with its built-in speaker, you can also play music through the device. For Apple users it includes an iPhone 5 dock/charger, and you can have Siri dial your numbers for you.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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