Turning up the volume
Bose is coming up with less costly products with mixed results, says Tushar Kanwar
Reasonably priced. That's not a phrase I'd associate too often with a product from Bose, but of late the audio major has been pulling a few tricks out of its hat. Does the trend continue with the Solo TV sound system and the SoundLink Air digital music system, as the pricing seems to suggest? Let's find out.
Soundbars have become all the rage in space constrained living rooms, and while the Solo TV doesn't look like one, it's meant to achieve the same effect — sit underneath your TV and replace the internal speakers with something a little more powerful than what you get from the limited drivers built into most flat-screen TVs. It has an understated, minimalist look that will go with any d�cor and TV, although the company recommends using it with a 42-in or smaller set.
Connectivity on the Solo TV is limited to optical and coaxial digital inputs and a single stereo analog connection, no HDMI inputs though. So, if you plan to use this with your Blu-ray player/PS3, you'll need to either run a cable from your TV to the speaker or pick a sound source with the right outputs. Pity. All the cables you need are included in the box, for what it's worth. The included remote is incredibly basic, with just power, mute and volume controls, so you'd do well to integrate it with your universal remote and simplify your setup.
How does it sound? Everyday TV viewing will benefit the most from the added volume and bass, but if you're planning to put this to use with 5.1 movie audio, you may as well look elsewhere. I've tried soundbars with virtual surround sound that deliver far more immersive audio than this.
If you've got an iPad or an iPhone, or even a PC/Mac with a packed iTunes library, the Airplay-enabled Soundlink Air could make for a worthwhile buy. Setup is easy — you need to download an app from the Bose website which walks you through the Airplay setup process, including getting your iOS device streaming to the speakers.
Since Airplay piggybacks over the Wi-Fi network, your music streams to the Soundlink Air practically anywhere your Wi-Fi network reaches. That's a big plus over the first-gen Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker that had to work with the limited range that Bluetooth offers. One downside — the rechargeable battery pack that makes this baby truly portable is an additional purchase. Without it, you have to locate an electrical socket wherever you take the device, not to forget lugging around the massive power adapter!
Sonically, the SoundLink Air delivers satisfying, room-filling sound, though there is the tendency to boost bass levels more than other frequencies. If you like the extra kick in the music, you'll love the effect, though I will caution you to avoid peak volumes while playing bass-heavy music. This aside, sound is crisp and clean in general. At the price and overall package, the SoundLink Air is a fine AirPlay speaker to consider.
- Rating: 7/10
- Price: Rs 25,763
- URL: http://bit.ly/UB3YO7
- Rating: 8/10
- Price: Rs 22,384
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A question of focus
It's been over four years since the first mirrorless camera was launched, and Canon is pretty much the last major manufacturer to release a mirrorless model. Has the delay meant that the EOS M is the best mirrorless yet, or is it a case of too little too late?
Specs-wise, the EOS M checks off the boxes — in fact it's nearly identical to the Canon 650D when it comes to internals and features, albeit in point-and-shoot-sized body. Inside this petite frame are a competitively sized 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and the legendary DIGIC 5 image processor, and there's a new lens range built for the mirrorless baby in the EOS range.
Of course, you can pay extra and buy the official Mount Adapter if you want to pair the camera with your existing collection of Canon lenses. You get all the modes that are standard to any competent DSLR, and the EOS M makes up for the lack of physical buttons and dials by packing a stunning 3-in touchscreen onto the back of the camera.
Images shot with the EOS M are fantastic, and low light performance is at par with the bigger DSLRs at this price point. But...and there's a big but...this camera suffers from a horrible autofocus (AF) system. Even when you turn the Continuous AF mode off, the camera gets painfully slow at autofocus in many situations. This may be just a firmware fix away, but until then, the otherwise pretty fantastic camera stops one step shot of earning a recommendation.
- Rating: 7/10
- Price: Rs 49,995
- URL: http://bit.ly/VkFriE