Gadling gear review – Altec Lansing BackBeat PRO noise isolating headphones

In this product review, you’ll get to read about the newest headphones from audio specialists Altec Lansing. The BackBeat PRO headphones are the top of the line product in their BackBeat lineup, and with that of course comes a responsibility to deliver some really good audio.

The BackBeat PRO headphones are passive noise isolating, which means they reduce noise by isolating it from your ears. They do this simply by creating a good seal between the outside, and your ear canal. Unlike active noise canceling headphones, the BackBeat PRO’s do no require batteries or electronics to reduce outside noise.

The headphones themselves are rather impressive looking – made from black and gold plastic, they are extremely light and clearly show the L and R for a correct fit. The plug is angled and is compatible with the original iPhone and its annoying recessed headphone jack.

The cord is made of “oxygen-free” copper and is treated with a low friction PVC coating which is designed to reduce the kind of tangle that will keep you occupied for the first 10 minutes of your flight. In reality, this actually works quite well. It won’t completely prevent the cord from being tangled, but it does make it much easier to untangle when you dig the headphones from out of the bottom of your bag.

Included with the BackBeat PRO is a soft shell carrying case and a 6 piece “fit kit” consisting of large and small neoprene earpieces and a pair of double flanged earpieces for extra isolation.

When you install the earpiece that fits you best, you may experience what I did – I forgot I was wearing them. Of the three sizes, I found the flanged earpieces fit me best, and provided the best noise isolation. Seriously, this is the kind of noise isolation that means you’ll hear your own heart beat when you pause your music.

Audiophiles will be disappointed to know that I am not a member of your club – I’d love to give you a long description of the high and low tone reproduction from the BackBeat PRO headphones, but I really can’t tell you much more than “they sound absolutely fantastic”.

I tested them with several MP3 files on a portable player, and plugged them into a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook to listen to a Mike Oldfield track (in FLAC). Two things stand out with the headphones – they really do sound great, and they really do isolate an astounding amount of noise. Best of all, since a lot of background noise is isolated, you won’t need to turn the volume up to 11 to enjoy your music.

The noise isolation is actually so good, that I found them to perform better than most active noise isolating headphones I have tested. Anyone who has used active noise isolating headphones also knows the the isolation process adds some “hiss” to the music – which is of course something you won’t suffer from with the BackBeat PRO headphones. Being small also means you can wear them and take a nap on the plane without your big headphones getting in the way.

The BackBeat PRO’s cost just $99.95
, which is about a third of what a good pair of active noise canceling headphones can cost, and a quarter of what some high-end noise isolating headphones run.

Daiy gear deals – $31 picnic set, widescreen GPS unit and more

Here are the hottest gadget deals for today, Thursday June 4th 2009. Remember, these deals are often only valid for one day, so act fast before they are gone!

The first deal for today is pretty damn cool if you ask me – This picnic set comes with 32 pieces, and contains everything you need for a fun outdoor picnic. Mind you – this isn’t some cheap plastic junk either, the kit comes with a cutting board, salt and pepper shakers and of course a picnic blanket. On sale at for $30.99 with free shipping.

The best deals are often refurbished items, and this Nikon Coolpix S600 10 Megapixel digital camera is no exception. With a 4x optical wide angle zoom lens and optical vibration reduction, this thing is top of the line, with a bottom of the line price. Normal retail price is about $249, but Adorama is selling it (refurbished) for just $100! You’ll find the Nikon Coolpix S600 digital camera here.

If you are looking for a GPS unit with more than just the basics, then check out this highly rated Garmin nüvi 780 widescreen GPS unit with Bluetooth. Sure, it costs a bit more than the super-basic models, but that does get you Bluetooth handsfree, MSN Direct traffic and information services, a widescreen display and more. Normal retail price s $399, now on sale for just $199 with free shipping.

And finally – the Altec Lansing UHP336 Snugfit noise reducing headphones do much more than just deliver a really long product name. They are designed to feel extremely comfortable, yet provide excellent sound quality and impressive noise isolation. Perfect for your upcoming summer vacation flight! Normal retail price is $130, now on sale for just $34.95 with free shipping.

10 gadgets to make summer travel more enjoyable – The Gadling Gear Review

Now summer is finally on its way, you are probably looking closely at the travel deals out there, waiting to pick an affordable destination (hint: check out our hot travel deals!).

Before you spend all your hard earned cash on your plane tickets, why not invest in some gadgetry to make your trip more enjoyable? Here are 10 gadgets that can help you carry more, get online (in the air), capture your fun, keep your photos safe and help power all that stuff.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star bag

Wouldn’t travel be easier if you could pack everything you need for a short trip, in one bag? Would life become perfect if that bag could be a shoulder bag, backpack and duffel bag? Then check out the new Tri-Star from Tom Bihn bags.

This 3-in-1 bag makes smart use of its space, and has room for clothes, a laptop and any other small items you want to carry along with you.

Price: $240
Where: (ships late June)

EyeFi Video card

EyeFi was featured in our top 25 best travel products of 2008.

The EyeFi card is an SD memory card with a twist – built inside this tiny card is a WiFi adapter, and any time your camera is in range of a wireless access point, it sends its photos to a variety of sources. The card supports uploads to your home PC, but also to most online photo hosting sites.

For 2009, EyeFi took their excellent product, upped the storage space to 4GB, and added support for video files.

Now your camera can upload photos, as well as videos. Imaging making a funny video, and arriving home with all that content already published on Youtube!

Price: $79.95 (EyeFi 4GB Explore Video) or $99.95 (Share Video)
Where: store

Verizon MiFi

The new Verizon MiFi promises to make mobile broadband easier than ever. In the past, getting online with mobile broadband involved using a USB adapter or modem card.

The MyFi combines a wireless hotspot and mobile broadband adapter in one small battery powered device. When turned on, you can get online using your WiFi enabled laptop, netbook or PDA, without having to deal with complicated software.

Price: $99.95 (after a $50 mail in rebate, and with a 2 year contract, $59.95/month for service)

Pocket HD Camcorder

Still carrying a bulky tape camcorder? Dump it and invest in a new digital HD camcorder like the Creative VadoHD or the Flip UltraHD. At just over $200, these cameras make surprisingly high quality clips, and they are small enough to fit in your pocket. With no moving parts, battery life is often enough for a days worth of clips.

Once you get home, you simply pop out the built in USB plug, and copy all the clips onto your computer, ready to upload to your favorite video sharing site.

Price: from $199
Where: Flip by Pure Digital, Creative Vado HD, Kodak ZX1, ZI6

Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800

The Tekkeon TekCharge MP1800 is, despite the long name, remarkably simple. This small Lithium-Ion battery pack can charge almost any portable device. The unit comes with a variety of charging tips for mobile phones, PDA’s and smartphones.

With a whopping 4000mAh capacity, this battery pack carries enough portable juice to recharge most gadgets at least twice. When connected to an iPod or Zune, you’ll get over 100 hours extra music playback time!

Price: $44.95
Where: Tekkeon reseller page

>>>> Go to part 2 of 10 gadgets to make your summer travel more enjoyable

Daily gear deal – Altec Lansing UHP106 noise isolating headphones for $17

SHHHH! Today’s daily deal is great for blocking some of that unwanted noise on your next flight. The Altec Lansing UHP106 noise isolating headphones are in-ear passive isolating, which means they block out noise by physically isolating it from you.

The headphones have a tangle free cloth cable, and are compatible with all music players.

These headphones normally retail for about $30, but are currently on sale at Amazon for just $16.79. Looking for something different? Check out their entire lineup of discounted headphones.

Daily deal – Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 portable speaker for $22

My daily deal for today is another of those favorites of mine – the Altec Lansing Orbit MP3 speaker is a portable battery powered speaker that packs an astounding punch.

The pint sized speaker produces enough sound to fill a decent size hotel room. The speaker works off 3 AAA batteries, and connects to your device with a standard headphone jack. The connector is iPhone compatible.

The Orbit MP3 speaker usually retails for about $30, but is currently on sale through Amazon for just $21.88.

Last year October, I took a look at the updated version of this speaker – the iM237. This newer version mainly offers some changes in its looks, but also adds a padded carrying pouch. You’ll also find the iM237 at Amazon, where it currently retails for $29.70.