New portable audio products prove that they haven’t lost their groove even in the age of smartphones
With the advent of smartphones, the portable music industry is facing a new kind of challenge. But the high quality of sound of portable audio products keeps them relevant. Moreover, companies like Cowon and Sandisk have launched products, which can be customised and have great audio quality challenging smartphones.
Audio Technica Cube (C101)
Rs 600 at www.pristinenote.com
At such a low price, one doesn’t have high expectations. But the sound quality of C101 earphones is a pleasant surprise. It is several notches superior to smartphone accessories, which produce a nasty mix of different instruments. The C101 clears its first test by reproducing each instrument distinctly, while not making it too harsh on the ears.
For lovers of bass-heavy music, C101 may be disappointing, since it doesn’t do justice to the bass.
The C101 is available in numerous colours from traditional black to yellow with blue.
Its sound quality to price ratio is excellent. For those who like earbuds over in-ear-monitors (IEMs), this is a good buy.
Audio Technica Dip (CKL 200)
Going a step higher are the Dip earphones, which, like the Cube, is a favourite with colour-conscious users.
However, when it comes to sound quality, the two are poles apart. If the Cube went out of its way to keep things simple, the Dip does just the opposite though, and produces a bassy “thud” sound. Hip-hop lovers will be pleased.
A key feature of IEM is noise isolation and the Dip does justice to it by reducing outside noise quite a bit. However, some might find the tips a little uncomfortable.
Other than that, the Dip is light and well-built. The cord looks weak, so handle it with care.
Cowon iAudio 10
Rs 6,750 (4GB)
Cowon’s iAudio 10 combines beauty with utility. It starts with a nice front bezel and finishes with a neatly curved back. It’s almost feather-weight at 73g and slips cosily into pockets. A protective case is recommended as even a scratch can ruin that swanky look.
The 3-inch TFT screen is accompanied by a capacitive touchpad for input. The colours on the screen can be tweaked using “colour therapy” modes. It supports video, though the i10 doesn’t have the best viewing angle and the screen could seem too small.
However, the primary function, playing music, is what it does best. The sound quality is top-class. For the