Welcome to the latest installment of Staff Picks. Each week, we’ll tell you about the tech we’re currently testing — everything from cameras to headphones, 2-in-1 laptops and home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. For our last selections, visit here.
Beoplay A2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
No summer rooftop party is complete without a portable Bluetooth speaker, and of course, there is no shortage of options on the market. The vast majority of them, however, produce tinny, hollow sound that is easily overwhelmed by the overtures of a good time. Enter Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A2. Not only does it produce sound high above its weight class in both volume and quality, but it’s also low profile and only weighs 2.4 pounds. It’s infinitely compatible thanks to Bluetooth 4.0 and a line-in for devices pre-Bluetooth era. Best of all, like virtually all of Bang & Olufsen’s products, it’s exquisitely designed and doesn’t give off the pre-teen dance-party vibe of other wireless Bluetooth speakers. – AJ Powell, Staff Writer
Explorer Portable Hi-Fi Player by Echobox
I’m not normally the audiophile type, meaning I’m not normally carrying around dedicated hi-fi player when I have a perfectly good iPhone and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. But over the past several weeks I’ve been walking to and from work with this new hi-fi player. Despite its flask shape and dated Android OS, it sounds fantastic (with Tidal, especially). And compared to other portable hi-fi players, it’s relatively affordable ($600). Still, I can’t say I love carrying around a dedicated music player and my phone, but every now and again when I really want to pretend I’m at a Bruce concert, this is what I’m listening to. (Yes, I’m from Jersey.)
Echobox, a new California hi-fi company, is launching several affordable hi-fi headphones as well. You can read the company’s full story here. – Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer
Inside (Video Game)
Initially released in summer 2016, it’s a puzzle/adventure game where a young boy with no name or backstory must escape from a nightmarish factory. Armed with no skills or weapons — all you can do is run and jump — you have to solve Escape the Room–type puzzles while avoiding guards, guard dogs, and various “creatures.” It’s haunting yet addicting, and leads to an end you won’t see coming.
Inside is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. – Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer