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 hi-fi headphones, extremely large desktop monitors to smart home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. For our last selections, visit here.
Astell & Kern KANN
For the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling with the Astell & Kern KANN. The KANN is a portable hi-fi player capable of making the world melt away even at 36,000 feet. It runs a custom version of Android and offers 64GB internal flash memory and MicroSD and SD slots that support up to 256GB and 512GB, respectively. The custom Android interface can feel a bit clunky at times, but the sound quality more than makes up for it. It has a built-in DAC and amp, which means that I can leave my USB DAC behind and still get top-shelf playback without the extra bulk. The best feature of the KANN, though — aside from the volume adjustment wheel — is the fact that it supports USB-C, so I can use the same cable as my smartphone. No more carrying around extra cables. – AJ Powell, Assistant Editor
66 Audio BTS Pro
I usually run with in-ear wireless sport headphones by the likes of Jabra, Jaybird or Bose, or just old-school cheap wired EarPods. The BTS Pro sport headphones were an interesting switch-up. Its extra bulk and on-ear design caused my ears to sweat more than usual and took some getting used to. What I loved, however, was that they were loud. In fact, they were the loudest wireless headphones I’ve ever run with. If you’re into fine-tuning your audio, the Motion Control app (which works with iPhone and Apple Watch) allows you to do just that. The BTS Pro also had excellent Bluetooth range at around 100 feet, in case you like to work out without your phone nearby. – Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer
Logitech G433 Headphones
For $100, these headphones will work with a PC, any console (Xbox One, PS4 Pro, Nintendo Switch) and an iPhone — not many headphones can do that. The G433 is equipped with a 3.5mm jack and detachable microphone. If you’re a PC gamer and want to have full surround sound, the G433 headphones come with a USB DAC dongle. If you’re looking for an affordable “do-it-all headphone,” this is it. – Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer