Camping season is coming up and what’s better than relaxing around a bonfire with your favorite music playing off a portable speaker? Having it playing off a waterproof, rugged, outdoor Bluetooth speaker with a 24 hour battery life, that’s what!
Wires. Wires are old. Wireless is new. Wireless is the way forwards.
The issue in the past wasn’t the fact that wireless communication wasn’t available, the radio was invented 1895 and Bluetooth is basically the same thing. The problem was (and is to a certain extent) wireless Power. That is, at this point in time, it’s impossible to transmit power wirelessly over a relatively large distance, so batteries have to be used, but batteries weren’t great until a couple of years ago.
Now that batteries are better, as I said earlier, wireless is the way forwards. Taotronics (along with a multitude of other electronics companies) realise this and take advantage of it and hence they release products that operate wirelessly.
The TT-BH08 is a ‘sweat-proof’ sport Bluetooth headset. It feels rubbery since it has a soft silicon surface so as to increase it’s water resistance, ergo, it’s sweat resistance. The neck band is flexible and it molds around your neck making it easy to forget it’s even there. Unlike conventional headset, the TT-BH08 comes with an ‘ear-hook’ which makes sure the earpiece stays in place whilst the user performes different types of sports.
The right earphone has three buttons on it, the power / multi-function button, Volume Up / Next Track and the Volume Down / Previous Track. The latter two are conveniently marked with braille style dimples, one for Volume down and two for Volume up. This makes it extremely easy to recognise the buttons without having to feel around.
Switching to the other set, the TT-BH07 have a more sleek and serious design. Although they are marketed as being secure for sports, this model is not water resistant. They do come with a cool extra feature though, that of having a magnetic attraction at each base of the earpiece. This means if you’ve had enough of listening to music you can just take them off and clip them onto each other around your neck without having to stop your workout to put them away in a carry pouch.
Unlike the TT-BH08 the control buttons are not on the earpiece but are instead on the strap. The buttons perform the same tasks as for the other headset but they are quite small when compared to the ones on the TT-BH08, though I don’t believe this should be an issue.
Both headsets have the same features. They both play music wirelessly off your phone, both have an in-built microphone to allow you to answer calls without looking at your phone and both have buttons to switch track and adjust the volume without looking at your phone.
The audio quality is impressive on both of them. Considering the size of the ‘speaker’ inside the headset I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of bass it emitted. Fortunately the bass isn’t overcoming the other ranges and thus music sounds crisp, clean and genuine.
The TT-BH08 has an in-built ceramic antenna and supports Bluetooth 4.0. It rocks an impressive battery life of 7 hours.
The TT-BH08 supports Bluetooth 4.1. This means that it’s quicker and easier to pair with your device than before. The battery life is rated slightly less at 5 hours, but to be honest I don’t believe I’ve ever had time to listen to music for 5 hours straight! The stated stand-by time is of 175 hours on a single charge, so don’t worry about forgetting it on!
I tested both devices over a couple of days and I can’t really say I prefer one to the other – they have different uses. I use the BH08 when I go out jogging, it stays put in my ear and I don’t need to worry about getting sweat on it and ruining it. When travelling to work I use the BH07 because they are sleeker and more ‘business-like’. They pack smaller than the BH08 so I can just easily slip them into my pocket once I arrive at work.
Which would I suggest? Well, it depends. Do you like to work out? Do you travel long distances? As I said it depends, but I believe that if you know why you’re buying a Bluetooth headset, you will know which set to buy.
As I discussed in an earlier product review of mine TaoTronics seem to have understood that wireless is the way forward. Now they upped the ante by creating a water resistant Bluetooth speaker.
This device looks and feels great. The speaker has a soft-touch finish that feels velvety. A concentration of controls on the front make sure you don’t need to fiddle around to find buttons all over the device – just stick it onto your wall, make sure it’s facing the right way and you can control this device blindly – great for those of you who take off their glasses to have a shower or bath. The buttons, as always, are satisfying to press This ‘control panel’ also serves as indication about the device’s state, lighting up in blue or red.
Unlike the TT-SK02, the battery on this device (TT-SK03) is in-built and cannot be removed. This is because the device is water resistant and having the battery removable would mean that another opening would need to be added.
The large suction cup at the back allows you to stick it safely onto any smooth surface without worrying that it might slide off.
Using it couldn’t be simpler. Turn it on by pressing and holding the Power button – this turns it on into ‘Pairing mode’. Browse your Bluetooth player’s available connection and connect to the one called “TT-SK03” – no password should be required. Pressing the ‘Pause/Resume’ button should automatically launch the default music app and start playing music. The buttons on either side of the centre serve both as a ‘next / previous’ button and a ‘volume up / down’ – operated by a short or long press respectively. An awesome feature is the ability to answer calls whilst in the shower – this speaker comes with an in-built microphone and a ‘Hands free button’ – pressing this one will answer the phone call, pressing and holding it will decline it.
A rubber cover on the side uncovers the charging port. The cable required – a USB to DC jack – comes in the box.
Even though it’s quite small, the sound quality is astounding. Combine that with (limited) bathroom echos and you’ve got yourself some bathroom surround sound! The audio has an acceptable amount of bass which is again amplified in a closed room.
It is good to keep in mind that this device is water resistant and not water proof. What this means is that it can take splashes but it cannot be submersed under water.
This product was sent to me to review by Taotronics. People always assume that since it was sent for free I would write a positive review. That is not the case with my reviews – I genuinely like this product and have in fact used it nearly every day since it was sent to me over a month ago. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
If you have a modern vehicle you most probably have means to play music onto your car stereo from your phone. Various options are offered by car manufacturers – Auxiliary, USB and (on higher end cars) Bluetooth. When Auxiliary and USB are the only options things get messy. Cables tend to get entangled onto things (handbrakes, gear levers) and apart from that, looking at your phone whilst driving to switch songs or answer phone calls can be fatal.
TaoTronics bridged the gap between not-so-spec-ed cars and fully speced by creating the Hands-Free Car Kit.
What does it do?
This little nifty device converts music being played through Bluetooth to an auxiliary jack – hence ‘Bluetooth enabling’ your cars stereo. It comes with a tethered remote that allows you to play/pause, answer phone calls, change songs and change the volume without looking at your phone.
As with all TaoTronics products recently, this gadget looks great. The USB charger slides in snugly into the 12V port and doesn’t jiggle about. The remote has a ‘soft-touch’ finish with three buttons, a slider on the side to power the device on and off (just in case the 12V port remains powered when the car is off) and a microphone. On the back of the remote there is a barely noticeable magnetic base which also has 3M adhesive for those who have no metal parts on their dashboard.
Installation is very simple – plug the ‘USB charger’ into the 12V DC port. Connect the USB end of the cable into the charger into the port with the phone symbol and connect the 3.5mm jack into your cars Aux input. Turn on your car (or turn the key onto ‘accessories’) and connect with Bluetooth or NFC. Voilà! you’re all set!
This gadget has the the features you’d expect any Bluetooth device to have:
– Play / Pause
– Next Song / Previous Song
– Volume Up / Down
– Answer phone call
– Decline phone call
– Redial last called number
– NFC pairing
As I said in another of my posts I’m quite particular about audio quality so I was ecstatic to read that this gadget has in-built aptX coding (TL;DR CD quality music over Bluetooth) and it did not disappoint me.
I haven’t heard any artefacts or skipped notes yet. My iPhone connects within a few seconds of turning on my car and starts playing as soon as I press the multifunction button once.
I delayed purchasing this product for too long. The price of competitors had put me off buying a similar gadget. But luckily enough TaoTronics sent me one to review and I couldn’t be happier. Compared to the price of changing your vehicles’s factory stereo to a Bluetooth-enabled one, this hands-free kit is a very cost effective solution.