Quite often you’ll find yourself traveling to another city, state or country and be met with the all-too-common sinking feeling when presented with your hotel room power point options – only one or two annoyingly placed ports. If you’re like me, not only have you forgotten a power board, but you’ve got multiple devices to charge via USB ports. Furthermore, if you’re heading on a holiday or business trip – it’s likely that you’re carrying a myriad of battery-powered devices: a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and GoPro being just the beginning of a very long list.
Being left with your standard issue 1-port USB smartphone charger won’t do you much justice, pulling out your bulky laptop isn’t always the best solution due to them being heavy and slow to charge – this is where USB power hubs come into their element. They’re also suitable for a home environment, offering between two and five handy USB ports to charge your devices overnight or while you’re sitting on the couch.
Thankfully for us, we’ve had a couple of wall USB chargers provided to us for testing. Read on for a quick round-up on these life-saving devices and what conditions we think they suit best.
The full list of products in this roundup and their pricing is as follows:
Noontec may not be as common a brand name as Beats, or Bose or many other fancy audio hardware brands, but they’re certainly gaining in popularity with a steady pace. When I reviewed one of their early products here on eTeknix, the original Noontec Zoro, I was far from impressed with the overall sound quality of their product. Sure the headset looked stunning, but the high price tag wasn’t backed up by premium performance. Today I’m hoping to see and hear a big improvement from the company. I’ve seen a few other Noontec products over the last few months that certainly had some merit, so perhaps the company have brushed up on their technology and made some much needed improvements.
It’s important to mention that Noontec market themselves as a fashion audio brand. Their headphones are designed to be a lifestyle choice for those who feel that their headset needs to look as good as they do. Personally speaking, I’ll wear the ugliest headset on the market if it offers me the best performance, hopefully Noontec can combine great performance with their already well-tailored designs.
The Zoro II HD comes equipped with a 4-pole 3.5mm connector for use on mobile devices, and it even comes with a built-in microphone, making it an ideal choice for use with your smart phone. You can use them to listen to music, but you won’t have to take the headset off to make/answer a call.
The on-cable microphone comes with support for a range of modern phones and the ones listed below will fully support that built-in answer call button and microphone with no issues.
The cable is completely detachable from the headphones and comes equipped with a tangle-free flat cable and a built-in microphone with call answer button.
The Zoro II HD come in a choice of four colours, although we’ve got hold of this rather fetching metallic purple; very pretty.
The headband is lightweight, but surprisingly durable.
The drivers are mounted on a pivot joint to provide a nice comfortable fit on your ears. There’s a 3.5mm port on the bottom of one of the ear cups to connect the included cable.
The headband padding is nice and soft and finished in a bright blue. It contrasts nicely with the purple finish, but most importantly it’s also very comfortable on your head.
The headband extenders are great for adjusting the fit, but they can also be folded inwards; perfect for storing the headset out of the way. When you need to use the headset again, they snap back into place firmly, no chance of them folding up when you don’t want them to.
The ear cups have a foam interior and a soft leather padding. The headset fits snug on your ears and stays comfortable even after a couple of hours usage.
Overall, a very nice looking headset. So let’s plug it in and find out how it performs.
Today we take a look at the Noontec Rio in-ear headphones and having previously reviewed the Noontec Zoro wireless headphones and giving them a big thumbs up I was excited to review the Rio earphones. On paper the Rio offers high quality sound in an attractive package and I’m keen to see what they can do.
In ear headphones are more popular than ever, in fact it is safe to say that personal audio is more popular than ever with the market saturated by mobile audio devices such as Tablets, portable gaming devices, mobiles, mp3 players and more. So it can really be important to have some person headphones that are not only great in terms of performance, but also comfortable and of course affordable.
So without further delay, lets get right to the good stuff and see what the Rio have to offer.
High quality packaging seems to be the norm for Noontec. The Rio comes with a small zip up hard case to store the earphones and spare tips in, you can also get any jack adapters or Bluetooth dongles in there too as there is enough room. The blurb on the inside cover promotes high end audio clarity and the window on the box teases you with what’s on offer.
The fold open front cover has magnets to stop it flying open, attention to detail in the packaging is high, it’s not just looks in this regard. You also get additional ear tips in each size.
We are given plenty of room inside the pouch but ultimately all that storage space comes at a cost. putting this case in your pocket will create bulk and is best suited to a bag to transport around in. A soft pouch may have been a nicer pocket friendly option.
Up until recently I had never heard of Noontec as a brand, had I not been shown more details then these headphones would have passed me by otherwise! I have listened to RF and bluetooth headphones in the past and the technology just wasn’t good enough back then to offer high enough quality music or for audio to be in sync with what’s happening on screen for those who watch movies or play games.
I checked the details of the Zoro on the Noontec website which labels them as “Fashion” headphones (I’ll come to this later on) and that they also have a HD version which appears to have a $20 lower RRP but is an older model.
The majority of buyers who are looking for wireless headphones today will no doubt be using them on their smartphones and tablets, so for the bulk of this review I will be basing my findings from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which is the best of both worlds, better known as a phablet. I’ll also be adding additional thoughts on the performance when connected to a Hi-Fi amplifier with the supplied cable.
Will this new Noontec model offer a solution to those issues or will they disappoint, let’s find out!
The Zoro comes neatly packed in a folding cover box. Without focusing at the logo or brand name you could be forgiven for mistaking the headphones on show as a pair of Beats by Dr Dre, they have clearly taken some inspiration from the good Dr, not necessarily a bad thing for attracting a wider audience.
The presentation is good, not excessive but not cheap looking or feeling either. These headphones can be bought for around £40 and I feel the packaging and presentation quality exceeds what other headphones offer in this price range.
In the box are the headphones, 3.5mm detachable ribbon cable and a soft satin pull lock pouch. The ribbon cable, for when you don’t want to connect wirelessly.
Music is popular, just encase you didn’t notice, but with more and more people spending time listing to their music on the move, devices like mobile phones, laptops, iPods and many other MP3 players to name but a few are everywhere, with such a massive user base and so many music playing devices it makes sense that people would want the best in audio quality to enjoy their music collection, not only that but most of us want the best we can get without paying the earth for it, but this is a theory that doesn’t just apply to headphones, we all want a good deal at the end of the day.
Noontec Zoro make big claims about this set of headphones, which for their price range made me a little sceptical, which I’ll discuss in a few moments, but here is an exert from the Noontec site to give you an idea of what I’m talking about;
In pursuit of the perfect sound effect, Zoro has been developed from the outstanding intelligence and perfect SCCB technique of professional masters. The 40mm high-quality neodymium magnet speaker is almost fully had-selected, with low frequency sound cavities calibrated at ten thousand times and the cotton buds of the acoustic earphones having undergone professional tests. The low frequency sounds are solid and powerful, the intermediate frequency is well-balanced, the high frequency is down to earth and lively, and the overall three-dimensional effect is outstandingly clear and achieves a high level of clarity. Zoro’s non-destructive sound effect restores the spirit of music. It makes you feel like part of music and musician’s world and it allows you truly enjoy every single minor detail of music, bringing you a brand-new incomparable perspective of real music.
That sounds like a lot to live up to, but the top of the page is the bravest of all “Better Sound Quality Than German Headphone”, keep reading if you want to know just how well these gorgeous looking headphones from Noontec hold up in my tests.
We get a lot of different products come through our doors, and when we see another media box we tend to sigh as we generally know they aren’t up to scratch. Sure they look nice and have a good feature list, but for the majority, they are let down by their specifications.
Simply put, a 500MHz processor and 256MB DDR2/3 memory just can’t cut it, but it still seems that a lot of brands on the market don’t seem to be getting the big picture and continue to offer this cheap tat (for fears of a better word) to the general public, and the consumer continues to keep buying it, and personally it gets frustrating to see it happen.
This is where we come along, to educate the masses into what’s good and frankly, what’s not and today has seen something a bit special landing with us. Something that offers an impressive feature list and some tech savvy specifications to boot and it’s all from a brand that not many may have heard of, and that’s Noontec.
Noontec are a fairly unheard of name in the tech industry, but don’t let this put you off in the slightest, as from a first glance, we have high hopes with their offering; the A9 Smart TV Box which offers up an all-in-one wireless enabled Android 2.3 enabled device, reading for web browsing, gaming, video, music and much much more and we decided to put it to the test to see if it can really deliver on what it claims.