Altec Lansing AHP612 Wireless Headphones Review

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Altec Lansing is obviously looking to harness the power of the blogosphere… and I’m more than happy to help! A few weeks ago they sent me the XM3120, and Tuesday these sexy headphones were waiting at my door.

First off, I’m a sucker for good looks… and the AHP612 cans are pretty sleek other than the prominent “Altec Lansing” advertising on both ears. (I wonder if some nail polish remover could take care of that.) They also happen to feel pretty good — not too bulky, heavy, or constricting though my ears did get warm after prolonged use. Three included AAA NiMH rechargeables supposedly provide 8 hours of listening time, though I didn’t put that claim to the test. For charging, the headphones easily drop into their powered cradle. As you can see from the pics, each ear has a variety of buttons (and lights!), including the all-important volume up/down which work as advertised.

As far as performance goes, the clarity of the audio and the wireless range surprised me. Because the AHP612 headphones operate at 900Mhz, they shouldn’t interfere with WiFi gear or modern cordless phones. In testing I found the signal to be perfect in all areas of my 1100 sq. ft. apartment. To further test the range (listed at 150′), I visited the apartment two floors down and maintained excellent reception. Now the bad news… I’m no audio snob, yet even I can tell you the audio quality is just average. Perhaps that’s the trade we make for wireless freedom.

The AHP612 (couldn’t they have come up with a more memorable name?) retail for $150, though a quick search of Froogle shows several listings under a hundred. Overall, I think these are pretty slick if you have a need for wireless headphones. Since I don’t, I’m gifting them to Kevin over at jkOnTheRun — keep an eye out for his opinion in the coming weeks!

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Altec Lansing XM3120 and Roady XT Review

No sooner had I contemplated the usefulness of the XM3120 did Altec Lansing send me a review sample. The compact speaker dock includes two clear plastic cutouts for either the Delphi Roady XT or the Audiovox Xpress. I’ve enjoyed using it with the Roady XT at work the last few weeks. Not only does it look sharp and sound decent, but I’ve gotten rid of Roady2 home kit cable clutter and bulky computer speakers. The bundled external antenna wisely includes 20′ of cable for placements without window exposure. XM3120 retails for about $100, which compares with the butt-ugly Belkin F5X007. However, Belkin’s offering does come with a remote control — something I’d like to have seen Altec Lansing include.

Getting the XM3120 in the mail was all the encouragement I needed to upgrade from the Roady2 to the Roady XT. As you can see from the pics, the XT is smaller and sleeker. More importantly the FM transmitter is significantly improved, resulting in better reception and higher quality audio coming through my car radio. The display is also noticeably brighter. If you’re in the market for a small plug & play XM receiver, this model with included car kit runs only about $50 – $60 after rebate at places like Amazon and Best Buy or you can pick it up for $48.34 at Walmart without any rebate hassles (which is what I did).

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Logitech Harmony 520 In The Flesh

Harmony 520Logitech has begun shipping the new Harmony 520 to select Walmarts, which resulted in numerous phone calls and a distant quest to two stores. Why Walmart you ask? Logitech is aiming squarely down market with this $99 model – and I’ve concluded the cost corresponds directly to the number of buttons.

The main differences between the 520 and the 6xx line are obviously the the new physical design, dropping the hard coded activity buttons along with many others, and the introduction of new software – for under a hundred bucks.

As with other models, Harmony remotes are configured online using a web-based wizard with your custom settings being downloaded via USB into the remote. The 520 is the first in the Harmony line using updated configuration and connectivity software. Logitech promises this will eventually be available to all Harmony devices – in fact it is currently willing to configure my old 659, though I haven’t tried. Keeping with the Harmony way, you program your remote using activities. For example a Watch DVD activity might turn on your TV, switch the input source, turn on the DVD player, and dim your Lutron lights. Soft buttons listed in the LCD allow for an unlimited amount of function keys.

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