The top portable audio gadgets you can buy right now
Samsung Level On Wireless
Sure, Samsung may not be the first name you associate with headphones, but last year's wired version of the Level On was a pleasant surprise. This year, it's gone wireless, but still has easy-to-access buttons and touch controls to make switching tracks, pausing and volume adjustments a breeze. The audio, of course, is still rather good and the headset's minimal weight and comfy ear pads make long-term listening a pleasure.
We were blown away by the performance of UE's $300 Megaboom, but its newest and more affordable sibling isn't too shabby either. The UE Roll is priced at $100, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. There's the spacious 360-degree sound, Double Up to pair with another Boom speaker, Bluetooth Smart remote on/off and IPX7 waterproofing. The slim and rugged saucer shape and heavy-duty bungee cord help to make this speaker portable and easy to hang or mount. As speakers go, this is money well spent.
Sync by 50 On-Ear Wireless Sport headphones
Headphones for athletes usually involve hooks or wings. These can be good, but SMS Audio (50 Cent's answer to Beats) provides another solution -- wireless on-ear Sync. Yeah, they're a little bass-heavy, but that just helps push you through the pain barrier (and drown out your frantic panting).
Most bone-conducting headphones have trouble kicking out enough volume even without background noise, but Damson's crowdfunded Headbones are impressively loud. On top of the sonic output, these splash-proof headsets have a 3.5mm jack for regular earbuds or turning your old wired setup into a Bluetooth-enabled one. All this, while still keeping your ears open to the world around you.
Sennheiser Momentum In-ear
Your casual listener may be fine with $20 earbuds, but if you're looking to upgrade your audio experience, Sennheiser's Momentum will do the trick. These in-ears offer a quality sound with a good helping of bass and clarity that cheaper units don't provide. In-line controls and a microphone for calls are also on board, rounding out the package.
This started out as a workshop device at Moogfest 2014, but its popularity inspired the company to release kits for anyone to buy. The Werkstatt-01 is a patchable analog synthesizer that lets you play with the circuitry of synths from the comfort of your own home. This device also packs some of the classic sounds that we've come to expect from Moog over the decades. The kit lets you dabble in the world of synths for a far more affordable price than its more professional siblings like the Sub Phatty.