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Gadgets: Speaker dock and charger for iPhone 5

  • December 29, 2012 - 9:13 PM

A SPEAKER DOCK AND CHARGER FOR IPHONE 5

JBL OnBeat Micro,

$100, www.jbl.com

Capitalizing on the sudden need for iPhone 5 docking stations, Harman has released the JBL OnBeat Micro speaker dock that features the must-have Apple Lightning connector.

The $100 JBL OnBeat Micro is a redesigned version of its predecessor, the On Stage Micro. It still comes with an AC power adapter, which charges devices while they are docked, but the remote control has been dropped.

The speaker dock is intended to be portable; it weighs less than 1 pound and is compact enough to fit in a backpack.

Thick cases for an iPhone might not fit, because the Lightning connector is nestled flush in the bottom of the recessed dock. The dock is too small to house the iPad, full or Mini, but a USB port and a 3.5-millimeter audio input in the back can accommodate most devices. For a small speaker, the JBL OnBeat Micro produces good sound.

The JBL OnBeat Micro doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its rivals. There is no Bluetooth capability, rechargeable battery, alarm clock, AM/FM radio or speakerphone. But it is one of the few with a Lightning connector, which raises its profile considerably.

A POCKET-SIZE DEVICE

PROJECTS A BIG PICTURE

HDMI Pocket Projector, $300, www.brookstone.com

As consumers switch from laptops to tablets and smartphones, the makers of projectors are adapting.

Brookstone has come out with an HDMI Pocket Projector, which connects to multiple devices through an HDMI cable for a variety of uses, including presentations, videos, slide shows and games.

The projector measures 3.8 inches by 3.9 inches. But Brookstone found room for a Digital Light Processing chip from Texas Instruments, which it claimed could project high-definition images up to 1080p at 60 inches diagonal on a flat surface.

The projector, which costs $300, comes with a 3-inch HDMI cable and micro- and mini-adapters. It has a rechargeable battery, which offers up to two hours of playback.

The connection to an iPhone, with a special adapter, is pretty simple. The projector displays a remarkably clear picture. Even at 8 feet away, the picture maintained most of its clarity.

The sound, though, is weak and tinny. There is an auxiliary jack to enable use of external speakers, but that defeats the purpose of having a pocket projector. You want it to work as a single unit; if you need to carry attachments, you might as well use a laptop.

NEW YORK TIMES

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