The Best of the Best
The original B&W Zeppelin from British audiophiles Bowers & Wilkins demonstrated that you could get good sound out of an iPod for a price: $600. This year’s Zeppelin added an important improvement: wireless streaming music. The Zeppelin Air was the first high-end iPod dock to use Apple’s AirPlay technology so that music could be streamed from to the Zeppelin without the hassle of cables or docking adapters. Tracks and volume can even be controlled using an iPhone or iPad. The addition was a signal that AirPlay would quickly become a de facto standard.
The diminutive Jambox is another unique accessory for anyone who travels and uses a smartphone, laptop or other portable device to play music. From Jawbone, the makers of noise-canceling Bluetooth headsets, the rechargeable Jambox is just 2.25 inches high, six inches wide, and 1.5 inches deep and weighs only 12 ounces, but it kicks out enough volume, up to 85 db, to fill a room with music. The midrange and bass are impressive for such a small device, and it uses wireless Bluetooth to stream sound or a minijack aux input for non-Bluetooth devices.
Best Tablet: Apple iPad 2
Introduced in March, the second generation of iPad has been an unequivocal success. There aren’t enough superlatives to express the impact it has had on the computer and PC markets but also consumer electronics, publishing, media, cable television and gaming.