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Home Theater System Review: Bose Lifestyle T20

Choosing a packaged home theater system often means compromising on sound quality or design in favor of getting something that's easy to put together. With the Bose Lifestyle T20 home theater system, this isn't the case. Bose pride themselves on sleek design, top quality audio, and components that are easy to put together and use. Unfortunately, however, all of this does come at a price. The question is: is the Bose Lifestyle T20 worth it? Bose Lifestyle T20 Key Specifications RRP: $2000 Speaker Setup: 5.1 Wireless Subwoofer? No HDMI Inputs: 4 3D Passthrough? Yes Average Amazon.com Rating: 4.3 Benefits Of The Bose Lifestyle T20 Sound Quality: A number of key elements go into recreating the kind of sound that you'd usually experience in a movie theater so that you can enjoy it at home. You'll get the true surround sound experience thanks to Bose's patented Direct/Reflecting speakers, and excellent low-frequency sounds with an unobtrusive subwoofer. Getting the system to sound right is easy, too, thanks to the built in calibration system that'll work out the correct distance and delay settings for you. You can really hear the difference between this and other home theater systems. Others may be good value for money, but they can't match up to a system like the T20. Design: Bose are famous for the way they design their products, and the Bose Lifestyle T20 speakers certainly look impressive. Everything looks high quality, from the polished silver receiver to the cubic speakers and the simple yet sleek remote control. Ease Of Use: One of Bose's main aims with the Lifestyle range of home theater systems was to make them as easy to set up as possible. They do this in a number of ways: clear labeling on the packaging, simple instructions to follow and a guided setup on the device. This means it's quick to set up and easy to find your way around it once you have. The remote control is well laid out, less cluttered and easier to use than other home theater system remotes. The only downside is the fact that you'll usually need to view the onscreen display on your TV when using the controls. 4 HDMI Inputs: HDMI inputs are always useful for those with multiple HD devices that need to be connected to their TV. Most home theater systems come with one or two, but the Bose Lifestyle T20 comes with 4, plus two component video inputs, meaning that you can connect various devices up to your T20 and then use a single HDMI output to connect them all to your TV. Compact Speakers: The speakers that come with the Bose Lifestyle T20 are some of the most compact options available to buy. Aside from the subwoofer (which needs to be big for the bass tones) you'll have no trouble fitting in the surround speakers around your living room. Drawbacks Of The Bose Lifestyle T20 No Radio Tuner: An FM radio tuner has become standard on just about any home theater receiver nowadays, yet the Bose Lifestyle T20 doesn't have one. If you want radio, you'll have to pay extra for an upgraded Lifestyle home theater system. No CD/ DVD/ Blu-Ray Player: The Bose Lifestyle T20 home theater system isn't an all-in-one option. It comes with all surround sound speakers, a subwoofer and a receiver but it doesn't have the DVD/ CD/ Blu-Ray player included as with other options. Bear this in mind when you consider the cost. Price: Both of the above drawbacks lead us to the price of the Bose Lifestyle T20: it isn't cheap! Yes, you are paying more for a stylish design and easy set up, but considering the fact that you can get a home-theater-in-a-box for around $500, paying out nearly $2000 on this system from Bose is pretty steep. For additional features that most systems include as standard, such as an iPod dock, you'll have to pay even more for other Lifestyle models. Consider whether the extra features and sound quality are worth this price increase for you. Should You Buy The Bose Lifestyle T20? The Bose Lifestyle T20 is something you'll want to think very carefully about before buying. On the one hand, Bose are charging a lot of extra money for things that come as standard on other models, and features such as radio and an iPod dock are noticeably missing from this system. That said, you can't deny the fact that a lot of thought has gone into the system. It's not cheap, but it's extremely well designed, easy to use, and sounds fantastic. You can certainly see and hear the difference between the Bose Lifestyle T20 and cheaper all-in-one home theater solutions. The question is whether it suits your living room and your budget to go for the Bose!


Review: V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Noise-Isolating Headphones

Headphones have grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years, and there are now quite a few major brands offering high quality products. The V-MODA Crossfade LP2 headphones lie at the higher-end of the headphone spectrum, aimed not only at amateur audiophiles but professional DJs and production workers too. Finding itself in competition with popular choices like the BEATS Pro from Dr. Dre and the SMS Sync from 50 Cent the Crossfade LP2 has its work cut out. So, how does it stand up? Let’s find out. Key Specs For The V-MODA Crossfade LP2 RRP: $199.99 Year Of Release: 2011 Battery Powered? No Wireless? No Noise Canceling? Yes Weight: 1.8 lbs V-MODA Crossfade LP2: The Pros Sound Quality: The most important thing about any audio equipment is, naturally, the sound quality produced. Quality can vary enormously even among top-end products. This is made more complicated by the various aspects of sound quality – bass, mid and treble. Some products deliver very well on one or two of these but not the third, and in many cases one product will outdo another on one of these, but fall short of its competitor on another. All this can make choosing a pair of headphones very difficult. However, there are headphones with all-round great performance. These are one of them. The sound really is amazing on these. Everything is so clear and rich. If you’ve never used a high-end pair of headphones for music before, then you’ll pick up on all kinds of things that you simply never knew were there. While the Crossfade LP2s have excellent performance in general, it’s possible to identify where it is strongest and weakest. Bass is clearly the forte of this product, no doubt thanks to the 500mm dual-diaphragm drivers that sit at the heart of these headphones. This is closely followed by the quality of the mid-tones, which are still astonishing. Treble is the weakest element, but certainly doesn’t underperform when compared to most rivals. As well as this, there is relatively little leaking on these earphones. This maintains the high quality sound experience that you expect when paying prices like these. In addition, the noise-isolation works very well on these headphones, keeping external sound out of the listening experience most of the time. Durability: The marketing for the Crossfade LP2s makes some pretty bold claims about their durability, but when you get your hands on these headphones you’ll have no doubts that the claims are genuine. Firstly, they are constructed almost entirely from metal. Not only does this feel much more resilient that cheaper plastic sets, but also gives a greater impression of quality. The cables on these headphones easily match the robust build of the rest of the product. They are Kevlar-lined, which gives them 1 million+ bends before any chance of failure might occur. This is a truly astonishing number, and means professionals can rest assured that even with heavy use these will keep on going. The LP2s have been tested to all kinds of durability standards. They’ll last you a long, long time even if you put them through the ringer, with resistance for 70+ drops from 6 ft. Even though they’re expensive, you really don’t need to worry about carrying these around with you. Comfort: In addition to being durable, these headphones will certainly meet most users’ comfort needs. Firstly, the metal headband is very flexible, and doesn’t clamp too tight around the head. This makes long-duration usage as easy as possible. Even better, the cushioning uses memory phone to mould around the sides of your head in the optimal way. Design: The design of these is much more understated than its most popular rivals. The Crossfade LP2s do away with the glitz and glam that other headphones exhibit in favor of a precision performance vibe. This is suggestive of superior quality, and the minimal branding (which is barely visible anywhere on the product) adds to the professional impression that these give. With a matte-black finish on material that looks high-grade (and actually is high grade), plus the unique hexagonal earpieces, these are really stylish headphones that won’t look out of place whether you’re in your casual weekend clothing or are fully suited up for a business conference. Casing: Although it’s not something we often think about when buying headphones, the casing can be pretty important. It’s what lets you keep your headphones safe while traveling with them. Many headphones come with nothing more than a cloth bag to put them inside when they’re not in use. However, some come with more robust cases. The Crossfade LP2s probably have the most robust casing of any headphones. The material is really tough and rigid, and fits snugly around the earphones in a vacuum mould kind of way. With space for all the essentials inside, you can easily take these headphones anywhere you go. And probably the best thing is that it fits so well to the headphones themselves that it actually takes up very little extra room. This makes it much easier to carry around – whether in your backpack or your suitcase – as it’s a real space-saver. Warranty: Sometimes a warranty is more than a warranty – it can also be a statement of the quality of a product and the manufacturer’s faith in the product. The Crossfade LP2 has a 2-year warranty. That’s a whole year longer than most rivals and demonstrates that V-MODA have faith in the durability of their product. Customizable: If you like to make things your own then you’ll probably want some customizability in your product. These headphones comes with two different sets of metal shields for the outside of the earpieces – one matte black and one gunmetal grey. While these don’t offer a great deal of variety it is possible to buy other colors from the manufacturer. In addition, and perhaps most excitingly, it’s possible to have the shields engraved with designs or names really lending your earphones that personal feel. Battery-Free: Some headphones are battery-dependent. These are usually wireless models, or those that feature noise-cancellation technology. However, the Crossfade LP2s don’t need any additional battery power. They get everything they need direct from the device that they are connected to. V-MODA Crossfade LP2: The Cons Earpiece Size: While in general the Crossfade LP2s are comfortable to wear, you might find you have a problem if you have large ears. As the earpieces aren’t all that big, those with larger ears may find that the cushion presses directly onto the earlobe. For extended use, this may become uncomfortable, and for this reason you’d be advised to try out a demo pair in a local store before buying these. If your ears aren’t particularly large though, you won’t need to worry. Noise Isolation: Although the noise isolation is commendable, in really loud environments it might not be quite sufficient. If, for instance, you want to use these on an airplane flight you might find that they don’t cut out all of the engine noise. Non-Foldable Design: A minor point really, but these have a non-foldable design. That means that they can’t be made any smaller for easy packing and transport. Is The V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Worth Buying? The Crossfade LP2s are one of the best headphone sets out there in this price range. They’re of a professional level, being suitable for DJ use as well as for those who love to hear their music in all its glory. The shortcomings of these earphones are minor, and unless you have large ears won’t bother you too much. On the whole, this is a fantastic product and highly recommended.


Movie Review: Shrek the Third

This is the second sequel (and third movie in the series) to the popular computer generated animation movie that was made famous by the voice talents of Mike Meyers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (Donkey) and Cameron Diaz (Fiona). They return in this sequel to provide the same endearing personalities to their characters on the big screen in the latest Shrek adventure movie. Mike Meyers reprises his voice role as Shrek the swamp-loving Ogre, who shows there’s more to him than what one sees on the outside. He continues to give Shrek a humorous personality, which a stereotypical Ogre wouldn’t normally have. This brings a new life to an Ogre and shows kids that you can be liked no matter what you have on the outside. Eddie Murphy is back once again in the voice role of Donkey, the ever loving sidekick to Shrek. Eddie’s talents enable us to view Donkey as not only the annoying pest who pried his way into Shrek’s life, but also as a humorous character who ultimately was able to break through Shrek’s shell. Cameron Diaz reprises her voice role as Fiona, Shrek’s bride who taught Shrek to allow some of his softer side to show through. Her voice talent brings so much to her character that she has audiences believing that Fiona is a beautiful person, even though she’s an Ogre on the outside. The three characters come back to this movie effortlessly picking up where they left off in the first sequel. They are unavoidably thrown into a new adventure along with their new sidekick that was introduced in the first sequel, Puss in Boots, played by the charismatic Antonio Banderas. In this sequel, the gang faces the death of the Far Far Away King. Shrek is ultimately caught in a place he doesn’t want to be as the next in line to the King’s throne. Shrek, not wanting the responsibility of being King, longs for his quiet home in the swamp away from everyone except his bride Fiona. Shrek, Donkey and Puss in Boots embark on a journey to find the only other person to take the place of the King, Arthur Pendragon, a timid young man who has little confidence in himself and his capabilities. Shrek diligently tries to convince young Arthur to come back to the kingdom and take his place as the King. Little did Shrek know that he was facing his own inner fears of taking responsibility and striding into fatherhood. The whole Far Far away gang joins up with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to stop the conniving Prince Charming, who wants to do away with Shrek and become the new king of Far Far Away. This movie surpasses its expectations, which were brought by Shrek and Shrek 2.


Movie Review: Spiderman 3

Spiderman 3 is the newest Spidey adventure to meet the big screen. This movie, based on the popular Spiderman comics, brings more action and adventure to an ever-waiting audience. Everyone’s favorite red superhero is back and he’s brought an alter ego with him. Tobey Maguire returns to the role of Spiderman. He brings the character back to life, but this time he delivers a little more with the alter ego Black Spiderman. Peter Parker, who is Spiderman, realizes that he now has this alternative side to the superhero residing in him. When he dons the black suit, his powers are beyond his amazement, but they come at a price. The black suit also brings out the evil inconsiderate side to Spiderman, which Peter ultimately decides he doesn’t want to be. He struggles, not only with his enemies, but also with his inner self to gain control of his thoughts and actions. Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s girlfriend. Kirsten continues to bring the right amount of innocence to the role, making her character the perfect companion for our superhero Spiderman. She makes acting look as easy as baking a frozen pie. She’s refreshing with a light humorous side and she brings it to the screen in this movie. This time Spiderman has to deal with two super villains - the New Goblin and the Sandman. The New Goblin has vowed revenge against Spiderman and is following in his father’s footsteps. The Sandman has proven to be Spiderman’s toughest fight yet, as he struggles to capture the one man responsible for Uncle Ben’s demise. While Spiderman struggles against the evildoers, he finds himself also fighting his inner self through the black Spiderman side of him caused by the venom. Peter Parker is all of a sudden reunited with an old flame and starts fighting his inner turmoil of attraction to a new student and model. Both Peter Parker and Spiderman try to shake off their foes and get things back in order within their lives. Peter must correct the rift that he caused between him and Mary Jane by his temptations for the new student. Spiderman must fight off and break free from the alien substance that has infected him and brought him to the depths of evil. He manages to break free from its grasp on him, but he must try to save Peter’s rival photographer, venom’s next victim. Eddie Brock, Peter’s rival photographer, teams up with Spiderman’s enemy, the Sandman. This movie has lived up to the last two in the Spiderman series. It has just as much if not more action than the last two movies. The audiences’ anticipation has easily been met in this action packed movie.


Movie Review: Bug

Bug is an American film based on the popular Bug play written by Tracy Letts. It deals with issues of domestic violence, paranoia, schizophrenia and secret governmental experiments with a new horror-filled twist. Ashley Judd plays the waitress in this movie that lives in fear of her abusive ex-husband who is inadvertently let out of jail. She meets up with a new lover who instills conspiracy theories in her which escalates her fears. Ashley brings this character to life and makes the audience wonder what is real and what is just plain madness. Harry Connick, Jr. brings his talents to the role of Ashley’s ex-husband. He brings a new side of his acting talents to the movie screen playing a violent, evil-minded character versus the softer-sided roles he’s played in the past. Michael Shannon bursts into the movie reprising the role he made popular with the play version of Bug. He brings the necessary qualities to make his courteous and gentle character believable to the audience. His acting abilities are enhanced by working with such stars as Ashley Judd and Harry Connick, Jr. The movie titillates the mind with thoughts of conspiracies and government experiments gone wrong with elusive and dangerous parasites. You’re made to feel the fear of the abusive ex-husband and the enlightened awareness of the UFOs and secret experiments. The plot thickens within the movie and you’re left wondering what’s real and what’s brought on with the madness of fear. Agnes, the waitress, begins to believe everything her new lover has told her and she starts to fall into the depths of his paranoia. The audience gets caught up in the drama, believing that her new beau is crazy and bringing her down with his demented thinking, but we’re appalled at how she can believe everything he tells her and think he’s making perfect sense. The movie is shot primarily in a motel room, but the plot makes it seem much more than that. The room transforms by the end into a shelter to protect them from their innermost fears, but it resemble some kind of raid bunker people had back in the days when our fears of bombings were heightened with wars. This movie makes you want to jump into the screen and pull Agnes out of the depths of her fear and show her what she’s seeing isn’t real, but the real question is what is real? What other movies takes an audience to a place where fear isn’t for their own lives, but rather for the lives of the characters on the screen? William Friedkin’s film, Bug, is a horror-filled movie that leaves its audience wanting to know more about the main characters and where the paranoia will take them.


Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean at World’s End

At World’s End is the third part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. The main characters are brought back to life by the original stars from the first part of the series. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush are back to play the roles that have made the movie series as popular as it is. Johnny Depp brings a new twist to his role of Captain Jack Sparrow, the charismatic pirate. He keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering whether or not he’s playing the role of good pirate or bad pirate. In the last movie of the series, Jack Sparrow surprises everyone by coming back from the dead in time to embark on this new treacherous sea faring journey. Orlando Bloom is back in his role of Will Turner, the blacksmith apprentice who set out on the journey of a lifetime in the first part of the series, where he found out that his father was an infamous pirate. He continues to bring the same precise sword fighting we saw in the first two parts of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Keira Knightley plays the beautiful Elizabeth Swann, who turns from a fragile maiden character to a fierce fighter in the last two movies. She joins the crew in the last movie to embark on an action-filled adventure to save Captain Jack Sparrow from his ultimate fate. Geoffrey Rush returns in his role of the famous evil-minded pirate, Captain Barbossa who we were introduced to in the first movie. He continues his role as Hector Barbossa in the last movie, but has switched from fighting Jack Sparrow, to aiding in his rescue. He brings the same spicy characteristics of an evil pirate in this movie even though he’s more of an ally than an enemy. Davy Jones, the evil supernatural pirate who walks the bottom of the sea searching for souls to bring to his phantom crew, returns in this movie to continue to wreak havoc for the main characters. He is played once again by the British actor Bill Nighy. He plays the role well, making the audience believe he truly is an evil phantom pirate who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The four main characters meet up with some of the other ongoing characters we saw in the previous movies, such as Norrington (Jack Davenport), Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathon Pryce), Bootstrap Bill Turner (Stellan Starsgard) and the members of the Black Pearl ship’s crew. This movie brings more action and adventure to the big screen than we ever saw in the first two movies put together. The plot flows well throughout the movie and guarantees the audience will be on the edge of their seats until the ultimate climactic end we’ve waited to see since the first movie came out. This pirate adventure leaves all of the old pirate movies in its dust with its awesome special effects and costumes coupled with the talents brought by actors to their roles in this movie.


Movie Review: Waitress

Waitress is a romantic comedy that tells the tale of a small town southern waitress who wants nothing more than to leave her husband and her unhappy marriage. This flick stars Keri Russell (Jenna), Jeremy Sisto (Earl) and Nathan Fillion (Dr. Pomatter). This film starts out building up the story line explaining how miserable Jenna is in her marriage to Earl. Keri plays the part well by bringing innocence to Jenna, who works hard for her money only to have it taken away by her ungrateful husband. Keri plays the character up by bringing lighthearted humor to Jenna who was leading a life that led nowhere. She brings this character up a notch from her famous TV character, Felicity. Jeremy Sisto who plays Earl, Jenna’s husband, brings yet another perfect performance as the controlling husband to Jenna. He has the gift of acting flexibility, which enables him to bring whatever is needed for a character and make it believable. He takes his character and makes the audience want to hate him for how he treats Jenna. Nathan Fillion is better known for some of his television acting. He’s been seen in popular shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an episode of Lost and the short-lived series Drive. His versatile acting abilities show in this movie as Jenna’s doctor, with whom she has an affair. This movie starts out with Jenna finding out she’s pregnant by her husband, whom she has no feelings of love for. Her life is complicated enough by her unhappiness and her plans to save up money to leave her controlling husband and start a new life. The pregnancy only deepens her unhappiness, but she becomes even more determined than ever to leave, so she decides to enter a pie-baking contest to win the grand prize. If she won, she would earn enough money to leave her controlling husband far behind and start anew with their child. Along the way, Jenna meets the dashing Dr. Pomatter, who has been taking care of her during her pregnancy. They ultimately have an affair, which is even more complicated by the fact that even the good doctor is married. The majority of the movie centers around Jenna’s affair with the sweet and sensitive doctor and her preparation for the pie contest, where she plans to pull out all of the stops with her pie baking ability. If you’re looking for a refreshing twist to a romantic comedy, this movie will more than provide it for you. Keri Russell brings the all American girl sweetness to Jenna, which shows her vulnerability. The audience can’t help but get sucked into the story and start rooting for Jenna to rise up and conquer.


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