Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
Admired by headphone obsessives for its value-focused audio gear, HiFiMan has debuted RE300i ($50), a budget-priced earphone model targeted at iPod, iPhone, and iPad users. Featuring an integrated three-button remote control and mic unit, RE300i's glossy white all-plastic construction and sparing collection of pack-ins have a distinctly OEM-style first impression. But the inclusion of extra filters — the little parts between the earphones and your ear — and the oversized, not-particularly-case-compatible 3.5mm headphone plug make RE300i stand out as designed with extra durability. We don't really review $50 earphones any more, but we'll be adding some brief impressions of the RE300i along with the 1.5-year old RE-400 Waterline ($100), the well-regarded black and silver model also shown here. RE-400 lacks a remote but has a more compatible headphone plug, titanium-coated drivers, and metal housings. While RE-400 comes in a small box without a carrying case, it appears that HiFiMan is bundling the case — plus two sets of Comply eartips and a large collection of rubber tips - with orders.
Sent to us in somehow incomplete form, SwitchEasy's new Odyssey ($20) and Tones ($20) are less expensive iPhone 6 versions of cases previously released for the iPhone 5/5s. Both cases are sold in two-tone variations, with Odyssey's grippy rear bars evoking the minimalist, futuristic designs of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Tones using shapes that mimic the iPhone 6's unusual plastic antenna bands. While Odyssey comes only in black/grey or light/dark pink versions, Tones is available in black/grey, grey/white, orange/yellow and light/dark pink colors. Neither case comes with screen protection, but both have integrated button coverage and pop-open port covers.
Uniq has introduced two new folio-style cases for iPhone 6, Executif ($30) and Lolita ($30). According to Uniq, Executif is made from genuine leather despite its surprisingly low price, and contains two slots for holding cards in the inner flap. Typical of many folio cases, the plastic shell that houses the phone provides little top or bottom coverage. Lolita is the same price but makes no genuine leather claims — the faux-leather case includes a magnetic clasp and one card slot inside. There's a bit more coverage for the phone within Lolita's plastic shell, as the top of the device is covered. There's also an open slot for the ear speaker on the front of the case, for those who prefer to talk on the phone with the folio lid closed.
In addition to number of other cases, X-Doria has sent along a few folio-style iPhone cases, including the first case we've seen for iPhone 6 Plus. Engage Folio ($30) for iPhone 6 has a hard, clear plastic back and a faux leather front cover. A card slot is included on the back of the cover. Dash Folio One ($30) for iPhone 6 Plus is similar to Engage Folio, with a few more features — the case uses the front cover as a kickstand, and a magnetic clasp keeps the cover from flapping around. The faux leather wraps around the case like a book, with a hard plastic compartment for the larger phone.
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