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Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi wireless charging

“You can play music on the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi and charge your phone at the same time.”

  • Offers convenient wireless charging
  • Models support Alexa or Google Assistant
  • Accurate voice recognition
  • Bass overwhelms the audio
MSRP $200.00

There is a major need for convergence in the smart home. One function is expected, but I’m thrilled whenever I come across a gadget that can do many things. An example of such a device is the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi smart speaker, which does everything you’d expect from a modern smart speaker, and as a bonus is available in both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa variants.

Choice is appreciated because let’s face it, the smart home is sometimes a one-sided affair. But there’s more to Belkin’s smart speaker than meets the eye — and that is what caught my attention when I first learned about its existence.

The extra cost of convergence

Functionally, the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi smart speaker does everything its peers are able to perform. Whether it’s playing music or answering questions, there’s nothing it can’t do compared to speakers like the Google Nest Audio or Amazon Echo (4th Gen).

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi front fabric mesh
John Velasco / Digital Trends

I ended up checking out the Google Assistant version of the speaker. I wish it were like the Sonos One, which comes as a single version that offers users the choice of using either Alexa or Google Assistant out of the box. With Belkin’s speaker, there are two separate versions so you’re stuck with whatever you pick. It’s worth pointing out that the model that works with Alexa also supports AirPlay 2, while Bluetooth connectivity is supported by both.

If there’s one thing about the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi that sticks out like a thorn, it has to be its $200 cost. Even though there are sales right now that drops it to $150, it’s still a slight step above its direct competitors. However, there’s an ace up its sleeve that I think adds value here, and that’s the convenience of being able to wirelessly charge your smartphone.

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi top closeup
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Seriously, I’m a little surprised by how long it took for something like this to come out, but here it is and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by the extra utility. I have it placed on my desk within arm’s reach, and I love how I can quickly charge my phones with the 10-watt charger — including those with thicker cases on them.

A little heavy on the bass

There’s a lot of jargon surrounding the speaker’s audio hardware, which features acoustics by Devialet. Its hardware consists of a 35mm full-range speaker driver and dual 70mm woofer drivers. The end result is a speaker that favors low-range audio, so that means you’ll experience deep bass.

I’m a little surprised by how long it took for something like this to come out.

There’s no hiding the bass with this spherical-shaped speaker. Even two steps from its lowest volume level, the bass is so pronounced that it overwhelms the mids and highs. I haven’t come across a speaker this bass-centric in a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible speaker. Some people will enjoy the heart-pounding beats it produces. However, if you’re listening to music where you want to catch the details in instruments or vocals, it’ll be tough to discern because the bass is so strong.

Using the Google Home app, though, there are settings to adjust the bass and treble — so it helps a little to lessen the overpowering tones of the bass. Thankfully, the two far-field microphones on the speaker are sensitive enough to make out my voice from the overwhelming bass when the volume is really loud.  Finally, touch controls are accessible on the speaker to adjust its volume, pause/play, initiate Bluetooth, and mute the microphone for more privacy.

Chunky design

There’s not a whole lot going on with the design of the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi. In my opinion, it’s as generic as they come, featuring a somewhat spherical shape with the top portion sliced off to accommodate its wireless charger. A mesh fabric cover wraps around the entire speaker to give it a little contrast, but it’s difficult to say how well it’ll hold up against dirt over time.

Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi side view
John Velasco / Digital Trends

While the design doesn’t command as much attention as the Nest Audio’s bean-shaped appearance or the mesmerizing, iridescent glow of the LED ring on the Amazon Echo (4th Gen), I’m willing to compromise because of its multifunctionality. It can still very well sit in an entertainment center all by itself as it matches just about any décor.

Our take

There’s a lot to like about the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi. I’m most pleased by the fact that wireless charging is present because it means one less cable that needs to clutter up my desk and take up space on my power strip with yet another charger. However, it’s pricier than its direct rivals. At $200, it’s tough to justify paying the premium for effectively gaining wireless charging. However, it’s worth it if you can find one for $150.

If you’re looking to make an addition, the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi is worth consideration.

How long will it last?

Constructed mostly from tough plastics, the only questionable material is the mesh fabric that covers the speaker. It’s just as heavy as the Nest Audio at 2.8lbs, so it would be wise to keep these away from edges. There’s a two-year limited warranty that comes with the purchase, which covers defects.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo (4th Gen) offer superior audio performance at a lower cost.

Should you buy it?

Yes, especially right now when there are sales that have it for $150 instead of its normal price of $200. If you don’t want to pay full price, you might be better off buying one of its direct rivals and a wireless charger, but that means more clutter.

Editors’ Recommendations

Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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Marvel confirms ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Ms. Marvel’ are coming to Disney+ in 2021

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Halfway through July, this has already been one of the busiest years in the history of Marvel Studios. That makes it all the more incredible that we have seen less than half of the content that the studio has planned for 2021. In addition to the three new movies Marvel is releasing in the second half of the year, we also have confirmation that at least three new shows are coming to Disney+. After What If…? drops in August, Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye are still to come.

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Speaking with Variety earlier this week, Marvel Studios EVP of film production Victoria Alonso revealed that “a few other shows” are on track for 2021, including Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye.

It’s worth noting that both Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye had already been slated for late 2021. Both the Ms. Marvel page and the Hawkeye page on Marvel’s official website state as much. That aside, Marvel has had very little to say about either show since announcing them in 2019.

What are Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye about?

While WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and especially Loki helped to set up the stakes of the MCU’s Phase 4, Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye should be even more purposeful. Ms. Marvel will introduce us to Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) ahead of 2022’s The Marvels. In Marvel comics, Kamala is a Pakistani-American and Carol Danvers fangirl that ends up getting powers of her own. She also takes her name from the powerful Avenger. Vellani will reprise her role in the sequel to Captain Marvel.

As for Hawkeye, we know that the show will bring Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) into the fold. She may very well take over for Jeremy Renner as an Avenger at some point in Phase 4. We also know from the Black Widow post-credits scene that Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) will be involved.

Predictions for Marvel’s 2021 release dates

Here’s what we know about Marvel’s plans for its movies and shows for the rest of 2021: What If…? is coming to Disney+ on August 11th, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrives on September 3rd, Eternals follows on November 5th, and Spider-Man: No Way Home drops on December 17th.

Based on the fact that we saw some footage of Ms. Marvel last December, my guess is that it will start streaming on Disney+ in October. That leaves November as the only month left in the year without a Marvel Studios release. Therefore, I’m betting Hawkeye lands then.

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Netflix is releasing 56 original movies and shows in August – here’s the full list

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Boy oh boy, has Netflix stepped it up recently or what? The streamer’s subscriber numbers from the last quarter weren’t very impressive. We have a feeling that’s due in no small part to the lack of compelling Netflix originals earlier this year. Long story short, Netflix’s movies and shows were beyond weak for the first few months of 2021. Now, however, things are really starting to pick up again. This past month alone, there were so many high-profile Netflix releases. You can see the full Netflix July releases list here. Highlights include Gunpowder Milkshake with Karen Gillan, the fantastic final season of Atypical, Virgin River season 3, and the Fear Street trilogy that horror fans loved. Now, however, it’s time to turn our attention to all the Netflix original releases in August 2021.

Wondering what Netflix subscribers have to look forward to next month? We’ll run down the full slate of new original releases right here.

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Netflix original releases: August 2021

Netflix just announced all of its upcoming movie and series releases for August 2021. There are plenty of gems in there from third-party studios, but people are far more interested in original content. Netflix has been steadily raising its subscription fees every month, after all. Each time, it says the increase will help pay for new original content. With that in mind, subscribers want to know that they’re getting their money’s worth.

In August, Netflix has 56 new original movies, shows, and specials on tap. That’s down sharply from the 69 new originals spread out over July. Of course, quality is far more important than quantity. With that in mind, it’s time to see what kind of quality Netflix has in store.

Scroll down to check out the entire release calendar of Netflix originals in August. We’ve also included links to the relevant Netflix pages wherever possible. This way, you can set a reminder to be alerted when a title is released next month.

Streaming August 3rd

Streaming August 4th

Streaming August 6th

Streaming August 9th

Streaming August 10th

Streaming August 11th

Streaming August 12th

Streaming August 13th

Streaming August 17th

Streaming August 18th

Streaming August 20th

Streaming August 23rd

Streaming August 24th

Streaming August 25th

Streaming August 26th

Streaming August 27th

Streaming August 28th

Streaming August 31st

Release Date TBD

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This free iPhone app is so incredible, it’s hard to believe it’s real

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If you need to order new contact lenses or a pair of glasses, many places won’t let you do so unless you take an eye test first. And seeing as how a trip to the optometrist can set you back as much as $200, many people put off getting their vision checked even when they should.

There is, however, an interesting alternative to popping into stores LensCrafters. Warby Parker recently issued an update to their Virtual Vision Test app for the iPhone. Now, users can take an eye test from the comfort of their own homes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional eye exam.

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How the mobile eye test works

With the new app, which was previously called Prescription Check, it’s now easier than ever for individuals to check their eyes and renew their glasses or contacts prescription.

Once you download the app, you can take a traditional eye exam. Open the app and you’ll be able to read letters off the iPhone from a distance of about 10 feet. Naturally, you’ll want to do this in a quiet and well-lit room.

If the app determines that your vision is good, which is to say that your prescription hasn’t changed, you’ll be charged $15 for a brand new prescription. And as mentioned above, this is vastly cheaper than the $200 you might otherwise be charged by taking a trip to the doctor or eyeglass store.

Don’t worry, a doctor is involved in the process

If you’re wary about leaving your eye test to a mysterious algorithm, you have nothing to worry about. Once your eye test is completed, an eye doctor will take a look and assess each individual’s results. In other words, the test itself is mobile, but the analysis is still handled by a professional.

App requirements

The app itself requires iOS 14.1 or later in order to run. And seeing as how iOS 15 is right around the corner, that shouldn’t be an issue for most users.

Additionally, the app is only available for the iPhone for the time being. At this point, there’s no indication in either direction if an Android app will be coming anytime soon.

Further, only individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 should use the app. Users experiencing problems with their current prescription shouldn’t use it either. You’ll also need a copy of your existing prescription on hand. The app notes that even an expired prescription will do.

If you’re curious about checking the app out, you can download it here from the App Store.

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