For handsfree calls, ONvocal s OV wearable headphone assistant s directional microphone is built into a small arm boom, which extends from the right earbuds. (Handout/TNS)

Earbuds are smooth, easy and in control

The ONvocal’s OV wearable headphone assistant earbuds is a prime example of the versatility of some of today’s newer gadgets. When you look at a picture of the headset, you might think it’s just another neckband headset; and yes it is a great headset, but it’s loaded with features.

I was asked by an ONvocal representative how I liked the review unit they sent me and I summed it up with “smooth, easy and impressive.”

The OV is an Alexa, Google and Siri voice assistant enabled Bluetooth headset. I’m not an Alexa user, but I did easily get the headset talking to Siri for a morning weather report and a few other simple tasks. With the help of the OV app (iOS and Android), the voice commands are at your control and response is instantaneous. If you’re living in a cave and haven’t joined the technology world of voice assistants, the OV is a great way to start.

The ONvocal site used “Born to Run” as a voice command music example, and sure enough, I had it playing on my speaker system in seconds from my playlist. You can also instantly access subscription music services.

The main chore of the headset is sound, and the OV does not disappoint. While I’m far from an expert, what you want out of earbuds is crystal clear sound and the OV sound is just as they promote it “tuned to deliver rich, powerful bass, smooth vocals, and crystal clear detail.”

For hands-free calls, the directional microphone is built into a small arm boom, which extends from the right earbud. Answering calls, along with controlling Siri and Google are done with a button on the outside of the right earbud. Ambient sound control is accessed on the neckband and allows you to hear your caller and not background noise. Volume, play, pause, and power are also controlled on the neckband.

The ONvocal support page has great step-by-step instructions for setting up the OV, which makes the process smooth, easy and impressive.

The earbuds are attached to a flexible wire, which is attached to a neckband. Everything is adjustable in specific flex zones for the right fit, I was happy with the fit, right out of the box. $299


I don’t have children, but if I did, you can bet I’d be using the Circle with Disney’s Circle custom internet monitoring system.

After a simple setup with your home Wi-Fi, the cube-shaped wireless device pairs with the Circle and its Disney app (iOS and Android) to give you full control of your children’s browsing history without the need of putting any app or software on any other device.

Parents see how much time children spend online with smartphones, tablets, laptops and other hardware used for internet access. The app has a lot of great customization features) including disconnecting devices from Wi-Fi at specific times and reconnecting them at a specific time. Time limits can also be set for apps and programs.

Other customizations can be made for specific individuals with breakdowns in age groups and interests and even turning the Wi-Fi connection off manually. This makes me wonder how often my mom would have used this feature (if there was internet at the time) when I didn’t come downstairs for dinner on time.

After using the app for a few weeks, parents can compare the usage over time and maybe even make a connection to why grades are going up or down.

One thing I wondered after reading about the Circle with Disney was its security, and I was pleased to see it’s built with end-to-end encryption and ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) spoofing to keep data secure.

The 3.25-inch cube has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which charges via USB. You also may connect it to the internet with an Ethernet cable.

The settings you set up within the app can also be applied to guests’ (think child sleepovers) devices, which, I think, is incredibly handy.

A subscription-based ($9.95/month) Circle Go feature can be added to extend the parental controls to 4G LTE and another Wi-Fi connection joined away from home. $99


Contact Gregg Ellman at Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman

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