A few days ago, it felt a bit like Christmas in July. Not just because of the winter chill that has most of South Africa gripped in its icy fingers at the moment – although the weather now certainly feels a lot like those December winter wonderlands of the Northern Hemisphere that are always being raved about merrily in Christmas carols – but also because… I received a present.
The courier arrived at the door, bearing a parcel for me. Since this is not an everyday occurrence, and since it was wholly unexpected, it was even more thrilling. When I saw that it was sent on behalf of BlackBerry South Africa, my heart started pounding even faster. I knew that it would not be a handset or a PlayBook though, because in South Africa, companies do not normally gift tech writers with the gadgets that we write about. (Sadly, it would be unethical.)
The beautiful box was tied with a BlackBerry branded ribbon. I hastily untied it, opened the box and removed a pair of disposable 3D glasses attached to a brochure proclaiming: “If you can’t see why the BlackBerry Curve 9320 smartphone is worth making a noise about… you need specs!”
But that wasn’t the only item the box contained. I stuck my hand back into it and – kind of like a magician getting the act backwards – pulled out a hat. Before I’m promptly arrested by the fashion police for so blatantly daring to call something that isn’t a hat just that, let me clarify: it might not have been a rimmed hat, but it was a beanie sent by RIM. (Oh, come on! I HAD to! That pun was right there, staring me down, just begging me to use it.)
The cozy beanie certainly would have been a cool enough (or warm, considering the current chill) gift, but it soon became apparent that this gray, woollen beanie had yet another surprise up its sleeve… or sides, if you insist on getting all technical about it. A short cord dangling from the back hinted that there was a little more to this diamond-patterned beanie with the BlackBerry logo embroidered on the front than what was meeting the eye.
Neatly tucked away inside the seam on both sides of the beanie are two removable headphones (although the packaging insists on calling it “speakers”, so I will too). It is accompanied by a longer (1.2m) jack with a clip and a volume control conveniently located on the cord. This universal jack allows the beanie-wearer to connect the speakers to any BlackBerry, most other handset models, mp3 players (even iPods and iPads) and other devices, such as laptops.
Until receiving this one, I’d never owned or worn a beanie (I don’t think it does anything for my round mug), but vanity and hat head be damned: I have been wearing the hi-tech headgear almost non-stop for the past few days (and even nights too!) and love how it is so multi-functional and comfy! Not only does it sufficiently protect my head and ears against the winter freeze, but I can listen to my favourite music on my phone, my iPod and my iPad without disturbing anyone around me.
(The beanie looks much better on my nephew's toy lion than it does on me! He was busy listening to "He's a Mane-iac")
The headphones can be moved around inside the hat until finding the correct position to best cover your ears. After using earbud style headphones for so long, having something that sits over your ears instead of inside it is incredibly comfortable. I was also quite surprised at how decent the sound quality on the beanie’s speakers is.
I don’t think this particular BlackBerry-branded speaker beanie is available to consumers (I’ll check with them and update if it is), but a quick Google search reveals that there are several similar beanies with built-in headphones out there that will allow you to chill out to your favourite tunes while keeping out the winter chill.
Thank you, BlackBerry South Africa, for a lovely, headwarming pressie!