Month: August 2016

AYL Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones (QY8)

It was unfortunate that my last pair of Jaybird Freedom Sprint headphones decided to stop holding a charge the other day… and since I’m still waiting on the delivery of my Kanoa truly wireless earbuds to arrive, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a new pair. But I definitely needed something, as I rely on headphones to power my workouts and to drown out office noise so I can get work done. I hate wires, so I definitely wanted another set of Bluetooth headphones.

Introducing the AYL Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones! AYL stands for Accessorize Your Life, apparently. I picked up these headphones from Amazon for only $30. My expectations were pretty low, coming from the infinitely more expensive Jaybird headphones I was leaving behind. To my surprise, these headphones have actually been remarkably impressive!

Battery Life
The AYL Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones specs claim a 4 hour battery life, but I feel like I get a little bit more than that, maybe ~5 hours. While not stellar, it’s great considering how cheap these headphones are. If you really must have 8+ hours of battery life, then I think you’re stuck paying $100+ for a more premium headset.

Sound Quality
I’m not much of an audiophile, so it doesn’t take much to impress me. With that said, I do get annoyed by hissing, hums, and other weird anomalies. Thankfully, none of that exists with the AYL! The sound quality is, in my opinion, just as good as the Jaybird’s.

With these ultra small headsets, they have to cram everything into just two little buds. That means battery, sound drivers, electronics, and controls. It’s impressive that they can pack all that into such a small and lightweight device. The AYL Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones do a good job here, the headphones are light and come with several sizes of ear tips and anchors. You may need to experiment a bit to find the right fit for you, but take the time to do it, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased.

Now, one bad complaint I have is that the rubber-like material of the wire that connects the two earbuds gets sticky against a sweaty neck! This causes the earbuds to pull and become dislodged, especially while I’m working out. But, to be fair, I had this exact same problem with the Jaybird’s as well. The AYL offers a small clip to change the length of the wire, but it hasn’t really helped me in this regard. I found the only solution here is to wear the headphones with the wire hanging down in front of me. This actually works pretty well, and I’ve started to wear them this way full time.

I wear the headphones, on and off, for well over 8+ hours per day during the week. They go with me through a 45 minute workout, and then they are on for 3-4 hours prior to lunch. At lunch, I throw them on the charger. Once I’m back in work mode, I put them back on for another 3-4 hours. My ears don’t feel fatigued after all of this, so kudos to AYL here!


Pairing and Bluetooth Implementation
Pairing was easy, and I haven’t found any flaws in the Bluetooth implementation. They’ve paired with my Samsung Galaxy S6, my desktop computer, and my laptop computer without any problems. They will show up as “QY8” when in discovery mode.

The controls are pretty straight forward, and they follow many typical Bluetooth conventions. There is the main button on the right earbud, along with a volume rocker. The main button controls power with a long press, and probably does more with a short press. I bet it answers calls and stuff, but honestly I never use it for that. To force the AYL to enter pairing mode, from the off state, press and hold the power button and keep holding it even after it turns on.

AYL has implemented a mixture of tones and voice prompts to help you know what is going on. The voice prompts don’t matter much to me, but could be beneficial as it conveys more information to the user and you don’t have to remember what various beeps and tones mean.

While it has a mic, I have never used it. Sorry, I can’t speak much to this. With that said, I have read at least one opinion that was unhappy with the mic. Just throwing that out there.


What a great device for $30! Seriously, if you don’t have the budget for the premium brands and you can live with everything I stated above (which I think most people can) you really can’t go wrong with the AYL Bluetooth 4.1 Headphones. These will get me through the next couple of months while I wait for my Kanoa truly wireless ear buds to arrive. Go on over to Amazon and grab yourself a pair now!


Software KVM for computers not on the same “network”

Upfront, let’s get something out of the way right away: software KVMs are great! For those who don’t know, this is a category of software applications that allow one computer to transmit the keyboard and mouse signal to other networked computers using nothing else except the software.

The one problem I have is that I sometimes find myself wanting to share the mouse and keyboard of a computer with another computer that are not on the same network. An example is my work desktop and my non-work laptop. Due to my company’s IT Security policy, I’m not allowed to connect my personal laptop to the network. Is all lost in terms of sharing mouse and keyboard using a software KVM? No!

Bluetooth technology is likely built into your computers as long as they were built within the last decade or so. Most people are familiar with Bluetooth as that cool “thing” that allows headphones to work with their cell phones. But did you know that you can connect two full fledged computers together, as well? This is useful for transferring files, as well as setting up a Bluetooth Personal Area Network, or PAN.

Windows Bluetooth Personal Area Network Devices

Once you’ve established a PAN between two computers, you can use your software KVM to select the PAN network and then it should all work! Below is a screen shot of Mouse Without Borders.

Mouse Without Borders main configuration screen

If you don’t have Bluetooth on one or both computers, you can easily add it to your computer by picking up a Bluetooth USB Adapter. Keep in mind that Bluetooth is low range, so keep your computers within 15-20 feet of one another. Bluetooth is also susceptible to interference, so if you’re running a lot of Bluetooth devices, this may impact performance.