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AirPods 2 vs Galaxy Buds+ vs Freebuds 3: A TWS earphones battle!

Which one should you get?

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True wireless (TWS) earphones are a dime a dozen now and it’s gotten even harder to choose which one you should get. For this article we’re comparing three TWS headphones that hover around the same price point: the Airpods 2, Galaxy Buds+, and Freebuds 3.

Vincenz (AirPods 2), Dayle (Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+), and Rodneil (Freebuds 3), have been using their own TWS headphone, but sat down together and took turns listening to each pair for the purposes of this article. Yes, we cleaned each pair before exchanging because hygiene.

A few ground rules: Settings for each device is set to default. We all listened to one of the greatest songs of all time that also happens to be masterfully produced — Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Let’s start with the surface level. What do you guys think about each one’s design? 

Rodneil: I was never a fan of how the AirPods look. That stem thing sticking just looks weird to me. Obviously the Freebuds 3 followed the same look so design-wise, I prefer the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.

Vincenz: I despised the look of the AirPods the moment it was introduced — it looks like the ordinary EarPods without the wires. Same goes with how Huawei copied the “stem” buds from the AirPods. I’ll go with the Galaxy Buds+ on design. It’s unique and small.

Dayle: I have the Galaxy Buds so I’m quite biased with the design of the Buds+. I was never a fan of the stem design so the AirPods and Freebuds 3 aren’t exactly my cup of tea.

What about the fit? 

Rodneil: I don’t really have a lot to say about the fit. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten used to the Freebuds 3. Although to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan at first. If I had to choose, I’d still go with an in-ear one — like the on the Galaxy Buds+.

Vincenz: I never liked the fit of the old EarPods but the AirPods 2 suit my ears perfectly. Same goes for the Freebuds 3 with almost the same design as AirPods. Years ago, I was using a wired JBL Earbuds that were also in-ear and wearing the Galaxy Buds+ felt similar. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it — it even has extra ear tips in the box so you can find that perfect fit.

Dayle: The AirPods and Freebuds are identical but the fit of the Freebuds are more likely to slide off your ear than the AirPods. I like the fit of the Galaxy Buds (still biased) because they feel so light. At first you might feel that they’re coming off, but they won’t. It’s tried and tested (by me lol), you’ll get used to it.

As mentioned earlier, we all listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Can you describe the listening experience for each TWS earphone?

Rodneil: I had high hopes for the Galaxy Buds+. Those hopes were immediately shattered. Compared to the AirPods 2 and the Freebuds 3, the Galaxy Buds+ just didn’t deliver the same level of audio experience that I expect from this price point.

The volume on the Galaxy Buds+ didn’t get loud enough to distract you from your surroundings. It’s also lacking that rich texture which is surprising since the Galaxy Buds performed okay in this regard. It’s just really lacking in a lot of aspects.

I felt the AirPods 2 and the Freebuds 3 delivered a similar audio experience. If you close your eyes and turn the volume up enough, you’ll really feel immersed in the song. I will give a slight edge to the Freebuds 3 since I felt its active noise cancellation (ANC) feature truly isolates you from your immediate environment.

Vincenz: I’d go first with the Galaxy Buds+ since I least liked its sound quality. Other than the low audio level, I barely heard the bass — or that powerful beat whenever the music hit its “climax”. I even tried playing with the additional EQs but it really lacks THAT feature as it leans more into clarity.

The FreeBuds 3’s (ANC) isn’t perfect but it gets the job done. It really depends on how loud the song is. Audio levels are fair enough and I enjoyed listening to the songs with the volume at around 70%. The quality is decent but most of the time, the vocals overpower the background music — to the point that it feels muffled and trebly.

I’d still go with the AirPods 2 in this case. Even without ANC, I was able to hear a richer, fuller sound experience — even with just around 60% volume level. The vocals blend well with the background music and synths, and its bass is the most powerful compared to the Galaxy Buds+ and FreeBuds 3.

Dayle: I really want to hear and feel everything that’s going on in a song and frankly, the AirPods did that for me. You can hear all the beats per instrument with the vocals still clear and crisp and everything is just the right balance, it’s the perfect audio harmony. No, I’m not a legit audiophile but I know good quality audio when I hear one.

Now with the FreeBuds, it’s still a good listening experience overall. It has an evidently powerful bass at a normal volume but when you turn it up, the bass sounds distorted. Other than that, the FreeBuds is good for its price.

Last and maybe sadly also the least for me are the Buds+. This pair, though the vocals are clear, has a flat sound even after you try to increase the volume. I’ve also tried switching between preset equalizer settings but still the audio didn’t get better and only made the vocals sound muffled. If anything, the first Galaxy Buds are still a better buy. Hopefully though, Samsung can still improve the audio quality with updates in the very near future.

What other tracks/things did you listen to and how did each earphone fare? 

Rodneil: I’m a huge fan of bad-ass guitar riffs so there are two songs that I always make it a point to listen to when trying new headphones: Incubus’ “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” and Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog.”

The Galaxy Buds+ was surprisingly disappointing. Not only was the volume lower much lower, it also just didn’t have that rich sound that I had hoped it would have.

Both songs slapped pretty hard on the AirPods 2 and the Freebuds 3. I’m giving a slight edge to the Freebuds 3 because of it’s (ANC) feature. It’s perfect for that really immersive listening session.

Vincenz: Other than Bohemian Rhapsody, I listened to three other tracks: “Psycho” by Red Velvet, “Pagtingin” by Ben&Ben, and “All About You” by Taeyeon

During this listening session, I was able to answer all my questions about its audio quality. Just like what I said earlier, the AirPods 2 clearly delivered richer and fuller sound quality — and FreeBuds 3 comes close to its quality, just with an added ANC and less bass. The Galaxy Buds+, as expected, performed the worse. It sounded tinny compared to those aforementioned.

Dayle: I also tried listening to Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know”, Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” and “Intentions”, Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” and Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” (inspired by my spinning classes lol) to give me a feel of how each song sounds from each pair. So far the AirPods gave me that urge to bob my head to the beat (and maybe run to the gym) — FreeBuds 3 came in second.

Any comments on the battery life? 

Rodneil: I only probably have the Freebuds 3 on while I’m walking to and from work. And that’s not a long walk. Over the past few months I probably only charge it once every 10 days. The only time I used it for an extended period was during a 20-hour flight. It didn’t die on me at all and probably only charged it two days after arriving from that trip.

Vincenz: For someone like me who’s always stuck in traffic, I usually put on my AirPods to either listen to music or watch TV series and films. The AirPods 2 lasted me around three to four hours. With the additional case, you’ll get more than three times so you’ll get almost a day of listening. Just take note that everytime the AirPods get drained down to zero, it will take around 10 minutes to fully charge them up again.

Dayle: The longest I have my buds on is when I binge watch series and it lasts for about 5 hours on a good lazy weekend because, why not. The Buds+ definitely lived up to its 11-hour battery life promise, bearing with me all throughout my series marathon.

Which one would you recommend the most? 

Rodneil: You can’t go wrong with either the AirPods 2 or the Freebuds 3. If you’re using an iPhone, your best bet is to go with the AirPods just for that whole Apple ecosystem experience. If you’re on Android, the Freebuds 3 is a fine option especially with its ANC feature. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the Galaxy Buds+. Not when the only thing it’s better at than it’s predecessor is the battery life.

Vincenz: If you’re the type of user who just listens to podcasts and TV series, the Galaxy Buds+ is not a bad option since it focuses more on clarity. If you like having ANC as an added feature, you can’t get wrong with the FreeBuds 3. But if you would ask my best pick, I would still choose the AirPods 2 because of the overall sound quality, not to mention the after-sales service you get with Apple.

Dayle: This goes against my Galaxy Buds loyal heart, but i’m going to have to go with the AirPods 2.

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Nothing debuts black edition of the ear (1)

It’s now a carbon neutral product too

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When Carl Pei’s Nothing launched its first product earlier this year, the company shed light on a future ecosystem hinged on audio equipment. It might take a while before Nothing can completely build its own lineup of products. Before that, Nothing is still improving its current product, the ear (1). Introducing another option for fans, the ear (1) is getting a new black edition.

The new edition is simply a cosmetic option for customers. It will have the same specs as the original product. The pair of wireless earbuds sports a powerful 11.6mm driver, active noise cancellation, and up to 34 hours of usage. It also boasts an affordable price tag of only US$ 99. The black edition will sell for the same price starting on December 4 from Nothing’s London kiosk and December 13 for the general public. And customers can now pay for the device using crypto, too.

If anything, the new design trades the original product’s transparent form factor for a smoky matte black. Fans of the transparent design, however, will still appreciate the transparent case to go along with the black device. The first 100 sales of the new edition will have an engraving showing their unit number.

Besides the new edition, Nothing has also announced that the ear (1) is now a carbon neutral device. The company is well on its way to sustainability.

SEE ALSO: Carl Pei reveals price of Nothing’s first earphones

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realme Beard Trimmer: Getting that sexy stubble

For that stylish, cool, and attractive lewk

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“Is he attractive? Or he just has sexy stubble?” That’s a question my friends wonder when they meet someone new. And a question I pose for myself as well.

Stubble is sexy. Period. Every time I look at the mirror, I find myself alluring when I have stubble. Though they look cool, and they help separate men from boys,  keeping your facial hair at a certain length takes time, skill, and precision.

The art of trimming your facial hair

You can easily trim your facial hair when you have a manual shaver or trimmer. But that might be time-consuming to use and master to achieve the desired result.

Contrarily, going to a grooming salon can help you get that peg you’ve been wanting for your face instantaneously. Albeit, quite expensive. In addition, it’s difficult to maintain when you have a hectic lifestyle. Unless your preferred barbershop does both of your regular haircut and beard styling.

Precisely why the likes of smart, grooming tools rose through the past few years, aiming to help men redefine what’s sexy, groomed, and stylish. But in their own way.

You might think of a few brands to consider, but some could be taken aback by an expensive price tag. Moreover, it’s scary to invest in something expensive especially when it’s your first time. So if it’s indeed your foray to grooming and styling, the realme Beard Trimmer might be worth a try.

Looks sleek for the sleek-looking

Having a beard trimmer opens up possibilities for your personal care. Most accessories come with nifty features to help you achieve your desired result e.g. a sexy stubble. And realme’s very own Beard Trimmer can surely deliver, too.

At a glance, it looks like a hefty device at a size of a regular gigglestick. Thick, sturdy, and a design that piques someone’s curiosity. It comes with a stainless steel blade, whereas its head and motor are fixed and lubricated.

It’s skin-friendly, and it definitely feels premium with that matte finish. It can rival the likes of trimmers from Philips, especially with the materials used. More importantly, it’s ergonomically designed so it can be gripped easily while you groom yourself.

Style on your own

The package comes with a 10mm comb that you can place over the head, so you can trim your hair properly. The realme Beard Trimmer comes with 0.5mm precision and 20 length settings that can be adjusted using the adjustment knob.

To turn it on, you just have to press the power button and a green light will indicate it’s ready. And of course, the motors would be buzzing by then.

I personally prefer using the lowest length setting — 1cm to be exact — since I keep my facial hair short enough to be trimmed easily. But preferably, you’d have to grow the hair for at least 3 cm for a more flexible approach. Nevertheless, having a lot of length settings offer versatility to define your facial hair.

Just remember to shave with light, gentle strokes. And don’t forget to even the hair out and edge it accordingly. More importantly, rinse it properly since the metal head is washable. Just don’t let the liquids run through the charging port.

On another note, what I like about the realme Beard Trimmer is the low-noise operation when trimming my hair. Its minimal noise sounds like the buzz from my stylist’s clipper, coursing through my head in a quiet barbershop. It’s somewhat pleasing to my ear; a new beginning awaits as I shed old parts of myself.

Charging

The realme Beard trimmer is equipped with an 800mAh battery capacity. While it seemed pretty small, it can last for an hour and 20 minutes of cordless use on a single charge. If you run out of battery, you’ll have to charge it for at least two hours.

I, however, didn’t get to drain the battery down to zero. But I did use the trimmer four times now, and it’s still up and running. Previously, I charged it after unboxing and it reached full battery capacity after 45 minutes. That’s average, but the battery might be long-lasting considering I haven’t charged it for two weeks now.

But if you can’t wait for two hours to fully charge the device, you can always trim while charging. The Beard Trimmer will still work even if it’s plugged — and you don’t have to worry about it since the heat dissipates easily with its stainless steel and metal properties.

What’s amusing, though, is the Beard Trimmer sporting a Type-C port. I literally sighed “Amen”, seeing a lifestyle product that doesn’t use a micro USB port. Most gadgets I own now use a Type-C cable and I appreciate it when more devices are equipped with this port. It just makes my life easier.

Travel-friendly

If you travel frequently — either for leisure or business — then you might love the trimmer’s travel lock feature. With just a single long press on the power button, you can lock the trimmer to avoid accidental touch while traveling. Or so it doesn’t buzz while inside your carry-on.

The yellow light will indicate that the trimmer is locked. If you try to open it by pressing the power button softly, the LED indicator will prompt that it’s locked by blinking the yellow light. You can unlock it easily though: Just long-press the power button and voila!

Furthermore, the realme Beard Trimmer is easy to fit in on your carry-ons. Or in your luggage, if you’re going on a trip that doesn’t require an x-ray scanning machine and doesn’t prohibit combustible devices.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re out in the market for a grooming accessory, and if it’s your first time to shop for a personal care tool — the realme Beard Trimmer is worth considering as your GadgetMatch. It ticks the right boxes that first-time groomers would look for: affordable, sleek and premium-looking, easy-to-use, and offers precise cutting.

Meanwhile, seasoned groomers would probably look elsewhere. Something like Panasonic and/or Philips; household brands that we know all too well.

The realme Beard Trimmer retails for PhP 1,090. For a few more upgrades like an extra 20mm comb and engraved metal, the realme Beard Trimmer Plus costs PhP 1,990.

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Nanoleaf Lines: World’s first customizable backlit light bars

Spice up your home lighting!

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As gamers continue to be trendy and creative when it comes to their setups, Nanoleaf has successfully announced the launch of the world’s first customizable backlit light bars: the Nanoleaf Lines.

Nanoleaf Lines reinvents the idea of mood lighting with ultra-lightweight light bars to create sleek linear layouts, grand geometric shapes and even ceiling setups.

The lines come with 19 pre-set dynamic scenes, as well as seven rhythm scenes that sync with music to give one’s indoor space with mesmerizing lighting scenes to complement their gaming or entertainment experience.

Bringing games to life

Nanoleaf’s Screen Mirror feature syncs up on-screen colors and animations across the lighting setup, to bring one’s favorite game to life.

Connect Nanoleaf Lines with Razer Chroma-enabled devices to bring the entire gaming setup for an immersive RGB rainbow display, taking users beyond the screen.

Pricing and availability

Nanoleaf Lines is now available at both online and physical stores below. Smarter kits (9 Lines) retail at SG$ 339 and Expansion Packs (3 Lines) at SG$ 109.

Online stores include LazadaShopee, and Amazon.

Physical stores are Brex International (Oxley Bizhub), Synced by District (Plaza Singapura), HipVan Experience Store (Suntec), BHG (Bugis Junction – from 1 December 2021), Takashimaya Level 3, and Omnidesk Experience Studio.

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