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.
Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones
Specifically the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Pixel 5
This month, Apple announced the return of the wireless MagSafe system. This time around, the wireless charging solution powers the iPhone 12 series with a convenient snap-to-place method. Of course, as with most of Apple’s products, you don’t really expect it to work with non-Apple device. Fortunately, the historical rule of thumb is wrong. Apparently, Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones.
As tested by Max Weinbach, the wireless charger can snap and work on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Further, YouTuber Aaron Zollo tested the charger on the recently announced Google Pixel 5. Unfortunately, neither test revealed how well the charger does with the devices. However, Weinbach commented that it took some effort to dislodge the charger from the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
MagSafe magnetically connects and charges the Fold2 lol pic.twitter.com/sQ0L9pk4kN
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) October 19, 2020
Of course, it’s no surprise that the MagSafe charger will work on other Qi-based devices. However, it’s a surprise that Apple’s proprietary accessories are working on non-Apple devices.
Still, if you need an extra wireless charger, at least Apple’s charger can work on your device. That is, if you own both an Apple and Android device.
Now, the only remaining question is whether or not Apple’s other MagSafe accessories will work on non-Apple devices. The other accessories — like an attachable wallet — will come out later this year.
OPPO launches TV S1 and TV R1 series
As part of their “One More Step” to IoT campaign
OPPO started to seriously venture outside of phones in 2019 and now they’re taking a big leap as they launch two TVs as part of their “One More Step” into a robust IoT ecosystem. They also announced new noise cancelling TWS earphones and a new smartwatch.
The aforementioned additions are the OPPO TV S1, TV R1 Series, Enco X True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earphones, and Watch RX.
OPPO TV S1
The 65-inch OPPO TV S1 features a 4K QLED resolution Quantum Dot wide color gamut display. It also has NTSC 120% ultra-wide color gamut. This helps deliver a purer, more vibrant graphics as well as softer, smoother color transition.
The TV also supports 120Hz refresh rate and variable refresh rate (VRR) making it ideal for next gen gaming.
OPPO collaborated with HiFI audio brand Dynaudio to deliver an immersive cinematic sound quality. The TV S1 is also equipped with eighteen stereo surround speakers with total power of up to 85W. It supports 5.1.2 channels and Dolby Atmos.
OPPO TV R1 series
The OPPO TV R1 is available in 55-inch and 65-inch models. The TVs are equipped with a quad-core processor and high-speed Wi-Fi 6. These offer users a new living room experience with the “instant-on” feature.
OPPO Enco X
Taking aim at the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro, Sony WH-1000XM3, and Huawei Freebuds 3 Pro, OPPO launches the Enco X True Wireless Noise Cancelling earphones. OPPO collaborated again with Dynaudio to craft this product. The earphones were tuned by Daniel Emonts, Chief Acoustic Specialist of Dynaudio A/S. He is the acoustic designer of several award-winning Dynaudio speakers.
The Enco X is capable of reproducing rich, precise texture of music with HiFi quality with a balanced and natural sound. These are all possible thanks to the DBEE 3.0 acoustic system that features an innovative acoustic structural design.
Meanwhile, the noise cancelling feature functions in all kinds of scenarios. It has dual active noise cancellation, multi-level noise reduction management, and natural communication when in transparency mode. The Enco X also supports triple microphone call noise cancellation and wireless charging.
OPPO Watch RX
The OPPO Watch RX is the company’s first round dial smartwatch that features the updated ColorOS Watch 1.5. It’s part of three custom products launched in China: he OPPO Watch League of Legends Limited Edition, OPPO Watch RX League of Legends Limited Edition, and OPPO Find X2 League of Legends.
The OPPO TV S1, OPPO TV R1, and OPPO Watch RX are now available in China. No word yet on the availability of the OPPO Enco X.
OPPO formally announced their forray into an IoT ecosystem during OPPO INNO DAY 2019. In taking “One More Step” towards a more connected system of devices, the company will focus on these areas:
- Personal Entertainment
- Home appliance & Furnishing
- Sports & Health
We can expect more products that fall into these categories in the future.
Apple will also take out free chargers from older iPhones
Starting with the iPhone SE
After yesterday’s bombastic announcement, the iPhone 12’s public reception considerably soured. If the lack of a free power adapter turned you off from the latest iPhone, you’re likely looking towards Apple’s older models. Right now, the currently selling iPhones are still shipping with the included peripherals for free. However, the status quo might change soon. According to a report, Apple will also take out free chargers from older iPhones.
As reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple will likely continue its cost-cutting measures with other models. Though Gurman does not name the entire lineup, the report specifically points at the recently launched iPhone SE.
Look for the iPhone SE box to shrink considerably. Also for the USB-A to Lightning cable to become a USB-C to Lightning cable. Headphones out too.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) October 13, 2020
“Look for the iPhone SE box to shrink considerably,” he said. Further, the package will likely switch out its current USB-A to Lightning cable for a USB-C to Lightning one, mimicking the standard put forth in the iPhone 12 series.
Besides the iPhone SE, Apple might also take out the same peripherals in the boxes of “other iPhones it’ll keep selling.” Right now, this lineup includes the still-current-generation iPhone 11 series.
Of course, Apple has not officially announced any further plans at the moment. If anything, the company has now set a precedent for the entire industry. During yesterday’s event, the company hopes that other companies can also follow in its footsteps.
According to Apple, the charger exclusion will help the company achieve its 2030 goal to go completely carbon neutral. That said, most consumers are not buying into Apple’s latest decision-making.
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