Accessories

5 best cases for the iPhone XS and XS Max

A case for every occasion

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If you just bought the new iPhone XS or XS Max, trust us you’re gonna want to get a case for it immediately. Breaking the glass on either side of the phone will set you back much more than a good case can.

Thankfully, one of the biggest and probably most underrated advantages of owning an iPhone is the array of third-party accessories you can get. Go online or to the mall and you’ll find one that matches your mood, the occasion, or your next destination. There are obviously more important factors to consider when buying a phone, but knowing you can get a case for your newest investment, in every style, color, or material possible after your purchase is always comforting.

Can you imagine going to an important meeting or on a night out with a flimsy jelly case? Neither can I. Here are some of my favorite cases for the new iPhone XS and XS Max.

1) Casetify Impact Cases, $50

If you’re a little clumsy like me and drop your phone often, there are a lot of military-grade cases out there that you can get. Unfortunately, they will most likely ruin the premium aesthetic of your new iPhone or your cute outfit. Fortunately, Casetify’s new Impact Cases come in fun, quirky prints. You can even pick the color of the bumper to match the color of your iPhone! The designs may look dainty but these cases have a two-layer construction of what they call qitech material so your phone will survive even a six-foot drop.

2) Casetify Leather Case with Strap, starts at $80

Need to elevate your outfits? This genuine leather case is the answer. It comes with a detachable chain wristlet and/or strap so you can wear it on yourself. There’s a version that comes with a card slot, perfect for a girls’ night out — you can hit the dance floor hands-free without worrying about misplacing your phone! The best part: You can personalize it with your initials. It’s a little pricey but power dressing is always better when paired with quality accessories.

3) Speck Presidio Grip World Edition, $39.95

It’s been three months and I’m still not over the World Cup so sue me. Speck’s iconic Presidio Grip cases now come in Germany, France, England, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico colorways (none for Argentina, sadly). The next World Cup may be four long years away but there are so many tournaments anyway, and these cases will surely come in handy. Not a football fan? The Presidio Grip line comes in other eye candy colors that offer the same amount of protection.

4) Native Union Clic Terrazzo and Clic Marquetry, price TBA

The new Native Union collections for the new iPhones are not out yet, but you can’t really go wrong with this brand. They offer some of the most tastefully made cases I’ve seen on the market and I can’t wait to check out the new Clic Terrazzo collection. It’s made of Jesmonite so no two pieces are ever the same, says Native Union. There are also going to be new leather color blocks for the Clic Marquetry collection which, I’m hoping, are more monotone and are made of different textures of fabric so they’re more versatile.

5) Gramas Hybrid Shell Case, ¥ 6,000

I first encountered Japanese brand Gramas one leisurely stroll at the mall. They stood out in a shelf of plastic cases not only because they looked t h i c c, but also because I’m always attracted to cases that combine completely different materials that somehow end up looking good. I believe they’re called hybrid for that reason, but upon closer inspection, I found that underneath that beautiful shell is a card slot made for IC cards in Japan. Most cases that double as card holders have their slots exposed because usually credit cards still need to be taken out to be swiped or inserted. Since IC cards work just by tapping, there’s really no reason for them to be out there. Of course, if you’re already using Apple Pay for Suica or if you don’t live in Japan, then the card slot is best occupied by something else, like say, an elevator or parking access card.

Bonus: Spigen Classic C1, $39.99

Every die-hard Apple fan freaked out when Spigen made these cases that look like the iMac G3 of yesteryears. They have yet to confirm whether the iPhone X cases are compatible with the new iPhone XS or if they’re making a version for the iPhone XS Max. But, seeing as how they succumbed to customer demand and crowd-funded versions for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it won’t be long before the demand for cases compatible for the 2018 iPhones forces Spigen to make them.

Ever since the new iPhones were announced, brands have been quick to label their old iPhone X cases as compatible with the iPhone XS but that may not always be the case, no pun intended. One of the upgrades to the new iPhones is a bigger image sensor so the camera module at the back is actually also slightly bigger. That said, unless you can return them, it would still be wise to go to a store and try the cases on before buying them. You paid so much for your new iPhone after all, so you wouldn’t really want to rock a sloppy-fitting case, would you?

Accessories

LG launches three new XBoom Go speakers in Singapore

XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2 have well-balanced sounds and compact designs

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There’s one accessory that we need more than ever as we work from home. That’s a bluetooth speaker — it’s portable, convenient, and allows listening to tunes anytime, anywhere. Buyers on the lookout for a great Bluetooth speaker should look no further than LG’s XBoom speaker lineup. After all, LG is launching three new XBoom speakers in Singapore.

These three new speakers are the XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2. All these speakers stand out from the competition through its well-balanced sound, enhanced usability and features, and compact design. LG partnered with MERIDIAN to ensure that its speakers produce high-quality sound with deep bass, clear treble, and rich vocals.

LG’s XBoom Go PL2

As for the XBoom Go PL7, LG equipped the speaker with dual tweeters. Like the rest of the lineup, it also comes with dual passive radiators and dual-action bass feature, as well as a sound boost to deliver consistent, crystal-clear, and bass-thumping sound across all frequencies.

LG also equipped some smarts across all speakers. All XBoom Go speakers support hands-free voice commands and multi-phone pairing. Listeners can take advantage of the built-in Wireless Party Link function to link two XBoom Go PL7 together.

Multi-color lighting is also available for both the XBoom Go PL7 and PL5. This lighting feature employs a sophisticated three-step process to detect the song’s beat and match it with corresponding colors.

On top of all the features, all XBoom Go speakers are IPX5-rated. Thus, listeners can use them for pool parties since the speakers are guaranteed to survive from sprays and splashes.

Interested buyers can buy the XBoom Go PL7, PL5, and PL2 on all authorized retailers (Best Denki, Challenger, COURTS, Harvey Norman, NTUC, and Popular) across Singapore. For more information, visit LG Singapore’s website.

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Accessories

Samsung has launched a personal phone sterilizer

Can kill 99 percent of germs in 10 minutes

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A smartphone is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. With the amount of handling our phones get every minute of every day, it’s almost impossible to keep them clean even with gloves on. As we suggested in the past, sterilizing your phones might be a sound idea in the age of COVID-19. That said, where do you get a phone sterilizer?

If alcohol doesn’t cut it, Samsung is now selling a personal UV sterilizer for your smartphones. On the outside, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer looks like a sleek phone case. However, a button can bombard your phone with enough UV to “kill up to 99 percent of bacteria within 10 minutes,” according to its official store listing. (The bacteria hit list explicitly includes E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Candida albicans.)

Since it’s big enough to house a Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung says you can also use it to sterilize other smaller items like the Galaxy Buds and a pair of glasses. This can include non-Samsung phones.

Oh, and it can also charge your devices wirelessly. Unfortunately, the device’s charging power is paltry at best, powering devices at just 10W. Since the sterilizer lasts for just 10 minutes, you might want to use a faster charger instead. Still, it’s a nifty feature we wouldn’t say no to.

Unfortunately, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer is difficult to get a hold of. Currently, Samsung is selling the device exclusively in Thailand at the moment. It retails for THB 1,590 (approximately US$ 51).

However, the currently linked listing is for Hong Kong, potentially hinting at the device’s wider availability in the future.

SEE ALSO: Tech companies post tips on proper hygiene

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Accessories

Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 review: Affordable, but far from perfect

Xiaomi’s premium TWS offering

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The truly wireless earphones market is filled with a plethora of options today, ranging from entry-level offerings like the Redmi Earbuds S to the premium Sony WF-1000XM3. However, the most popular TWS earphones are from Apple — the AirPods.

AirPods kickstarted the TWS trend, and since then, pretty much every brand has jumped onboard. Xiaomi is known for its reliable yet affordable products, and it has launched a few options previously, but it was limited to its home market of China.

Now, the brand has finally launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 in India, and it’s pretty much half the price of Apple’s AirPods.

The Redmi Earbuds S is an entry-level offering while Mi branding is now used for the company’s premium offerings. TWS earphones are incredibly convenient to use, and their demand is consistently rising. Can the Mi TWS 2 offer maximum features for the price and go against the competition?

Do they look like the AirPods?

 

At first sight, you’d think they are the AirPods for a quick second. But it’s soon clear that they aren’t. This is something I appreciate about the Mi TWS 2. In a market filled with AirPods knockoffs, it’s nice to see a different design. However, don’t set your expectations too high.

The earbud’s stem is exceptionally thick, and this is easily noticeable from the side. Thankfully, it doesn’t look that thick from the front view and is oval. The stem is also considerably long, giving the earbud a very bulky look.

The polycarbonate build has a matte finish on the stem while the driver is smooth and shiny. I feel the earphones were designed with utility and features in mind, and aesthetics took a back seat.

If the bulkier design can add more battery life and better drivers, I’m okay with it. This may not be the case with many since they tend to look like cheap AirPods knockoffs.

Each earbud weighs just 4 grams, and they slide in your ears very smoothly. Putting them on is a quick task, and for calls, while driving, these are exceedingly convenient to wear single-handedly. The semi-open design is supposed to be fit-for-all. But, this is where my primary concern lies.

How’s the overall user experience?

The earbuds fit perfectly and are rather stable. But the satisfaction of wearing an earbud is utterly absent because of reduced noise isolation. Even though they’ve never automatically snuggled out, I’m always afraid of losing them while walking. The confidence to wear them outdoors is low.

These too sport gesture-based controls, and the result is below satisfaction. I’d have to try a few times before they actively receive the command. Even play/pause function is rather cumbersome and paired with the loose fit; I’m afraid they don’t fall off.

Thankfully, they have an optical sensor that automatically plays/pauses a song when the earbud is worn or removed. Most times, I’d simply remove them from my ear instead of relying on the gesture buttons.

Lastly, the case is quite basic from a design point of view but gets the job done properly. The plastic build is solid, the lid has magnetic detection, and the earbuds aren’t finicky when plugged for charging. A small LED light on the front will show you the case’s battery status. A USB-C port is located on the bottom.

Pairing them is a straightforward task, and Xiaomi phones will automatically pop-up the status menu just like it’s on iOS. It’ll show you each earbud’s battery percentage along with the case.

But do they sound good?

The brand has added a lot of features on the audio side to make the product look premium. It has support for multiple codecs like SBC, AAC, and LHDC. The last one allows high-resolution audio streaming via Bluetooth. I used the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to test the Mi TWS 2 and it automatically leveraged the AAC band.

Each earbud houses a 14.2mm audio driver, which isn’t the biggest. But, much of the audio output relies on tuning. Sound testing is also very subjective, so I’ll try to address everyone’s choice.

To start with, the output is very crisp and clear, and the vocals are perfectly heard. If you’re into Bollywood songs or even pop, these should be ideal for you.

Unlike the usual tuning, we see in Indian products; the bass here is well managed. It isn’t too much and ultimately does justice for every user. I’d say these are your GadgetMatch if you listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

The drivers are massively let down by non-existent noise isolation. The design of the earbuds inherently means you can hear pretty much everything happening around you. Even at maximum volume, it just didn’t feel enough.

Lastly, they have “Environment Noise Cancellation” that automatically kicks in when you’re on a call. Background noise is reduced drastically, and everyone I called could feel the change. The overall voice clarity is immensely improved, and high-winds too couldn’t deter them.

How long can they last?

Xiaomi claimed the earbuds can last up to four hours on a single charge and it’s on-point. I was able to get almost four hours with volume at 80 percent.

The case is capable of providing 10 hours of backup, taking the total to fourteen. Thankfully, the case takes just an hour to charge.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re an audiophile, the simple answer is no. The Mi TWS 2 will disappoint you in many ways. However, if you’re looking for work-related earphones, these are perfect.

Calls are ultra-clear, and the overall experience is better thanks to a loose fit. Keep them on, and get through a full day’s work. On the audio side, hip-hop or bass-intensive genre may not suit well here. However, all other vocal-centric songs shall swing by without a hitch.

With a price of INR 4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a solid competitor. When compared to the realme Buds Air, these lose out on aesthetics. But, the minor additions from a function point of view are worth the slight bump in price.

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