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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Sony’s new XB900N are cheaper noise-canceling headphones with extra bass

A more affordable option

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Image credit: Sony

The premium noise-canceling WH-1000XM3 headphones from Sony might be the best in its class, but it’s quite pricey. Surprisingly, the Japanese maker has announced a new pair of noise-canceling headphones that is US$ 100 cheaper.

The new Sony WH-XB900N (be sure to remember that) is a more accessible alternative for those who are in the market of noise-canceling headphones. It’s priced at just US$ 250 and offers similar features to Sony’s flagship model.


Design-wise, it looks a lot like its more premium sibling and that’s probably intentional. They may look the same, but the XB900N is different on the inside. For instance, it has an inferior noise-canceling chip and it lacks the ability to adjust for atmospheric pressure when on an airplane.

Image credit: Sony

On the bright side, the XB900N is great for bass lovers. It might have fewer noise-canceling features, but it has a lot more bass. It’s also equipped with touch panel controls, microphone for Google Assistant or Alexa, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.2.

Sony promises up to 30 hours of playback time with noise-canceling on a single charge, which is not shabby. Speaking of, a 10-minute quick charge will give up to an hour of play time.

The new XB900N is expected to go on sale at the end of June.

Source: Sony
Via
: Gizmodo

SEE ALSO: Sony WH-1000XM3 Hands-on: As good as advertised

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Accessories

OnePlus increased their headphone dongle’s price by more than 50 percent

Bad news for OnePlus 7 Pro users

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In today’s topsy-turvy world, the headphone jack is a luxury. Most smartphone makers have dropped the former necessity, prompting a surge in dongle sales. Now, to enjoy music on your smartphone, you’ll need an unwieldy USB-C adapter or an expensive pair of Bluetooth earphones. The economy has drastically shifted.

Recently, OnePlus joined the depressing jack-less train. Last year’s OnePlus 6T notably started the new trend. Likewise, this year’s OnePlus 7 Pro launched without the beloved feature, settling instead for a USB-C slot. As with other companies, OnePlus made the dongle a necessity.


Surprisingly, the new premium flagship does not ship with a free dongle. Unlike with other smartphones, a OnePlus dongle is a separate buy, crimping your wallet even further. Even worse, the OnePlus 6T shipped with one in the box. The lack of a free dongle is a big disappointment for dedicated OnePlus fans.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Spotted on Reddit, OnePlus quietly increased their dongle’s price by more than 50 percent. Previously, the dongle cost a workable US$ 8. Now, according to OnePlus’ official online store, the dongle costs a pricier US$ 12.95.

Of course, the OnePlus 6T’s free dongle offset the cost, anyway. However, it’s a different story for OnePlus 7 Pro users. Besides the flagship’s main price, customers will also shell out an additional fee for audio features.

Notably, the price hike has not applied for other international markets yet. For example, India’s store still sells the dongle for the original INR 390 price tag. If anything, the American price hike likely stems from the recent deterioration of US-China relations.

Unfortunately, OnePlus has not issued any announcements if the hike will also apply for other markets. Regardless, as with other recent news, the customer is bearing most of the geopolitical brunt.

SEE ALSO: Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. is the new face of OnePlus

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Accessories

MPow Headphones Hands-On: Are these worth your while?

Little-known brand promises value-for-money products

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When people talk about headphones and earphones, the brand MPow isn’t the first one that comes to mind. The company boasts quality audio gadgets at really competitive pricing.

Of course, we have to tell for ourselves if these headsets are really any good. We gave a pair to each of our four guys. After a through hands-on, we asked for their verdict.


MPow H7 [Dan]

I’m unfamiliar with MPow. Admittedly, I Googled about the brand and my particular model. Apparently, the MPow H7 is one of the best-reviewed wireless headphones on Amazon US (and other shopping portals). I slightly expected great things. Indeed, the H7 is good for its price. However, it has a couple of shortcomings.

The good: The H7 sounds better than any headphones I’ve used for US$ 20. It’s a balanced pair of headphones for general listening. Bass is really good for electronic music. Vocals are pretty clear in acoustic hits. It’s comfortable and lightweight. I could wear them for hours without any discomfort. Also, I have no issues with pairing on my laptop or my phone.

The bad: The H7’s light weight makes it feel a bit cheap. It’s not exactly a bad thing; you’ll wear this more than you’ll hold it, after all. Additionally, the H7 looks so generic. That’s perfectly subjective, though.

For its price, the H7 is an easy recommendation for those looking for a pair of comfy, good-quality over-ear wireless headphones. It’s certainly not a looker — at least for me — but it deserves the praises it has received so far.

MPow S10 [Rodneil]

The MPow S10 is positioned as a workout companion. However, my usage proves that it can be more than that.

Still, I used it for a few workout sessions. The IPX7 helps take out the worry of getting sweat all over. The fit around your neck and on your ear was also perfect for me. I love that the buds are magnetic. You can even wear it like a pseudo-necklace when not in use.

Coming off the Galaxy Buds, I can say the audio quality lacks a little bit of texture. It just doesn’t have the crispness that I got from Samsung’s wireless earbuds. Of course, the quality isn’t that bad. For video editing and video calls, the quality is more than adequate.

There were also zero problems pairing. Switching from my phone to my laptop was seamless. It’s pretty versatile for a pair of earphones marketed as a sporting buddy, and at US$ 24.99, I would say it’s a pretty darn good deal.

MPow H5 [MJ]

The MPow H5 was a total treat. It’s comfortable to wear and carry around. For US$ 40 headphones, it comes complete with features you can see in similar yet more expensive products.

Its noise-canceling capabilities actually work against the blabbers and chatters while giving a pleasant, sound experience. It can’t completely block the human voice. Still, I think it’s a good thing as it removes the need to pause your music when people approach you. For clearer communication, you can turn off the noise-cancellation with an easily accessible button.

What I liked the most is its ability to switch Bluetooth connection between devices seamlessly. There are times that I had to switch devices (especially when I run out of battery). It’s helpful to stay connected so I can maintain focus on the task at hand.

MPow EG3 [Kevin]

The EG3 is all about gaming, and then some. It specializes in first-person shooter (FPS) games especially with the 7.1 surround sound. It puts you in the middle of the battlefield. You can tell where each sound is coming from. Together with its decent audio performance, gaming becomes a more immersive experience compared to when you only have ordinary headphones on.

Personally, I look for a specific sound when I play games and a different one when I listen to music. MPow’s Audio Center makes it easy with an equalizer and customizable audio profiles. It also has an array of effects such as environment effects, pitch shifting, and a built-in gooseneck microphone. Speaking of the mic, it has an impressive quality good enough for recording voice overs.

Notably, MPow aims for quality products with competitive pricing. For a pair of lightweight headphones delivering good audio and packing premium features, the EG3 is priced at just US$ 29 — more affordable than most models in its tier. Considered altogether, it’s hard to pass on the EG3.

Overall verdict

Four different people, four different devices, one brand. The verdict is pretty unanimous. These MPow headsets aren’t the absolute best in terms of quality. However, in terms of value for your money, these headphones are easy recommendations.

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