A lot of companies are gearing towards sustainability and Fossil Group joins the commitment to making a positive environmental impact. Their first step? A Solar Watch, in celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.
This solar-powered timepiece utilizes solar panel technology. It captures light through the outer ring and converts it into energy. Then, it’s stored in a rechargeable battery housed on a solar cell beneath the dial. When fully charged, the Solar Watch can be expected to run for around four months.
When your watch’s energy is running low, the clock’s second hand will start moving at two-second intervals instead of one-second intervals. It’s an indication that you only have one day of energy reserve left. Under full sunlight, the Solar Watch can be fully charged after five hours of light exposure.
The Solar Watch isn’t limited to using sunlight as its power source. Any form of light — even the light from a fluorescent lamp — can be used for charging.
Made with the environment in mind
Additionally, the watch comes with five interchangeable pull-through straps in different colors. They’re all made from approximately 16 plastic bottles. That’s recycling at its finest!
Fossil produced the whole set with the environment in mind, using environmental-friendly materials in building the product and its packaging. The American company used castor oil to develop a partially bio-based plastic for the watch’s case.
Meanwhile, the packaging was made entirely from paper so it can be 100 percent recyclable. The Solar Watch may not be 100 percent sustainable, but at least Fossil is making steps towards a greener future.
If you’re keen on buying the Solar Watch, Fossil Group partners with EcoMatcher to plant a tree for every purchase made. There’s an instruction detail inside the box on how to name your tree and see where it’s planted. You can even track its CO2 performance!
Price and availability
Fossil’s Solar Watch retails for US$ 135. It’s available in 36mm and 42mm sizes. Limited-edition styles will be available in select Fossil stores and on their website for a limited time. The Solar Watch is part of Fossil’s #MakeTimeForGood initiative. To learn more about their commitment to sustainability, visit maketimeforgood.com
SEE ALSO: JBL is working on solar powered headphones | Solar-powered classrooms bridge educational gap in rural communities | Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid sports solar panels for charging | This solar-powered cooler will level up your picnics
Huawei FreeBuds 4i review: “The” audio daily driver
An audio experience you simply can’t miss
A great set of earphones becomes as integral to your everyday life as your preferred devices. Whether you like it wired or wireless, it’s simply something you can’t live without these days. From the early morning commutes to playing games with the squad, a daily driver like this comes in handy for all of those.
For the past few years, Huawei ventured into the wireless sound space much like their contemporaries. From the earphones and headsets to speakers, each iteration brings something new to the table. This is, what I felt, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i shapes itself up to be: something different, something more.
So, how much more does this new pair of TWS earphones bring to the table? For starters:
It comes in an oval-shaped charging case w/ an optional cover
Inside the box are a fast-charging USB-C cable and different earbud tip sizes
You have three colorways to choose from: Ceramic White, Carbon Black, or Red
Breaking down the full audio experience
As I was writing this, I went ahead and looked back at everything I said about the Huawei FreeBuds 4i the very instance I got my hands on it. I briefly touched on the audio experience, and even went out of my way to call it a great first impression — all things considered. After some more time using these wireless earphones, I have some more things to call out.
Enjoying the music every tone of the way
From my first impressions, I could already tell that these earphones were designed for you to listen to your music better. This isn’t just hearing the songs without any noise in the background, but rather for you to truly appreciate the songs you’re listening to. See, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i comes with two major audio enhancements: a dynamic 10mm audio driver and Active Noise Cancellation.
With the dynamic audio driver, I’m assuming that the music you’re listening to has some more explicit bass to it. Well, I wasn’t wrong but it was actually more than that the longer I listened to my playlist. When I was listening to most of the “pop” songs in my playlist, I could hear some level of depth to the tones and vocals. It’s those little intricacies that you only get to hear from a great set of headphones, to be honest.
However, the biggest selling point here is that sweet Active Noise Cancellation technology inside. Essentially, when it’s on, only your songs exist in your ears and not much else. It does a fantastic job blocking all background noise out, so you can immerse in your songs a bit longer. Honestly, it was a joy simply listening to all my songs with ANC on — especially early in the morning.
No delays with VODs, streams, and movies all the way through
In all honesty, this was the use case I was most concerned for because of my experience with my FreeBuds Lite. For some reason, I experienced some delay in my audio when I’m watching videos whether on YouTube or Netflix. For the longest time, it wasn’t a huge bother to me until I tried out the FreeBuds 4i and knew what I was missing.
Huawei included these low latency algorithms into the audio drivers that essentially remove lag between audio and video. While I was watching music videos and a KDrama on the side, it felt smooth to just see and hear the A/V sync like that. At least now, I wouldn’t laugh so hard when the audio is lagging behind.
Playing games and engaging in team comms
Where the ANC also shines in comes from, quite possibly, my 2nd most regular use case: gaming. In particular, I decided to play team-based games like League of Legends: Wild Rift and Call of Duty Mobile with full team comms. I’ve already touched on the ANC’s capabilities for rich, deep sounds, and it’s quite evident with games as well.
However, I’d like to touch on how the ANC helped out with team comms since I was sort of playing in a noisy environment. Essentially, apart from the ANC blocking out noise you hear, it also blocks out additional noise picked up by the microphone. In theory, it should project your voice in a clearer way.
I hopped on a Discord call on my phone, and my friends could tell the difference if I switched to wired earphones. They mentioned how they could hear the strong wind and my electric fan before switching to the FreeBuds 4i mid-game. Although, there were times they couldn’t hear me through my mic when I switched, but it didn’t happen regularly.
Define “daily driver?” for me please
Apart from the Active Noise Cancellation technologies, the FreeBuds 4i boasts 10 hours of continuous audio playback. Whether it’s a Spotify playlist or random YouTube videos, that’s quite a lot of nonstop audio banging in your ear. Actually, this is more of a battery life situation more than anything but it certainly stacks up.
What I love about the longevity of this accessory is that it still lasts long even if you charge for a few minutes. Within ten minutes of charging, I managed to use the earphones for a good 3-4 hours before running out of juice. That’s honestly quite long in itself, especially with the amount of songs and videos you can squeeze in at 50% volume.
With all the time I spent charging the buds, I managed to stretch my usage to 24 hours (yes, even in my sleep). This alone already made me believe that it fits the description of what a daily driver is all about. Plus, it charges quite fast while in its oval case, and its oval case also fully charges fast too (about an hour and a half).
Why the Huawei AI Life is a must-have
Like I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of downloading additional software to make certain hardware work well. I mean, it just takes up more space on my phone that I would have needed for more photos and games. However, for the FreeBuds 4i, I installed the Huawei AI Life app to further maximize my use for it — and thank God I did.
See, if you’re not that big of a fan of using the gestures on the earphones, the AI Life app is where you need to go. In essence, it allows you to switch the ANC on/off, and you can even customize the touch gestures. Also, it even shows you the battery percentage of the buds and charging case. Honestly, I felt this added a bit more personalization to the FreeBuds 4i, something I was dying to experience.
Initially, I thought that you couldn’t change the gestures outright. I preferred having a gesture to play/pause songs and skip some of them — something the AI Life app covers. I genuinely think this is an app you should consider downloading if you plan to pick these earphones up.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
At PhP 3,599, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i provides an audio experience that you simply cannot turn a blind eye to. Apart from the simple yet fashionable aesthetic, it comes with a pair of TWS earphones that bring deeper sound quality for any use case. With its long battery life and quick charge capabilities, it’s something worth using every single chance you get.
While there were some hiccups along the way, it doesn’t ruin the audio experience entirely. With integrations in the AI Life app, you can easily find ways around these hiccups to help ease these off. Also, the level of control it gives you makes the whole experience more personal.
It’s not something different in every sense of the word, but the Huawei FreeBuds 4i brings something more to the table. It’s simply not just great, but it poses itself as one of the best options for wireless earphones out there.
Apple is cutting down AirPods production as sales drag
AirPods are losing their edge
Apple posted its quarterly earnings report this week, marking a whopping 54 percent rise in revenues. While most of this was thanks to iPhone 12 series’ success, there’s one segment that’s losing steam quickly, and there’s little Apple can do about it — the AirPods.
The Cupertino-based giant is cutting production of its ultra-popular AirPods by around 25 percent to 30 percent due to a decrease in sales. Competition from budget-friendly offerings has severely dented the lineup’s dominance.
According to a Nikkei Asia report, Apple was expecting to ship 110 million units in 2021 but has now cut back its forecast to roughly 75-85 million units. Although, the report doesn’t specifically mention which AirPods are experiencing a slowdown.
The AirPods Max is an exceedingly premium offering that was recently unveiled. The device has been designed for a niche audience and was never expected to go fully mainstream. It has a lot of competition from veteran headphone makers like Sony, Sennheiser, Bose, and more.
Though, Apple could potentially turn the table for the smaller AirPods by releasing an updated iteration this year. The duo is long overdue for an upgrade, and a new release could encourage demand in the beginning.
Since their debut, the original AirPods, which has dominated the wireless earphone market, was one of the only Apple products not to receive an upgrade towards the end of the year.
Nokia E3100: Trying new buds for work to workouts
Yes, Nokia has earbuds now
Nokia and I go way back. It was the mobile phone brand of my youth. Our history includes a series of phones that predate the existence of touchscreen ones we use now. Everyone had a Nokia device then. In recent years, it’s become a rarity. So imagine my surprise when I first heard that Nokia is now making earbuds. How did it fare against the audio giants of our time?
I got a hold of the Nokia E3100 Essential True Wireless Earphones. Compared to my old set of earbuds (Anker Zolo Liberty+), this one’s battery case and earbuds are extremely light, almost the same weight as a tube of drugstore lipstick.
The buds can operate up to 2.5hrs with a single charge, and up to 10 hours with help of the rechargeable battery case. Super convenient to pack if we still had our old lifestyle of going out daily.
On the job
I used to be able to maximize my earbuds on my commute — listening to music or watching series whenever I’m in transit. Nowadays, I mainly connect my headset to my laptop for Zoom meetings and other virtual work calls.
The Nokia E3100 did not disappoint on the sound side. Audio from the people I’m in the call with was always clear and crisp. But, it can be a hit-or-miss as a mic. The earbuds have a built-in microphone on the right side, but my experience with it left me wanting. There was a point when I had to switch back to the laptop microphone in the middle of a call just so people can hear my voice clearly.
On the mat
I also tried the Nokia E3100 for a few home workout sessions. Since the earbuds fit my ears perfectly, there’s no fear of it falling out in the middle of jumping jacks.
Another nice surprise is how you can easily skip or repeat tracks via push button controls on the earbuds. Less distractions to your exercise momentum! The only time I have to reach for my phone is when I want to switch to a different playlist.
Is the Nokia E3100 your GadgetMatch?
It’s reliable as an earpiece for listening to music, working out, and watching series. But when it comes to the demands of working from home, the current built-in mic just won’t do.
Nokia has to work on the voice sensitivity and responsiveness of the earbuds’ mic in order to take on this new age of virtual calls and meetings.
The Nokia E3100 retails for PhP 1,999 (US$ 41)
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