Honor’s first true wireless (TWS) earbuds with noise-cancelling is finally here — the Honor Magic Earbuds.
The first thing that Honor is harping about these earbuds is its sound quality. The company says it the Magic Earbuds will “cater [to] the needs of audiophiles and music enthusiasts.” A 10nm dynamic driver unit is at the heart of the earbuds to accomplish this feat.
Next is noise-cancelling. They’re doing this in two ways. First is the hybrid feedforward-feedback ANC technology. The company says it can effectively reduce distracting background noise up to 32dB. It achieves this through a feedforward mic that cancels environmental noise and a feedback mic that further filters out remaining undesirable sound in your ears.
Second is noise-cancelling during calls. The Magic Earbuds uses three Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) microphones on each side. Two external and an internal microphones work in tandem to precisely capture users’ voice while supressing the ambient noise. It’s then supported by adaptive noise cancelling technology.
If this noise-cancelling is anything like the one found the Huawei Freebuds 3, then it should deliver as promised.
Lastly, the Magic Earbuds adopt an ergonomic trapezoidal design with three sizes of silicon ear tips to ensure a proper and sung fit. It’s in-ear, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Honor says it should form a tight seal for passive noise isolation
Pricing and availability
Available in Pearl White and Robin Egg Blue, the Honor Magic Earbuds will retails for EUR 99.90 at hihonor.com in Netherland, France, Germany and Italy. Availability in Malaysia and the UK (GBP 89.99) will follow soon.
|Netherlands||€ 99.90||Bundle offer with HONOR Band5 (€29.90)||05/05/2020 – 18/05/2020||HIHONOR.COM/NL|
|France||€ 99.90||Bundle offer with HONOR Band5 (€29.90)||05/05/2020 – 11/05/2020||HIHONOR.COM/FR|
|Germany||€ 99.90||10€ off||05/05/2020 – 18/05/2020||HIHONOR.COM/DE|
|Italy||€ 99.90||20€ off||05/05/2020 – 13/05/2020||HIHONOR.COM/IT|
Huawei Freebuds Pro review: Everything you can ask for
Bang-for-buck “Pro” TWS
All the major smartphone manufacturers now have their very own True Wireless (TWS) earphones with the “Pro” tag on it. Narrowing the choices down to the AirPods Pro, Galaxy Buds Pro, and Freebuds Pro, Huawei’s offering might be the easiest to recommend.
Let’s cut to the chase, at just PhP 7,999/ SG$ 238, it’s easily the most affordable among the three all while offering a similar set of features.
Nobody’s talking about Huawei’s audio products as one of the best for regular consumers out there. But as they have proven over the last two years, they’re quite a sleeper in this arena.
Huawei’s audio products are good. Full stop. And the Freebuds Pro just adds to that growing portfolio. One of the primary reasons is what they’ve done with active noise cancellation or ANC.
Doubling down on ANC
On paper, Huawei promises up to 40db of noise cancelled. That’s a few decibels better than the promised 30db on the Freebuds 3 which was the product that came before it.
Huawei achieved this through a combination of hardware ingenuity and design. The result — a noise cancellation that’s pretty darn evident straight out of the box.
And it’s not just any other ANC, it’s the kind that adapts to its surroundings. With mics pointing outward, it can readily tell if it needs to adjust the noise-cancelling level. This works even when you pair it with a non Huawei phone.
I’ve used the Freebuds Pro with an iPhone as I leisurely stroll around our compound just to get some “outside” time. I always just had ANC on but never had to worry that I wouldn’t know if a vehicle was behind me or not.
When you do need that peace and quiet, it snuffs out the surrounding sound to make sure you can focus. This is typically what I do some afternoons when the neighbor’s kids are out in the hallway yelling like they’re trying to turn Super Saiyan. It’s annoying. But I plug the Freebuds Pro in my ears and suddenly I’m in TWICELAND listening to the voices of angels.
Rich, full sound
Despite having written more than a handful of these reviews, it never gets easy to really describe how good the sound coming from a product is. It’s really something that one needs to experience. But let me give it a try.
For music, I only really usually listen to TWICE, a bunch of anime tracks, and a handful of OPM songs. TWICE, more than anything, really. I just need that shot of happiness more than ever these days.
Anyway, the K-Pop girl group’s discography has grown even more diverse with their Eyes Wide Open album and the surprise gift for fans track “Cry For Me,” which makes their music a pretty good listen for earphones like this.
City pop tracks like “Up No More,” and “Say Something,” feel like a cold breeze on a warm summer night. The sound coming from the Freebuds Pro blends the vocals with the music in a way without one overpowering the other.
On more instrumental and rock-heavy tracks like “Stuck In My Head” from Fancy You, the Freebuds Pro is able to deliver the power from distorted guitars without muffling the audio. Instead, you get a sharp, electric feeling that makes you want to headbang air guitar to your heart’s content.
If you’re looking out for bass, tracks like “Turn It Up,” “Make Me Go,” and “Hell In Heaven,” have bass lines that are both slick and deliver a kind of shake that only a full, smooth bass can.
I play music to sway my mood a certain way. Listening with the Freebuds Pro delivers that music in the cleanest, most satisfying way possible that you’ll immediately hear the difference if you take them off.
Subtler design, easy controls
As you’ve seen on our Unboxing and First Impressions, Huawei did away with the extra long stem design for the Freebuds Pro. Here’s a look at the Freebuds 3, Freebuds 3i, and Freebuds Pro for comparison.
It’s now more subtle and will not be mistaken as AirPods by the informed and discerning eye. Plus this silver colorway is absolutely sexy AF.
Controls are different from previous Freebuds. To turn ANC on/off, you’ll need to squeeze on the tinier stem. Sounds hard on paper, but it’s surprisingly easy to pull off and you’ll immediately feel the sensation of squeezing the stem with a voice prompt confirming whether you’ve changed modes or not.
Doing the same on the right earbud controls pause/play, jump to the next track and jump to the previous track. For volume controls, simply slide up or down the stem of either earbud. The volume controls aren’t the best but that’s already better than most earbuds that don’t even offer the feature.
I get about four to five hours of continuous playback — that covers the hour-long stroll and the about two hours and a half of trying to drown out my neighbors’ children before I have to juice them up. Fully charging takes about a little over an hour.
Is the Freebuds Pro your GadgetMatch?
Yes. Yes it is. This is one TWS earbud with ANC that we can easily recommend to anyone. It’s the sweet spot in terms of price and features. You have a TWS earphone that can hang with the best in terms of features but won’t cripple your wallet. It’s just that good.
Lenovo Yoga ANC Headphones: A worthy AirPods Max substitute?
Trying my first ever over-ear headphones
It’s been a while since I wrote an article for an audio accessory. My last take on writing an audio review was our special three-way review of the TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earbuds: namely the Apple AirPods 2, Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and Huawei FreeBuds 3. If you read the article, you know by now that I am, by no means, a professional musician nor a hardcore audiophile.
With that said, I still have my clear preference when it comes to sound and audio quality. I want fuller and richer sound with deeper bass and enough treble to enjoy every rhythm and beat of a song. At the same time, I also like having ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) out of the box. I’m the type of person who clearly doesn’t want any noise distractions regardless of what I’m doing.
When I was given the chance to try a new set of headphones, I didn’t hesitate at all. In fact, this is my first time trying an over-ear headphones. I’m sure, there might be buyers like me who are curious to find out.
A design so chic and posh
Upon seeing the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones for the first time, I already fell in love with its color. The design screams chicness and elegance — very different from most headphones nowadays with bland color options and the obvious hint of plasticky build.
Still, colors depend on each individual’s preferences. The only problem I have in mind with this colorway is that it might get dirty over time.
I’m weirdly attracted to its concentric pattern
The headband feels soft especially with the perforated material
A must for any headphone is the silicone leather and premium plastic material
The included case also looks classy
Of course, the hard-bound case has the same cream color as the headphones for consistency. There’s that minimal “Yoga” branding placed on its lower right (just like on the right side of the headphones). The Lenovo logo is hidden at the bottom side of the case for a cleaner look.
Putting the headphones back in the case took me some time to sort out. Glad I’m a fast learner when it comes to fixing things (unlike fixing my own life LOL).
Unlike other headphones, this only comes in one color
Or two if we consider the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 ANC headphones that comes in a more stealthy, black colorway. It’s basically the same pair of headphones with a different ‘X1’ branding (not to confuse you with the disbanded K-Pop boy group X1).
Also, the concentric design was eliminated in favor of the flat one for a wider diameter of both pairs of circle. Lenovo even blatantly put both headphone models in the included user manual.
As much as I love black, I’d pick the Yoga one any day because of how unique-looking it is.
Comfy enough to wear
The first time I tried hanging the pair on my neck, it already felt comfortable especially with the soft material. Of course, I tried doing it without my turtle neck on so I really felt the touch.
The adjustable band is really helpful for someone like me who has a big head (no pun intended). It helped me wear the headphones with ease. You have to keep in mind that both band mechanisms aren’t fully twistable. Rather, they only rotate at the front around 180-degrees.
Wearing it feels ultra-light — exactly as Lenovo advertised. While the overall diameter of each ear isn’t as big as nor as egg-shaped as other headphones, I still like the symmetry. The concentric finish adds a premium feel, even if it’s clearly made out of plastic.
Controls were a li’l bit fiddly
Controlling the headphones through its built-in physical controls can be a little bit awkward at first and it honestly needs a bit of getting used to.
As someone who has fat AF fingers, there were instances when I pressed the wrong button when trying to control music. I thought I was pressing the volume up button. Instead, I switched on ANC even if I didn’t mean to.
On the left side, there’s the power switch (which the AirPods Max lacks) that also acts as the Bluetooth pairing switch for new devices.
Meanwhile, the button with three dots has several functions: clicking once plays or pauses the track or clip. It also answers or ends a call. Clicking twice skips the song while pressing three times winds back to the previous track.
On the right side, there’s a mute switch as well as volume controls, increase on top and decrease on the bottom.
The middle button serves as the ANC switch with two levels of Noise Cancellation before it’s completely off. Whenever you adjust or turn controls and switches, you will be informed through the built-in female speaker’s voice.
Sound quality is good…
People who know me (including the GadgetMatch team) are aware that I’m into K-Pop, particularly girl group songs — and by that, almost every K-girl group from the popular to the underrated. But the thing is, songs made by these groups don’t focus on bubbly and cutesy concept.
For example, there are girl crush songs from 2NE1, BLACKPINK, and aespa, melo-romantic tracks such as TWICE’s ‘Cry For Me’ and (G)I-DLE’s ‘Hwaa’, while recent 2020 releases lean more into retro-pop like TWICE’s ‘I Can’t Stop Me’, GFRIEND’s ‘Mago’, fromis_9’s ‘Feel Good’, EVERGLOW’s ‘La Di Da’, STAYC’s ‘So Bad’, Brave Girls’ ‘We Ride’, and more.
To make it more “musically diverse”, I also listened to the funky and uptempo ‘Why Not’ by LOONA, as well as Dreamcatcher’s Scream and BOCA as they lean more into rock (quite similar to most anime intros). As bonuses, I also played tracks of my favorite balladists: the singer-songwriter-actress IU, as well as the Korean band, Day6 and their sub-unit Even of Day — all while writing this article.
It’s safe to say that the amount of songs of different sub-genres I played made me understand the overall sound quality of the headphone — whether in bass, treble, highs, lows, or even mids.
Dialogues I hear from a film, series, news, or documentaries while wearing the headphones are as clear as a sunny day. Albeit, there’s still a notable difference when playing music as I was used to my AirPods 2 which has a richer overall sound.
…but with equalizer adjustments, it can get better
As said a while ago, I want my sound to be rich and full, has deeper bass, and of course, an effective ANC feature. Lenovo’s Yoga ANC headphones delivered good results. But to make it better, I had to manually adjust some settings.
I have this third-party equalizer called ‘Boom 3D‘ that’s available on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. The app enhances the overall sound of the music or audio I play — regardless of what device I use.
In the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones, it was vastly improved. Paying for the ‘3D Surround’ feature might even be the best way to experience surround sound without spending a lot on higher-end ANC headphones.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 Ultra I am using also has a built-in equalizer settings and preset which honestly made better sound quality compared to its default, flat state.
Active Noise Cancellation works well
There are two (2) ANC levels before you can completely turn off the feature. If it’s off, you’d still hear some muffled noises. For instance, I could still hear my mom talking while I was editing a YouTube video. On another note, I barely hear myself talk while I’m in a call. I don’t even hear myself singing while jamming to the songs I’m playing even if ANC is completely off.
At Level 1 ANC, it’s enough to block off the sound I get from my loud electric fan, barking dogs, and purring cats. Meanwhile, I barely heard the noise inside a noisy coffee shop when ANC was turned on at Level 2.
There’s also an added ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology which supposedly separates background noise from your environment while you’re having voice and video calls. As a testament, I was able to hear my crush clearly when we were on a call 😅
While I haven’t tried the ANC feature on most headphones, I’m glad that Lenovo was able to pack this feature in a small and affordable pair.
Bluetooth connection is fast and seamless
Having a fast Bluetooth 5.0 connection is a great feature, especially among wireless headphones. There’s even a feature where you can pair two Bluetooth devices at once.
But, it doesn’t mean you can play both songs on different devices at the same time. It just means, you can seamlessly switch between two devices without having to disconnect one in favor of the other.
But the lack of 3.5mm audio jack might be a dealbreaker
Still, there are times where the music being streamed will have a momentarily 0.5 to 1-second hiccup because of latency. This is where the 3.5mm audio jack takes place — which exists in most ANC headphones in the market today.
Other than the avoidance of latency issues, devices who have it will also give better adjustment in sound, like how the LG V60 ThinQ has a built-in HiFi DAC support. Adding more features mean added cost — and that might be a reason why Lenovo didn’t include one.
For a seamless experience, a 3.5mm audio jack would still have been a great addition for this pair — regardless if one’s an extreme audiophile or a casual listener who prefers great music.
I’m that person who loves listening to music for hours, and the Yoga ANC headphones was able to hold up for more than a day of both standby and use. The power and mute switches helped me save the headphones from unnecessary battery drain.
Lenovo even promises around 14 hours of playback with ANC turned off. Of course, the ANC feature was off most of the time since I’m only inside my room. But when it’s turned on, it barely affected the overall battery life.
Based on my experience, a call for an hour barely had a battery drain. Upon hearing it from the built-in speaker, I started from 50% and ended at the same level.
When it comes to playing music, there was obviously a decrease. From 50%, it went down to 10% after playing music for around four hours of use with ANC Level 1. To save battery life, I turned off ANC. During that percentage, I was able to squeeze in another hour of listening session.
Although this isn’t a surprise for most headphone users, I’m astounded especially because my AirPods only lasts around 3-4-hours from a full charge (lesser if I answer calls). Also, you’ll be notified if the headphones need charging through a phone notification or when the speaker starts to remind you to plug it.
You can charge it from 0% to 100% for around three hours via its USB-C port. The light indicator blinks when charging and stays put when it’s already full. Inside the bundled case, there’s an included USB-C to USB-A braided cable of the same color. You have to use your existing charging brick though as it doesn’t have a bundled one.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones retail at PhP 7,990 in the Philippines that’s available through Lenovo’s official Lazada page as well as other local distributors. In the United States, it’s available at a special discounted price of US$ 119.99 from the SRP US$ 149.99. This pair is simply one of (if not) the cheapest headphones you can purchase that supports ANC out of the box.
If you’re a casual listener (like me) who wants a lasting pair of headphones without sacrificing and spending too much, the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones is simply a great recommendation — more if you want to step up your audio game.
It looks and feels good with a battery life that lasts more than enough. It’s even ideal for gamers, streamers or budget-conscious musicians/artists alike especially with the inclusion of six boomless microphones.
While Lenovo’s Yoga ANC headphones may not be a direct competitor to most ANC headphones around, it costs less than the PhP 17,790/US$ 359-worth Marshall Monitor II A.N.C, the popular Sony WH-1000XM4 sold at PhP 19,999/US$ 349.99, and even the Bose 700 priced at PhP 26,000/US$ 379.75. The common advantage of these headphones is the inclusion of an audio jack.
While we’re already at the topic of price comparison, it’s a quick realization that you can buy four (4) Lenovo Yoga ANCs in the price of one (1) AirPods Max at PhP 32,990/US$ 549. As obvious as it gets, the differences are the lack of sleek aluminum build, several color options, interchangeable earcups, and the Spatial Audio feature.
Oblio is a 2-in-1 UV-C sanitizer and wireless charging station
Keeping it clean stylishly
Admit it or not, UV-C sterilizers and sanitizers are now revolutionizing our home and office spaces. At CES 2021, Lexon Design took cleaning accessories up a notch.
Introducing Oblio, this vase-like UV-C sanitizer helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria found on our smartphones. It has a built-in UV-C LED, which extinguishes the DNA of microorganisms found in viruses, mold, and germs.
Oblio is capable of extensive disinfection, sanitizing your device for a 20-minute cycle. Through lab testing, it has been proven effective to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, including H1N1.
Just like Samsung’s personal sanitizer, Oblio also lets you charge your devices wirelessly. With a 10W wireless charging capability, you can fully charge a smartphone in three hours. Additionally, it comes with an LED indicator. This is so you’ll know the charging status of your device inside.
But what sets it apart from other sanitizers? Apparently, Oblio’s meaning and design. The name Oblio means “forgot” in the native language of Italian designers Manuela Simonelli and Andrea Quaglio.
Its meaning echoes the accessory’s vase shape, ingeniously designed to help people disconnect — literally forgetting their smartphones so they can be more present.
Price and availability
Oblio sanitizes and charges all Qi-enabled smartphones, regardless if it’s iPhone or Android. The 2-in-1 accessory is already available at prominent retailers worldwide such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, MoMA Design Store in the US, Fnac Darty in Europe, and more.
It retails for US$ 79.90 and is available in four colors: White, Gold, Dark Blue, and Matt Black. You can get it through its official online store at Lexon Design.
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