Accessories

Huawei FreeBuds 4i Hands-On: Sound in a capsule

Is it the best set of ANC wireless earphones out there?

Published

on

Freebuds 4i

I’m no hardcore audiophile, but I regularly use earphones along with my devices to listen to my playlists and podcasts. From my smartphones to laptops, a decent pair of earphones is simply a must-have for everybody at this point. Some companies even go as far as making the sound experience a little better, even for mere earphone users.

Two years ago, I finally opted to buy wireless earphones because the wired life was not for me. Admittedly, I picked up the Huawei FreeBuds Lite when it first came out, and it was a decent first pair to say the least. Fast forward to the year 2021, Huawei comes out with their latest iteration: the Huawei FreeBuds 4i.

This iteration of Huawei’s own wireless earphones supposedly brings more technologies designed to give you a better sound experience. It’s the kind you can bring with you anywhere, and use at any time without interruption. Well, let’s actually see for ourselves, shall we?

Out of all the colors to choose from

When the FreeBuds 4i first arrived, I immediately looked at the label to find out what color it was. In the past, Huawei offered only black and white variants of their FreeBuds, with the black as an exclusive in some markets. I thought that I would be getting either one of the two colors, until apparently a third option was available: the Red edition.

Freebuds 4i

Objectively speaking, it’s a great color accent for the FreeBuds 4i. I mean, they did it in a simple yet glossy way, plus it somehow resembles an MnMs chocolate piece when zoomed in. Personally, it wasn’t my preferred color; in fact, I actually wanted the black one because of how sleek it looked. Well, to compensate, they also managed to sneak in a cute case for your FreeBuds.

For the cases, you have four options to choose from, and mine just so happened to be a bear case. Eventually, I figured that since I wasn’t that big of a fan of the red color, I’ll slap on the case and it’s quite great. In fact, it’s such a cute case that I even took the time to think of a name for it.

Everyone, meet Seulgi (if you follow Red Velvet, I’m pretty sure you’ll understand the reference):

Freebuds 4i

An auditory set up in some detail

Upon opening it up for the first time, I noticed that the design is quite similar to another popular set of wireless earphones out there. For me, that’s not a bad thing, and I think it’s something you’ll just brush aside with prolonged use. Also, it comes with the medium-sized ear caps already attached, with the other options tucked in the box.

Pairing it was quite seamless, like I literally just popped the cap and it connected to my phone. Of course, the intended way was to press the tiny button at the side to pair your phone or laptop to pair it successfully. For me, it’s great that I could just connect to the earphones by simply opening it up. It saves time configuring your Bluetooth settings, plus you already know it works.

Also, normally I don’t like downloading more apps on my phone just to properly set up a good pair of earphones. In the Freebuds 4i’s case, I was compelled to do so through Huawei’s AI Life app. Not only does it show the device’s battery levels, but it also shows you nifty settings to apply to both earbuds. Furthermore, you can use it to turn the active noise cancellation on and off, which is pretty great.

The initial sound trip

At first, the FreeBuds 4i surprised me for a bit mostly because of the active noise cancellation. Like most gaming headsets I own, it does a great job of blocking out a ton of noise when you’re at a distance from them. Of course, I kept turning the ANC on and off to test this, and the difference is staggering.

As for the sounds that this device produced, it’s quite great. Now, you don’t get an equalizer in the AI Life app to adjust any bass or treble levels to suit your ears. However, I felt it didn’t really need one since I had a fun time going on a full sound trip at night. Also, I mean Wendy’s “Best Friend” featuring Seulgi sounded incredibly soothing using the FreeBuds 4i, so I have no complaints.

In one of the updates for the earphones’ software, it mentioned that it has reduced sound latency when playing games. Honestly, I haven’t given this a full go just yet, but it’s quite nice that they added that in. 

Was this the play all along?

Initially, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i seemed to be — what I would consider — a great option for wireless earphones. In the short time I’ve used it so far, it manages to tick all the boxes just for listening to your Spotify playlist non-stop. Also, it comes in a variety of colors that will suit your style whenever you bring it around.

While I rave about the initial experience, I am looking forward to seeing how this device fairs in my day-to-day activities. With all the optimizations each software update brings, I want to see if the FreeBuds 4i can truly be one of the best options out there, and not just a great one.

The Huawei Freebuds 4i retais for PhP 3,599. It is available for pre-order from April 19 to 29 and comes with a free Bluetooth Speaker (worth PhP 1,499) during the pre-order period.

Accessories

Upcoming Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds leak, design change confirmed

Comes with improved battery life

Published

on

The audiophile community has highly regarded Sony’s WF-1000XM4, and it has a special fan base of its own. The Japanese electronics giant will launch an updated iteration soon, and we’ve already got a sneak peek of it.

According to the Walkman Blog, the new earbuds have a very different design with downsized shapes. It no longer retains a pill shape, looking more like the Galaxy Buds Pro. The site also claims that the new buds could be released on June 8.

While the images shared on the blog are of prototype models, they’re likely to reflect the final design. Obviously, the commercial unit will be far more polished and sharp. It also seems like there’s space for two different microphones, hinting at noise cancellation tech and voice assistant support.

The leak also includes shots of the WF-1000XM4’s charging case, which looks fairly dull except for one potentially important detail. Charging output is listed as 5V = 140mA, a little above the WF-1000XM3’s charging case which is listed as 5V = 120mA.

The TWS earbuds will also feature Bluetooth 5.0 technology and a new noise reduction processor. Lastly, the Sony wireless earbuds will reportedly offer an improved battery life and sound quality. Many details about the upcoming earbuds are still missing, so we’ll just have to wait for Sony to unveil it officially.

Continue Reading

Accessories

Viewsonic Woodpad 10: The wooden drawing tablet you never knew you needed

Just don’t put it anywhere near your kitchen area

Published

on

By

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

Nowadays, products (not furniture) made out of wood dominate the interest list of most people — myself included. Whether that may be a monitor riser, headphone stand, wrist rest, and even as electric fans, wood simply is the way to go.

Well, Viewsonic also has something up in their sleeves. Their Woodpad line offers a unique-looking drawing tablet that suits every artist’s clean and minimal workspace. Here, we’re specifically checking out the Viewsonic Woodpad 10.

Viewsonic may not be the best brand when it comes to graphic tablets but they surely are a reputable Taiwan-based brand for computer peripherals. But would this drawing pad suffice? Let’s find out.

Wooden product in a non-wooden packaging

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

The packaging is actually nothing special but I have to point out that it looks cleaner and more premium than its other tablet counterparts.

And yes, the box is made out of a solid piece of cardboard in black, not wood. I’m not saying it should though since wood is harder to produce and will be a lot heavier when packed and shipped.

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

Inside, you get the Woodpad 10, as well as its stylus that matches the wooden aesthetic of the tablet. There’s also a super long cable (also in white) for connection, and three extra nibs with a nib remover in case your existing nib gets ruined.

Sleek and classic-looking

Say goodbye to your “wood” stickers and wallpapers! The Viewsonic Woodpad 10 is crafted from lightweight and renewable bamboo. Ironically, Wacom’s discontinued “Bamboo” product line (replaced by Intuos) is made from plastic, not even bamboo.

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

The “Woodpad” text with its leaf product emblem is carved on the drawing pad, mimicking a solid chunk of wood. Its bundled pen stylus is also one of a kind with its cream and white color combination. That’s something you don’t see among styluses because they usually come in black.

Of course, you wouldn’t expect a graphic tablet to have a jagged surface area. This drawing tablet has a super smooth finish even if it’s made up of bamboo. You just have to keep it beside you and not near your kitchen area. If not, expect someone will use it as a chopping board.

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

The Woodpad 10 is oh so thin at 7.5mm and super lightweight, just under 0.3kgs. This makes it convenient if you’re always on the go as you can just insert it in your laptop sleeve.

Overall, this is a solid piece of accessory that blends well in most rooms. This is mostly suited for people who dig that “Muji” (white and wood) vibe like I do.

Battery-free = worry-free

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

Both the Woodpad 10 and its stylus are battery-free. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about overheating and dying batteries over years of usage. While the pen works without any power, the graphic tablet connects from micro USB through your device’s USB-A port.

For most devices, I complain about not having a USB-C port. But the thing is, this is a product that doesn’t require fast charging nor data speeds. Equipping this with a USB-C would probably cost more since micro USB is still not obsolete. You just have to keep your dongles for this one.

While this is a Plug-and-Play device for both Windows and Mac, there’s a reminder to install the drivers first through their Downloads page to maximize it. With my experience in Mac, it wasn’t able to automatically install the drivers so I manually installed it.

Without these drivers, pressure sensitivity won’t work regardless if you have Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketchbook, PaintTools SAI, or other sketching apps in installed in your machine.

Smooth-sailing performance

On paper, the Woodpad 10 has a 10-inch surface area. Other than that, it supports 4,096 levels of pressure with 250pps (points per pressure). And just like a true paper, the Woodpad 10 performs and functions well just like any other graphic tablet because of its 0.25mm pen accuracy.

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

While the stylus isn’t battery-powered like Samsung’s S-Pen and the Apple Pencil, it still supports pressure sensitivity so your artworks would look better and versatile with thin and thick brush strokes.

It also supports pen tilting so you can also do shading just like you would on a traditional pencil. The attached pen tip is also said to last of up to 150,000 taps before it needs to be replaced with the extra nib.

Verdict from both a casual and a professional artist

Admittedly, I’m not the type of creative who’s good at drawing and sketching. I used to draw cringey chibis and some doodles way back in high school, but times have changed — and my skill simply vanished into thin air. Anyhow, I still tried testing it and here are some works I did using the Woodpad 10.

 

 

With the pandemic far from ending, it makes me miss traveling even more. I then decided to just sketch out some of the places I’ve been to just re-live the experience.

 

Some of those in my list are Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, Taiwan’s Taipei 101, and the National Museum of Natural History in the Philippines. With these rough sketches I produced, I was able to verify that its pressure sensitivity works well — evident through the weight of strokes. At the same time, it really felt like I’m using a paper, not a drawing device.

Not sure if it’s because of my bigger hands but the bigger surface area was advantageous on my end. I can’t imagine myself using a smaller 7-inch drawing pad anytime soon or I might suffer from arm sore.

To finalize my drawing experience, I just tried sketching my frustrations — having no motivation and feeling blah in the past few days. I also tried writing Korean lyrics from Lee Hi’s HOLO (watch the music video here) to remind myself that everything will be okay eventually and one day IT will stop. Maybe not now, but soon enough.

I also lent this unit to my great artist friend Angeline (@titaeny) for her to try out the Woodpad 10. This is to check if the graphic tablet can really keep up with the industry’s standards. Obviously, my sketching skills are not even as good as the drawing/sketching talent she possesses. Here are some of her best outputs.

AoT’s Eren and Levi, TWICE’s Chaeyoung, and yes, she’s one of the biggest Taeyeon (SNSD) stans out there

You can check more of her great works via her Twitter account, as well as her Instagram and Bēhance portfolio.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Viewsonic Woodpad 10 has a retail price of PhP 6,599. Users from the Philippines who are interested to check it out can visit this product site by OnwardPH. Also, there’s a less pricey Viewsonic Woodpad 7 priced at PhP 4,099 with a smaller 7-inch drawing area.

Viewsonic Woodpad 10

Artists would know that Huion has more affordable offerings but with Viewsonic’s brand reputation and Woodpad’s unique wood aesthetic, you simply can’t go wrong choosing it. It’s also a great deal considering Wacom counterparts offer smaller 7-inch tablets that’s closer to the Woodpad 10’s SRP.

It doesn’t matter if you’re fond of drawing and sketching. As a casual user, I enjoyed using the Viewsonic Woodpad 10 and how it performed with its pressure-sensitive wooden pad.

If you’re like me who wants to have a graphic tablet that doesn’t look as tacky as other brands, Viewsonic’s Woodpad 10 is a must have. If you’re also willing to pay extra for that wood “aesthetics”, this is your best option.


For more great products and accessories like Viewsonic’s Woodpad series, visit OnWardPH or follow them through their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@OnWardPH) for you to keep posted.

Continue Reading

Accessories

Seagate One Touch SSD: 5 reasons why you need this external SSD

Seagate’s new portable SSD is truly a worthy investment

Published

on

By

If you’ve been fond of reading our posts, we already did an article that discusses the differences of SSDs (Solid State Drives) against regular HDDs (Hard Disk Drives). I even made a full article on how upgrading to an SSD vastly improved the performance of an old and sluggish laptop.

In this article, it’s all about this new storage device that caters not only me as a creative, but also to every other professional who always relies on large external drives for work on-the-go. Wrote five reasons why I find the Seagate One Touch SSD one of the best (if not the best) external storage device you can use for work and play.

1. Chic and stylish

Unlike other external HDDs that are mostly made up of plastic, Seagate’s One Touch SSD is made from textile that resembles a woven fabric, making it look and feel sleek.

Seagate One Touch SSD

It comes in two basic colors: White and Black. Obviously, I got the black one. But if neither is your cup of tea, there are special Camo and Sam Larson editions — especially if you prefer louder designs over the minimal-looking. Regardless of what color you choose, they all look modern and barely looks like a typical external storage device.

2. Compact and pocketable

Seagate’s One Touch SSD thinnest point is just at 10mm. That’s slimmer than most smartphones today. When held, you’ll barely notice it’s there because it weighs exactly at 0.065 kilograms or just 65 grams! If you come to think of it, conventional hard disk drives weigh around 170 to 220 grams. It may not sound a lot, but you’ll definitely feel the heft if you hold them with your hands.

Due to the lack of mechanical parts such as large spinning disks, this makes Seagate’s One Touch SSD ultra lightweight and compact — especially that it has immovable parts (chips) inside it. While I don’t recommend to just put this storage device inside your jeans’ pockets as it’s not totally built for butt pressure, this external SSD is greatly pocketable.

For real-world comparison, I’ve managed to place it side-by-side with my old laptop’s 500GB 2.5-inch SATA HDD (Hard Disk Drive)…

…and also compared its thin form factor against my extra thicc 4TB External HDD.

For another comparison, I also have another 2TB external HDD that’s as thicc as the previously mentioned hard drive.

Its size is quite close to my 65W USB-C PD power brick…

and quite smaller than my debit card.

Seagate One Touch SSD

Finally, here’s how it looks like versus three different coins from Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

Seagate One Touch SSD

3. Speedy and reliable performance

On paper, Seagate is confident that the One Touch SSD will reach up to 400MB/s of write speed. True to its words, it’s able to give me more than 300MB/s under a huge stress test. Others might say it doesn’t stick to its promise but devices like this don’t really reach the maximum limit — just like how it works in cars, other devices, and even human beings with utmost limits.

The image above shows a huge speed gap between my external HDD compared to Seagate’s SSD. It may not matter to most users, but for video editors and gamers, fast read and write speeds are everything.

4K videos are harder to read on slower disk drives. No wonder why a video editor app is sluggish even if your laptop/rig has all the best chipset and memory on board. Investing on a fast SSD like the One Touch SSD is a great solution for that.

Even gamers need fast drivers since most games run on 2K/4K resolution with maximum settings possible. The external SSD will not only load games faster, it can also be opened in other laptops as long as you figured out how to correctly install games in external drives.

I also tried comparing disk speeds versus two MacBook Pros with an internal, non-removable SSD. While they’re pretty far from what Seagate can \ offer, it’s still a huge feat considering an external SSD can achieve great feats of read and write speeds that regular disk drives can’t even do.

4. Utmost compatibility

Out of the box, the Seagate One Touch SSD is already formatted to exFAT. This means you don’t have to worry about storage platform incompatibilities. Usually, external disk drives come in NTFS format — which is limited to Windows systems. Other drives are specified for Mac. Thus, the Mac OS Extended format.

Whether that may be Windows, macOS, Linux, a smart/Android TV, or even an Android smartphone, the Seagate One Touch SSD will work wonders since exFAT can be read by most devices. Such file format is the most accessible across all platforms whether that is for reading or writing files.

Upon my usage, I tested it with the Galaxy S21 Ultra as it successfully detected the drive and was able to show its contents through Seagate’s SSD Touch app. File Manager works as well for copying and pasting several data. As long as your device supports USB On-The-Go, the portable drive would actually work.

5. Future-ready

Seagate One Touch SSD

Other than being available to almost every device, Seagate made sure that it’s safe for future use with the inclusion of a braided USB-A cable plus a USB-A to USB-C adapter. It’s “future-proof” in a sense that most upcoming devices will be shipped with USB-C anyway. While there’s still the USB-A plug for backwards compatibility with older machines.

BONUS: Free subscriptions

Upon any purchase of Seagate’s One Touch SSD (or even HDD), you’ll get free limited subscriptions with Mylio Create for one year. Mylio Create is an app that stores all your photos in one online library. Their system also organizes your photos depending on their visual story.

There’s even the free Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop and Lightroom) for two (2) months. If you’ll try to list it down, that’s a great saving especially if your a creative or a content creator who relies on such apps. Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan alone will cost you thousands of dollars. If you’re new to the scene, this is a great way for you to test out their products while trying to build your creative portfolio.

Pricing (+ Giveaway!)

Seagate One Touch SSD

The Seagate One Touch SSD is currently available in only two storage options: 500GB and 1TB. Pricing varies per region but in the Philippines, the 500GB version is priced at PhP 7,999 while the 1TB version retails for PhP 9,999. While this portable storage device is pocketable, it’s definitely not pocket-friendly for most consumers. But don’t fret!

If you can’t wait to try this ultra-fast and compact storage device but you have budget limitations, well here’s your chance as we’re giving away a Seagate OneTouch SSD to a lucky reader! We’ll announce the mechanics soon on facebook.com/gadgetmatch.

Continue Reading

Trending