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.
Machenike: Best budget peripherals?
I’ve been wanting to get myself a mechanical keyboard to slowly work towards building a PC from scratch. Of course, this is sensible considering I have a laptop to plug them into. You know, getting the pretentious privileged feel of not struggling amidst a world still in shambles?
So, while the hunt was dreadful on hypothetical money I didn’t have, we stumbled upon an affordable alternative that we didn’t quite expect. But, in a good way–I think.
What is Machenike?
Machenike is a Chinese professional gaming hardware brand. It’s the first established esports hardware brand in China with investors like Haier and partners like Alibaba Groups. Now, Machenike has its fair share of rounds online. But, it’s getting a lot of traction especially when people are looking to upgrade their work-from-home set-ups. With affordability, performance, and aesthetic seemingly in check, are their peripherals really worth the buy? Here are the ones we tried out:
Machenike K7 mechanical keyboard
Let’s put facts out there: there’s no escaping plastic with peripherals. From god-awful unachievable to wallet-saving prices, most peripherals are mainly made of plastic. So, don’t act all surprised to find that Machenike’s mechanical keyboard line is mostly plastic. Considering its price-point, this is kind of a steal.
The Machenike K7 comes in four variants depending on the keyboard color (RGB or Ice-blue) and switch color (blue or black). The keycaps have a matte texture with opaque keycap letters, characters, and controls to show off your pick of color.
Design-wise, the keyboard shows-off its minimalism, unicorn-vomit rainbow aesthetics, and multi-functionality. You can connect it via cable or Bluetooth and play around with RGB settings.
Every click is audible and only requires a reasonable amount of actuation force. Which, you’ll need to make sure you double-check before ordering one (the blue switch is 60g and the black switch is 80g).
Is this the mechanical keyboard for you?
Overall, the keyboard looks and feels great despite low-quality keycaps and unbranded switches. So if you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard but are strapped for cash, this is a really good one.
It’s got great features, a simple and sleek design, and reliable performance under its belt. So, it’s definitely a keeper. The Machenike K7 is on sale on Lazada for just PhP 1,498.
Machenike M6 and M7 gaming mouse
The Machenike M6 is a wired ultra-light gaming mouse with RGB capability. The mouse comes with four variants depending on color (white or black) and mouse sensitivity (6400 DPI or 16000 DPI).
Meanwhile, the Machenike M7 is a wireless gaming mouse with RGB capability and up to 10 days of battery life. The M7 has three variants depending on mouse sensitivity (2400 DPI or 16000 DPI), OMRON switches (10M or 20M), and battery (600mAh or 1000mAh).
As for design, the Machenike M6 gaming mouse has a unique honey-comb design that lets the Machenike’s logo and mouse internals peek through. It strikes out more than the M7’s minimalistic black design with RGB accents at the bottom. Both mice are made of plastic but, that comes with the price-point. They’re both minimalistic in design and have customizable features at the bottom.
Overall, they’re both reliable performance-wise and can deliver on accurate use and play. But personally, the M6 is a bit too light for my liking which is more on preference than anything else.
Are these the gaming mouse for you?
Overall, the Machenike M6 and M7 both deliver on your gaming mouse needs despite cheap components. It’s a matter of preference on wired or wireless mouse (although the M7 has a wired option), aesthetics, and weight. So, if you need an affordable gaming mouse, this is definitely a good pick.
More wins on top of the price
As affordable as the Machenike peripherals are, there are more wins for the brand on delivering your orders within 3 days. This typically isn’t a win elsewhere on the planet but, knowing painful order waiting times on some tech essentials, this is a big fat W for the brand.
Nokia-branded audio products coming soon to the Philippines
Starting with the entry-level Nokia E3100 earbuds
Nokia is not just about smartphones nowadays — it has its own laptop smart TVs, routers, and of course, audio products. Soon, Filipinos can get their hands on these audio products as RichGo — an official licensee of the Nokia brand for mobile accessories — brings them to the country’s shore this 2021.
The first of these audio products is the entry-level true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds, Nokia E3100. With its launch price of PhP 1,999, it could be the cheapest TWS earbuds yet upon its launch. Despite the price, it offers rock-solid specs for casual listeners and work-from-home professionals. Inside both earbuds are 6 mm dynamic drivers and a 45 mAh battery rated for 2.5 listening hours. The case itself holds a 400 mAh battery for a total of 10 listening hours.
Nokia E3100 connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and charges via USB-C. It also supports auto-pairing function, as well as voice control through Siri or Google Assistant. One unique thing about the earbuds is their design, which features a five contrasting, multi-colored design. Plus, it also has IPX3 certification for weatherproofing, which is quite rare in its class.
Consumers eyeing their first TWS earbuds can snag the Nokia E3100 on March 3 through Shopee. Aside from the entry-level earbuds, other audio products from the Essential and Professional series lineup will launch in the Philippines as well. These audio products will also be available to buy in retail stores over the coming weeks.
OPPO unveils Enco X, flagship TWS earphones with ANC
AirPods Pro competitor?
OPPO is dead serious about bringing quality audio experience for its users. That’s now more evident than ever with the launch of the OPPO Enco X.
The OPPO Enco X is the company’s flagship true wireless (TWS) earphones with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) — a must for any flagship earphone. It was developed in partnership with Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio.
The Enco X features what OPPO calls the DBEE 3.0 Sound System. It’s a tech they developed with Dynaudio to create a coaxial dual-driver design. Essentially, it’s what enables the Enco X to produce high definition sound that’s well-around with some natural depth. The company also shared that the DBEE Sound System has been around since 2007 — it was a tech that they introduced in one of their mp3 players way back when that was still a thing.
Active Noise Cancellation
The Enco X has what OPPO calls the hybrid active noise cancellation. That means the feature is available in four different settings: max noise cancellation for maximum audio enjoyment during busy transit commutes; noise cancellation to soften noise in café or office environments; transparency mode for users to be aware of their surroundings without taking off their earphones; or simply turn off noise cancellation.
25 hours of Battery Life
With the charging case, it promises up to 25 hours of music playback or 15 hours of call time. Without the charging case, users can also enjoy 5.5 hours of music playback or 3.5 hours of call time. Even with max noise cancellation activated, the earphones will be able to last for four hours without the charging case or 20 hours with the charging case.
The OPPO Enco X earphones are equipped with touch controls to easily skip to the next song or switch between the different noise cancellation modes. Users can double-tap either earpiece to skip to the next song or answer/end a call; slide up or down on either side of the earphones to control the volume; press and hold either side of the earphones for 1 second to switch between two selected noise reduction modes (by default, these are Transparency mode and max noise cancellation mode); and tap three times to activate Google Voice Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Alexa.
Pricing and availability
The OPPO Enco X is available in Black and White. It will retail for for SG$ 259 and will be available in March at OPPO Concept Stores, OPPO’s Shopee and Lazada Flagship Stores and authorized retailers.
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