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.
Upcoming Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds leak, design change confirmed
Comes with improved battery life
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.
Viewsonic Woodpad 10: The wooden drawing tablet you never knew you needed
Just don’t put it anywhere near your kitchen area
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seagate One Touch SSD: 5 reasons why you need this external SSD
Seagate’s new portable SSD is truly a worthy investment
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.
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.
Finally, here’s how it looks like versus three different coins from Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
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.
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!)
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.
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