Every now and then, a piece of tech comes along that changes the way you live a certain aspect of your life. It might be something you never thought you needed. Maybe something some movie that’s supposed to be in the distant future showed you a version of? But one thing’s for sure. It’s a little like meeting the one. It certainly was how I felt with the Huawei x Gentle Monster Eyewear II.
The second version of the Chinese tech giant’s stylish wearable is now in the Philippines. Listening to music or taking calls while on the go has never looked this good.
Choose your style: The many faces of Huawei x Gentle Monster Eyewear II
I’ve been eyeing Gentle Monster’s Her sunglasses ever since I saw Son Ye Jin wear them on Crash Landing on You. Frames so big, they can practically make anyone look like a K-drama star. Living in Berlin at that time with no Gentle Monster store nearby, it was hard to try it on before buying.
Sunglasses, for me, had to be bought in a physical store because of how picky I can be. But when the Smart Myma style of this collab landed on my desk, I totally forgot about the style I’ve been looking at for months. They had Her in the first generation line-up but why miss out on Eyewear II’s new features?
Sure, this style is ginormous and can look quite comical on those with small faces. But if you’re someone like me who’s got a pretty strong jawline that makes your choice of glasses quite limited — well, lucky us. This style is perfect. For the rest of you lucky people with smaller faces, there’s always the smaller but still as eye-catching Smart Lang.
People who wish to opt for prescription glasses have the Smart Kubo and Smart Havana. For the best of both worlds, you can always switch to transition lenses to give you the best of both worlds.
The future looks stylish
Now on to the tech. Sure, there’s no doubt the glasses are stylish. But what makes them special or better than the first generation? A lot.
I tried the first generation Eyewear during IFA and one of my first comments was how the arms weren’t so comfortable. This issue was addressed in Eyewear II. I personally find that they stay on better with the way the arms bend towards the end. After wearing these glasses for hours, there was also no discomfort.
It also has five hours of music playback and up to three hours when used for phone calls. It also easily pairs with your current phone — even if it’s not Huawei. These glasses connect almost instantly to my iPhone 12 Pro as soon as I put them on.
The audio is also pretty good. Some say the bass falls a bit flat but I personally don’t notice that. The audio quality is pretty at par with your usual, wireless earphones. Calls come in crystal clear and the mic also functions really well even when you’re in a pretty noisy environment.
Control on your fingertips
The controls are pretty easy and to be honest — are pretty cool. Pairing the Eyewear II only requires a gentle pinch on the left temple. The voice assistant, meanwhile, is activated by a double-tap also on the left temple.
To move on to the next song on your playlist, you just need to swipe your finger on the right arm of your glasses to the front. Swiping back brings you to the previous song. Doing the same gestures on the left side will control the volume.
Removing the glasses will automatically pause music playback and will resume the moment you put it back on within three minutes.
Sure, it’s great — but what about the negatives?
The glasses do have enough battery to power through a long chat or a decent listening session. When you need to charge it, you pop it into its case that — sadly — doesn’t have a battery. So you have to keep it plugged in with a USB-C cable to get some juice and listening time back. Maybe the next versions on Eyewear will have a battery built into the case but that might also mean a little more added weight.
There’s a little bit of audio spilling out. Sure, a person who’s nearby might hear that there’s music coming out of your glasses but it’s not enough for them to recognize any words or music. No need to worry about people eavesdropping. The audio leak is also hardly noticeable outdoors.
I always felt awkward talking on the phone using my AirPods when my hair is down and they could hardly be seen. I’ve often gotten stares from people who think I’m talking to myself. Those stares got worse with Eyewear II. During a pretty long phone call that lasted while walking through Greenbelt, I’m pretty sure I left a couple of people thinking I was having quite the monologue. But who cares about what other people think? My dog thinks my Smart Myma is cool and his is the only opinion that’s valid.
The Huawei x Gentle Monster Eyewear II is available wherever you can score Huawei devices in the Philippines. It currently retails for PhP 21,999.
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)
Apple launches the AirTag
Long rumored item, now finally real
Do you keep losing or misplacing things? There’s an Apple product for that. Introducing the AirTag.
The AirTag is a small designed accessory and helps keep track of and find items you may have misplaced through Apple’s Find My App. It can help locate a lost item while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
It’s built using stainless still and is IP67 rated (water and dust resistant). The AirTag also has a built-in speaker that plays sounds to help signal its location. Its cover is easily removable to replace the battery.
If you bring them close to an iPhone, they will instantly connect. Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choice.
Once it’sset up, it will appear in the new Items tab in the Find My app. Here, users can view the item’s current or last known location on a map. If a user misplaces their item and it is within Bluetooth range, they can use the Find My app to play a sound from the AirTag to help locate it. Users can also ask Siri to find their item, and AirTag will play a sound if it is nearby.
Customers can personalize AirTag with free engraving, including text and a selection of 31 emoji when purchased via apple.com or the Apple Store app. They can be used as is or with accessories like the Polyurethane Loop, Leather Loop, and Leather Key Ring.
Privacy and security
Apple says location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it.
Price and availability
The AirTag will be available in one (US$ 29) and four packs US$ 99. It can be purchased from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, at Apple Store locations, and through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary) beginning Friday, April 30.
Customers can order AirTag beginning at 5AM PDT on Friday, April 23.
Apple-designed AirTag accessories include:
- Leather Key Ring in Saddle Brown, (PRODUCT)RED, and Baltic Blue for US$ 35
- Leather Loop in Saddle Brown and (PRODUCT)RED for US$ 39 (US)
- Polyurethane Loop in White, Deep Navy, Sunflower, and Electric Orange for US$29
Sony launches WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition
In celebration of Sony’s 75th anniversary
Sony’s best and highly acclaimed active noise cancelling headphones — the WH-1000XM4 — is getting a new flavor. The WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition is launching in May 2021 to celebrate Sony’s 75th anniversary.
The WH-1000XM4 Silent White has a pearlescent finish to the topcoat of the headphones to create a sense of depth and a luxurious touch. Worried about it getting dirty? It includes an additional coat compared to the earlier black and silver versions for more stain-resistance and to retain the white color.
All of the accessories included also come in white.
New to the headphones in its 4th iteration is Multiple device pairing. This has been one of this headphones’ weaknesses and it has finally been addressed. You can now connect the Sony WH-1000XM4 to two devices simultaneously.
When a call comes in, your headphones will know which device is ringing and connect to it automatically. You’ll also be able to quickly switch your headphones to either of the two devices in a single tap.
It now also has Edge-AI, DSEE Extreme which more accurately rebuilds audio lost during digital compression for a full fidelity experience. The 360 Reality Audio feature is now also making its way to these headphones. It lets listeners enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimized for each individual user.
Price and availability
Exact price will be revealed at launch. The Sony WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition will be available across Asia Pacific in May 2021. In Singapore, it will be available exclusively at Sony Stores and Sony Stores Online.
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