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JBL Horizon 2 review: Ring the alarm

Oh, it makes a damn good speaker too

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I’m a person who creates a setup for any piece of tech I have in my room. In essence, I’d like to keep things organized so that I know how best to use them. Believe it or not, I tried fixing up my bedside area with a table and phone chargers. I just needed something to fit the entire setup altogether.

Enter the JBL Horizon 2, a one-of-a-kind Bluetooth speaker fit for any living or bedroom space. It comes with features that make it a great device to blast your favorite songs on, especially when you’re jamming in your room. Although, it provides much more than just a nice soundtrip in any given space.

So, let’s take a deeper dive into the JBL Horizon 2:

More than just a speaker apparently

Upon unboxing the speakers, I honestly thought that it was just a bulky speaker for your bedside table. I mean, it comes in a form factor that’s mostly focused on speaker-like features and functions — like Bluetooth pairing and FM Radio. Also, it comes with a volume dial at the top and an LED screen in the center… wait, what?

JBL Horizon 2

Yes, the JBL Horizon 2 isn’t just any regular Bluetooth speaker you plug into a wall. In fact, it’s also designed as an alarm clock, as well. The LED screen that’s built into the design displays the time, any active alarms and logos to indicate a connected device. Although, it’s not that enticing when (at certain angles), I couldn’t see what’s displayed since it’s not an anti-glare display.

JBL Horizon 2

Nonetheless, the JBL Horizon 2 looks like a practical kind of speaker with a dual purpose. It’s not everyday you come across something like this, and I welcome it.

Easy to set up and work around

One thing this speaker brings is some ease of setup in any given space. As mentioned, I had it set up just on my bedside table since it was the only free space available. When you plug it in, it automatically turns on and is ready for an initial set up (date, time, and even your alarms).

JBL Horizon 2

For the most part, the controls were quite intuitive since there are symbols to help guide you through it. From connecting your preferred devices via Bluetooth to tuning the FM radio, it was pretty easy to work around. Also, you have access to two USB-A ports at the side of the speaker for charging your devices, as well.

JBL Horizon 2

Almost excellent sound quality

As a speaker, the JBL Horizon 2 provides a near excellent audio experience. Apart from the ease of connection, the speakers released sounds with some level of deep bass suited for any room. Also, it’s quite loud even just at volume levels 9-15, depending on how sensitive your ears are to sounds in any area.

I also found it quite nice that there is a dedicated volume dial for ease of control. Instead of having to press buttons on my phone, I could just simply turn the dial in the direction I want to increase or decrease the volume. The thing is, it assigns the volume levels according to your device’s volume settings, so I could gauge the bearable levels.

However, I say it’s almost excellent because in some cases, I experienced a slight hiccup with the sound quality. For the most part, audio playback happens after about 1-2 seconds from playing certain tracks or videos. Although audio and video sync quite well during playback, I still find it weird that there’s this level of delay even if my phone is close to the speakers.

Helpful in waking you up

If you’re someone like me who is recently having a hard time waking up, the JBL Horizon 2 is quite the useful alarm clock. Instead of having to set 15 different alarms on your phone, you can just set two alarms and they’re quite loud. Even if my head is not beside my bedside table, I can still hear it when I gain consciousness from my sleep.

To turn off the alarm, you have to press the volume dial like how most people in movies do but with less aggression. If you don’t press it, like most alarms, the JBL Horizon 2 comes with its own snooze functionality that you can also set. If there’s any real complaints I have about the alarm setup, it’s the fact that you can’t adjust the volume of the alarm.

Another feature that helps with the alarm functionality is the night light at the back of the speaker. All it takes is pressing the volume dial twice, and that night light is on — for those who can’t sleep with the lights off. If the speakers are close to you, this is great for shining light in your eyes to wake you up! Honestly, it’s an effective way to wake you up if you hate the sun.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 6,299, the JBL Horizon 2 provides a multi-faceted sound system for any living space. It comes with speakers with great audio quality suited for those lovely soundtrips while indoors. With relative ease, you can connect almost any kind of device with Bluetooth and enjoy hassle-free volume control.

When you’re not using it as a speaker, it serves its other purpose as an alarm clock quite well. Even though the LED screen is rather subpar, it still tells you the time and even sets off according to your alarms for the day. With a night light at the back, you will also not have any problems with sleeping in the dark.

JBL Horizon 2

It’s an audio device that will surely find its place in your home or bedroom. While it may not be a portable device, it’s something worth investing in while you’re not going anywhere.


For more great products and accessories like the JBL Horizon 2, visit OnWardPH or follow them through their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@OnWardPH) for you to keep posted.

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realme launches Watch 2 Pro, TechLife Robot Vacuum

While teasing more devices

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realme

This hardly comes as a surprise anymore as every brand is coming out with their slew of smart devices. realme is, likewise, venturing outside the smartphone arena as they launch the realme Watch 2 Pro and realme TechLife Robot Vacuum.

realme AIoT

The company is transitioning from their 1+4+N strategy to the 1+5+T strategy. Still tells the normal everyday person nothing at first glance but realme explains it as:

1 — smartphone, as realme’s smartphones are at the center of its AIoT ecosystem
5 — key categories for realme’s AIoT products. These include the True Wireless Stereo (TWS), Wearables, TV, laptops, and tablets.
T — stands for TechLife. This is realme’s open partner platform. It aims to support innovative and dynamic AIoT startups through the sharing of realme’s own sales channels.

TechLife focuses on three product categories: Smart Entertainment (TV boxes, projectors, speakers and game accessories), Smart Care (vacuum robots, air purifiers and body fat scales), Smart Connect (smart sockets, smart light bulbs and cameras)

After announcing the realme GT to take care of “1”, realme is covering “5” with the realme Watch 2 Pro, and the “T” with the Techlife Robot Vacuum.

realme Watch 2 Pro

If you follow tech news a lot, you know how this goes. The realme Watch 2 Pro is supposed to be your partner for an active and healthy lifestyle.

It comes with a variety of monitoring features. These are an accurate GPS system, an Sp02 monitor for blood oxygen tracking, and a heart rate monitor. For an active lifestyle, it comes with 90 sports modes.

It’s also larger than its predecessor. It has a 1.75-inch (4.4cm) display with 600 nits of peak brightness. It’s also again promising up to 14 days of power with its 390mAh battery. You’re also offered over 100 different watch faces so it’ll never feel old.

realme TechLife Robot Vacuum

This device is kicking off realme’s whole TechLife line. It has the LiDAR Smart Mapping and Navigation System, the same state-of-the-art technology used in the navigation systems of modern electric vehicles and aircraft. Sounds overkill for a vacuum but if you want your space spic and span you wanna make sure the vacuum can get to all areas that it should.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum has a super-high suction and mopping power of 3000Pa. This means it’s capable of cleaning large amounts of high-density garbage while keeping noise levels as low as 55dB on quiet mode.

It also features a 5200mAh battery, a 600ml dust bin and a 300ml smart electronic water tank, ensuring that users do not have to constantly charge and empty the vacuum during cleaning.

It’s designed to fit into any home with a maximum height of just above 10cm. It has a sleek and classy design with the top cover of the device made from an impact resistant tempered glass.

More TechLife products coming

realme also teased a media-focused realme Pad tablet and their first laptop — the realme Book.

Price and availability

The realme watch 2 Pro will be available starting June 16 for EUR 74.99. The basic realme watch 2 retails for EUR 54.99.

The realme TechLife Robot Vacuum price and availability details to follow.

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Nanoleaf launches new Elements Line

A wood look for smart light panels

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Nanoleaf announces new Elements Wood Look Hexagons, inspired by nature. The wood-like panels have backlit technology and can add an aesthetic to your room. Coming from a successful line of color-changing smart panels, Nanoleaf combines nature and modern technology.

Each of the panels has a wood grain-like texture and is something worth considering if you’re into these types of modern design. Even when powered off, Elements still stands on its own as a design. The panel is also ultra-slim so it may be a hassle-free experience installing the panels.

The Nanoleaf Elements also have a unique glowing effect as each apex of the panel lights up independently. Nanoleaf said that the panels can imitate embers on a fireplace or a moving cloud. Additionally, the panels also glow from the back adding a double-lit effect.

The Nanoleaf Elements also create more comfort and balance as the panels have a wide range of cool to warm white options. The range is about 1,500-4,000K, also with 11 preset lighting Scenes. The Scenes include “Organic” motion, from a fireplace to waterfalls, you can also create a personalized experience with the provided app. You can also select the 1,000 RGB Scenes in the Discover tab.

The panels also include Rhythm Music Sync, Schedules, Touch capabilities, and Circadian lighting. You can also schedule the time for the panels to turn on or off depending on your liking. Circadian Lighting adjusts the light’s color depending on the temperature throughout the day. You can the Rhythm Music Sync at night or any time of the day, play some relaxing jazz music or a coffeehouse playlist as the lights move with the melodies.

Price and Availability

Nanoleaf Elements come in Smarter Kits (7 light panels) and Expansion Pack add-ons (3 light panels).

The panels are Wifi-controlled with the Nanoleaf App, voice commands, or manually with the physical Controller. They are also compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT integrations.

Nanoleaf Elements will be available on June 3rd at the Nanoleaf Shop. Elements will launch globally in Apple stores online later this year. SmarterKits will retail for US$ 299.99 (Smarter Kit) and US$ 99.99 (Expansion Pack).

 

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Sony unveils the WF-1000XM4 with smaller design, better ANC

There’s also a significant improvement in battery life

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WF-1000XM4

Sony has unveiled the WF-1000XM4, the latest product in the company’s long lineup of truly wireless earbuds. The successors to the wildly successful Sony WF-1000XM3, the earbuds come with a range of upgrades that push the ceiling further.

It comes equipped with a more capable Sony V1 chip and a redesigned body outside for maximum comfort, isolation, and fit. The processor, coupled with a pair of microphones on the sides of both earbuds, delivers best-in-class noise cancellation. Sony says the mics aid beamforming technology, making the earbuds bone conduction capable.

to reduce noise cancellation while talking or focusing on your surroundings, the ambient sound mode can be toggled. Lastly, there’s automatic wind noise suppression to prevent any leak. It’s keeping an eye on your voice, disabling ANC automatically when needed. Sony boasts it’s the first in the world to support Hi-Res audio over the LDAC codec.

It gets improved 24-bit amps, redesigned driver units with 20% larger magnets, and an improved diaphragm. There’s also EQ adjustment available with tonnes of presets and has space for customs ones too. It’ll automatically optimize those music streaming apps that offer 360 Reality Audio or Dolby Atmos.

Voice Assistant friendly

The WF-1000XM4 can be connected to your phone via the Sony Headphones Connect app. It’ll let you set up location-based profiles for Adaptive Sound Control. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri can all be summoned by earbuds. Touch controls allow you to adjust your music playback, activate your preferred voice assistant, and toggle between active noise cancellation modes.

While it’s packed with more features, the overall size of the earbuds has come down by 10 percent. It can deliver up to 8 hours of playback with noise cancellation enabled, and 12 hours without it. The case can recharge the earbuds twice, providing total support of 24 hours with ANC switched on. Thanks to quick charging technology, a five-minute plug-in can deliver up to 60 minutes of playback.

Other features include low latency listening, Fast Pair, speak to chat, and Bluetooth 5.2. The Sony WF-1000XM4 is IPX4 rated.

Price and availability

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are available in Black and Silver and are priced at US$ 279 in the US and available for purchase now via Amazon, BestBuy, Sony’s website, and other retail partners. In Singapore, they retail for SG$ 379 and are available in all Sony Stores, Sony Store Online and Sony Authorized dealers.

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