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Lenovo Yoga ANC Headphones: A worthy AirPods Max substitute?

Trying my first ever over-ear headphones

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It’s been a while since I wrote an article for an audio accessory. My last take on writing an audio review was our special three-way review of the TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earbuds: namely the Apple AirPods 2, Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and Huawei FreeBuds 3. If you read the article, you know by now that I am, by no means, a professional musician nor a hardcore audiophile.

With that said, I still have my clear preference when it comes to sound and audio quality. I want fuller and richer sound with deeper bass and enough treble to enjoy every rhythm and beat of a song. At the same time, I also like having ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) out of the box. I’m the type of person who clearly doesn’t want any noise distractions regardless of what I’m doing.

When I was given the chance to try a new set of headphones, I didn’t hesitate at all. In fact, this is my first time trying an over-ear headphones. I’m sure, there might be buyers like me who are curious to find out.

A design so chic and posh

Upon seeing the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones for the first time, I already fell in love with its color. The design screams chicness and elegance — very different from most headphones nowadays with bland color options and the obvious hint of plasticky build.

Still, colors depend on each individual’s preferences. The only problem I have in mind with this colorway is that it might get dirty over time.

I’m weirdly attracted to its concentric pattern

The headband feels soft especially with the perforated material

A must for any headphone is the silicone leather and premium plastic material

The included case also looks classy

Of course, the hard-bound case has the same cream color as the headphones for consistency. There’s that minimal “Yoga” branding placed on its lower right (just like on the right side of the headphones). The Lenovo logo is hidden at the bottom side of the case for a cleaner look.

Putting the headphones back in the case took me some time to sort out. Glad I’m a fast learner when it comes to fixing things (unlike fixing my own life LOL).

Unlike other headphones, this only comes in one color

Or two if we consider the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 ANC headphones that comes in a more stealthy, black colorway. It’s basically the same pair of headphones with a different ‘X1’ branding (not to confuse you with the disbanded K-Pop boy group X1).

Also, the concentric design was eliminated in favor of the flat one for a wider diameter of both pairs of circle. Lenovo even blatantly put both headphone models in the included user manual.

As much as I love black, I’d pick the Yoga one any day because of how unique-looking it is.

Comfy enough to wear

The first time I tried hanging the pair on my neck, it already felt comfortable especially with the soft material. Of course, I tried doing it without my turtle neck on so I really felt the touch.

The adjustable band is really helpful for someone like me who has a big head (no pun intended). It helped me wear the headphones with ease. You have to keep in mind that both band mechanisms aren’t fully twistable. Rather, they only rotate at the front around 180-degrees.

Wearing it feels ultra-light — exactly as Lenovo advertised. While the overall diameter of each ear isn’t as big as nor as egg-shaped as other headphones, I still like the symmetry. The concentric finish adds a premium feel, even if it’s clearly made out of plastic.

Controls were a li’l bit fiddly

Controlling the headphones through its built-in physical controls can be a little bit awkward at first and it honestly needs a bit of getting used to.

As someone who has fat AF fingers, there were instances when I pressed the wrong button when trying to control music. I thought I was pressing the volume up button. Instead, I switched on ANC even if I didn’t mean to.

Yoga ANC Headphones

On the left side, there’s the power switch (which the AirPods Max lacks) that also acts as the Bluetooth pairing switch for new devices.

Meanwhile, the button with three dots has several functions: clicking once plays or pauses the track or clip. It also answers or ends a call. Clicking twice skips the song while pressing three times winds back to the previous track.

Yoga ANC Headphones

On the right side, there’s a mute switch as well as volume controls, increase on top and decrease on the bottom.

The middle button serves as the ANC switch with two levels of Noise Cancellation before it’s completely off. Whenever you adjust or turn controls and switches, you will be informed through the built-in female speaker’s voice.

Sound quality is good…

Yoga ANC Headphones

People who know me (including the GadgetMatch team) are aware that I’m into K-Pop, particularly girl group songs — and by that, almost every K-girl group from the popular to the underrated. But the thing is, songs made by these groups don’t focus on bubbly and cutesy concept.

For example, there are girl crush songs from 2NE1, BLACKPINK, and aespa, melo-romantic tracks such as TWICE’s ‘Cry For Me’ and (G)I-DLE’s ‘Hwaa’, while recent 2020 releases lean more into retro-pop like TWICE’s ‘I Can’t Stop Me’, GFRIEND’s ‘Mago’, fromis_9’s ‘Feel Good’, EVERGLOW’s ‘La Di Da’, STAYC’s ‘So Bad’, Brave Girls’ ‘We Ride’, and more.

Yoga ANC Headphones

To make it more “musically diverse”, I also listened to the funky and uptempo ‘Why Not’ by LOONA, as well as Dreamcatcher’s Scream and BOCA as they lean more into rock (quite similar to most anime intros). As bonuses, I also played tracks of my favorite balladists: the singer-songwriter-actress IU, as well as the Korean band, Day6 and their sub-unit Even of Day — all while writing this article.

It’s safe to say that the amount of songs of different sub-genres I played made me understand the overall sound quality of the headphone — whether in bass, treble, highs, lows, or even mids.

Dialogues I hear from a film, series, news, or documentaries while wearing the headphones are as clear as a sunny day. Albeit, there’s still a notable difference when playing music as I was used to my AirPods 2 which has a richer overall sound.

…but with equalizer adjustments, it can get better

As said a while ago, I want my sound to be rich and full, has deeper bass, and of course, an effective ANC feature. Lenovo’s Yoga ANC headphones delivered good results. But to make it better, I had to manually adjust some settings.

Using Boom 3D on my Mac

I have this third-party equalizer called Boom 3D  that’s available on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. The app enhances the overall sound of the music or audio I play — regardless of what device I use.

In the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones, it was vastly improved. Paying for the ‘3D Surround’ feature might even be the best way to experience surround sound without spending a lot on higher-end ANC headphones.

Other than equalizer presets, the Dolby Atmos feature in the Galaxy S21 Ultra also helped

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 Ultra I am using also has a built-in equalizer settings and preset which honestly made better sound quality compared to its default, flat state.

Active Noise Cancellation works well

There are two (2) ANC levels before you can completely  turn off the feature. If it’s off, you’d still hear some muffled noises. For instance, I could still hear my mom talking while I was editing a YouTube video. On another note, I barely hear myself talk while I’m in a call. I don’t even hear myself singing while jamming to the songs I’m playing even if ANC is completely off.

At Level 1 ANC, it’s enough to block off the sound I get from my loud electric fan, barking dogs, and purring cats. Meanwhile, I barely heard the noise inside a noisy coffee shop when ANC was turned on at Level 2.

Yoga ANC Headphones

There’s also an added ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology which supposedly separates background noise from your environment while you’re having voice and video calls. As a testament, I was able to hear my crush clearly when we were on a call 😅

While I haven’t tried the ANC feature on most headphones, I’m glad that Lenovo was able to pack this feature in a small and affordable pair.

Bluetooth connection is fast and seamless

Having a fast Bluetooth 5.0 connection is a great feature, especially among wireless headphones. There’s even a feature where you can pair two Bluetooth devices at once.

But, it doesn’t mean you can play both songs on different devices at the same time. It just means, you can seamlessly switch between two devices without having to disconnect one in favor of the other.

But the lack of 3.5mm audio jack might be a dealbreaker

Still, there are times where the music being streamed will have a momentarily 0.5 to 1-second hiccup because of latency. This is where the 3.5mm audio jack takes place — which exists in most ANC headphones in the market today.

Other than the avoidance of latency issues, devices who have it will also give better adjustment in sound, like how the LG V60 ThinQ has a built-in HiFi DAC support. Adding more features mean added cost — and that might be a reason why Lenovo didn’t include one.

LG V60 ThinQ with built-in Hi-Fi Quad DAC

For a seamless experience, a 3.5mm audio jack would still have been a great addition for this pair — regardless if one’s an extreme audiophile or a casual listener who prefers great music.

Everlasting battery

I’m that person who loves listening to music for hours, and the Yoga ANC headphones was able to hold up for more than a day of both standby and use. The power and mute switches helped me save the headphones from unnecessary battery drain.

Lenovo even promises around 14 hours of playback with ANC turned off. Of course, the ANC feature was off most of the time since I’m only inside my room. But when it’s turned on, it barely affected the overall battery life.

Yoga ANC Headphones

 

Based on my experience, a call for an hour barely had a battery drain. Upon hearing it from the built-in speaker, I started from 50% and ended at the same level.

When it comes to playing music, there was obviously a decrease. From 50%, it went down to 10% after playing music for around four hours of use with ANC Level 1. To save battery life, I turned off ANC. During that percentage, I was able to squeeze in another hour of listening session.

Yoga ANC Headphones

 

Although this isn’t a surprise for most headphone users, I’m astounded especially because my AirPods only lasts around 3-4-hours from a full charge (lesser if I answer calls). Also, you’ll be notified if the headphones need charging through a phone notification or when the speaker starts to remind you to plug it.

You can charge it from 0% to 100% for around three hours via its USB-C port. The light indicator blinks when charging and stays put when it’s already full. Inside the bundled case, there’s an included USB-C to USB-A braided cable of the same color. You have to use your existing charging brick though as it doesn’t have a bundled one.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones retail at PhP 7,990 in the Philippines that’s available through Lenovo’s official Lazada page as well as other local distributors. In the United States, it’s available at a special discounted price of US$ 119.99 from the SRP US$ 149.99. This pair is simply one of (if not) the cheapest headphones you can purchase that supports ANC out of the box.

Yoga ANC Headphones

If you’re a casual listener (like me) who wants a lasting pair of headphones without sacrificing and spending too much, the Lenovo Yoga ANC headphones is simply a great recommendation — more if you want to step up your audio game.

It looks and feels good with a battery life that lasts more than enough. It’s even ideal for gamers, streamers or budget-conscious musicians/artists alike especially with the inclusion of six boomless microphones.

While Lenovo’s Yoga ANC headphones may not be a direct competitor to most ANC headphones around, it costs less than the PhP 17,790/US$ 359-worth Marshall Monitor II A.N.C, the popular Sony WH-1000XM4 sold at PhP 19,999/US$ 349.99, and even the Bose 700 priced at PhP 26,000/US$ 379.75. The common advantage of these headphones is the inclusion of an audio jack.

While we’re already at the topic of price comparison, it’s a quick realization that you can buy four (4) Lenovo Yoga ANCs in the price of one (1) AirPods Max at PhP 32,990/US$ 549. As obvious as it gets, the differences are the lack of sleek aluminum build, several color options, interchangeable earcups, and the Spatial Audio feature.

Accessories

3 accessories that should be inside your gym bag

Forget trackers and sports watches

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Working out has been a holy grail in my daily life. Even though gyms are closed, I made it a habit to use my gym bag. It made it easier to keep my stuff organized, and it helps with compartmentalizing. I can focus on my workout when I dedicate a space for everything related to fitness.

By now, you probably know the usual essentials that should be inside your bag. Smartphones, smartwatch, resistance band, hand wraps, water bottles, extra clothes, and more.

But I’ll let you in on my little world: I have three mainstay accessories inside my gym bag which I deem essential for my workouts — whether it’s at the gym or at home.

Soundcore 3

A portable Bluetooth speaker isn’t something I would use at the gym. But on my outdoor workouts and the social distancing imposed in almost every location, I need entertainment that allows me to still be in tune with my surroundings.

This is why the Soundcore 3 has been a great companion that I bring in my routines, especially when I decided not to use my pair of wireless earbuds.

It pumps up the bass even at low volumes, making my cardio exercises a bit more fun. And its dual drivers with pure titanium diaphragms minimize distortion for clearer audio.

The Soundcore 3 also has easy controls and carries a massive battery that gives you 24-hour playtime. Yes, my dear friend. You can listen to more than 400 songs on a single charge.

But what I like about it the most is its IPX7 rating. It gives me peace of mind when I hold the speakers with my sweaty hands or when I work out in the rain. And because I can bring it to the shower whenever I practice my dance moves.

The Soundcore 3 retails for PhP 3,195.

Powercore 5000

Another mainstay in my gym bag is an ultra-compact power bank from Anker. Called Powercore 5000, this power bank slides easily in your pocket (or your bag’s pockets). With 5000mAh capacity, it can recharge either my phone or my Soundcore 3 whenever I take a rest.

It does not support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, but it still sports an exclusive PowerIQ technology so you can still experience high-speed charging for your gadgets.

Nonetheless, it comes with a travel pouch so you can keep your power bank safe, a MicroUSB cable for connectivity, a welcome guide, and a worry-free 18-month warranty.

The Powercore 5000 retails for PhP 1,295.

Anker Powerline 3-in-1

I like being prepared and ready at all times. This is why even a cable was able to count as a mainstay in my bag. Anker’s Powerline 3-in-1 is a handy accessory since it has interchangeable connectors — Lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C.

It makes it easier to charge several devices that have different ports, without carrying multiple cables that would probably populate my organizers. Luckily, the Powerline 3-in-1 keeps the internal wiring protected so I don’t have to worry about replacing cables anytime soon.

Plus, it has an MFi certification from Apple so it charges fast and safe — which I lend to my friends that use an iPhone, who for some reason, always forget to carry their own cables.

The Anker Powerline 3-in-1 retails for PhP 995.

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Nothing launches first product, the ear (1), for only £99

Featuring 34 hours of battery life

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Over the past few months, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei kept teasing his brand-new venture after leaving his previous company behind. The new venture, Nothing, promised interesting and innovative products for the audio segment. Because of the teases, we already know a lot about the company’s first product: the ear (1). Now, it’s time for the main course.

Nothing has officially launched the ear (1) for markets worldwide. As depicted in official product photos, the wearable will feature a semi-transparent chassis and charging case. It will have pressure-relieving vents and customizable silicone ear tips.

Inside, the ear (1) sports a capable 11.6mm driver and will feature Active Noise Cancellation. The Active Noise Cancellation has three different modes depending on the environment you’re in.

Besides the default Transparency mode, Light mode, as the name suggests, is a more moderate form of noise cancellation which lets some noise in. It’s perfect for when you still need to be aware of your surroundings like during commutes. On the other hand, Maximum mode blocks in all noise for when you’re in very busy environments.

For connectivity, it will support Bluetooth 5.2 for seamless connections with your device. It comes with an ear (1) app which includes features like Find My Earbud, an equalizer, and a gesture control menu.

As teased before, the charging case will indeed have 24 hours of battery life (and more). It will supposedly have 34 hours of charge. Each bud will have 5.7 hours of listening time and can charge to full in only ten minutes with the case. The case charges wirelessly and can be charged with any Qi charger.

The ear (1) will retail for GBP 99. A limited drop will open on July 31 through nothing.tech. Official sales will begin on August 17.

SEE ALSO: Carl Pei’s Nothing intends to raise $1.5 million from the community

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realme teases Android’s first magnetic wireless charger

Called the MagDart

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Wireless charging is making a huge push. Last year, Apple resurrected the MagSafe system, opening up the magnetic charging solution for iPhone users. However, If you’re from the other side, you’re likely wondering when Android is getting its first magnetic charger. Well, wait no more. realme has officially teased an upcoming magnetic wireless charger.

Leaked by GSMArena, the company will launch the realme MagDart will work like Apple’s MagSafe charger. However, according to the leaked render, the charger is larger than Apple’s charger.

The report does not spoil the exact hardware inside the charger, though. However, it does indicate that the charging power will be more powerful than 15W of wireless charging. realme also promises that the magnetic charger will be the fastest once it launches soon.

To coincide with the charger’s upcoming release, realme is also launching the first compatible smartphone: the realme Flash. Not much is known about the upcoming phone, but it is touted as “the first Android smartphone” that can support the charging solution.

Besides the charging solution, the company is likely launching a flurry of accessories to go along with the magnetic system. Apple has, of course, used the MagSafe system to add in other accessories for iPhone users.

SEE ALSO: realme Pad renders show-off single rear camera, stylus slot

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