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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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