Accessories

LG G5 Hands-On

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LG puts the fun back in function with the announcement of its latest flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress, the LG G5. It has everything a 2016 flagship is expected to have: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, Quick Charge 3.0 that promises 83% of battery after 30 minutes of charging, a fingerprint scanner, quad HD display, USB Type C, Android Marshmallow, and great cameras.

The G4 had one of the best smartphone cameras in 2015 so it’s no surprise LG retained most of its features. Simple, Auto, and Manual modes are still there, giving users more flexibility when taking photos.


LG also retained the same 8MP front-facing camera but added “selfie flash” – an extra white space framing the screen that illuminates the face when activated.

But what’s new are the phones two main cameras. Yep, it’s got two.

You can now switch from the main 16MP camera that’s also found on the G4 to a new 8MP shooter with a 135° wide field of view that captures more than what the human eye can see.

On the G5, the app drawer appears to be missing but we found out this can be fixed in the Settings menu under Home Screen.

First introduced by LG in the V10’s secondary screen, the G5’s main display also gets the Always-On feature to show time, date, and notifications. LG claims it only eats 0.8% of battery life per hour or about 5% per day.

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All of this are packed into a completely new design and form factor. Gone is the plastic and leather, slightly curved smartphone with sharp edges. Filling in the LG G4’s leather shoes is an all-aluminum unibody.

You can still hot swap batteries though thanks to a new innovative design.

Its trademark back side volume rocker has been moved to the phone’s sides leaving only the power button and dual cameras at the back.

But what really sets the G5 apart from all the other flagships this year is its modular design. And this is where the real fun and excitement begins. LG calls it an adventurous theme park in your pocket.

Aside from being able to replace your battery in case you run out of juice, it also allows you to attach accessory modules to expand the phone’s capabilities.

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One press on the lock button and the cap along with the 2800 mAh battery comes off revealing the hollow insides of the phone when you pull it out all the way.

Removing the cap and reattaching the battery to the modules is not as intuitive as it looks. We had to be coached before we got it right.

The modules LG introduced at launch were the LG Cam Plus and the LG Hi-Fi Plus.

The LG Cam Plus is a camera grip that turns the phone into a point and shoot camera. It has a toggle button at the bottom that launches the camera, a zoom dial, a dedicated shutter button, and a button for video recording.

It’s also packed with an additional 1200 mAh battery providing the G5 a massive 4,000 mAh battery life.

For audiophiles and improved media consumption, LG also introduced the LG Hi-Fi Plus, a 32-bit digital to analog converter or DAC made by top-tier audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen.

It offers high-quality audio that would usually only be available through high-end audio devices.

At the bottom are its own headphone jack and USB-C port making it a stand-alone DAC, compatible with other phones.

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LG also introduced a wide-range of companion devices for the G5 which they call Friends.

These ‘Friends’ include the LG 360 VR, a virtual reality headset that’s much smaller and lighter than its rivals. It only weighs 118g – that’s ⅓ as heavy as competing VR goggles.

The LG 360 Cam – as its name implies a 360 degree camera with two 13MP 200-degree wide angle lenses, a 1,200mAh battery and an expandable 4GB internal memory.

And the LG Rolling Bot – a round, remote-controlled toy that has a built-in speaker and an 8MP camera, perfect for home surveillance. It’s packed with a 5000mAh battery and is smart enough to go to the charging dock when it’s about to run out of juice.

Accessories

Sony’s new XB900N are cheaper noise-canceling headphones with extra bass

A more affordable option

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Image credit: Sony

The premium noise-canceling WH-1000XM3 headphones from Sony might be the best in its class, but it’s quite pricey. Surprisingly, the Japanese maker has announced a new pair of noise-canceling headphones that is US$ 100 cheaper.

The new Sony WH-XB900N (be sure to remember that) is a more accessible alternative for those who are in the market of noise-canceling headphones. It’s priced at just US$ 250 and offers similar features to Sony’s flagship model.


Design-wise, it looks a lot like its more premium sibling and that’s probably intentional. They may look the same, but the XB900N is different on the inside. For instance, it has an inferior noise-canceling chip and it lacks the ability to adjust for atmospheric pressure when on an airplane.

Image credit: Sony

On the bright side, the XB900N is great for bass lovers. It might have fewer noise-canceling features, but it has a lot more bass. It’s also equipped with touch panel controls, microphone for Google Assistant or Alexa, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.2.

Sony promises up to 30 hours of playback time with noise-canceling on a single charge, which is not shabby. Speaking of, a 10-minute quick charge will give up to an hour of play time.

The new XB900N is expected to go on sale at the end of June.

Source: Sony
Via
: Gizmodo

SEE ALSO: Sony WH-1000XM3 Hands-on: As good as advertised

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OnePlus increased their headphone dongle’s price by more than 50 percent

Bad news for OnePlus 7 Pro users

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In today’s topsy-turvy world, the headphone jack is a luxury. Most smartphone makers have dropped the former necessity, prompting a surge in dongle sales. Now, to enjoy music on your smartphone, you’ll need an unwieldy USB-C adapter or an expensive pair of Bluetooth earphones. The economy has drastically shifted.

Recently, OnePlus joined the depressing jack-less train. Last year’s OnePlus 6T notably started the new trend. Likewise, this year’s OnePlus 7 Pro launched without the beloved feature, settling instead for a USB-C slot. As with other companies, OnePlus made the dongle a necessity.


Surprisingly, the new premium flagship does not ship with a free dongle. Unlike with other smartphones, a OnePlus dongle is a separate buy, crimping your wallet even further. Even worse, the OnePlus 6T shipped with one in the box. The lack of a free dongle is a big disappointment for dedicated OnePlus fans.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. Spotted on Reddit, OnePlus quietly increased their dongle’s price by more than 50 percent. Previously, the dongle cost a workable US$ 8. Now, according to OnePlus’ official online store, the dongle costs a pricier US$ 12.95.

Of course, the OnePlus 6T’s free dongle offset the cost, anyway. However, it’s a different story for OnePlus 7 Pro users. Besides the flagship’s main price, customers will also shell out an additional fee for audio features.

Notably, the price hike has not applied for other international markets yet. For example, India’s store still sells the dongle for the original INR 390 price tag. If anything, the American price hike likely stems from the recent deterioration of US-China relations.

Unfortunately, OnePlus has not issued any announcements if the hike will also apply for other markets. Regardless, as with other recent news, the customer is bearing most of the geopolitical brunt.

SEE ALSO: Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. is the new face of OnePlus

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MPow Headphones Hands-On: Are these worth your while?

Little-known brand promises value-for-money products

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When people talk about headphones and earphones, the brand MPow isn’t the first one that comes to mind. The company boasts quality audio gadgets at really competitive pricing.

Of course, we have to tell for ourselves if these headsets are really any good. We gave a pair to each of our four guys. After a through hands-on, we asked for their verdict.


MPow H7 [Dan]

I’m unfamiliar with MPow. Admittedly, I Googled about the brand and my particular model. Apparently, the MPow H7 is one of the best-reviewed wireless headphones on Amazon US (and other shopping portals). I slightly expected great things. Indeed, the H7 is good for its price. However, it has a couple of shortcomings.

The good: The H7 sounds better than any headphones I’ve used for US$ 20. It’s a balanced pair of headphones for general listening. Bass is really good for electronic music. Vocals are pretty clear in acoustic hits. It’s comfortable and lightweight. I could wear them for hours without any discomfort. Also, I have no issues with pairing on my laptop or my phone.

The bad: The H7’s light weight makes it feel a bit cheap. It’s not exactly a bad thing; you’ll wear this more than you’ll hold it, after all. Additionally, the H7 looks so generic. That’s perfectly subjective, though.

For its price, the H7 is an easy recommendation for those looking for a pair of comfy, good-quality over-ear wireless headphones. It’s certainly not a looker — at least for me — but it deserves the praises it has received so far.

MPow S10 [Rodneil]

The MPow S10 is positioned as a workout companion. However, my usage proves that it can be more than that.

Still, I used it for a few workout sessions. The IPX7 helps take out the worry of getting sweat all over. The fit around your neck and on your ear was also perfect for me. I love that the buds are magnetic. You can even wear it like a pseudo-necklace when not in use.

Coming off the Galaxy Buds, I can say the audio quality lacks a little bit of texture. It just doesn’t have the crispness that I got from Samsung’s wireless earbuds. Of course, the quality isn’t that bad. For video editing and video calls, the quality is more than adequate.

There were also zero problems pairing. Switching from my phone to my laptop was seamless. It’s pretty versatile for a pair of earphones marketed as a sporting buddy, and at US$ 24.99, I would say it’s a pretty darn good deal.

MPow H5 [MJ]

The MPow H5 was a total treat. It’s comfortable to wear and carry around. For US$ 40 headphones, it comes complete with features you can see in similar yet more expensive products.

Its noise-canceling capabilities actually work against the blabbers and chatters while giving a pleasant, sound experience. It can’t completely block the human voice. Still, I think it’s a good thing as it removes the need to pause your music when people approach you. For clearer communication, you can turn off the noise-cancellation with an easily accessible button.

What I liked the most is its ability to switch Bluetooth connection between devices seamlessly. There are times that I had to switch devices (especially when I run out of battery). It’s helpful to stay connected so I can maintain focus on the task at hand.

MPow EG3 [Kevin]

The EG3 is all about gaming, and then some. It specializes in first-person shooter (FPS) games especially with the 7.1 surround sound. It puts you in the middle of the battlefield. You can tell where each sound is coming from. Together with its decent audio performance, gaming becomes a more immersive experience compared to when you only have ordinary headphones on.

Personally, I look for a specific sound when I play games and a different one when I listen to music. MPow’s Audio Center makes it easy with an equalizer and customizable audio profiles. It also has an array of effects such as environment effects, pitch shifting, and a built-in gooseneck microphone. Speaking of the mic, it has an impressive quality good enough for recording voice overs.

Notably, MPow aims for quality products with competitive pricing. For a pair of lightweight headphones delivering good audio and packing premium features, the EG3 is priced at just US$ 29 — more affordable than most models in its tier. Considered altogether, it’s hard to pass on the EG3.

Overall verdict

Four different people, four different devices, one brand. The verdict is pretty unanimous. These MPow headsets aren’t the absolute best in terms of quality. However, in terms of value for your money, these headphones are easy recommendations.

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