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#MadeByGoogle round-up: Pixel 2 and more highlights

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Google has just announced their latest lineup of products and, boy oh boy, the excitement around the new gadgets has not waned. The #MadeByGoogle event exhibited some serious technology, so I’ve come up with a round-up of said devices and event highlights because really, no one has the time to watch the whole thing.

With the announcement of the highly anticipated Google Pixel 2 came a slew of other products #MadeByGoogle and a cool new color palette that makes these powerful contraptions look candy cute. I could honestly spend hours harping on Google’s color theme, but that would be a disservice to the power-packed devices they’ve just announced.

Before we move on, though, here’s a look at the color scheme that made many non-techie girls’ heads turn because of their gadget flatlay capabilities:

#madebygoogle color palette

Most of the device releases will come in the above colors.

Now, on to the announced devices:

The Pixel 2 and 2 XL 

The second-generation Pixel phones are looking great with smaller bezels, an aluminum back, 5-inch screen for the Pixel 2, and 6-inch display for the Pixel 2 XL.

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL comes in just black or black and white — or as we have decided to call it: Panda.

Google Pixel 2 in 3 colors

The Pixel 2 comes in three colors: kinda blue, just black, and clearly white. But, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it’s not really kinda blue but clearly periwinkle. Names aside, it’s such a pretty color — a departure from the previous really blue Pixel which, honestly, didn’t appeal to my aesthetic.

Google Pixel 2 in kinda blue

The phones also have the cutest detail with these bright power buttons with varying colors depending on the model.

Google Pixel 2 XL color detail

What you need to know about these phones:

The Pixel 2 and 2 XL don’t have a dual-camera setup but as early as now, the cameras on these things have been given the highest-ever DxOMark rating at 98. This speaks volumes, as the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are tied at only 94.

Oh, and did I mention the cameras are capable of AR Stickers (AR stickers!!) and Motion Photos (which are basically Google’s version of Apple’s Live Photos)?

READ: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stick to proven single-camera setup

Google Home Mini and Google Max

The Google Home Mini was also announced. This smaller version of Google Home is a less obtrusive version of the smart speaker as it will, most likely, be easier to match to the rest of your furniture. It comes in coral, chalk, or charcoal.

#Madebygoogle gadgets in coral

The Google Home Mini is that small coral circle up front

Designed to integrate more into your daily life, it has Google Assistant built in and is a more budget-friendly option if you want a connected home.

The Google Home Max, which is a bigger digital assistant with powerful speakers built for an optimum music experience, was also unveiled. Equipped with Smart Sound, the Home Max automatically adjusts speaker settings to room size and background noise to ensure the best acoustics for whatever you’re listening to.

READ: Google Home smart speaker gets Mini and Max versions

Google Pixel Buds

These are wireless earphones that won’t be as easy to lose — unless you lose the whole thing. The Google Pixel Buds are wired to each other and use Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone or music player of choice.

Google Pixel Buds in gray

These Buds have Google Assistant built in, gesture controls, and they come with a charging case. BTW, these are the earphones that can translate languages in real time thanks to Google Translate.

Google Pixel Buds

They come in three colors that will match that future Pixel you plan to own: black, white, or blue.

READ: Google Pixel Buds break language barriers in real-time

Google Clips

When we talk about cameras, we talk about specs and not about how smart they are. That may just change with Google Clips.

Google Clips

It’s that small white square with sea green details beside the Google Pixel Buds

The teeny camera is powered by machine learning and is programmed to capture your best possible candid moments. All you need to do is turn it on, set it down, and it will take the best photos for you. It’s a camera and photographer in one — the answer to your Instagram boyfriend dependency!

READ: Google Clips captures best moments with machine learning

Google Pixelbook

Google’s very own Chromebook is looking pretty sleek. The modern-looking device has a 12.3-inch Quad HD touch display and glass details on the front. Pretty, but I’m also thinking this may be pretty fragile.

Google Pixelbook

The Pixelbook is a convertible that has Google Assistant integrated — it even comes with a dedicated button!

Pixelbook Pen

A perfect partner to the Pixelbook, the Pixelbook Pen was also unveiled for all your writing needs.

READ: Google still has best Chromebook with Pixelbook and Pixelbook Pen

Google Daydream View

Google’s VR headset has also been updated. The new Daydream View looks great with its more solid and textured look in gray, black, or coral — finally a color that’s a little more appealing to my senses! They’re looking more premium than they ever have.

Google devices

The Google Daydream in black with a slew of other devices #MadeByGoogle

They’re not only designed to look better, though; they also supposedly feel cozier on your face, because, let’s admit it, no one really looks cool wearing VR headsets.

READ: Google beefs up AR and VR with stickers and new Daydream View

SEE ALSO: Google Pixel 2 full coverage

[irp posts=”21597″ name=”Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stick to proven single-camera setup”]

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Jabra launches Elite 85t TWS earbuds with ANC

Elite 75t Range gets ANC upgrade

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Jabra Elite 85t

Long before smartphone manufacturers started making their own TWS earbuds after Apple made it a thing with the AirPods, it was Jabra that was quietly making waves in this device segment. Looking to take some of that power back, the company launches the Jabra Elite 85t with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation).

One of the biggest defining features other than the aforementioned ANC (which will dive deeper into later) is its design. It looks nothing like the stem-touting TWS earbuds that are all over the place right now. Jabra managed to add ANC functionality without altering their design too much.

Semi-open design

To balance comfort with wearability, Jabra opted for a semi-open design. This means the tower of the Elite 85t does not sit as deeply within the ear, giving users a more comfortable earbud, while maintaining a very secure fit.

Jabra has also adapted the ear gels to an oval shape providing a better sealing in the ear. The Elite 85t has 12mm speakers for producing “a big sound and powerful bass.”

Advanced ANC

To go beyond Jabra’s standard ANC and for optimized sound processing, the Elite 85t has a dual chipset. These are some of the smallest earbuds on the market that offer premium ANC to create a private, quiet space and deliver HearThrough to let the user hear their surroundings.

Both features are fully adjustable with extra focus on natural sound performance and limited occlusion (blockage/closure) and are achieved via the semi-open design and multiple ANC microphones.

The Jabra Elite 85t provides up to 5.5 hours of listening with ANC on, which extends to 25 hours with the charging case with ANC on and 31 hours with ANC off.

Elite 75t ANC upgrade

Both the Elite 75t and the elte Active 75t will get an ANC upgrade. The free upgrade is being made available to users through Jabra’s engineering on Qualcomm technology.

Taking advantage of the superior digital audio processor already available in the Elite 75t series and leading ANC know-how, Jabra has been able to deploy ANC in the existing product line.

The Jabra Elite 75t series will also be available to purchase with ANC as standard from October 2020. The ANC-enabled models will also continue to have IP55/IP57 rated durability, and a two-year warranty.

With ANC on, battery will be 5.5 hrs on a single charge (24 hrs in total with charging case), and with ANC off it will be the existing 7.5 hrs and 28 hrs in total. The addition of ANC as standard adds no additional cost to the earbuds.

Pricing and availability

Jabra Elite 85t will be available for pre-order at Jabra.com, Amazon and Best Buy in October 2020 and for sale online and in stores November 2020 at US$ 229. The earbuds will be available in Titanium/Black November 2020, and Gold/Beige, Copper/Black, Black and Grey January 2021.

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In having healthy connections: vivo TWS Neo

Learning the value of unattachment and secure connections

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Earlier this year, I embarked on a spiritual quest to heal my personal issues and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Something I’ve been dealing with for more than twenty years.

Unfortunately, the world paused when the pandemic struck, and I wasn’t able to have my own Eat, Pray, Love moment. Yet the universe — if you believe in that — finds its way to put you back on track. Over the last few months, I’ve been spending some time in isolation to safeguard myself from the invisible virus.

In between my full-time job, household chores, and other errands, I was able to sit with myself while scouring through my deep-seated emotions. In the fifth month of my healing journey, I got the vivo TWS Neo to accompany me in the last stride that helped me close my old wounds.

On removing my expectations

I wasn’t impressed the first time I met the vivo TWS Neo. Bluntly put, there was nothing extraordinary about it. It’s similarly designed with a striking resemblance to the king of true wireless earphones.

Little did I know, the vivo TWS Neo has something else to offer: Identifying what I like and didn’t like about myself through my likes and dislikes about this accessory.

Using it for a month, I got a better understanding of myself. I was able to realize how I tend to fixate on what I want, denying myself the chance to try something new. How I’ve been holding on to certain outcomes that aren’t for my highest good.

So I used it to start breaking my expectations and connected it to my four phones. From the Samsung Galaxy S20, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and to the vivo X50, the TWS Neo connected seamlessly via Bluetooth.

This easy connection made me ponder about my struggles in connecting with and opening up to people. I wish I connect with people as easily as these wireless earphones.

I tried to listen to “Lo-Fi Beats” on Spotify, a calm playlist that lets me enjoy the novel I’m reading — History Is All You Left Me.

While I read a story about love, friendship, and mourning, my mind wandered in between the pages. I started relating my experience with the vivo TWS Neo to my journey in learning and healing my personal issues.

The value of detachment and secure connections

As I enjoyed the liberty of wireless connection, it helped me realize it’s time to free myself from the past. I’m not bound by any cords, I don’t have to carry all this weight with me anymore.

In between reading and bathroom breaks, I didn’t bother returning the wireless earphones to its case. I always brought it with me to the bathroom while my phone is left at my desk, thinking the connection won’t be disrupted. Plus, it has IP54 water resistance.

Of course, there’s a limit even though it uses Bluetooth 5.2 connection. It’s like how certain romantic connections can be disrupted by distance. Frankly, it’s something I’ve been doing unknowingly. An unhealthy habit I need to fix.

Thankfully, it’s easy to reconnect. The vivo TWS Neo has a good grasp of its connection, where you can just play your songs again through your phone or by tapping it with your fingers.

If you ever have to remove the earphones for a moment (or put it back to its case), the music will stop yet it will play again as soon as you plug it back in your ears.

A healthy reminder that connections don’t necessarily stop when you step away, and you can still pick things up where you left off.

The only problem I encountered was the fit. The open-ear fit didn’t feel secure enough in my ears that I always thought it’s about to fall. This is the reason why I’ve always preferred in-ear ones.

Learning about my preference made me realize the importance of feeling secure in yourself and in relationships. What most people don’t know is that a healthy connection is comprised of two secure and independent individuals. You can’t have a happy and stable relationship if someone’s worried and reeks of insecurity.

Everything is within your reach

One thing I learned and loved about the vivo TWS Neo is how everything is within our reach. I didn’t know the gesture controls I can utilize to fully enjoy my listening experience. Not until I put the effort to learn about it.

The vivo TWS Neo has Slide Control embedded on its stem, allowing you to operate it easily. I was able to access google assistant, answer a call, and control my music by double-tapping.

Calls can be rejected (which I barely do) or hung up (if people are annoying) when you press and hold. I also adjusted the volumes by sliding through the stem.

There’s also a Find My TWS Neo feature, which helps you search for your wireless earphones easily. It will beep through your phone once it’s in the connection’s range — a feature that I wish I could use for all the people I’ve lost.

There’s always a wonderful connection waiting

Diving into a story while listening to music allowed me to drown my emotions and distract myself. Sometimes, I shut the world out by putting the volume on max and using noise-cancellation.

I don’t care if my eardrums explode, as long as I can’t hear people or my thoughts, I’m good. This form of escapism has been an unhealthy habit that I’m actively fixing. Instead of enjoying the TWS Neo’s rich, quality sound (and probably staying in the present), I tend to prevent myself from feeling everything.

But what I learned so far is that sometimes, we have to allow ourselves to stumble and fall, drop our guards, and move out of our comfort zones. Maybe it’s time to stop repeating the same songs you’ve been playing for three months now.

The wireless earphones last for more than four hours and can last a full day when you recharge it through the charging case.

As I close my book to allow my wireless earphones to recharge, I realized that I, too, have to let myself rest. Just like the TWS Neo, I have to recharge (or heal in this matter) so I can enjoy another wonderful connection and listening experience that’s certainly waiting for me.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The vivo TWS Neo might not be an option to most consumers unless you’re loyal to the brand. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives and if you have a few bucks to spare, you can increase your budget range and purchase several contenders such as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live and Huawei’s FreeBuds.

In the same price range, there’s also the OPPO Enco W31. If your budget is in between and you prefer a connection that’s simple, long-lasting, and seamless, the vivo TWS Neo could be your GadgetMatch. And if you already own a vivo phone anyway, pairing with these should be at the top of your options.

The vivo TWS Neo retails for PhP 4,999 in the Philippines. It comes in two colors: Moonlight White and Starry Blue.

SEE ALSO: Wireless earphones: A life-changing switch?6 reasons why you should switch to wireless earbuds | The art of letting go with Sony H.ear On

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Nokia Power Earbuds launches globally

The earbuds that come with ‘150-hour battery life’

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Nokia Power Earbuds

First announced in China, the Nokia Power Earbuds have now officially been launched globally.

The Power Earbuds have the traditional set of components for the emerging technology: two in-ear pieces and a charging case. The set comes in two colors: charcoal black and light gray.

Inside, the earbuds sport a 6mm graphene driver unit, supposedly putting out high-quality audio. It is compatible with Google Assistant, allowing hands-free operation.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0, extending usage by up to 800 feet.  The Power Earbuds are certified for IP7 resistance. Supposedly, users can submerge the earbuds underwater for up to 30 minutes.

As for battery life, Nokia presents an interesting caveat. The earbuds themselves don’t last for 150 hours; instead, they last for a more believable 5-hour charge. Each bud contains only 50mAh capacity for battery life.

The gargantuan battery belongs to the charging case. The 3000mAh case has as much battery life as a smartphone. As such, users can charge the earbuds multiple times through the case before charging the case itself.

Pricing and availability will follow shortly.

 

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