No strings attached: Sony H.ear On



Our office door unlocks through an app that connects via Bluetooth — we don’t use keys anymore. To get a taxi, we simply ask Google Home to book one without even needing to go out or press any buttons. Even refrigerators can now talk!

Technology is moving at such a fast pace, and it shapes all aspects of our everyday lives. The beauty of being a millennial having grown up in this day and age is that I personally watched technology evolve. I was there through the age of dial-up internet to fiber connectivity, from the Nokia 3310 to, well, still the Nokia 3310 (17 years later), and from wired earphones to wireless Bluetooth ones!

Honestly, I was averse to the idea of wireless earphones when I first heard about them, and I’ve held true to that conviction for a long while. It seemed to me they were more inconvenient than they were useful. I mean sure, it’s “top-of-the-line technology” but then what? 

That cord that connects my headphones to my gadget makes me feel safe; it’s the only way I know.

I tried the Sony H.ear On headphones only because they came in a very pretty red. (Apparently, it also comes in a really cute Hot Pink, but okay, red is nice, too.) These headphones connect to your music player via Bluetooth so in theory, it’s wireless and fuss-free.

They also came in Teal, which made the GadgetMatch Creative Director very happy.

Frankly, the idea of wearing headphones connected to nothing still seemed weird to me, but the “cuteness factor” trumped the weirdness, and so began my journey to being unattached (like, literally).

Sound-wise, the H.ear On is pretty solid. These headphones have noise-canceling technology, which makes for optimal music listening conditions — or just for tuning other people out.

Though they may seem big and eye-catching, these headphones sit comfortably atop my head. The headband is adjustable, and the whole thing is collapsible for easy storage in the matching pouch provided.

I learned quickly that wireless headphones weren’t that bad.

After hurdling the initial apprehension about being tied to nothing, it was actually pretty convenient. I could go wherever I wanted and do whatever I wanted without being bogged down by pesky cords. I could stand, jump around, or even leave as I please and nothing held me back.

It was a carefree, sound existence; a tech independence unlike any I’ve ever known — at least until as far as my Bluetooth connection could reach.

Frankly, I enjoyed using these headphones, even more than I thought I would. And to think I almost didn’t try them just because I was used to a certain idea of how things should be. If this proves anything, it’s that there’s premium in letting go — literally and figuratively.

I guess there’s a metaphor here somewhere. I know I’m talking about headphones, but I’m pretty sure this is applicable to other aspects of life.


Wacom introduces new ‘significantly upgraded’ Intuos pen tablet

Technologically and ergonomically improved



Wacom introduced a new, “significantly upgraded” Intuos pen tablet. With it, creative hobbyists can enjoy improved accuracy and enhanced navigation capabilities. It also comes with bundled software for drawing, painting, and photo editing.

Fresh hardware

Like previous models, the new Intuos pen tablet retains the same active tablet area. However, it now has a smaller footprint and lighter weight. It also has a built-in pen tray, four express keys, LED indicator, and built-in wireless Bluetooth integration on some models.

Meanwhile, the Intuos pen uses Wacom’s battery-free EMR technology and boasts 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It has an improved ergonomic design with increased weight and soft touch grip area. Additionally, it comes with an in-pen nib compartment, and of course, a nib extractor.

Free Software

Users can download US$ 160 worth of graphics software upon purchase, which includes Corel Painter Essentials 6 for design and illustration, Clip Studio Paint Pro for comic and manga creation (UMD Paint Pro in China), and Corel AfterShot 3 for photo editing.

Pricing and Availability

The new Wacom Intuos pen tablet is available in small and medium sizes. The Wacom Intuos Small without Bluetooth retails for US$ 79 and comes in charcoal black, with an option to download from one of the three software choices mentioned.

The Wacom Intuos Small and Intuos Medium with Bluetooth come in charcoal black, pistachio green, and berry pink (in some regions). This Intuos Small model retailing for US$ 99 has an option to download two out of three software, and the Intuos Medium costs US$ 199 and can download all three software for free.

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Sony Xperia Ear Duo are wireless headsets reimagined

Hand gestures, head gestures, and voice activated



Sony just announced their latest headset accessory: the Xperia Ear Duo. It features what they call Dual Listening technology. Think of it as the anti-thesis to noise-canceling ear pieces where you can listen in on your surroundings while your earphones deliver great sound. Sony updated their headsets to accompany their two new flagship smartphones: the Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact.

Sony’s Xperia Ear Duo has a feature called Spatial Acoustic Conductor which generates sound behind the ear through the unit´s driver, transmitting sound directly into the ear. The headsets run with Sony’s SPRITZER chip, an advanced multi-sensor platform, with contextual sensing and automatic activity recognition. The device basically keeps up with time, location, and tasks to keep you up to date on important news, notifications, and reminders.

As expected, the Xperia Ear Duo sustains the previous features of motion and voice control — with support for either Google Assistant or Siri. The advanced sensors allow you to control incoming calls by nodding; shuffle music by shaking your head; and adjust the volume by tapping and scrolling on the device. Sony says you’ll be able to enjoy up to four hours of uninterrupted use on a single charge. Luckily, the compact case doubles as a charger and offers a fast charging feature which, Sony boasts, gives users two hours of listening time with just twelve minutes of charging.

It will be available for US$ 280 this Spring in sleek Black or Gold. You can pre-order the headset starting today.

SEE ALSO: Mobile World Congress will be different in 2018

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Alcatel introduces their fastest LTE mobile broadband devices

You should get these if you want the speed



TCL just announced their fastest LTE mobile broadband devices under the Alcatel brand. Two new mobile hotspots join the brand’s Linkzone series — the Linkzone Cat12 and the Linkzone Cat7.

The Alcatel Linkzone Cat12 has maximum download speeds of up to 600Mbps and upload speeds of 100Mbps, but that’s if your telco supports 3-channel LTE carrier aggregation. It’s also one of the smallest pocket Wi-Fi models in the market, but it still has a massive 4300mAh battery. Alcatel claims that the Linkzone Cat12 can deliver 15 straight hours of usage or up to 300 hours of standby time. The device has dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and can also act as a power bank for other mobile devices.

Then there’s the Alcatel Linkzone Cat7 which might not be as fast as the Cat12 but still has respectable download speeds of up to 300Mbps and upload speeds of 100Mbps using 2-channel LTE carrier aggregation. The mobile Wi-Fi is pocketable, lightweight, and can last for 8 hours on a single charge.

The Linkzone Cat12 and Linkzone Cat7 from Alcatel will be available in select regions around the world starting later this year at EUR 180 (US$ 220) and EUR 100 (US$ 125), respectively.

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