Accessories

OPPO Enco W31: Works as advertised

Nothing fancy. Just right

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Everyone’s getting in on the TWS earphones game and OPPO is no different. One of their latest releases is the OPPO Enco W31 and it seems to be geared towards the more budget conscious.

I’ve been very privileged in that most of the TWS earphones I have tried thus far have been more on the premium end. We even had a three-way battle between TWS earphones from top smartphone manufacturers.

That was actually a pretty close tussle. But the thing is, all of those were priced north of PhP 5,000 (around US$ 100). If you’re not willing to shell out as much, what are your options?

So far from what we’ve reviewed, the Redmi Earbuds S appears to be a solid choice. That one doesn’t follow the stem design popularized by Apple’s Airpods. If that’s what you’re looking for but for much less, that’s where the OPPO Enco W31 comes in.

‘Airpods’ look 

I have mixed feelings about this stem design. On one hand, it’s clear what all the other manufacturers are trying to be. They’re just reinforcing the idea that Apple is the gold standard instead of blazing their own trail.

On the other, as long as it works and the stems are there for a reason, we can’t really complain too much, can we?

Which is the case for the OPPO Enco W31. Double tapping on the stem of the left earbud will shift the mode from Balanced to Bass and vice versa. Meanwhile, a double tap on the stem of the right earbud will skip to the next.

Triple tapping either stem will trigger the Google Assistant so you can ask stuff like “How is the Philippines handling the Coronavirus pandemic?” You will then get factual information and not the propaganda that the powers-that-be want you to believe. I digress.

The controls, while limited, work as advertised. They’re responsive and rarely did I have any trouble switching modes, skipping to the next truck, or summoning the trusty Google Assistant.

Clamshell case, box inclusions

The similarities with the Airpods pretty much ends with the stem look. First off, it opts for an in-ear design. It helps in making the earphones feel snug in your ears as well as add to some form of noise-cancelling.

Upon opening the box, it already does a great job of reminding you that it’s an OPPO product. Right smack in the middle is the clamshell case with the OPPO logo dead center.

Elsewhere in the box you’ll find the user guide, warranty card, the USB-C cable, and some spare eartips. The usual stuff.

The clamshell case, I thought, was a curious design case. Up until this one, most of the cases for stemmed TWS earphones are vertically oriented. One where the stem is buried deep in the case and you pull it out to take it from the case.

The clamshell case opens like, well, a clamshell. It also reminds of the compact that girls carry around. The way the earphones sit on the case makes it more difficult than usual to pry it off.

It’s magnetic, sure, but the spaces around it weren’t big enough for my stubby fingers to easily lift the earphones from the case. It also didn’t help that I’m such a klutz that I kept dropping the earphones as I tried to take them from the case.

It’s a minor gripe, but one that can certainly be improved upon.

Sound quality is okay 

This is where I think the most compromise was made. It’s by no means terrible, but it certainly is not in the level of the three more premium TWS headphones we tested (Airpods, Galaxy Buds+, Freebuds 3).

With the only other mode other than Balanced being Bass, the earphones definitely favor the bass. In fact, there’s little difference between the two modes. It’s noticeable, for sure. But the Balance mode lacks the crisp and clarity one would expect from a setting that’s supposed to be balanced.

It’s a little unfair that I’m comparing it to more expensive devices, but at the moment that’s my only gauge. But I would like to emphasize that it isn’t bad at all. It’s certainly better than even the wired ones that are bundled with phones.

There’s another TWS on my to-review list that I expect to be similarly priced to this. With that, I can have a better bar in terms of gauging the sound quality.

Despite not sounding as crisp as it’s more expensive counterparts, it does sound better than even some wired headphones I’ve tried in the past. I used my trusty playlist for audio testing again and it’s able to do that left-to-right thing that some tracks implement.

Jamming to other tunes will get you vibing too. The in-ear design boxes you in and it does get more than loud enough so you’re really immersed in what you’re listening to.

Call quality a mixed bag

So I called two friends and they had different feedback regarding how I sounded during the calls.

The first one said I sounded like I’m calling from a metallic room. It was echoey and the reverb just didn’t sound good.

The second person I called had a more positive feedback. She said I sounded pretty clear. Initially, she thought I had put her on speaker phone. But when I said I was using TWS earphones, she said the sound was clean and clear. Not what she was expecting.

Battery life is impressive

Just like the controls, the battery life on this thing is as good as advertised. It says up to 10 hours of playback with the earphones alone and up to 30 hours with the charging case.

USB-C port to charge the OPPO Enco W31

I typically used it for about three to four hours each day for a little under 10 days. I haven’t charged it since the initial juice up right before I began the testing phase.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

If you’re looking at the OPPO Enco W31 as your first pair of TWS earphones, I’d say you’re in for a treat.

The controls and battery life work as advertised. The in-ear design helps keep you immersed in what you’re listening to. Sound quality may not be stellar but it’s par for the course for the price it commands.

If this is your first step to free yourself from the entanglement of wires, know that you’re getting a solid pair of TWS earphones.

Accessories

SteelSeries adds world’s lightest gaming mice to Aerox series

The Aerox 5, Aerox 5 Wireless, and Aerox 9 Wireless
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Aerox

SteelSeries continues to expanded its award-winning Aerox series, adding three new ultra-lightweight gaming mice to the collection.

The new Aerox 5, Aerox 5 Wireless, and Aerox 9 Wireless mice are now available, offering gamers even better precision, speed, and comfort.

Dubbed as the world’s lightest multi-genre and MMO/MOBA gaming mice, the latest peripherals come with customizable features.

Aerox

These include programmable buttons for instant access to a gamer’s preferred shortcuts, as well as syncing RGB lighting for a more personalized gaming experience.

Pricing, availability

The three new Aerox mice are now available at SteelSeries’ official Lazada and Shopee stores, as well as Challenger, Courts, Endless passion, Tec Drome, Xtreme, and other major channels.

Refer to the table below for the prices and specs.

Model Specs Price
Aerox 5
  • 66g
  • 9 programmable buttons
  • TrueMove Air sensor
  • 100 percent Virgin Grade PTFE feet
  • 3 RGB zones with Brilliant PrismSync Lighting
  • Water-resistant AquaBarrier with IP54 safety rating
SG$ 149
Aerox 5 Wireless
  • 74g
  • Up to 180 hours of battery life
  • 40 hours of use on a 15-minute charge
  • TrueMove Air Sensor
  • Quantum 2.0 Wireless and Bluetooth
SG$ 229
Aerox 9 Wireless
  • 89g
  • 12 programmable buttons
  • Up to 180 hours of battery life
  • 40 hours of use on a 15-minute charge
  • Quantum 2.0 Wireless and Bluetooth
  • Golden Micro IP54 Switches
SG$ 249

In addition, any purchase of SteelSeries entitles customers to a free one-month GeForce NOW cloud gaming subscription.

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Sony WH-1000XM5 is a luxury for your ears

Improve noise cancelation and audio quality

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Sony remains one of the most important players in the noise-canceling realm. While Bose is also a force in the industry, Sony is doing what it can to improve its own audio technology. Following up its impressive flagship lineup of headphones, the company has announced the WH-1000XM5, a new pair for your discerning ears.

Much like its predecessor, the WH-1000XM5 follows the same tradition of design. The sleeker evolution makes way for a softer, more comfortable fit around your skull, bolstered by synthetic leather.

Under the hood, the headphones sports an additional processor to improve noise cancelation, especially in mid to high frequency ranges. It can also adapt to various user scenarios like those who wear glasses or have long hair.

As always, Sony is also focusing on audio quality. The 30mm driver uses a light dome with carbon fiber composite material to deliver natural sound. Plus, with Sony’s LDAC coding technology, users can enjoy Hi-Fi Audio. DSEE Extreme automatically upscales audio files to high quality. Finally, if your audio can support it, the headphones is compatible with 360 Reality Audio.

The WH-1000XM5 also worked on call quality with four beamforming microphones on the device and noise reduction.

Starting May 20, users can buy the WM-1000XM5 for US$ 399.99.

SEE ALSO: Sony introduces 2022 BRAVIA XR TV lineup with latest tech

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Accessories

Western Digital introduces ‘world’s fastest’ memory cards, new SSDs

Availability, capacity for memory cards to be announced

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Western Digital

Western Digital, the company behind the renowned SanDisk storage brand, introduced new innovations at their What’s Next Western Digital Event.

Included in the reveal are a new modular SSD ecosystem and the world’s fastest SD and microSD memory cards designed for professionals: the SanDisk Professional PRO-UHS.

Terabytes of storage on the go

The new SanDisk Professional PRO-BLADE modular SSD ecosystem was designed to meet the need for ultrafast portable storage devices.

The powerful ecosystem lets users swap out lightweight and high-capacity PRO-BLADE SSD mags so terabytes worth of storage may be carried easily.

The ecosystem includes:

  • PRO-BLADE SSD Mag
  • PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT portable SSD enclosure
  • PRO-BLADE STATION desktop SSD enclosure

Unmatched speeds

Western Digital also announced read speeds of up to 200MB/s on its SanDisk Extreme PRO memory card line (SD and microSD).

Paired with the new SanDisk professional PRO-READER (SD and microSD), the new products are poised to deliver unmatched speeds to enable users to offload content and other files quickly.

New WD_BLACK SSD

When it comes to gamers, Western Digital also revealed two new additions to its WD_BLACK gaming SSD lineup, with each storage coming with innovative features.

WD_BLACK SN850X NVMe SSD:

  • Read speeds of up to 7,300MB/s
  • Minimized latency, predictive loading, adaptive thermals management
  • Downloadable WD-BLACK Dashboard for Game Mode 2.0
  • Optional heatsink
  • RGB lighting

WD_BLACK P40 Game Drive SSD:

  • USB 3.2 Gen2x2 interface
  • Read speeds of up to 2,000MB/s
  • Downloadable WD_BLACK Dashboard
  • RGB lighting

Availability and storage capacities for the SanDisk memory cards will be announced later. For more information on the newest products, visit www.WDBLACK.com.

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