Without a doubt, 2020’s fashion accessory of the year was the facemask. Besides the medical necessity, civilians and frontliners alike fashioned creative ways to don the accessory from fabulous quilts to technological marvels. But who says you can’t have both? During this week’s CES 2021 conference, Razer announced a prototype for a smart mask called Project Hazel. And yes, it has RGB lighting.
According to Razer, Project Hazel isn’t just a fashion statement. The smart mask prototype is a reusable N95 respirator. However, because it is still a prototype, the mask doesn’t have the necessary certifications to be classified as a medical implement yet. If anything, the company is working closely with the medical field to ensure the best quality possible.
On the outside, the mask is made of waterproof and scratch-resistant recyclable plastic. Besides creating a durable barrier, the transparent cover will ensure better lip reading between people talking to each other. Understanding one another has always been a difficulty with mask-wearing. Razer hopes to change that.
Besides the transparent cover, the mask will also come with microphones and amplifiers to help make your voice clearer. (Or, I guess, help you sound like Bane?)
Inside, the mask has two ventilators attached to both sides of the face. Both ventilators can be recharged after they run out. Designed as active disc-type ventilators, the mask can filter air going in and out.
Oh, and yeah, the RGB lighting. It’s Razer. You know it will come with RGB lighting. At the very least, it has a purpose: lighting up your mouth so people can see you speak in the dark. That, or help you finally fulfill your Cyberpunk 2077 cosplay fantasies.
Nokia E3100: Trying new buds for work to workouts
Yes, Nokia has earbuds now
Nokia and I go way back. It was the mobile phone brand of my youth. Our history includes a series of phones that predate the existence of touchscreen ones we use now. Everyone had a Nokia device then. In recent years, it’s become a rarity. So imagine my surprise when I first heard that Nokia is now making earbuds. How did it fare against the audio giants of our time?
I got a hold of the Nokia E3100 Essential True Wireless Earphones. Compared to my old set of earbuds (Anker Zolo Liberty+), this one’s battery case and earbuds are extremely light, almost the same weight as a tube of drugstore lipstick.
The buds can operate up to 2.5hrs with a single charge, and up to 10 hours with help of the rechargeable battery case. Super convenient to pack if we still had our old lifestyle of going out daily.
On the job
I used to be able to maximize my earbuds on my commute — listening to music or watching series whenever I’m in transit. Nowadays, I mainly connect my headset to my laptop for Zoom meetings and other virtual work calls.
The Nokia E3100 did not disappoint on the sound side. Audio from the people I’m in the call with was always clear and crisp. But, it can be a hit-or-miss as a mic. The earbuds have a built-in microphone on the right side, but my experience with it left me wanting. There was a point when I had to switch back to the laptop microphone in the middle of a call just so people can hear my voice clearly.
On the mat
I also tried the Nokia E3100 for a few home workout sessions. Since the earbuds fit my ears perfectly, there’s no fear of it falling out in the middle of jumping jacks.
Another nice surprise is how you can easily skip or repeat tracks via push button controls on the earbuds. Less distractions to your exercise momentum! The only time I have to reach for my phone is when I want to switch to a different playlist.
Is the Nokia E3100 your GadgetMatch?
It’s reliable as an earpiece for listening to music, working out, and watching series. But when it comes to the demands of working from home, the current built-in mic just won’t do.
Nokia has to work on the voice sensitivity and responsiveness of the earbuds’ mic in order to take on this new age of virtual calls and meetings.
The Nokia E3100 retails for PhP 1,999 (US$ 41)
Apple launches the AirTag
Long rumored item, now finally real
Do you keep losing or misplacing things? There’s an Apple product for that. Introducing the AirTag.
The AirTag is a small designed accessory and helps keep track of and find items you may have misplaced through Apple’s Find My App. It can help locate a lost item while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
It’s built using stainless still and is IP67 rated (water and dust resistant). The AirTag also has a built-in speaker that plays sounds to help signal its location. Its cover is easily removable to replace the battery.
If you bring them close to an iPhone, they will instantly connect. Users can assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default like “Keys” or “Jacket,” or provide a custom name of their choice.
Once it’sset up, it will appear in the new Items tab in the Find My app. Here, users can view the item’s current or last known location on a map. If a user misplaces their item and it is within Bluetooth range, they can use the Find My app to play a sound from the AirTag to help locate it. Users can also ask Siri to find their item, and AirTag will play a sound if it is nearby.
Customers can personalize AirTag with free engraving, including text and a selection of 31 emoji when purchased via apple.com or the Apple Store app. They can be used as is or with accessories like the Polyurethane Loop, Leather Loop, and Leather Key Ring.
Privacy and security
Apple says location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted so that only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it.
Price and availability
The AirTag will be available in one (US$ 29) and four packs US$ 99. It can be purchased from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, at Apple Store locations, and through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary) beginning Friday, April 30.
Customers can order AirTag beginning at 5AM PDT on Friday, April 23.
Apple-designed AirTag accessories include:
- Leather Key Ring in Saddle Brown, (PRODUCT)RED, and Baltic Blue for US$ 35
- Leather Loop in Saddle Brown and (PRODUCT)RED for US$ 39 (US)
- Polyurethane Loop in White, Deep Navy, Sunflower, and Electric Orange for US$29
Sony launches WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition
In celebration of Sony’s 75th anniversary
Sony’s best and highly acclaimed active noise cancelling headphones — the WH-1000XM4 — is getting a new flavor. The WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition is launching in May 2021 to celebrate Sony’s 75th anniversary.
The WH-1000XM4 Silent White has a pearlescent finish to the topcoat of the headphones to create a sense of depth and a luxurious touch. Worried about it getting dirty? It includes an additional coat compared to the earlier black and silver versions for more stain-resistance and to retain the white color.
All of the accessories included also come in white.
New to the headphones in its 4th iteration is Multiple device pairing. This has been one of this headphones’ weaknesses and it has finally been addressed. You can now connect the Sony WH-1000XM4 to two devices simultaneously.
When a call comes in, your headphones will know which device is ringing and connect to it automatically. You’ll also be able to quickly switch your headphones to either of the two devices in a single tap.
It now also has Edge-AI, DSEE Extreme which more accurately rebuilds audio lost during digital compression for a full fidelity experience. The 360 Reality Audio feature is now also making its way to these headphones. It lets listeners enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimized for each individual user.
Price and availability
Exact price will be revealed at launch. The Sony WH-1000XM4 Silent White edition will be available across Asia Pacific in May 2021. In Singapore, it will be available exclusively at Sony Stores and Sony Stores Online.
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