When this year started, I’ve already laid out most of my personal plans: do more outdoor activities, travel to different places, and slowly pick myself up from the emotional downhill I experienced last 2019.
But what do we know, the universe has much bigger plans.
The past few months of quarantine has been a wild transition for me, especially as a person who finds solace in the outdoors. Staying indoors for a long time has challenged my mental health, and it’s still an ongoing battle that I face every single day.
A total shift in my personality
During this collective isolation period, the first thing I did is try to make peace with things I can’t control. I started channeling my energy into doing what is feasible for now — both in my career and personal life.
I began doing activities that are completely opposite from my usual hobbies, starting with yoga and meditation to help me become more present.
It is also the same time I shifted to using wireless earbuds after years of using wired earphones. I have tried several brands for a while, and currently, I am using the newly released Realme Buds Q.
Light and portable device that is compatible with all my new activities
Doing yoga in the morning is easier — the Realme Buds Q fits just right and it’s light in the ears. Personally, I really prefer using earbuds rather than open-type ones. The latter hurts my ear in the long run, so the Realme Buds Q is a nice fit for me.
I can do all the poses with ease and without worrying they might slip off my ear. It has IPX4 water resistance, so I don’t bother sweating a lot during and after every session.
I also use it during my meditation, and every time I go jogging.
Buds Q is also a handy companion to all my other activities with its intelligent touch controls. Playing music and answering calls is easy with just a few taps. It’s perfect for multi-taskers like me who usually attend Zoom meetings while preparing food away from my laptop.
Wireless is the new normal
While I still keep my wired earphones, the wireless technology is totally heaven sent. It’s essentially helpful in a lot of ways especially now that we need less contact as possible.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Personally, the design is nothing too grand, just quite similar to the other earbuds I have tried before. The lightweight feeling is a plus for me — it weighs only 3.6 g, lighter than a sheet of A4 paper!
However, this newest earbuds offering is quite underwhelming in the sound department. While it’s good for upbeat songs with its dynamic bass boost, the overall sound is really not that impressive. Still, it’s a decent buy with its 40mAh battery life, which is longer compared to other brands.
Apple could launch new entry-level AirPods next year
Along with new AirPods Pro!
Apple’s AirPods have been an instant success, and the brand is all set to capitalize on its gains. A report says the giant could launch an entry-level pair of truly wireless earphones that’ll also be called AirPods, but will technically be the third-generation.
The affordable ones are said to have a similar design as the AirPods Pro. It’ll have a smaller stem and replaceable ear tips. Obviously, premium features will be reduced or entirely removed. So, don’t expect active noise cancellation.
On the other hand, the Pro option could become more compact and completely eliminate the stem. The new design could look similar to Samsung and Google’s current TWS offering that looks like a bean and directly fits into anyone’s ears.
However, the report added that making the AirPods Pro more compact was a challenging task and the end result could be less ambitious. Apple is also going to add new wireless charging chips on both the TWS earphones.
While competition from Chinese players has made it difficult for Apple to justify AirPods’s high price, they continue to sell like hot cakes in the developed markets of the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia. An entry-level accessory makes a lot of sense because Apple has been able to successfully implement this strategy with the iPhone SE.
Lastly, the report added that Apple intends to launch over-the-ear headphones but has faced several development challenges in the last couple of years.
Huawei launches FreeBuds Studio before Apple’s AirPods Studio
Noise reduction upto 40dB
Officially called the Huawei FreeBuds Studio, it marks the entry of the company in the over-the-ear Bluetooth headphone market. The FreeBuds Studio are designed to be premium and go up against offerings from Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser.
The headphones offer a 40mm driver with 4-layer Polymer diaphragm. The company claims that it can reproduce frequencies as high as 48KHz and can go down to 4 Hz. It supports L2HC codec for best possible audio output and features six mics for calls that reduce background noise.
It also comes with eight mics that team up and provide dynamic noise cancellation. Huawei claims the headphones can reduce noise by 40dB and the headphones can automatically choose between three modes based on the surrounding environment. These modes are called Ultra Mode, Cozy Mode and General Mode.
Coming to battery life, the headphones can go 24 hours on a single charge, and fast charging ensures you get eight houts of playback within just 10 minutes. Although, these are official figures from the company and actual practical usage will definitely vary.
The FreeBuds Studio are priced at EUR 299 (US$ 354) and sales start from November. However, the brand hasn’t been clear about country-wise availability yet.
Huawei is a very interesting company because on one side it launches unique and mindboggling products like the Mate series, but leaves no stone unturned to take a cue from Apple. The AirPods Studio have been rumored for a long time and Huawei jumped the gun to launch its product first but took a lot of inspiration from Apple’s marketing.
Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones
Specifically the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Pixel 5
This month, Apple announced the return of the wireless MagSafe system. This time around, the wireless charging solution powers the iPhone 12 series with a convenient snap-to-place method. Of course, as with most of Apple’s products, you don’t really expect it to work with non-Apple device. Fortunately, the historical rule of thumb is wrong. Apparently, Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones.
As tested by Max Weinbach, the wireless charger can snap and work on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Further, YouTuber Aaron Zollo tested the charger on the recently announced Google Pixel 5. Unfortunately, neither test revealed how well the charger does with the devices. However, Weinbach commented that it took some effort to dislodge the charger from the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
MagSafe magnetically connects and charges the Fold2 lol pic.twitter.com/sQ0L9pk4kN
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) October 19, 2020
Of course, it’s no surprise that the MagSafe charger will work on other Qi-based devices. However, it’s a surprise that Apple’s proprietary accessories are working on non-Apple devices.
Still, if you need an extra wireless charger, at least Apple’s charger can work on your device. That is, if you own both an Apple and Android device.
Now, the only remaining question is whether or not Apple’s other MagSafe accessories will work on non-Apple devices. The other accessories — like an attachable wallet — will come out later this year.
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