Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds: The good and the bad

It takes two buds to tango

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We have to give lots of credit to Apple for making truly wireless earbuds mainstream. Not only are AirPods incredibly convenient, they’re easy to pair with any iPhone. But what are Android users left with?

The closest alternative so far are Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. They’re sportier too and fit inside a wider variety of ear types.

That’s only a fragment of the whole story, however. Two of our resident music lovers gathered their thoughts after several weeks with the Galaxy Buds.

Let’s see what these two buds have to say.

Producer Rodneil Quiteles

Marvin: I’ve had lots of experience with Bluetooth earphones in the past, but truly wireless earbuds? Not so much. I’ve gotta say, though: The Galaxy Buds are so convenient to use.

Rodneil: I believe this is my second or third truly wireless earbuds, and I have to agree, wireless is truly convenient! What did you like best about the Galaxy Buds?

Marvin: I love how it pairs so quickly to even my non-Samsung smartphone. Its battery life is cool too — up to six hours per charge, with an additional seven from the case. What about you?

Rodneil: As superficial as this sounds, I like how it doesn’t look like I have weird stuff sticking out of my ears! Haha. I also like how your interaction with the Galaxy Buds is limited to just tapping, so there’s not a lot for someone like me to think about.

Editor Marvin Velasco

Marvin: Actually, I’m not a fan of the touch controls. They don’t always work, especially when I try to skip tracks with a double tap. Don’t even get me started with the triple tap.

Rodneil: Oh right! I actually did have that problem. To be honest, I ended up not having to tap the thing too much and just shifted to controlling everything from my phone.

Marvin: Did you have any latency issues with your Bluetooth connection? This happened to me a couple of times, even while connected to my Galaxy S10+. Software updates (which come frequently, fortunately) gradually fixed this, though.

Rodneil: Yes, I noticed that happened. For me specifically, I experienced those while I was in a moving vehicle and during the time I used it while playing basketball. I wasn’t bothered by it as much, though.

Marvin: Yup, definitely not a deal-breaker.

Rodneil: But does it have any deal-breakers for you?

Marvin: I wish I got the black one, to be honest. The white is fine at first, but after a few weeks of use, I noticed some discoloration.

Rodneil: I normally prefer black over white, but I’ve been changing things up lately and actually like the white one, discoloration and all.

Marvin: Colors aside, I like how the Buds come with different silicon adjustments. It’s something completely missing from the AirPods, which makes Samsung’s earbuds more universally compatible with ears.

Rodneil: Yep! I tried putting on each one to test which works best for me, but I ended up with the default since it fits my ears perfectly. It didn’t drop once while I was playing, which was a major concern when I first started using it.

Marvin: I actually use my Buds without wing tips, and they fit perfectly. That matters a lot, because I’m able to maximize the audio quality, which is great for truly wireless earbuds, by the way.

Rodneil: I was surprised with the audio quality actually. It was so much better than the Treblab X2 I tried a while back. I expected a similar experience but this one was better. I listened to the playlist I made for hands-on sessions like this and I was completely immersed in the sound.

Marvin: Speaking of sound quality, funny story: I didn’t realize how important the Galaxy Wear app is until I was two weeks into using the Galaxy Buds. It was there where I could adjust the equalizer and get more bass out of it, which boosted the quality tremendously.  

Rodneil: I figured this out right away! I tried to play with the settings for a while but I’ve settled with increasing the bass since that’s what was most lacking when I first tried it on. On the Galaxy Wear app, you can also change the tap and hold functions to control the volume, but I opted to make it switch to ambient mode which I need more when I step out with the Galaxy Buds on.

Marvin: What’s great is that I could pair the Buds with any phone without needing to download the app first. But, well, I wish I did sooner to get the most out of the equalizer and extra settings.

Rodneil: Well, I wasn’t able to pair it right away with the Honor View 20 I’m currently using. That’s why I knew I had to get the app. After that, I had zero trouble pairing. I’m not sure how to control the pairing, though. One time I was out with a “friend” who had a Galaxy S10E and it was trying to automatically pair with her phone.

Marvin: So, would you recommend the Galaxy Buds to your friends given the price of US$ 129?

Rodneil: For anyone who wants a truly wireless experience, this ticks all of the boxes for me. The pairing convenience along with the surprising sound quality, for me, makes it a relatively easy recommendation.

Marvin: There are definitely cheaper options out there, but I feel the build quality and convenience Samsung injected into the Buds. Plus, it’s more affordable than its closest rival, the AirPods. What else is there to dislike?

Rodneil: My only concern is this pair is really easy to lose when out of its case. If you’re a klutz like me, I suggest you only put these on while in a familiar location. You should also make sure you get a pouch or have a designated spot in your bag where you can put it if you can’t reach the case right away.

Marvin: Otherwise, you’d use these over traditional wired earphones?

Rodneil: I want to permanently end my relationship with wires, so yes, I’ll choose this over traditional ones every single time.

Marvin: LOL, okay.

Accessories

Xiaomi adds Electric Scooter Pro 2, Smart Band 5, TV stick to IoT lineup

More Xiaomi devices and accessories to choose from!

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By now, people are familiar with the fact that Xiaomi has an expansive portfolio of products. That portfolio is getting some new, exciting additions — namely the Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2, the Mi Smart Band 5, and Mi TV Stick.

Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2

This product is targeting a very particular need. Too long to walk but not far enough for a drive? That’s where this mobility tool comes in.

The Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 can travel up to 45km, at speeds up to 25 km per hour. It can effortlessly climb 20 percent incline slopes and accommodate a week’s worth of trips on a single charge.

It has a built-in LCD where riders can view and control different things. You can check real-time speed, choose a riding mode, connect to Bluetooth, and monitor headline status.

It has a 300W motor, a double braking system, shock-absorbing pneumatic tires, and an easy folding design so you can pretty much take it wherever you go.

If you’re a first-time user, you will receive safety reminders and tips through your mobile device. Speaking of safety, it sports front, rear, and side reflectors as well as a 2W headlight that can illuminate up to 10 meters ahead. All for the sake of better visibility.

Launched alongside it  is the Mi Electric Scooter 1S. It’s a more streamlined model for casual commuters. It can travel up to 30 km at speeds up to 25 km per hour and offers an upgraded display, headlight, and other safety features.

Mi Smart Band 5

We’ve discussed this in more detail when it was first announced, and this is essentially the global version.

But here are the basics you need to know: it has a 1.1” color AMOLED display with 20% more screen than its predecessor and has over 65 dynamic displays and six band colors.

On the functionalities side, it has most of what you can expect from a fitness band. It has a variety of workouts and trackers all so you can monitor your health and wellness better. The international suggested retail price is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TV Stick 

Turn your dumb UHD TV into a smart one! If you’ve been yearning for a Smart TV but don’t have the budget for one. Your next best option is to get the Mi TV Stick. Provided your TV has an HDMI port.

Powered by Android TV with DTS surround sound, Google Assistant, and Chromecast — it’s your ticket to a relaxing Netflix and Chill session.

Inside it has a quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM + 8GB storage. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control with dedicated buttons for Google Assistant, Netflx, and Prime video. It’s SRP is EUR 39.99. 

Mi TWS Earphones 2 Basic

Here’s something for your basic TWS fix. It promises up to 5 hours of uninterrupted use from a full charge. Total battery life hits the 20-hour mark thanks to the included charging case.

As for functionality, again, anything you expect from TWS, you’ll likely find here. Sound is adequate, pairing should be easy, and there’s some level of environmental noise cancellation for your convenience.

Suggested retail price is also EUR 39.99.

Pricing and availability in other markets will be revealed once they become available.

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OPPO launches 125W flash charge, new VOOC, flash charge lineup

New fast charging tech lineup!

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OPPO and VOOC charging has been synonymous since as far back as the brand first started. This year, the company’s innovation in charging is launching in different forms. These are the 125W flash charge, 65W AirVOOC wireless flash charge, 50W mini SuperVOOC charger, and 110W mini flash charger.

OPPO believes the next generation of devices will be more demanding and it needs a charging technology to go along with it. The company says their VOOC charging technology is built with an advanced encryption algorithm and strict temperature control regulators for safe and efficient use.

OPPO 125W flash charge

Headlining the new lineup is the 125W flash charge. OPPO says it can charge a 4000mAh battery up to 41% in 5 minutes and fully charge it in 20 minutes at the fastest rate. It’s the most advanced flash charge tech at the moment.

It’s also compatible with previous SuperVOOC and VOOC flash charge protocols and supports mainstream protocols including 65W PD and 125W PPS.

If you’re worried about possible overheating, it naturally has been taken into account. It has 10 additional temperature sensors which monitor the charging status to ensure maximum safety during charging.

It also uses uses fuse overvoltage protection measures, Type-C to Type-C wire as well as 128-bit high-strength encryption algorithm to enhance safety.

OPPO 65W AirVOOC

Wireless charging also gets a massive speed boost. If you’re foreign to the experience of wireless charging, just know that it’s absolutely convenient placing your phone on a panel for it to automatically charge.

Typically, wireless charging is slower than most wired charging. Although we’ve seen the likes 30W and 40W wireless fast chargers, OPPO takes it to another level with the 65W AirVOOC. It promises to fully charge a 4000mAh battery in 30 minutes at the fastest rate.

It also has five-fold safety protection measures in addition to a foreign object detection function. It’s also compatible with the Qi standard for a cable-free and super-fast charging experience.

OPPO also showcased a conceptual wireless charger for the 65W AirVOOC wireless flash charge. Not only is it an advanced tech, it’s also a beautiful piece to add to your home.

The charger features a beautifully-sculpted glass which is made of moldless rapid prototyping technology. It is the first application of this type of technology in the consumer electronics market.

OPPO 50W mini SuperVOOC charger

The first of two in OPPO’s mini charger series is the 50W mini SuperVOOC charger. OPPO says it was developed to be the size of a business card holder, or as the photo below suggests — the size of a cookie.

It was made to fit into tiny spaces while still providing the user a fast-charging tool. This includes your pants 😏, shirt pockets, and coat pockets.

The 50W mini SuperVOOC charger is compatible with VOOC protocols, supports mainstream protocols like 27W PD and 50W PPS, and can charge a variety of devices including mobile phones and laptops. Yes. Laptops.

OPPO 110W mini flash charger

Rounding up the mini-series as well as the entire lineup is the 110W mini flash charger. It is built upon the combination of laminate and compact structures which minimizes its size to just 35.76 cm³ — similar to the size of a normal 18W charger.

It’s a familiar form-factor but certainly a lot faster.

OPPO’s VOOC charging tech has come a long way and the company says it has serviced over 157 million users globally. That number is bound to rise with new and upgraded charging tech

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Accessories

OPPO Enco W31 now official

With ‘Environment Noise Cancellation’

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OPPO just announced the pricing and availability of one more TWS headphones option — the OPPO Enco W31.

It has dual microphones that enables the Environment Noise Cancellation feature. OPPO says it shuts out the noise enough so you can focus on whatever you need to focus on, free from any noise distractions.

For sound quality, it has a bass and balance mode for what they say is “high-definition sound quality and rhythmic bass for lifelike audio.” It has tap and touch controls and supports a voice assistant.

It promises up to 15 hours of music playback and up to 12 hours of call time with the charging case. Fully charging the earphones will take only 2.5 hours. It also has an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance.

The OPPO Enco W31 retails for PhP 2990 (US$ 61) and is available for purchase on all open OPPO concept and online stores, official dealers, as well as Shopee and Lazada.

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