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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.

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Realme Buds Air: Affordable true wireless earbuds

Cheaper ‘AirPods’

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Seems like everyone’s making true wireless earbuds now so Realme decided to join in the fun as well with the Realme Buds Air.

In true Realme spirit, the Realme Buds Air promises to offer quality performance at a competitive price. The company claims it’s the first in its price segment to implement a dual-channel transmission tech for enhanced audio. This helps with minimizing latency which should be perfect for mobile gaming fans — a segment of the market that Realme has been aggressively catering to.

In terms of sound quality, Realme says it has a 12mm bass sound driver that “delivers intensive and powerful audio quality without compromising richness and fidelity.”

While it doesn’t have any fancy noise canceling tech, the company says it does have the capability of filtering out noise. This should help with day-to-day calls and your music listening sessions.

The Realme Buds Air also has a built-in Google Assistant so you can use voice command for various things. It’s also easy to control. You simply need to tap the buds to control what you’re listening to.

It also has the ability to to pause when you take the them off and will resume what you’re playing once you put them back on.

Just like its look-alike — the Apple AirPods — these earbuds comes with a charging case that you can juice up wirelessly or through USB-C.

Pricing and availability

The Realme Buds Air comes in three colors: white, black, and Realme’s signature yellow. It will sell for PhP 3,990 starting January 22, 2020.

As an initial offering, it will be available at a special discounted price of PhP 2,990 on Realme’s official Lazada store on the following dates: January 22, 29, and February 6.

Realme is also giving away a free wireless charging pad to the first 100 customers. There will also be special vouchers on Realme’s official Facebook page from January 22 to February 6. The vouchers will further lower the price of the realme Buds Air by PHP500.

To entice more buyers, customers who will purchase both a Realme smartphone and a Realme Buds Air enjoy an additional discount of Php 1,000.

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PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride

A limited-edition offering that gives back

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Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.

What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.

It has a straightforward design

Red and blue stripes signify colors from the Philippine flag

Three stars and a sun on each earcup

Can’t get any more Filipino than this

Solid build quality

Headband has a good flex to it

Clasps comfortably on the head

Doesn’t come off easily

Comfortable ear cups

Earmuffs are made of memory foam

What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.

Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.

It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.

All-around performer

When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.

Active Noise Cancellation option

One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.

Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.

Micro-USB port for charging

The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.

Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.

Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.

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Audio House is giving away freebies for Chinese New Year

Get a voucher or a standing fan for the new year

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Image by Humphrey Muleba / Unsplash

Chinese New Year is fast approaching once again. This year, Audio House is giving us more reasons to celebrate the festivities.

From January 18 to February 9, Audio House will give away SG$ 28 Ang Pow (red packet) vouchers or standing fan to every customer with no minimum purchase. Customers may use these vouchers to discount their next purchase.

Anyone is eligible to receive these freebies. For any successful friend referral, the customers receive an additional SG$ 1 to their vouchers. However, there’s a limit of 50 persons per referral.

In total, anyone can receive an SG$ 78 voucher eligible for any items in any Audio House store nationwide.

Here are the steps to receive the freebies:

  1. Register via Audio House’s website.
  2. A confirmation email with QR Code will be sent to the registered email address.
  3. Present the confirmation email with QR Code and ID at any Audio House showroom service counter to redeem either the ang pow voucher or the standing fan. Each can only redeem once.

The voucher is a great help for individuals gifting their loved ones with electronic items. With over 4,900 electronic items for sale, Audio House showcases major brands from all over the world. Plus, they give cashback in the form of vouchers on every item purchased. To learn more about Audio House, visit their website.

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