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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.

Accessories

How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition

Look chic this transitional season with a color you most probably have in your closet

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The combination of cool breeze and sunny skies can only mean one thing: summer isn’t completely over but autumn is almost here. Dressing during this transitional season can be tricky — sweaters and boots can still be too warm during the day, yet the wind can easily blow your favorite summer dress up.

And then there’s color. Summer whites and bright colors have to slowly start taking a back seat to give way to fall’s earthy tones. My go-to during this summer-to-fall transition is a closet staple all of us should already own: nude. All 50 shades of it. Here are some styling tricks you can take note of before heading out this month of September:


Layer with linens

Linen-blend paperbag shorts from & Other Stories

There are very few things more comfortable than linen during the summer. On days when temperatures fluctuate more than usual, wearing layers with a linen piece can be your go-to. Combine it with something warmer like a cotton sweater. You can also throw a blazer on top if the weather permits.

Slip into a slip dress

Slip dress from ARA

Who says you need to give your slip dresses a break this season? You can keep wearing those silk pieces as you transition into fall with a warm turtle neck sweater underneath or over it to turn it into a skirt.

Keep calm and carry the mini bag

Leather mini bag from Looks Like Summer

Mini bags may be the it accessory this summer, but it doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to keep using them. Neutrals like nude will work with your outfit when styled appropriately for the season, even when the item is no longer trendy.

Power dress with an extra long coat

Nude trench from & Other Stories

Sweating underneath a powerful outfit is neither attractive nor commanding. Power dressing when it’s hot and humid out is not easy, especially when getting to work involves a lot of walking or subway rides. During this summer-to-fall transition, you can bring that light-colored coat from spring and wear it over your work outfit when needed. Plus points if your smartphone (or its case) doesn’t ruin the look, but actually matches with it.

There are many other ways to survive the summer-to-fall transition as stylishly as possible, but there’s nothing like sticking to pieces you most probably already have in your wardrobe — and styling them for the season — instead of buying more pieces that you won’t be able to wear until next year. There is, for sure, something nude in your closet that’s begging to be worn. It’s a staple that works with almost anything, may it be summer or fall.


HOW TO WEAR SERIES

How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try
How to wear pink: 4 ways to look chic and grown-up

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Huawei Freebuds 3: AirPods with noise cancellation

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Huawei has never been shy about putting their products up against Apple’s. And the Huawei Freebuds 3 is no exception. It’s essentially the AirPods, but better.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 clearly has its crosshairs on the AirPods. One look and you know that’s what Huawei was going for.


 

It’s not the earbuds that some people find intrusive. These fit nicely in your ear without feeling invasive.

The other thing that sets it apart is adaptive noise cancellation. Thanks to the Kirin A1 chip, the Freebuds 3 is supposedly capable of 15-decibel ambient noise reduction. That’s remarkable for its size and easily blows the AirPods out of the water. It even has what it calls the bone sensor. The tech claims it can better pick up your voice through bone vibrations so that your voice comes across clear during a call.

Controls are also built into the the earbuds. Double tap the right to play or switch music. Do the same on the left to turn on/off ANC function.  And much like other wireless earbuds of note, playback pauses when taken off, and resumes once put back in.

These earbuds promises up to 4 hours of playback time and up to 20 hours with the charging case. Speaking of charging, you can juice it up via USB-C and the case also supports wireless charging. Pricing has yet to be announced but the device will go on sale later in 2019.

Oh and, it also comes in black.

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TCL unveils premium-looking entertainment solutions

Beautiful headphones and a soundbar!

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TCL just launched a set of entertainment solutions at IFA 2019. The brand unveiled a premium soundbar, along with new, wireless headphones.

Odd-looking yet beautiful soundbar

TCL put the spotlight on their Ray Danz soundbar. Featuring a front-firing and sideways-firing speaker drivers, the soundbar bend the sound in a particular angle to create a natural and wider resonance, and a crystal clear dialogue.


Thanks to Dolby Atmos, it creates a 360-degree surround sound without the need for extra upward-firing drivers. If you want a ground-shaking bass, connect the subwoofer to the soundbar wirelessly for an immersive experience.

New, vibrant headphones

Growing the brand’s headphone lineup, TCL introduces the SOCL500TWS. Available in four unique colorways — Blue Ocean, Sunset Violet, Sunrise Orange, and Phantom Black — this wireless headphone lets you enjoy music in style. It reproduces powerful audio, thanks to its 5.8mm speaker drivers. Moreover, TCL changes its wireless headphones’ design to fit ears naturally and perfectly.

Furthermore, the headphone can handle up to six hours of continuous playback. If you’re concerned with the charging case, TCL believes it carries enough power that lasts for at least 19 hours. In addition, it has a clever antenna design that lets you stay connected on your Bluetooth, even in crowded areas. Finally, the SOCL500TWS is splash-proof and IPX4 rated, so you can enjoy the headphones under light showers.

For sporty people, TCL offers the ACTV500TWS to complement your active lifestyle. It features a textured surface, providing extra grip. Designed for sports use, it comes in an IPX7 rating for water and sweat resistance. Same as the SOCL500TWS, the headphone can handle continuous playback for at least six hours, and can extend up to 33 hours, thanks to its charging case. The case itself supports wireless charging, too, and can be attached anywhere with its metal karabiner. It’s available in two color options: Copper Dust and Copper Ash.

Rise of noise-canceling headphones

Another headphone in TCL’s lineup is MTRO200NC, a noise-canceling headphone that packs with powerful bass. It features a set of 32mm speaker drivers, delivering accurate mids and crystal clear highs.

Design-wise, it has soft, breathable ear cushions to provide comfort when listening for a long time. But what you’ll love about this headphone is convenience. It has a flat-folding design, excellent battery life up to 20 hours, and fast-charging support.

ELIT200NC

Top-of-the-line headphones under the ELIT line joined TCL’s new lineup, too. Introducing ELIT200NC and ELIT400NC, both headphones feature active noise-canceling technology, exceptional audio, upscale design and build, as well as comfort, portability, long battery life, and fast charging.

ELIT400NC

For active, energetic individuals, the ELIT200NC is the perfect fit, featuring a flexible neckband design and stunning, lifelike sound. Casual users may enjoy the over-the-ear ELIT400NC headphones built with a lightweight, foldable frame.

Pricing and Availability

The Ray Danz soundbar will cost 399 EUR (US$ 440), while the SOCL500TWS and ACTV500TWS will cost 80 EUR (US$ 88) and 100 EUR (US$ 110) respectively. For the noise-canceling headphones, the MTRO200NC is priced at 70 EUR (US$ 77), and the ELIT200NC costs 80 EUR (US$ 88), while the ELIT400NC is a bit more expensive, starting at 130 EUR (US$ 143). TCL’s entertainment solutions will be first available in Europe starting Q4 2019.

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