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

Unboxing the Apple AirPods Pro

Noise-cancellation in a small package

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Earlier, Apple quietly revealed the AirPods Pro on their website. Completing Apple’s “Pro” lineup for 2019, the AirPods Pro promises an immersive audio experience with Active Noise Cancellation.

Of course, we’ve got our hands on the hottest gadget in the world of tech right now. Let’s unbox the Apple AirPods Pro!

The packaging comes in the usual white box with an illustration of the new AirPods.

Of course, what’s a retail box without a manual?

Here’s the AirPods Pro case…

It’s shorter and wider compared on the original AirPods case

It comes with its own lightning cable…

And two sets of ear tips making sure you have the right fit.

Here’s how the AirPods Pro looks alongside its charging case.

The AirPods Pro looks pretty much like the non-pro version when worn.

Have you been waiting for these noise-cancelling earphones?

SEE MORE: Apple officially announces the AirPods Pro

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Accessories

Apple officially announces the AirPods Pro

It now has Active Noise-Cancellation and extra ear tips

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Image by GadgetMatch

Remember when we bumped into an OEM Case Maker in Hong Kong and confirmed the AirPods Pro will be coming? Well, the long wait is over as Apple quietly revealed the AirPods Pro through their website. The latest AirPods completes Apple’s “Pro” lineup for 2019 — iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and the Pro Display XDR.

You can find a plethora of wireless earbuds around, from major brands, down to clone makers. In fact, Sony launched the first true noise-cancelling earbuds with the WF-1000XM3. Other major companies (such as Microsoft with the Surface Buds and Google’s New Pixel Buds) followed the wireless buds “trend”– so what’s with the AirPods Pro hype?

What’s new?

Image by GadgetMatch

Other than the new design (that honestly looks like a miniaturized hair blower) and a wider case, it’s packed with serious audio tech. A lot of audiophiles have been loving their AirPods, what more with the AirPods Pro?

If you’re one among those people who use the good ol’ AirPods (including me), you can still hear your surroundings around, even if you max out the volume of your music. With the AirPods Pro, you don’t have to worry as it now has Active Noise Cancellation.

Image by GadgetMatch

It’s possible thanks to the H1 chip and sensors, capable of delivering immersive audio experience in a small bud package. The opposing inward and outward-facing microphones equal the amount of unwanted external sound through Anti-Noise.

Not used to complete music isolation? You can press and hold the Force Sensor on the stem to switch to Transparency Mode — ideal for a more natural environment, especially when you want to hear people around you. The sensor also lets you switch between songs and answer calls in between.

Image by GadgetMatch

Apple promises that you’ll feel your music more than the headphones as they incorporated air vents to alleviate the pressure. The microphone also features an expanded mesh that improves the quality of calls even in windy situations.

With comfort in mind, there are three different earbud tips that cater to various ear sizes. Adaptive EQ also helps in tuning the music to the shape of your ear, for a richer and clearer listening experience. For fitness freaks, it’s now a perfect gym partner as it features IPX4 sweat and water resistance.

The features we love are still here

Image by GadgetMatch

Just like the older AirPods, you can activate “Hey Siri” hands-free with your voice. You can switch between music, answer calls, ask for directions, all without lifting your finger. Audio Sharing is also present, so you can wirelessly share the music or podcast to someone (and dongles should be a thing of the past).

With a single charge, expect up to 4.5 hours of listening and 3.5 hours with talking. A 15-minute charge with the case will get you another hour of listening and talking. You can expect more than 24 hours of usage with a fully-charged wireless charging case. It’s also Qi-compatible, so you can charge it wirelessly wherever you go.

Pricing and availability

It retails for US$ 249 in the United States and SG$ 379 in Singapore. In the Philippines, it sells for PhP 14,990, which is worth PhP 3,000 more than the recent AirPods 2 with wireless charging case.

It’s currently available for pre-order in the United States and 25 other countries (such as Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong) while in-store availability will roll out later this week. Apple will start shipping out orders on October 30, 2019.

Availability in other regions are yet to be followed.

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Accessories

Best AirPods cases: 3 classic neutrals to go with your wardrobe

Black, tan, or white?

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Much has been said about the AirPods. They’re hideous, overpriced, and of late — an unlikely status symbol. Apple is rumored to be launching a premium, even more expensive variant of the wireless earphones this holiday season.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? As with every new iPhone launch, the launch of the AirPods Pro signals the perfect time to buy the older model — if its price tag drops. And just like a new iPhone, this also means a good time to dress up and buy protection for the next ubiquitous item in your purse. There are plenty of colorful options out there, but in this list we stick to three classic neutrals so they don’t attract any more unnecessary attention than they already do:

Black polka dots

DOTTY in Black from LAUT, US$24.99

Black doesn’t always have to be plain and boring. Patterns and textures can add that extra playfulness you might need from any accessory — whether that’s a headband, a belt, or a pair of boots. The same goes for this DOTTY AirPods case from LAUT. It helps that polka dots are on trend right now, although it’s one of those prints that never really goes out of style.

Get the DOTTY in Black for US$24.99

Tan leather

Rugged Case in Natural Leather from Nomad, US$29.95

Feel like going for a rugged yet polished look? This genuine Horween leather case from Nomad might be your match. The official color name of what we have is called Natural Leather, and it goes well with pretty much every summer and fall accessory in anyone’s wardrobe.

Get the Rugged Case in Natural Leather for US$ 29.95

White marble

HUEX ELEMENTS in White from LAUT, US$24.99

If you’re anything like me and one of the reasons you like Apple’s AirPods over other wireless earphones is the fact that it comes in white, then LAUT’s marbly white silicone case is perfect for you. It also comes in black, but the white version is understated yet elegant, and doesn’t clash with the rest of your things — it compliments everything else that you own.

Get the HUEX ELEMENTS in White for US$24.99

Do you own a pair of AirPods? What case do you use to protect them? Let us know in the comments below!

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