Accessories

Sony WF-1000XM3: Masterclass in noise cancellation

Unheard of quality for truly wireless earbuds

Published

on

I could probably copy-paste a lot of what I wrote on the WH-1000XM3 hands-on and still be mostly accurate. When Sony said that most of what those cans offer can also be found on the WF-1000XM3, I was excited. But I also had my doubts. Those doubts though, were completely shattered.

Before we go on to how good it sounds, let me show you how pleasant it is on the eyes. Looks are always subjective and the Sony WF-1000XM3 in particular I like very much.

Sexy AF

The black variant has some gold highlights and that’s as sexy and elegant as it can get.

Looks boil down to preference and my eyes gravitate towards the Sony WF-1000XM3 more than the Apple Airpods

What I really l love is its size. It sits right in between the Apple Airpods and the Galaxy Buds. I think the Airpods protrude too much while the Galaxy Buds are a bit too tiny for my stubby fingers. The WF-1000XM3 is neither too long nor too small. It’s just right. 👌🏽

The magnetic case is also fantastic. It sucks the buds right in. Even if you turn it upside down, there’s no risk of it falling so easily unlike yours truly. Oddly enough, the case itself won’t stand right side up since the flat surface is the lid. Weird design choice, but nothing too bothersome.

I need to take “not-falling” lessons from these earbuds

The fit boils down to preference. You do get a number of eartips included in the box but for some people, earbuds just aren’t for them. And that’s fine. But if you’re into earbuds, I’m confident you’ll find something here that will work for you.

Tap to control

Similar to most wireless earbuds, both the left and right buds have a small touch panel. Tap the right bud once to pause and/or play, twice to go to the next track, and thrice to go to previous track.

The left bud controls the ambient sound. Tapping once turns ambient sound on/off. Holding the left bud pauses your music and turns on the ambient sound. It’s perfect for when you’re about to get your coffee.

I looked like a douche ordering coffee like this, but I swear I’m nice

The left bud also triggers the voice assistant. Press and hold to gain access to the assistant of your choice. Currently the WF-1000XM3 works with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

Pairing, by the way, looks a little funky. You need to hold both touch panels on the right and left earbuds for about seven seconds for these to go into pairing mode. Once done though, the pairing is fast and smooth.

 

You can customize all these controls by whipping out your phone and going on the Sony Headphones Connect app. However, I don’t see anyone needing to tinker with this as much.

One thing you’ll need your phone for (or laptop if that’s where these wireless buds are connected) is volume control. There’s no way to adjust the volume on the buds so you’re left with having to reach for your device to do so.

I didn’t have a problem with this since that’s how I usually control the volume anyway. However, some people might find this to be an issue.

Masterclass in noise cancellation 

This is where these wireless earbuds truly shine. When the WF-1000XM3 was announced, Sony said it’ll bring a noise cancellation level that’s close to the WH-1000XM3. They weren’t lying.

One day I had a bunch of scripts to finish but it was pretty noisy in the GadgetMatch HQ since my colleagues were shooting something. I sat myself in our writing corner, put the earbuds on, and fired up my Animé Soundtracks playlist.

I was super zoned in that I didn’t realize one of my colleagues was calling my attention. It wasn’t until he tapped my shoulder that I noticed him.

Mood

But unlike the WH-1000XM3 ( I swear to goodness, Sony needs to come up with better names), the noise is just significantly reduced instead of cancelled when you’re not playing anything. However, when you turn on the music, that is all you will hear.

It was so much easier to get lost in all the emotion of RADWIMPS’ Nandemonaiya from the movie Your Name or get pumped to BURNOUT SYNDROMES’ Fly High from the series Haikyuu!!  Because the WF-1000XM3 just isolates you from your surroundings letting you take the music all in.

In fact, the music and noise cancellation is so good that I don’t recommend you turn it on when you’re out on the streets. I drew the ire of a motorist one time I was walking home because I wouldn’t get out of his way. But that’s more a commentary on the lack of actual sidewalks where I usually walk more than anything else.

Be mindful when you’re out on the streets

My advice is to always be aware of your surroundings when you have these earbuds on.

Superb sound quality 

That said, when you have the luxury of actually tuning everyone out without worrying too much about what’s around you, these babies work like absolute magic.

It’s fantastic for long commutes. When I know I’m gonna be on the road for over an hour, I usually turn to podcasts. Give She Said, He Said, a listen if you want more tech fix.

For more pop culture stuff try this. I usually listen to sports podcasts so for NBA stuff I’ve been listening to The Ringer NBA Show a lot lately. If you’re into women empowerment and female athletes there’s this relatively new one called Go Hard Girls.

Been listening to Gravity a lot lately

Whatever you decide to listen to, it’s guaranteed to sound great on the WF-1000XM3. I find the audio to be perfectly balanced. I was never really the type to be all about that bass, but if you are, the settings can be tweaked on the app.

If you’re all about the music, I find that the nice evened out sound that these earbuds produce lend nicely to any genre. On any given day I switch from Fall Out Boy to TWICE and when I’m in the mood to dwell in my recurring existential dread, I just put John Mayer’s Gravity on repeat.

Probably not a gym partner 

It’s important to note that these earbuds are not IP-rated. While Sony says there hasn’t been any reports so far of it breaking from exposure to sweat and/or moisture, it’s probably wise to go with something else when you’re on your fitness journey.

That’s about the only major concern. If you tend to move around a lot, you don’t have to worry about these falling off. Once you find the tip that’s right for you, they’re pretty snug without being uncomfortable and you don’t have to worry about these falling from your ears.

Great battery life, okay for calls 

I’ve had these earbuds for a week and charge it was the first thing I did. I haven’t plugged it even once during the entire testing phase and I’ve used it a lot for listening and video editing.

6-8 hours on a single charge with two full charges provided by the case

I have also taken a few calls with these on. I got zero complaints from the person on the other line about how I sound. However, I still won’t record anything using these mics. For things like that, it’s best to still go for something wired.

Is the Sony WF-1000XM3 your GadgetMatch? 

As of writing, I’ve yet to test the earbuds that people say are in direct competition with the Sony WF-1000XM3. But if you’re looking at this against the likes of the Apple Airpods, Samsung Galaxy Buds, or even the Jabra Elite 65t, I can confidently say these blow those out of the water.

You probably won’t use the app a lot but it’s nice to have

The extra cash you’re paying for is worth the level of noise cancellation and sound quality that you’ll get from these beautiful earbuds. Speaking of which the WF-1000XM3 is available in the Philippines for PhP 12,999. In Singapore it retails for SG$ 349 (US$ 257). You can check your local Sony websites for pricing elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

The noise cancellation, sound quality, battery life, and even design that the Sony WF-1000XM3 offer adequately matches its price point. Sony’s ahead of the pack in the noise-cancellation department and the WF-1000XM3 — while it badly needs a new name — is a testament to that.

Accessories

Samsung has launched a personal phone sterilizer

Can kill 99 percent of germs in 10 minutes

Published

on

A smartphone is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. With the amount of handling our phones get every minute of every day, it’s almost impossible to keep them clean even with gloves on. As we suggested in the past, sterilizing your phones might be a sound idea in the age of COVID-19. That said, where do you get a phone sterilizer?

If alcohol doesn’t cut it, Samsung is now selling a personal UV sterilizer for your smartphones. On the outside, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer looks like a sleek phone case. However, a button can bombard your phone with enough UV to “kill up to 99 percent of bacteria within 10 minutes,” according to its official store listing. (The bacteria hit list explicitly includes E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Candida albicans.)

Since it’s big enough to house a Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung says you can also use it to sterilize other smaller items like the Galaxy Buds and a pair of glasses. This can include non-Samsung phones.

Oh, and it can also charge your devices wirelessly. Unfortunately, the device’s charging power is paltry at best, powering devices at just 10W. Since the sterilizer lasts for just 10 minutes, you might want to use a faster charger instead. Still, it’s a nifty feature we wouldn’t say no to.

Unfortunately, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer is difficult to get a hold of. Currently, Samsung is selling the device exclusively in Thailand at the moment. It retails for THB 1,590 (approximately US$ 51).

However, the currently linked listing is for Hong Kong, potentially hinting at the device’s wider availability in the future.

SEE ALSO: Tech companies post tips on proper hygiene

Continue Reading

Accessories

Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 review: Affordable, but far from perfect

Xiaomi’s premium TWS offering

Published

on

The truly wireless earphones market is filled with a plethora of options today, ranging from entry-level offerings like the Redmi Earbuds S to the premium Sony WF-1000XM3. However, the most popular TWS earphones are from Apple — the AirPods.

AirPods kickstarted the TWS trend, and since then, pretty much every brand has jumped onboard. Xiaomi is known for its reliable yet affordable products, and it has launched a few options previously, but it was limited to its home market of China.

Now, the brand has finally launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 in India, and it’s pretty much half the price of Apple’s AirPods.

The Redmi Earbuds S is an entry-level offering while Mi branding is now used for the company’s premium offerings. TWS earphones are incredibly convenient to use, and their demand is consistently rising. Can the Mi TWS 2 offer maximum features for the price and go against the competition?

Do they look like the AirPods?

 

At first sight, you’d think they are the AirPods for a quick second. But it’s soon clear that they aren’t. This is something I appreciate about the Mi TWS 2. In a market filled with AirPods knockoffs, it’s nice to see a different design. However, don’t set your expectations too high.

The earbud’s stem is exceptionally thick, and this is easily noticeable from the side. Thankfully, it doesn’t look that thick from the front view and is oval. The stem is also considerably long, giving the earbud a very bulky look.

The polycarbonate build has a matte finish on the stem while the driver is smooth and shiny. I feel the earphones were designed with utility and features in mind, and aesthetics took a back seat.

If the bulkier design can add more battery life and better drivers, I’m okay with it. This may not be the case with many since they tend to look like cheap AirPods knockoffs.

Each earbud weighs just 4 grams, and they slide in your ears very smoothly. Putting them on is a quick task, and for calls, while driving, these are exceedingly convenient to wear single-handedly. The semi-open design is supposed to be fit-for-all. But, this is where my primary concern lies.

How’s the overall user experience?

The earbuds fit perfectly and are rather stable. But the satisfaction of wearing an earbud is utterly absent because of reduced noise isolation. Even though they’ve never automatically snuggled out, I’m always afraid of losing them while walking. The confidence to wear them outdoors is low.

These too sport gesture-based controls, and the result is below satisfaction. I’d have to try a few times before they actively receive the command. Even play/pause function is rather cumbersome and paired with the loose fit; I’m afraid they don’t fall off.

Thankfully, they have an optical sensor that automatically plays/pauses a song when the earbud is worn or removed. Most times, I’d simply remove them from my ear instead of relying on the gesture buttons.

Lastly, the case is quite basic from a design point of view but gets the job done properly. The plastic build is solid, the lid has magnetic detection, and the earbuds aren’t finicky when plugged for charging. A small LED light on the front will show you the case’s battery status. A USB-C port is located on the bottom.

Pairing them is a straightforward task, and Xiaomi phones will automatically pop-up the status menu just like it’s on iOS. It’ll show you each earbud’s battery percentage along with the case.

But do they sound good?

The brand has added a lot of features on the audio side to make the product look premium. It has support for multiple codecs like SBC, AAC, and LHDC. The last one allows high-resolution audio streaming via Bluetooth. I used the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to test the Mi TWS 2 and it automatically leveraged the AAC band.

Each earbud houses a 14.2mm audio driver, which isn’t the biggest. But, much of the audio output relies on tuning. Sound testing is also very subjective, so I’ll try to address everyone’s choice.

To start with, the output is very crisp and clear, and the vocals are perfectly heard. If you’re into Bollywood songs or even pop, these should be ideal for you.

Unlike the usual tuning, we see in Indian products; the bass here is well managed. It isn’t too much and ultimately does justice for every user. I’d say these are your GadgetMatch if you listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

The drivers are massively let down by non-existent noise isolation. The design of the earbuds inherently means you can hear pretty much everything happening around you. Even at maximum volume, it just didn’t feel enough.

Lastly, they have “Environment Noise Cancellation” that automatically kicks in when you’re on a call. Background noise is reduced drastically, and everyone I called could feel the change. The overall voice clarity is immensely improved, and high-winds too couldn’t deter them.

How long can they last?

Xiaomi claimed the earbuds can last up to four hours on a single charge and it’s on-point. I was able to get almost four hours with volume at 80 percent.

The case is capable of providing 10 hours of backup, taking the total to fourteen. Thankfully, the case takes just an hour to charge.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re an audiophile, the simple answer is no. The Mi TWS 2 will disappoint you in many ways. However, if you’re looking for work-related earphones, these are perfect.

Calls are ultra-clear, and the overall experience is better thanks to a loose fit. Keep them on, and get through a full day’s work. On the audio side, hip-hop or bass-intensive genre may not suit well here. However, all other vocal-centric songs shall swing by without a hitch.

With a price of INR 4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a solid competitor. When compared to the realme Buds Air, these lose out on aesthetics. But, the minor additions from a function point of view are worth the slight bump in price.

Continue Reading

Accessories

realme Buds Q are an entry-level TWS offering

Are they better than Redmi’s offering?

Published

on

Alongside the realme X3 series, the brand also announced a new entry-level TWS offering called the realme Buds Q. The affordable TWS segment is getting very competitive now and brands are pouring more and more options to choose from.

The realme Buds Q is designed by French artist Jose Levy and they sport a cobble-based design that fits comfortably in the ear. Each earbud weighs just 3.6 grams and consists of a polycarbonate build.T

Each earbud has a 40mA battery while the case houses a 400mA backup battery. realme claims the earbuds can last up to 4.5 hours on a single charge and the case can extend the total experience to 20 hours. Furthermore, the company said with daily usage of 3 hours, the earbuds will last a week.

On the audio side, each earbud gets a 10mm driver with realme’s Dynamic Bass Boost technology. The earbuds consist of R1Q True Wireless chip that enables low latency Gaming Mode. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and supports AAC audio codec.

The case has a microUSB port for charging and both, the earbuds as well as the case, take two hours to fully charge. Lastly, the earbuds have IPX4 water resistance, meaning it can withstand some sweat and a few droplets.

The realme Buds Q cost INR 1,999 in India and will be available in three color options – Quite Black, Quite Yellow, and Quite White. Sales start from July 1 via Amazon.in and Realme.com. The earbuds shall be competing against Xiaomi’s Redmi Earbuds S which are priced slightly lower at INR 1,7999.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Gadget Reviews

Trending