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Sony WF-1000XM3: Masterclass in noise cancellation

Unheard of quality for truly wireless earbuds

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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.

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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, Urban Gadgets, and The Listening Room. 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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