Accessories

Sony WH-1000XM2 hands-on: A new experience

Old tracks feel new when you listen on these headphones

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Using the Sony WH-1000XM2 is an experience I didn’t know I needed until I put them on. I felt a sort of transformation in myself and in the kind of headphones I look for.

Disclaimer checklist before we proceed:

  1. I’m not an audio expert.
  2. This isn’t a full review.
  3. I’m just sharing the experience — which is really something else.

It was love both at first sight and sound. The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a sleek stunner, especially this particular unit we’re testing. It’s black all over with only the Sony logo and left and right ear indicators as the parts that are colored.

The power button and noise cancellation/ambient button, as well as the 3.5mm port, all have labels, too. Although I did wish there was some sort of highlight, a little colored part around these buttons and the port so they’re easier to find would’ve been great.

That aside, it looks great, but of course you want to know more about how it performs, right?

Noise Cancellation

I’m actually wearing the headphones as I write this. Not because I want to listen to music, but because it helps a lot in drowning out the background noise. It’s great for when you want to focus and don’t have immediate access to a quiet room.

Trying to look serious while writing

You don’t have to remove the headphones to turn off noise cancellation. You can either put your right hand over the right ear to allow ambient noise or press the noise cancellation/ambient button on the left side.

However, to truly appreciate what this baby can do, I strongly suggest listening to some pretty darn good tracks.

Familiar songs transform

I’m the type who enjoys an hour or two just sitting or lying down somewhere, quietly listening and really absorbing songs. If you’re like me, you will absolutely love the Sony WH-1000XM2.

That’s exactly what I did one night after I got these headphones. (And a few more nights, if I’m being completely honest.) It felt like experiencing the songs again for the first time. These headphones had me feeling so fly, I actually turned into a white guy. See photo below:

I put the headphones on and suddenly turn into this white dude

Suddenly, older tracks like “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” by Incubus — which I have listened to countless times before —  felt new again.

I turned up Craig David’s “7 Days” and my sexy meter suddenly went off the charts. So much so that I felt like I could ask anyone out and they would say yes! I did that. Didn’t go well, but that’s a story for another time.

Old tracks feel new

I wanted to know what more it could do to certain songs. I remembered listening to some that had the feel of the sound traveling from left to right, vice versa, and then just all around your head.

I crowdsourced on Facebook and Twitter for songs of this nature and my friends did not disappoint. I didn’t expect to get classic, old-school rock suggestions but those dominated the suggestions.

Tracks like “Black Dog” and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Come Together” by The Beatles, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen straight up took me home. These are songs I often listened to as a child who had absolutely no clue what these people were singing about.

“Stairway to Heaven,” with the acoustic guitar intro starting off from your left ear and then just an echo of it from your right just before the mellotron flute comes in will touch you in ways you didn’t realize you could be touched.

Just me enjoying all these classic tracks

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was a strong recommendation by several friends. Apparently, it’s one of the best songs to listen to when you’re testing whatever audio device, so always have this on your phone. It didn’t disappoint. The song, listened to with the Sony WH-1000XM2, feels as powerful as ever.

When it gets to the “Galileo” part, that’s when it gets really interesting. Close your eyes and you’ll feel as if you’re surrounded by the band as they play the entire thing in all its glory.

If you decide to give these headphones a spin, I put the recommended songs in a playlist. It’s mostly rock and roll tracks but I put a few handpicked anime songs there if you’re into that.

You should also try this “Love is in the air” playlist, specially since it’s the love month and all.

Other bells and whistles

I forgot to mention that I felt all of that while listening via Bluetooth. The sound quality is insanely crispy — imagine if I had used the cable that came with it. My mind might have been blown in an instant.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 also comes with a carrying case. It neatly fits the headphones inside, as well as the cable.

A carrying case as neat as the headphones

The headphones also have non-visible controls on the right ear panel. Great idea, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Often times when I was trying to skip to the next track, I would wonder why the music stopped playing. Turns out, it paused instead of skipping.

The controls and gestures might take a while to get used to but during my test, I never really gravitated towards using them. I would mostly adjust the volume or skip a track on my phone or laptop.

Video editing, podcasts, video games

I switched back to my normal self once I started using the headphones for work.

No longer a white dude, but still kinda cute. Violent reactions go straight to the comments section

The ear-opening, near-mind-boggling experience listening to music translates well to other tasks. I could clearly hear any unnatural sound from what I was editing which made applying changes easier for me.

I also played NBA 2K18 and Shadow of the Colossus with these headphones on. It was funny hearing the players’ voices better while on the court. Shadow of the Colossus is a pretty quiet game but has great scoring as it changes moods from when you’re just wandering to when you’re trying to take down a colossus. With the headphones on, you really feel the intensity of the battle and it helps get you on your toes and immerse you in what you’re playing.

Final thoughts

If I had my way, I would keep the Sony WH-1000XM2 all to myself. As someone who works with video and audio a lot, and someone who enjoys sitting back and just absorbing good music, this is the exact pair of headphones I would want.

No, I didn’t actually turn into a white guy, in case that’s something that got you confused

They sound great, look amazing, and battery power lasted long! I only had to charge once in about a week. That’s considering I used the headphones a lot for both work and play.

As far as wireless, noise-canceling headphones are concerned, the Sony WH-1000XM2 set the bar high for me.

SEE ALSO: No strings attached: Sony H.ear On

Accessories

How to wear green: Autumn’s most underrated color

Some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season

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Despite everything I see on fashion editorials and on my feed, it’s always this time of the year when I become obsessed with green.  When I think of fall, colors of rustic countryside and foliage come to mind. I imagine deep but vibrant hues — earth tones like rust, mustard, a deep red, and the entire brown spectrum.

This is why there’s no more perfect time to add green pieces to your looks than during autumn to winter — it’s not anyone’s go-to. Here are some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season:

Play it safe with olive

If emerald green is too much for you to pull off, start with moss, olive, or army green first. It’s almost like wearing a neutral but it still adds a hint of color to your outfit. A parka in this color is an easy choice that will go well with a lot of casual outfits. For when you want to look a little bit more dressed up, try wearing a mini bag in this shade.

The girl in the green scarf

Adding a splash of color to a neutral outfit with accessories is the easiest trick to pull off on anyone’s styling book. Make a green accessory the focal point of an otherwise ordinary everyday look. If you have a signature styling item, get it in an emerald green color. I’ve been obsessing over silky scarves lately. I wear them with my ponytail, as a headband, or on my purse.

New phone, new color

If you’re due for a smartphone upgrade, get a new color option instead of black. A lot of smartphones this year come in a new shade of green, including the new iPhone 11 Pro. Like a statement necklace, it can be a great focal point for your outfit. When there’s already too much going on with your look and you’re not confident enough to pull off color blocking, it’s best to cover it up with a neutral case that matches your purse and shoes.

Go green, all-green

Here’s yet another tonal dressing suggestion. While I love an all-nude look to stand out in a sea of tans and blacks this season, all-green is my next go-to — and it’s probably my favorite. It’s what started my love affair with tonal dressing to begin with. An all-green outfit is not as feminine as nude, but it’s just sophisticated. It’s not as much of a statement as wearing red from head to toe, but it will stand out just as much in a sea of blacks and tans.

Green was never something I would wear growing up; my teenager self never saw it to be flattering or versatile. Age changed that. It’s still a tricky color to wear — especially the bolder, more vibrant shades — but when styled right, it can be the most polished look you’ve pulled off in a long time.


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

How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition


SEE ALSO

5 ways to instantly elevate your look

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10 gift ideas for the new mom on your list

New moms need all the help they can get as they begin the challenging journey of parenthood

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As a new mom myself, I already have a list of all the baby essentials that I’ll need for the initial stages of raising my newborn. This includes the crib, car seat, pram, sterilizer, milk bottles, pacifiers, bottle warmers, among others. This makes getting gifts for the new moms on our list a little bit tricky.

Of course, she already has the best gift she can ever get this holiday season — her new bundle of joy. However, new mothers could still use all the support and help they can get as they begin the challenging journey of parenthood. One way to extend that support is by getting them something thoughtful this holiday season.

Here I would like to share some of the tools and gizmos that I discovered to have been unexpectedly necessary. If you’re looking for gift ideas for a sister or friend who just gave birth, I guarantee any of these would be highly appreciated.

1. Sleep support

One of the best things that you can try and give a new mom would be a good sleep and that’s only possible if the baby is sleeping well too. Swaddles, wearable blankets, sleep aids, rocking cribs — anything that can help soothe and provide a comfortable and safe sleeping environment for the baby will be greatly appreciated. The Cosydream Smokey Baby Sleep Aid by Babymoov and the Little Seeds Swaddle Wrap Newborn Blanket are both great options that have helped put my baby to uninterrupted sleep.

2. White noise machine

Some adults put on white noises if they need help sleeping. The same works for babies too. A white noise machine is another great sleeping aid. My baby personally sleeps better with it. Although a digital music streaming platform subscription, a smartphone, and a Bluetooth speaker can do the job, you might want to keep your phone with you and leave something like the Hatch Baby Rest or Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine in the nursery.

3. Diaper bag

My personal favorite is the 5-in-1 20L Smart Baby Diaper Backpack with Changing Pad by Vianetic. It allows customization of the way baby’s essentials are organized, has insulated bottle bags, bottle pockets, a changing pad, stroller straps, multiple storage pockets for the parent’s essentials, and a laptop compartment. The modern, sleek, minimalist, and unisex design is a major plus since my husband enjoys sporting it, too.

4. Air humidifier/purifier

Babies are vulnerable to sickness-causing bacteria that thrive in the air, which is why I keep the cute Elodie Unicorn LED Diffuser 2.0 by Smoko in my baby’s nursery as a humidifier and a night light in one. The Boneco Air Purifier P340 is also in our living room where we accept and entertain guests. Both tools operate quietly so baby’s sleep is uninterrupted. Dyson’s Pure Cool Me is also a great option to keep the parents’ bedroom air clean and bacteria-free.

5. Nursing sports bra

A new mom’s health and fitness should not take a backseat just because she has to take care of another person full-time. It is a must for new mothers to stay fit as they care for a growing person. There are many exercises one can do that incorporate the baby while burning calories. The Love & Fit nursing sports bra helps with this as it allows me to get back in shape and breastfeed the baby on demand. The best part is it comes in several styles and colors so you will not run out of options for gifting.

6. Hand vacuum

You don’t know real multitasking until you become a mom. While it’s important to give babies 100% attention, it is equally important to keep the house clean and dust-free. The Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is rechargeable and allows me to carry the baby in one arm and vacuum the house with the other. There’s also the Dyson V11 that has different attachments so I can get to cleaning even areas that are hard to reach. They’re both sleek and stylish as well so they’re not an eye sore when left visible in a corner.

7. 3-tier trolley cart

Keep baby’s stuff neat, organized, and mobile using a 3-tier trolley cart. All the baby’s essentials (diapers, wet wipes, grooming kits, toiletries, creams, bottles and outfit for the day, etc.) — are kept in a cart and can be rolled around the house wherever it’s needed. The RÅSKOG trolley from IKEA is an inexpensive yet versatile option.

8. Infant car seat mirror

I didn’t expect this to be one of my best buys. I stay with the baby in the back seat with his rear-facing car seat while my husband drives. Whenever I have to quickly step out of the car, this gives me the peace of mind knowing my husband can keep an eye on the baby using the Onco Baby Car Mirror.

9. Colic and reflux relief comfort cushion

Whenever the baby is unsettled and crying, he might be experiencing discomfort due to colic and reflux. Something like the Babocush can soothe and provide relief to the baby would be a dream gift for any new mom.

10. Cradle rocker

Bouncers provide a good distraction for the baby but they can get tired of it after a while. When that happens, you have to pick them up again. What new moms everywhere need is a cradle that can effectively soothe a baby. Something like the battery-operated Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing vibrates and swings while the Nuna Leaf Curv swing doesn’t need electricity and could last your baby until he or she is 5 years old.

Having a newborn is both rewarding and difficult. While it’s true that it’s impossible to be fully prepared for parenthood, equipping new moms with support through tools and unexpected essentials will get them pretty close.

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Fossil’s new hybrid smartwatch has an always-on e-ink display

It’s called the Fossil Hybrid HR

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Smartphone manufacturers originally saw smartwatches as an extension of the phone instead of a beautiful time-telling accessory that you wear on your wrist. If you’re a watch-wearing person, there was absolutely no reason to buy into the tech at the time. The first few models looked hideous and had terrible battery life.

Years later, fashion brands and watchmakers like Fossil saved the day and made buying a smartwatch seem like a good idea. Along with the usual Wear OS smartwatches, the brand also introduced hybrid smartwatches a few years back. These are the typical circular mechanical watches with removable batteries that you don’t have to charge, with a few useful Bluetooth functions.

In 2019, Fossil’s new generation of hybrid smartwatches feature an always-on e-ink display. This allows the watch to display more information like your heart rate, number of steps, weather information, and notifications.

While getting more information can be a good thing, having a display also means having a built-in rechargeable battery — 55 mAh to be exact. Fossil says it takes around two weeks before it needs charging, and about an hour for a full charge. Previous generations of Fossil Q Hybrid last 6-12 months before the batteries needed replacing.

Like previous generations, you can still do functions like control your music through the buttons of the watch, and change the straps as they come in standard 18mm or 22mm sizes.

At launch there are five Fossil Hybrid HR models — those with leather straps retail for US$195 and US$215 for stainless steel.

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