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

Apple is likely working on a midrange AirPods Pro

Coming mid-2020

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Have you bought into the wireless earbuds trend? Despite performing at a lesser capacity than wired earphones, wireless earbuds have infiltrated every major player in the tech industry. Currently, Apple, Huawei, and Samsung all sell their own variant of the growing market.

Now, Apple looks to expand their own catalog even further. According to Chinese publication Digitimes, the AirPods maker is developing a budget-friendly version of last year’s AirPods Pro — the AirPods Pro Lite.

Supposedly, Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), a Taiwan-based manufacturer will likely acquire orders from Apple for the upcoming device. The Taiwanese company is working with other manufacturers from China and the US to fulfill the orders.

According to the report, the AirPods Pro Lite will arrive sometime in the middle of the year. However, given the current situation in China, the device’s development might run into a few delays, especially if Apple pursues China-based manufacturers.

Because of the name, the AirPods Pro Lite will likely carry a price tag between the regular AirPods and the premium AirPods Pro. That puts it around US$ 199.

Despite being an accessory, the AirPods lineup is still one of Apple’s most successful products in the current generation. Of course, it helps that the audio accessory almost comes as a requirement for iPhone users.

SEE ALSO: Unboxing the Apple AirPods Pro

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Sony’s WF-H800 h.ear in TWS headphones offer rich sound

Available in five colors

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Already a leader in noise-cancelling headphones, Sony is offering something a little different in the true wireless headpones department — the Sony WF-H800 h.ear in headphones.

One of the first easily noticeable things is how the WF-H800 is available in five colors: red, orange, green, blue, and black.

Noticeably missing is the active noise-cancellation feature. However, it makes up for it with other Sony staple-features, primarily the 360 reality audio. The effect of which can only be truly felt once you experience it for yourself.

It also has a 6mm dynamic driver to deliver a wide range of audio frequencies as well as a feature Sony calls DSEE HX or Digital Sound Enhancement Engine. This tech restores the high-range sound that’s lost in compression. It reproduces digital music files with rich, natural sound.

It’s also lightweight and designed to fit your ears perfectly. The WF-H800 promises up to eight hours of music playback plus another eight hours with the carrying case giving you a total of 16 hours. Additionally, 10 minutes of charge time will give you up to 70 minutes of listening time.

Just like other Sony headphones, these are compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

Price and availability

The Sony WF-H800 will be available at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centers, Sony authorized dealers and the official Sony store on Lazada from March 2020. It will retail for SG$ 299.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM3 review: Masterclass in noise cancellation

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ levels up battery, sound quality

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With the the headphone port nowhere to be found on the Galaxy S20 series comes a pair of improved true wireless earbuds — the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.

It’s a step up from last year’s Galaxy Buds. While last year’s version promised 6 hours of listening time, the Galaxy Buds+ takes it up to 11 hours on a single charge. You also get another 11 hours with the charging case.

In terms of sound quality, these are still tuned by AKG. It employs 2-way dynamic speakers and 3 mics to deliver better sound and voice quality

Inside the box you’ll also find a variety of wing and ear tips so you get the fit and comfort that’s made just for you.

It doesn’t have the noise-cancelling chip that you’ll find on the true wireless earbuds offered by Sony, Apple, and Huawei. Its approach to noise-cancelling has to do more with its physical design and rather than a tiny chip.

Speaking of its design, it retains the form factor of the original Galaxy Buds — which is great since it doesn’t look anything like the AirPods which many other manufacturers have taken a cue from. Speaking of Apple, if you’re not a fan of the AirPods’ design, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy Buds+, along with its companion app, will be compatible with iOS devices.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ will be available in Cosmic Black, White, Red, and Cloud Blue, starting February 14, 2020 on Samsung.com, followed by major mobile carriers and retailers on March 6, 2020 and will retail for US$ 149.

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