Accessories

Treblab X2 Hands-On: Give in-ear headphones a chance

For people done with wires getting magically tangled

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In-ear headphones aren’t exactly stylish and there’s always this fear that you’ll easily lose either one. I used the Treblab X2 for roughly three weeks and this is how it went.

Before we proceed, I need to get a few things out of the way. This is by no means an expert review; I’m nowhere near an audio expert; I’m just like a lot of you — a casual listener who enjoys a good tune or two. With that said, let’s go.

Design

When Apple’s AirPods were first announced, it wasn’t received warmly. Two small in-ear headphones sticking out your ear is not exactly a good look. It also didn’t look secure and appeared like one might fall off at any given moment.

These concerns remain true today, even for other in-ear headphones. I did a quick poll on Instagram stories to ask people if they dig the look of the Treblab X2. It was a landslide victory for the no votes.

While taking photos for this article, our Creative Director Chay even said, “It looks like there are tiny hammers sticking out of your ear.”

I have to admit, in the beginning, I shared this opinion. Not anymore.

Nope, that’s not Mjolnir in my ear

The Treblab X2’s hammer-like design actually helps in keeping the headphones inside your ear. It’s something our Lifestyle Editor Isa isn’t too fond off, but it doesn’t bother me.

I had these on while doing some light basketball shooting drills for a little over an hour and not once did it feel like they were going to fall off. Those drills involve a lot of running and jumping, but even then, the Treblab X2 stayed firmly in place.

It also has an IPX4 rating which means it can withstand body sweat and even a little rain.

Ballin’ with the Treblab X2

I did get weird looks from some people as I made my way to the basketball court. It went on as I was going through the drills. It may take a while before people are used to seeing in-ear headphones out and about.

Basics

Inside the box are, of course, the two in-ear headphones. Each one has two buttons and are labeled L and R at the bottom tip so you know which one goes where.

It also comes with a charging dock that doubles as a carrying case. The dock can provide one full charge for each earbud. There’s a carrying strap for the dock so it’s easier to grab.

The Treblab X2 looks nice if you ask me

You’ll also find three sizes of silicone eartips, three sizes of expandable foam eartips, and three sizes of X-Drop ear-fins so you can find the one that works best for you.

Pairing is a breeze. Turn on the right earbud first. When you turn the left one on, it should immediately connect to the right earbud.

Press and hold the power button for about four to five seconds. If you have them on, you should hear a voice prompt say “pairing.” Otherwise, there is an LED light indicator that should blink red and blue to indicate the device is ready for pairing.

The Treblab X2 is made of beryllium — it’s the same material used in other high-end sound devices. How exactly does it perform?

Performance

In a word: Fantastic.

I’ve had a rough go with previous wireless headphones. The previous two or three I used didn’t quite live up to their billing and would quickly disconnect from the device even if I’m about 10 or 15 feet away. That’s not the case with the Treblab X2.

It can be paired with two devices and has a range of 38 feet or roughly around 11.5 meters. Once turned on, it pairs to your preferred device right away. There were moments when I would wonder why no sound was coming from my phone. I didn’t realize they quickly connected to the Treblab, but that’s just me being stupid.

Pairing the Treblab X2 is a breeze

The pairing and quick connection is key for me since I’ve used Bluetooth headphones wherein the connection didn’t feel seamless. It’s a little detail that users should not have to worry about and Treblab does it well.

How about sound quality?

As mentioned earlier, I am by no means an audio expert. However, I do deal with audio a lot. I have been in the business of video production for roughly five to six years now (yikes, I’m old), so it’s imperative I always have a good pair of headphones with me to make sure audio is good for publishing.

I’ve edited several videos and some podcasts already with the Treblab X2, and I am more than satisfied.

It produces a clear and loud enough sound that I can maintain focus despite editing in a noisy environment. But it’s not too loud that it would hurt my ears.

Video editing with the Treblab X2

The bass doesn’t come at you with full force. Using the Treblab X2 feels more like watching a low-key gig at a bar than being in a jam-packed coliseum concert.

Its passive noise cancellation is great for when you still want to hear what’s going on around you despite having the headphones on. That’s perfect since I also use them while walking to and from work.

I still need to hear if there’s anything coming my way despite “Sugar We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy blasting in my ear.

In case you were wondering, I like listening to upbeat tracks while walking so I can keep my pace up. Here’s my playlist if you want to give a try.

Final thoughts

Its battery is supposed to last for up to 10 hours. During my test, it actually felt like it lasted longer. I’ve gone two days without charging and I usually use it for roughly six hours per day.

I don’t recommend having it on for longer than four hours. Make sure you let your ears breathe after two or three hours of use. That goes for any in-ear headphones.

Take the earbuds off every two or three hours

Will I use it even after completing this hands-on review? The answer is yes. It does everything I need it to do and accompanies me while playing ball or walking home.

The Treblab X2 performs probably better than you would expect from any wireless in-ear headphones. The look might put some people off, but if you’re after headphones you can use while working out, this is a solid option.

If, like me, you’re fed up with wires magically getting tangled inside your pocket, I would give the Treblab X2 a chance.

Accessories

Sony products are discounted this Christmas

Discounts and cashback for the holidays

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While Sony keeps struggling in the smartphone market, it still remains one of the top products for digital imaging. Its line of mirrorless cameras is one of the best in business. Plus, Sony is doing well in home and personal entertainment, with its line of TVs, speakers and headphones remaining the best in their category.

Sony Singapore is offering discounts and cashback for select cameras, TVs, speakers, and headphones. Here are the discounted products:

Cameras

TV

  • A9G (55″ 4K TV)  — SG$ 5,799 after SG$ 2,200 cashback

Headphones and earbuds

Speakers

The promo runs from November 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020. The discounts are available on all Sony stores across Singapore. For more information about the promo, visit Sony’s website.

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adidas Ultraboost 20 review: Great just got better

The ISS National Lab collab is straight 🔥

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It’s almost a new year, and here’s the Ultraboost 20 — the latest version of my favorite sneakers.

Ever since they were announced in 2015, the Ultraboost has always been my go-to everyday sneaker. They’re just so comfortable to wear and they look so darn good as well.

Adidas has been making small changes to the shoe every year but they were mostly just changing the pattern of the upper which wasn’t really that big of a deal.

A sudden design shift

It wasn’t until 2019 when Adidas redesigned the Ultraboost to create the Ultraboost 19 (UB19) which was a huge change in the line.

Initially, the Ultraboost was more of a casual lifestyle pair first then a performance running sneaker second. This changed with the UB19 when Adidas decided to focus on making a performance running sneaker.

It was a controversial change at the time since the aesthetics of the shoe really changed. Some fans of the line didn’t receive the news well.

UB19 (left) and UB20 (right)

Admittedly, I was one of those people. But then the reviews started coming in and everyone kept talking about how comfortable they were — much more comfortable than they have ever been which makes them a better performance sneaker overall.

Design-wise, I still prefer the Ultraboost 1.0 more than the 4.0 but the new ones are definitely way more comfortable — an all-out performance running sneaker.

With the 2020 version, Adidas decided to make a few more tweaks. Somehow they took something already great and made it even better. As an aside, I’m happy these were minor tweaks because I don’t think we would have survived another dramatic overhaul.

One of the best things about Ultraboost back in the day were the collaborations, so I’m happy to see Adidas trying that out again.

Ultraboost X ISS National Lab

I got the ISS National Lab collaboration to check out, which is the official collaboration to launch the Ultraboost 20.

First thing you’ll see is the Light grey Primeknit upper. This is usual with Ultraboost and it does get small tweaks every year. This time it feels like there’s more give in this version vs the UB19.

One major difference in the upper this year is the addition of the Tailored Fiber Placement technology or TFP. It’s the thick embroidered looking details around the edges of the toe box area which gives you more stability and durability.

These areas aren’t as flexible and stretchy as before but they do a better job at containing your toes. So the upper is still stretchy and soft, but holds your foot in place better.

There’s still a sock-like fit but it’s slightly thicker and less flexible than the older ultraboost 1.0 to 4.0 uppers. I really like the arrow shaped ventilation pattern in the toe-box area which is a very subtle throwback to the ‘ol Ultraboost 1.0.

There’s the white or light grey Ultraboost laces going through an updated midfoot cage. I definitely like the new midfoot cage, I think it’s better looking than the UB19 cage. It’s a cleaner, better look vs the mesh used on the 19. This also has some TFP detailing as well to help contain your foot better.

At the top of the tongue is the ISS National Lab collab tags which says ISS National Lab Adidas CRS Boost in Space. ISS stands for the International Space Station and this is a collab with their National Lab. Adidas is apparently going to send some Boost up to the National Lab in space — which is crazy but hey maybe those hypebeast astronauts will appreciate it.

In the ankle area of the shoe you see another big difference vs the UB19. There’s still a prime kit tongue, but in the back you have a padded neoprene material which is really appreciated because it really adds to the comfort.

This extra padding around the heel feels great against your foot but also makes your foot feel more secure in the sneaker as it pushes it forward. Apart from that, your foot is up against primeknit for a very sock-like fit.

It does feel a little bit more snug than the UB19. This helps make it more performance oriented than before which is definitely helpful for runs.

If you’re going to want this for lifestyle wear as a shoe sneaker I’d advise going up a size. Same is true if you have wide feet like I do. It’s always best to try the shoe on in a store first to make sure you get the best fit possible.

The insole comes in black with Adidas and ISS National Lab branding in white and orange. Each insole is different which is a nice touch.

Coming to the heel counter, it seems to be just an outline just like the UB19. Adidas calls it their “3D Heel Frame” which cradles the heel and holds it in place. I like that the heel counter spills over onto the boost midsole and gives you more stability because it really keeps the boost in place.

At the back of the shoe you have a nice padded neoprene material instead of primeknit. I definitely like the way it feels against my foot vs just primeknit in this area.

Another new addition is the bright orange accent. It definitely stands out but ties in nicely with the ISS collab.

Speaking of eye-catching — moving downwards, you have the good ol’ white Boost mid-sole. The ISS collab Ultraboost 20 actually comes in seven colorways, four of which have an iridescent boost midsole which looks pretty neat.

It’s really flashy, and you’ll either love it or hate it but I actually like the implementation here on my Dash Grey colorway.

UB20 iridescent midsoles

Instead of the iridescent boost midsole, this colorway has an iridescent heel frame and midfoot cage, which I think looks much nicer. It’s minimalist and more my style.

Either way it definitely looks very space-like. I guess it’s meant to make you think of outer space and it definitely does that. If you’re wearing them out, people are definitely going to ask you about your sneakers.

Coming to the outsole, it is the usual Stretchweb outsoles with Continental rubber for multi-surface traction and the usual lightweight Torsion Spring construction for support when the foot lands to propel runners forward.

Still a top-tier midsole cushioning

Boost is still boost — it is still the best midsole cushioning tech that I love. There’s 20 percent more boost in this shoe than the older UB 1-4, just like the UB19.

The Boost feels the same, but that’s okay. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

In case you haven’t tried out a sneaker with Boost yet, I encourage you to go on over to an Adidas store and try one out as soon as possible.

The big deal here is the cushioning and energy return. You can feel it absorb the impact as you run, and then spring back to return some of that energy to help you take off.

It’s this reason why Boost and the Ultraboost series in particular are so popular amongst runners and gym goers. They’re not only some of the most comfortable shoes around but it also really helps with running and aerobics. I even wear Ultraboost for my dance fitness and boxing classes. I totally recommend it.

Is the Ultraboost 20 your Sneaker Match?

The UB20 is an iterative but meaningful improvement to the Ultraboost line in comparison to the UB19.

It is even more performance oriented, and even more comfortable at the same time. Honestly just go into an Adidas store and try them on — I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away impressed.

The ISS Collab is really exciting, and while it may or may not all just be marketing hype, it is definitely an exciting way for Adidas to launch the UB20.

While I’m always going to be a fan of the aesthetic of the older Ultraboost 1-4 more, you have to admit the new Ultraboost 20 definitely looks crazy futuristic. It’s the best performance sneaker out there, and I can’t recommend it enough.

SEE ALSO: Asics Gel Cumulus 21: Your everyday training sneaker

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10 gift ideas for the bookworm on your list

Gifts that are not books

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If you have friends or family who love to read, chances are other people will already give them books this holiday season. It’s that or they already bought the book they want to read next. If you want to give something different that they will appreciate, here are some other ideas to help you out:

Kindle

For the friend who has too many books but not enough shelves, get her the new Kindle. It’s also perfect for that friend who brings a book or two when traveling. She always managse to finish reading on the flight leaving herself book-less for the rest of the trip.

The new Kindle retails for US$ 89.99 and comes in black and white.

Kindle case

If she already has a Kindle, how about a case inspired by classic book covers? Not only will it protect her gadget from scratches, it also gives her the feeling of holding a book while reading. Smell of an actual book not included.

The case starts at GBP 25, and comes in varying sizes and covers.

Audible credits

Some people will always prefer reading over listening to audiobooks. For those who are open to the latter, Audible credits are a practical, yet thoughtful gift you can give. If you know of a specific title they want to listen to, there’s also an option to get that book as a gift either through your own Audible credits or using a credit card.

One credit starts at US$ 15, and you can choose to give up to 12 months worth of Audible credits.

Noise-cancelling earphones

A pair of noise cancelling earphones is one of the best gifts you can give this year not just to bookworms, but to almost anyone on your list. Bookworms will especially love being able to block any noise and concentrate on reading (or listening to) their book.

Plenty of great options came out this year, including the Sony WF-1000XM3, which retails for SG$ 349.

Bookends

Help decorate one’s home with cute bookends. For someone who lives in a smaller space, a multi-purpose bookend is your best bet — maybe one that doubles as a flower vase for the living room or a kitchen utensil holder. You can also get an upcycled one using old records. For a more personal touch, you can even do it yourself and you got yourself a crafty project this holiday season.

Lumio LED book lamp

Any bookworm will appreciate receiving a lamp to help them read when the sun starts to dip. What if you give them something in the shape of a book? They sure will love you more than they already do!

The Lumio LED book lamp comes in different finishes, and starts at US$ 150.

Laptop sleeve

Another gift idea for that special someone is a book-inspired sleeve to protect her laptop. Make it more personal by making her favorite cover made. You can even add the first and last pages of the book to make it feel more like one. There’s also an option to add a smaller but similar case for the charger and other accessories.

The laptop sleeve starts at $199 on Etsy, but is on sale at $59.70.

NYPL Library Card Pouch

The New York Public Library store has a ton of useful knickknacks you can buy as gifts. There’s a pouch inspired by the original library cards from the 1940’s that any bookworm will appreciate even if you bought it at the last minute!

The NYPL Library Card Pouch retails for US$ 15 for non-members.

 NYPL Library Card Socks

Another option is this cute pair of socks that will surely make any bookworm’s heart and feet warm this chilly season. It comes in small and large and is priced at US$12 for non-members.

Black NYPL Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tote Bag

Know someone inspired by the Notorious RBG? This tote could not be any more perfect. It can carry not just that heavy hardbound book, but her groceries or gym clothes as well!

The black tote bag retails for US$ 15 for non-members.

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