Accessories

Wireless earphones: A life-changing switch?

With the headphone jack slowly dying, is it time to switch to wireless earbuds?

Photos by Andrew Deloso

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I’ve used wired earphones all my life until a month ago when a friend gave me the Anker Zolo Liberty+ earphones. How has it changed my life, you ask?

There are three major points in the day when I use earphones: when I’m on my commute, when I’m working out, when I’m at work. Overall, there’s a feeling of freedom with using wireless earphones. This is probably why Anker dubbed their wireless earphones line “Liberty”. Now, let me share how being untethered feels like.

When I’m on my commute

Gone are the days of detangling wires whenever I’m on my earphones and have to get something out of my backpack. Definitely not going to miss wires getting caught up in any of my purse’s zippers.

There’s also a better sense of security. As a woman who commutes in a city like Manila, I have this constant fear of my gadget getting nabbed from me whenever I’m walking in the streets. The wireless earphones are subtly nestled in the ears so it’s less conspicuous and harder to reach for anyone with bad intentions.

When I’m working out

At the gym, I would often plug my wired earphones to the treadmill. I would be really conscious of how fast I’d be running because the intensity might accidentally pull the earphones from the machine.

With wireless earphones, I get to run as fast or slack off as much as I want to. Surprisingly, the earbuds fit really well and don’t fall off even when I jump, run, or do squats.

When I’m at work

Have you ever tried turning your swivel chair round and round with wired earphones plugged to your laptop? Probably not, because you’d get all tied up and even drag your laptop down the floor. I tried doing it with wireless earphones. It was liberating.

This is probably my favorite feature of the Zolo Liberty+ — being able to move in any direction with sounds on, without being tethered to my laptop or my phone.

I’ve also noticed some differences that don’t work in the favor of wireless earphones. Although it lasts a really long time, one main gripe about is that I can’t track how much battery is left on the earbuds. If I were to nitpick, there’s also the weight of the earphone case — it’s a bit heavy because you actually use the case to charge the earphones.

Lastly, while wired earphones are just plug and play, wireless earphones still require searching and pairing with my devices. It feels like an extra step to listening to my tunes.

But I can live with all these. You probably can too; just give it a try. The convenience of switching to wireless earphones far outweighs the hitches that come with it.

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Kovol 65W 4-port charging station Hands-On

Small in size, big on power

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Kovol 4-port

Nearly everyone I know carries around two to three devices. It’s some combination of a laptop, smartphone/s, and tablet/s. Imagine having to lug around these devices along with their power bricks. That’s a significant weight added to your bag. Enter the Kovol 65W 4-port charging station. This thing, as the company says, is small in size but big on power. 

Personally, I’m a member of this multi-device tribe. I almost always carry with me a laptop and two smartphones. That’s excluding any other smartphones or laptops I may be reviewing at the time. 

This is part of the reason why I’m in the ‘USB-C Everything’ camp. It would make our lives as tech reviewers just that much better. But since that reality may not be happening anytime soon, multiport GaN chargers like this are the next best thing. 

Regulated power 

Just because it has 65W written on it, doesn’t mean that it’s the only power output available. It can smartly allocate power to each device based on its needs. The 65W ranges from 65W, 45W, 30W, 25W, 20W, and 18W. So, whichever fast charging output your device supports, that’s what it’s getting. 

There’s also a 120W version of the charger and it can output at 87W aside from others that have already been mentioned. 

Kovol also claims it has low-heat and safe-charging. This means there will be no risk of overheating and overcharging your device. During my time using the charger, I can say I never felt any sort of unusual heating from it. 

How fast is it, really? 

But of course, the real question is how fast it actually is in real world use. Fret not, I have you covered. I’ll list the charging times of the three devices I primarily use. 

Before we start though, I would like to describe my normal usage. I’m totally not the type who lets the devices reach red levels of the battery indicator. Small beads of sweat immediately form around my head as soon as my devices’ battery indicator shows anywhere between 40% to 50%. 

Go ahead. Laugh all you want. But I’ve been in waaaay too many situations when I forgot to juice up only to need to charge but without any power outlet nearby. It’s a sticky situation I would like to avoid as much as I can. 

With that said, here are the charging numbers I recorded. Duration in minutes (mins) is how long it took to reach 100%.  

iPhone 11 Pro 

  • At 30% – 40 mins 
  • At 40% – 32 mins 
  • At 50% – 23 mins 
  • At 65% – 16 mins 

OPPO Find X3 Pro

  • At 10% – 59 mins
  • At 30% – 46 mins 
  • At 40% – 37 mins 
  • At 50% – 25 mins 
  • At 65% – 18 mins 

13” M1 MacBook Pro 

  • At 35% – 1 hour, 41 mins
  • At 40% – 1 hour, 26 mins
  • At 50% – 1 hour, 10 mins
  • At 65% – 40 mins

Naturally, these numbers will vary depending on your devices and the kind of wired fast charging they support. But what’s evident is that these are more than decent charging speeds. These are especially useful if you only have a limited time access to a power outlet when you’re out and about. 

Small for its power

 

The charging speeds are impressive but what really takes the cake is how small the Kovol 65W 4-port charging station is. It’s a little chunky, but it’s short enough that it’ll easily slide into your bag without taking up much space. 

Personally, I carried it in this tiny-gadgets-and-cables pouch I normally bring around whenever I step out. 

Its small size is also helpful when you have limited table space. It can sit just right next to your devices without taking away any wiggle room you might need. 

Price and availability

Some manufacturers are following Apple’s lead in taking away the power bricks from brand new devices. It’s a good reason to invest in a multiport GaN charger other than the ones already mentioned. 

The Kovol 4-port charging station comes in two variants. Pricing are as follows: 

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5 reasons why you should consider the OPPO Enco W11

Transition easily to the wireless lifestyle!

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Anyone can hesitate to step on a wireless journey if everything you see is all godd*mn expensive. Unbeknownst to many, there are pairs of wireless earbuds that are affordable and perform exceptionally at the same time.

One example is the OPPO Enco W11. If you’re considering switching to the wireless side, here are five reasons why the Enco W11 would make the perfect fit. In your ears and life, probably.

20-hour battery life

The Enco W11 lets you enjoy up to five hours of playback time on a single charge. Use the charging case and you can extend that to 20 hours.

Moreover, the charging case can recharge your pair of wireless earbuds for only 15 minutes, and you immediately get one hour of playback time.

Fits snugly

Depending on the form factor, some wireless earbuds can be a tad uncomfortable. Thankfully, the Enco W11 comes with an exquisite design that goes along with the shape of the ear. Plus, there are three sizes of soft silicone ear tips to choose from.

It also weighs 4.4g so you won’t feel the weight in your ears, allowing you to listen comfortably while you’re on the go.

Dust and water resistance

Get that extra peace of mind knowing that your pair of wireless earbuds have an IP55 dust and water resistance. It means that you can bring it to the gym, sweat it out, or even run through the rain — and you don’t have to worry about your device. It can stand splashes of water and dirt if you accidentally drop them.

Stable connection, lower latency

Most people are hesitant to switch to wireless earbuds because of the latency issues. With the right technology, the connection can be stable. Such is the case for the Enco W11 which receives signals on both sides to reduce latency. Unlike ordinary true wireless earbuds that receive signals on one side before sending them to the other.

The Enco W11 also uses a built-in Bluetooth 5.0 chip to help you enjoy uninterrupted audio. It’s perfect for those virtual meetings or just tuning out to your favorite playlists or podcasts.

Easy controls

Lastly, the Enco W11 doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to use. It pairs easily and resumes connection instantaneously within 10 meters.

Further, it comes with touch controls that are easy to navigate. You can play or pause your music with a single tap, or move to the next song by double-tapping.

The voice assistant can be activated by triple-tapping, and you can adjust the volume when you touch and hold the wireless earbuds.

Should you buy the OPPO Enco W11?

The OPPO Enco W11 makes it easy for users to transition to the wireless lifestyle, albeit at a cost that won’t hurt their pockets. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and intelligent enough to make navigating the controls smoothly. It has an SRP of PhP 1,690.

On January 27, 2022, Shopee is offering an exclusive deal — a bundle of the OPPO A55 smartphone and the Enco W11 wireless earbuds for only PhP 10,988.

The supply is limited so if you won’t be able to snag the deal, you can still get the OPPO Enco W11. Shop here.

For more exclusive deals, check out Shopee’s Brands Spotlight Festival.

SEE ALSO: OPPO A55 review: Just the basics

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Casio to release G-SHOCK-FC Barcelona Matchday collab model

“Més que un club”

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G-Shock FC Barcelona

Casio announced the latest editions to its G-SHOCK brand of shock-resistant watches: the GBD-H1000BAR and GBD-100BAR.

The latest models were made in collaboration with Matchday: Inside FC Barcelona, a documentary featuring the famed Spanish football club.

A raffle draw also awaits interested participants for a chance to purchase GBD-H1000BAR-4DR watch.

Interested customers can sign up for CASIO ID and submit their entries here from Janaury 28 to February 2, 2022.

Winners will be announced on February 3, 2022 and will have the exclusive chance to purchase the watch between February 4 to 11, 2022. Delivery will be from February 5, 2022 onwards.

Special design, packaging

The base models for the two new watches are the GBD-H1000 and GBD-100, both from the G-SQUAD line.

The new models employ the blue and garnet team colors of FC Barcelona. Inscribed on the bands is the club motto, “Més que un club” (“More than a club”) in the local Catalan language.

The GBD-H1000BAR features a metal bezel in bright gold ion plating, while the soft urethane band loop on both watches features the four red stripes of the Catalan flag.

Specially designed packaging also in FC Barcelona team colors is the final touch in the signature timepieces.

Not lacking in high-tech features

Both new watches are equipped with an accelerometer to count steps and track distances, while the GBD-H1000BAR model also comes with a heart rate monitor and GPS tracking.

Both new models also offer mobile link functions which, when paired with a dedicated smartphone app, support daily health management including step counts, calories burned, activity logs, and more.

The Memory in Pixel (MIP) LCD adds exceptional visibility for comfort in every day use.

Matchday: Inside FC Barcelona

Matchday: Inside FC Barcelona is an eight-episode documentary series focusing on the 2018–2019 season of one the world’s most adored football clubs.

From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, the series offers insight into the players, philosophy and culture of the club.

Pricing and availability

The GBD-100BAR-4DR will be available for SG$ 349 on https://gshock.casio.com/sg/ and at all G-SHOCK stores from February 5, 2022. The GBD-H1000-BAR-4DR, meanwhile, is priced at SG$ 799.

Full specifications, check the model pages available here for the GBD-H1000BAR-4DR and here for the GBD-100BAR-4DR.

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