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.

Accessories

Redmi Earbuds S are the most affordable TWS offering

The price is unbelievable

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In India, Xiaomi’s Redmi division looks after the affordable segment while Mi-branded products are for the premium segment. On the side, POCO is now an independent brand. Continuing with the new strategy, Redmi today announced the launch of their new TWS earbuds, the Redmi Earbuds S.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 were announced in the country but they are far from affordable. To bridge this gap, the Redmi Earbuds S has been unveiled. It’s worth noting that they are the same as the Redmi AirDots S, which were launched in China earlier.

The Earbuds have 7.2mm drivers and are IPX4-rated for water resistance. The individual buds weigh only about 4.5g each. The company’s marketing has focused on how good their bass is, but we’ll be able to confirm that in our review later.

For connectivity, it leverages SBC codec, a commonly used protocol via Bluetooth. However, a low-latency mode has also been added to aide gaming. The earbuds are said to deliver four hours of playback on a single charge and the case can extend this to 12 hours.

The Earbuds S also has a physical button on either side to control media playback or skip tracks. The gaming mode can be triggered by pressing the function key thrice.

The Redmi Earbuds S will cost INR 1,799 (US$ 23) and will go on sale starting May 27 via Mi.com and Amazon.

These earbuds are an entry-level option for someone who’s looking for a pair of TWS earbuds. Instead of rich features, the point of this product is to offer an affordable option to the end-user.

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Accessories

Apple moving its AirPods assembly line to Vietnam

iPhone production is next in line

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Apple has started shifting its iPhone production line to India but it doesn’t end there. With the ongoing trade war between China and the US, more companies are slowly finding alternatives — such is the case with Apple moving AirPods assembly to Vietnam.

Asia Nikkei‘s report indicated that Apple has already done production trials of the AirPods line in Vietnam last year. Just this month, numerous buyers (including a MacForums user) have pointed out the sudden change. The ‘Assembled in Vietnam’ engraving at the back of the AirPods Pro is prominent since loyal users know that Apple products are assembled in China.

A Reddit user initially shared his concern about the product’s authenticity, even before the mentioned tweet started gaining attention.

It says mine are made in Vietnam but all other ones say China ? Should I be worried or it has nothing to do with it?? from r/AirpodsPro

Even a staff from The Verge shared a photo of her recently bought AirPods Pro with the same engraving.

Photo by Kara Verlaney (The Verge)

A follow-up report stated that the mass production of the new AirPods units took place in Vietnam last March. Despite the pandemic, they were able to secure permits from Vietnamese officials to bring in engineers for better and smoother production.

Some of the old EarPods were also assembled in Vietnam, which means the country isn’t exactly new to assembling Apple’s audio accessories. Even Apple’s long-awaited AirPods Studio might be produced there as well.

A recently-published article by DigiTimes states that other than India, they’re also moving the iPhone production line to Vietnam. It makes sense considering Foxconn has already built factories in the northern province of Bac Giang.

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OnePlus TWS earbuds could look like the AirPods

Why are we not surprised?

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Apple was the first company to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack in iPhone 7 and release a wireless solution, the AirPods. Now, every phone maker wants a piece of the pie, and now a OnePlus TWS is coming our way as well.

Reliable leakster Max J. has revealed an illustration of the upcoming OnePlus truly wireless earbuds and they look eerily similar to the Apple AirPods. The signature in-ear design without rubber tips is considered to be Apple’s design language and many makers have tried to replicate it.

Realme launched the Buds Air this year and they look exactly like the AirPods. Even the charging case is a lookalike. Even the OPPO Enco Free wireless earbuds have a cop-cat design and are indistinguishable.

 

On the other hand, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and they have an entirely different design. The brand seems to have focused more on functionality than looks.

OnePlus has already released wireless earphones in the past, but they haven’t been truly wireless. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless and Bullets Wireless 2 had their own design language and were built to offer a premium experience. Along with the OnePlus 8 series, the company announced an affordable version called the Bullets Z.

Rumors suggest OnePlus could launch a midrange phone dubbed the OnePlus Z or OnePlus 8 Lite in July. These earbuds are expected to launch alongside the phone.

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