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

AMX XP 60: The most convenient USB-C PD charger

One brick, four devices

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MicroUSB used to be a must-have on all phones a few years back. With rising megapixels and resolutions, the industry also moved on to a new port called USB-C. It’s easier to use thanks to a reversible connector and also carries more power as well as data. OnePlus was among the first to incorporate the port and pretty much every other brand has made the shift.

Though, Apple is yet to make up its mind. The Cupertino giant has equipped the MacBook’s with just USB-C ports and removed all older lesser beings. Unfortunately, the brand still uses a lightning port for the iPhones and that means I need to carry at least two charging wires — one for the MacBook and one for the iPhone.

And, if you’re carrying along any other Android phone or accessory, it’s a bare minimum rule to also carry a microUSB wire. With so many different ports, how do you charge your devices on the go? Each will need a separate charging brick that not only takes space but also weighs you down.

I’ve been using AMX’s XP 60 charger for a couple of weeks now and it has definitely become one of my favorite accessories of 2019. The brick has one USB-C port and three USB-A ports along with a tiny blue-colored indicator showing successful power delivery.

Obviously, finding a brick with multiple ports is not groundbreaking. However, the USB-C port on this charger supports PD charging, a standardized protocol for faster charging. PD charging doesn’t require any proprietary gear, so you can simply plug your mobile, laptop, accessory, or even power bank.

On top of that, PD optimizes power management across multiple peripherals so each device will draw only the power it requires for the current process.

The rest of the USB-A ports support 18W fast charging cheap. And it was pretty much every phone shipping with fast charging tech, it’s always nice to have more options. I’ve quickly managed to charge my iPhone 8, Redmi Note 8 Pro, Mi A3, and MacBook Air simultaneously from just one power outlet.

Considering the price of INR 1,199 (US$ 17), this is a steal. OEM chargers sometimes cost more than that and are often limited. However, the charging brick feels a little flimsy. Some improvements to the overall build quality would be highly appreciated.

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Accessories

Casetify’s collaboration with Pangram Pangram is inspired by travel

For those diagnosed with a serious case of wanderlust

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Nothing inspires us to keep hustling like the places we want to travel to — whether that’s a remote island or a concrete jungle. Packing and carrying a heavy suitcase, going through airport security and passport control, waiting at the airport and finding nothing but overpriced food — all these are so much more exciting than going through everyday commute and the routine of office work.

If nothing feeds your soul like a travel adventure, Casetify’s collaboration with type foundry Pangram Pangram is made for you. It’s inspired by the journey through the airport, from luggage scan tags to boarding passes, and airport restaurant bills.

Customize your iPhone case by choosing an airport and adding your name — et voila! You now have your very own luggage scan tag case. As of writing there are more than 30 cities to choose from, and here are some of our favorites:

New York

Paris

London

Boston

Jeju

San Francisco

Singapore

Berlin

Shanghai

Casetify is adding more cities based on the demand, so if you don’t see your favorite destination or hometown let them know on Instagram. The cases are available for iPhone 7 and up, including the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max starting at US$ 35. Cases for Airpods 1 and 2, as well as Apple Watch bands for Series 1-4 are also available.

To shop the collection visit casetify.com.

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Accessories

Sony’s WI-1000XM2 joins their noise cancelling lineup

A new superb option

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Sony’s noise-cancelling headphones are one of, if not the best in the market right now and today they’re adding another option to that already amazing lineup. Joining the WH-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM3 is the WI-1000XM2 — a neckband headphone.

Curiously, Sony didn’t skip the number two unlike what they did with the WF-series. Which just goes to show that the company has a looooong way to go in terms of properly naming their devices. However, that’s about the only knock on Sony’s headphones.

Noise cancelling excellence

The WI-1000XM2 will also be equipped with Sony’s HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. If the performance of the WH-1000XM3 and WF-1000XM3 are any indication, this means we’re again getting perhaps the best noise cancelling tech you can buy right now.

The neckband headphone is also promising the same quality of sound as its sibling with its HD Hybrid Driver System which includes a 9mm dynamic driver and Balanced Armature driver. It also has Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX (DSEE HXTM) that upscales compressed digital music files including MP3 formats, to bring you closer to the quality of High-Resolution Audio.

It’s also equipped with the same bells and whistles found on its siblings like support for Google Assistant and Adaptive Sound Control.

Designed for comfort

The neckband is made of silicone for flexible fitiing and weighs approximately 44 g. Inside the box you get different options for the earbuds so you should have no trouble finding the perfect fit.

It promises up to 10 hours of continuous play time. When it runs out, you’ll be back up and running quickly as 10 minutes of charging should give you about 80 minutes of play time.

When you need to tuck it away, the magnetic earbuds snap together easily and can be stored inside the accompanying carrying case that can also hold the audio cable, USB charging cable, and plug adapter for in-flight entertainment.

Pricing and availability

The Sony WI-1000XM2 will retail for SG$ 449 (US$330) and will be available at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centers and Sony authorized dealers starting December 2019.

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