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Apple AirPods Max Review


Love it or hate it, you can’t help but pay attention to what Apple is up to. More often than not, the Cupertino, California-based company will make your jaw drop with its products and prices, and you can’t help but wonder what life would be like with the latest iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and AirPods. While not all of Apple’s products are equally significant, the M1-powered MacBook and Mac range, and its most recent hardware launch, the AirPods Max, have grabbed a lot of attention.

Priced at Rs. 59,900 in India, the Apple AirPods Max promises to be the gold standard of wireless audio and active noise cancellation. However, at this price, the company has a lot of convincing to do, especially in the face of competition that offers much the same capabilities at about half the price. Do Apple’s famed ecosystem benefits make the AirPods Max worth the significant premium? Find out in our review.

Airpods Max: The Rolls Royce of headphones?

Most Apple products give you a feeling of great build quality straight out of the box, but the company has gone further than usual with the AirPods Max. These headphones scream ‘premium’ the minute you touch them; the anodised aluminium ear cups, soft foam ear pads, polyurethane-covered stainless steel and knit-mesh headband, and the button and crown dial all exude a kind of luxury that I haven’t experienced on a pair of headphones before.

While I have reviewed more expensive headphones before, none have been considered mainstream options for the everyday consumer. That’s where the Apple AirPods Max differentiates itself; this is meant to be an everyday pair of headphones that sets itself apart with its unique styling and attention to detail.

All of this makes the AirPods Max feel like what would happen if Rolls Royce decided to make wireless headphones. The AirPods Max is available in five colours: Space Grey, Silver, Green, Sky Blue, and Pink. Apple sent me a Pink unit, and while I was initially a bit concerned about it being a bit too flashy, I grew to like the colour over time.

The size and choice of materials on the AirPods Max means that these headphones weigh considerably more than other premium options. At around 385g, the AirPods Max is around 50 percent heavier than the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Many users have complained online that these headphones are too heavy for everyday use, but I found that the premium materials and design in the ear padding and headband made the AirPods Max quite comfortable over long listening sessions. Even with spectacles, the headset fit well, with no real effect on the noise isolating seal.

Although I initially thought the AirPods Max in Pink was a bit flashy, I grew to like it over time

 

Although I could definitely feel the weight on my head, it was never unpleasant. The ear cups rotate a fair amount, while the headband has a telescoping mechanism. All of this ensures that you can get as comfortable a fit as you want, without the AirPods Max putting unreasonable amounts of pressure on your ears and head. The replaceable magnetic ear pads come off and snap back into place with a little effort. While some users have reported condensation issues with the AirPods Max, this was fortunately something I didn’t face during my time with the headphones.

The Apple AirPods Max comes with a USB Type-C-to-Lightning charging cable, and what the company calls a Smart Case. I’m not going to mince words here; this case looks absolutely ridiculous, and barely wraps around the ear cups, let alone protecting the rest of the headset. However, magnets in the case interact with sensors on the headphones to put the AirPods Max into a low-power mode that is effectively the closest it comes to ever being switched off.

Indeed, there is no power button on the AirPods Max. As long as there is some power in the battery, the earphones are always on, albeit in a low-power mode when stored in the charging case. This state of being perpetually on lets the headphones connect immediately to your paired source device when taken out of the case with no action needed from the user, and it actually works very well. Sensors detect when the headphones have been worn or taken off, which further controls the state of the connection and power.

There is a button to cycle through active noise cancellation and transparency modes, and a digital crown which doubles up as a button, and controls playback, volume, and access to Siri. There is a small LED just next to the Lightning port that indicates various things such as the battery and charge status, connection status, and more. The headphones are also able to always listen for the ‘Hey Siri’ wake word when in use. All these controls worked perfectly for me, with the crown feeling particularly nice to use for volume and playback controls.

The AirPods Max expectedly work best with Apple devices

Apple’s highly regarded interoperability between products is evident on the Apple AirPods Max, thanks to the H1 chip in each ear cup. Although many believe that Apple has priced the AirPods Max a bit high, I’m of the opinion that this experience is a major factor that offers at least some justification for paying so much. Of course, all of this only makes a difference if you have a range of Apple products to use the AirPods Max with.

You will, of course, need an iOS device to properly set up the headphones the first time you use them, and adjust some settings including the direction of the crown’s rotation for adjustments, the noise cancellation modes for the button to cycle between, automatic head detection, and Spatial Audio. This also links the headphones to your Apple account, and automatically sets them up on any other Apple smartphones, tablets, and computers you might own.

apple airpods max review crown button Apple  Apple AirPods Max

The digital crown doubles up as a button, and controls playback, volume, and Siri functionality

 

Like on the AirPods Pro, the H1 chip enables the finest connectivity I’ve experienced on any pair of headphones, and does offer a significant reason to consider the AirPods Max over competing high-end headphones. The headset connects immediately, and usually managed to link with the right device among my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, depending on what I was using. While manual switching was sometimes needed, connecting was quick in all cases. Part of this speed can be credited to the fact that the headphones don’t ever fully power down, and are always ready to connect.

You can also use the AirPods Max with other Bluetooth-enabled source devices such as Android smartphones. Pressing and holding the noise cancellation control button puts the headset into pairing mode (signified by a flashing white light), and you can follow the traditional Bluetooth pairing method. While this is of course appreciated and does allow for some flexibility, it doesn’t quite match up to the seamless connectivity experience you get with Apple devices.

The Spatial Audio feature, first implemented on the AirPods Pro with the update to iOS 14, is also present on the AirPods Max. It worked as expected for me, but currently only works with select content on the Apple TV streaming service. It therefore doesn’t have much utility for now, although other streaming services could enable it in the coming months.

The Apple AirPods Max uses custom Apple-designed dynamic drivers. It features active noise cancellation, Transparency mode for hearing ambient sound through the headphones, and an adaptive equaliser based on the content being played. There are nine microphones on the headset; seven on the outside and two inside the ear cups. Eight of these are used for active noise cancellation, and three are for your voice (of which two are hybrid and also work for ANC, while one is only for voice capture).

apple airpods max review smart case Apple  Apple AirPods Max

The Smart Case is a bit ridiculous; it barely covers the ear cups of the AirPods Max, let alone the rest of the headset

 

There are multiple sensors on the AirPods Max, including a gyroscope in the left ear cup plus an optical sensor, position sensor, case detect sensor, and accelerometer in each ear cup. The headphones use Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, with support for the SBC and AAC codecs.

There’s no cable for wired connectivity in the box, but you can pick up the Rs. 3,500 Lightning-to-3.5mm cable if you want to connect the AirPods Max to a source device with a headphone jack. For wired airplane use, you’d need to also pick up an aftermarket 3.5mm-to-airplane adapter, so all non-wireless use cases will add to the price of the AirPods Max.

Battery life on the AirPods Max is a problem

Battery life was often a pain point for me during my time with the AirPods Max, largely due to the fact that the headphones can’t be powered down. Some overnight drain even in low-power mode was to be expected, with the battery level dropping by about 5 percent each night when left in the Smart Case.

With normal use, the battery level would often fall rapidly, perhaps due to being left in proximity to other devices not allowing the low-power mode to be activated. When using the same adapter and cable I use for my iPhone, I was able to fully charge the AirPods Max in just about two hours.

My testing suggests that the headphones will last for about 13-14 hours of continuous use with ANC on and the volume set to around 80 percent. However, this constant battery drain meant that actual usage was closer to 9-10 hours per charge for me, and I needed to recharge the headphones at least once every 2-3 days even with moderate use.

Great sound, excellent active noise cancellation on the Apple AirPods Max

The Apple AirPods Max is, no doubt, a technically impressive and feature-filled pair of headphones. There’s a lot on offer here, particularly if you’re using an iPhone as your primary source device. However, all of this would mean nought without good sound quality, and fortunately, the AirPods Max sounds very good. Performance with its key feature, active noise cancellation, is also largely on point.

apple airpods max review headband Apple  Apple AirPods Max

Thick foam ear pads and the knit-mesh material on the stainless steel headband make this a comfortable pair of headphones

 

With Bluetooth headphones and sound quality, a lot depends on the codecs supported. While options such as the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Shure Aonic 50 support advanced codecs including LDAC and aptX, the AirPods Max sticks to Apple’s preferred AAC Bluetooth codec.

Now for most people who use streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music, this isn’t really a problem at all, and considering that iOS devices also only support the AAC codec, it won’t even matter to a typical Apple user. However, in an objective comparison with the competition (when listening to high-resolution audio using an advanced codec), the Apple AirPods Max don’t quite match up to options from Sony and Shure.

That isn’t to say there’s a huge difference here; the AirPods Max can make the most of every bit of data being received thanks to good tuning of the custom dynamic drivers and a connection bridge that goes beyond the basic capabilities of Bluetooth. While the headphones are most at home with Apple Music or Spotify on an iPhone, Tidal Masters on an Android smartphone didn’t give the AirPods Max any trouble at all. However, features such as automatic head detection and battery levels weren’t available when using the Android phone.

The large ear cups and 40mm drivers made for what has to be the most impressive soundstage I’ve heard on any pair of wireless headphones. Listening to Lifafa’s Jaago on Spotify was a sublime experience for many reasons, including clear, crisp vocals, detailed instruments that sounded nuanced and beautiful even in the background, and a sonic signature that comes across as flexible and adaptable on the fly.

apple airpods max review flat Apple  Apple AirPods Max

Active noise cancellation on the AirPods Max is excellent, but the intensity of it can’t be adjusted

 

As the track switched from the slow introduction to punchy electronic beats, the AirPods Max impressively adapted to every element of the track with clinical efficiency, all while maintaining a luxurious and spacious soundstage that barely made me feel as though I was using a pair of headphones. The adaptable equaliser allowed the sonic signature to change on the fly, giving every part of the frequency range its time to shine. Apple has replicated the approach it took with the AirPods Pro with remarkable coherence, but using larger drivers to add an element of spaciousness that I haven’t experienced before.

The AirPods Max is incredibly detailed across volumes, regardless of whether you have active noise cancellation or the transparency mode active or not. Whether I was paying attention to the bass, mid-range, or highs, I was able to focus on individual aspects of the track with clear attention; nothing seemed to overpower anything else. The bass was tight, the highs sparkled, and the mid-range shone through beautifully, making for a capable level of coherence.

Active noise cancellation on the Apple AirPods Max is among the best I’ve heard on any headphones, offering a level of silence that matches what top competing options offer. It worked well for me both indoors and outdoors, and even managed to tone down sounds that aren’t ordinarily affected by ANC, such as voices, car horns, and doorbells.

This naturally made for the most focused listening experience, and the capability of the ANC even with music playing at moderate volume levels on the AirPods Max meant that all I could hear was the music. Transparency mode didn’t take anything away from the quality of the sound. If anything, it made it feel as though I was using a stereo speaker setup rather than a pair of headphones, as I could hear and focus on the music as well as my surroundings with ease.

The transparency mode is easily the best I’ve heard on a pair of headphones or earphones, sounding nearly as natural as simply not having the headphones on at all. Where other companies’ implementations of a transparency mode fall short is in the ability to hear your own voice, which still sounds muffled; the AirPods Max had no trouble here, with completely natural output despite the very real fact that I had a very large pair of headphones on my head.

apple airpods max review pad off Apple  Apple AirPods Max

The 40mm custom dynamic drivers in the AirPods Max make for great sound

 

However, where Apple’s ANC falls short is in its lack of customisability and adjustment; it’s either on at its full intensity, or off, with no middle ground. This made for an occasionally claustrophobic feeling that was unnerving for me, and it’s why I sometimes prefer the much more customisable ANC on options from Sony and Bose.

The use of three microphones for voice and active noise cancellation, the transparency mode, and the stable connectivity with my iPhone 12 mini (Review) meant that the AirPods Max was also excellent as a hands-free headset, with clear sound on both ends of the call. The ability to hear my own voice clearly as I spoke was great. I increasingly found myself preferring the AirPods Max to using the phone itself even for short calls.

Verdict

The Apple AirPods Max headphones are expensive; there’s no doubt about it. Many argue that they are too expensive, especially in the face of competition that costs significantly less while seemingly matching up in almost every way. Indeed, if you aren’t rooted to the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods Max would be a pretty indulgence but would barely justify its own price tag. So if you have an Android smartphone, are particular about your music sources and audio assets, or simply cannot fathom paying Rs. 60,000 for headphones, look elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you use an iPhone and maybe even have a MacBook or iPad, the AirPods Max does have some benefits that justify the higher price. Looking beyond Spatial Audio, the real clincher here is the seamlessness of the H1 chip; it’s incredible how easy and comfortable it is to use these headphones. Apart from the looks and premium materials that have gone into the AirPods Max, this is, in my opinion, definitely worth paying a bit more for as well.

Whether all of this is worth paying Rs. 60,000 for is entirely subjective, but I’d go so far as to suggest that the AirPods Max isn’t as overpriced as many might think. This is a pair of headphones that gets most things right, provided you’re matching it with the equipment it works best with. So if you recently indulged yourself with an iPhone 12 Pro Max (Review), this might be entirely worth your while – and money.


iPhone 12 Pro Series Is Amazing, but Why Is It So Expensive in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Technology UK

You might never lose your keys again thanks to handy new Samsung phone feature


Samsung has launched a new gadget that could stop you ever losing your keys again.

It has today confirmed rumours of its hotly-anticipated ‘Galaxy SmartTags’.

The GPS tags priced at £29 can be attached to your most valuable items – like your house keys or a pet with a habit of running away – and tracked using your phone’s bluetooth.

Samsung fans have been eagerly awaiting the tags, which are also designed to use other people’s smartphones nearby to trace lost items once activated.

So if you were to, say, lose your bag on a bus – SmartTags would use other people’s phones with the app SmartThings Find downloaded to track the tag as it speeds away out of your phone’s range.

The brand unveiled the bluetooth tags today by showing how it could be used to track a missing dog.

What would you use SmartTags to track? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Galaxy SmartTags can even be attached to your dog

Pet owners can clip the tag to their pet’s collar – and if little Fido goes missing, his location can be pinpointed using Samsung’s existing app SmartThings.

The brand is marketing the tags as a way to track your most treasured possessions, and syncing the items’ locations to Samsung phones.

The tags come in a range of colours to match the new Samsung S21, S21+ and Ultra smartphone line unveiled today.

The colour themes includes Phantom white, violet, grey and pink.

And the SmartTags also come in black too.

So far, Samsung UK is offering black and oatmeal SmartTags on its site only.

A smartphone user uses an app in their home to find a lost item attached to a Galaxy SmartTag devices
Samsung’s new Galaxy SmartTag tracker uses your phone’s bluetooth to find your lost keys

The brand is marketing the tags to track everyday items – like your laptop, bag, or keys.

But expect to see some light-hearted shenanigans once they are launched -and some questions around privacy too.

How long do you think it will take before users will test out track their spouses, or kids?

Samsung launched the new product on Thursday as it showed off its new Galaxy S21 phone and latest ear buds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, at its first Unpacked event of 2021.

It is the first major smartphone launch since rival Apple launched the iPhone 12 range late last year.

The SmartTags release sees Samsung pip Apple in the race to produce an everyday bluetooth-operated tracker.

Apple’s AirTags are said to have been in the works for years, but the product has not yet dropped.

GalaxyTags come hot on the heels of the success of Tiles – which some of you may already be familiar with.

Samsung presents a visual of four colours of its new Galaxy SmartTag tracking devices
The SmartTags come in a range of colours

Tile’s bluetooth accessories clip to other items so they can be tracked down if your phone is in range.

Users who have lost their device can search for the Tile using their smartphone, triggering the tag to play a loud tune.

If its out of range, it calls on an anonymised network of Tile users’ phones to help track the missing item.

So if someone with the Tile app goes past your missing item with the tracker attached, it will ping back their location to your phone so you can get hot on the trail.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra
The new Samsung range features Galaxy Ear Bud Pro too

The latest tech is very much in the vein of Apple’s now vintage Find my iPhone service, that allowed users to login and track lost and stolen devices.

But the tags, which Samsung will be hoping prove popular with the forgetful Average Joe smartphone user, expands on the idea by allowing tags to be attached to any item the owner holds dear.

So what would you attach yours to?

  • Read more and pre-order the new Samsung Galaxy SmartTag retailing at £29 here.





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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro True Wireless Earphones With ANC Launched


Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro true wireless earphones with intelligent active noise cancellation has been launched. The new earphones are the most premium and advanced true wireless headset from Samsung yet, and come with advanced features such as active noise cancellation, wireless charging, and IPX7 water resistance. The Galaxy Buds Pro are the successor to the Galaxy Buds Live, and have been launched alongside the Galaxy S21 series of smartphones at the Galaxy Unpacked event. Samsung’s new earphones will be available in three colours – violet, black, and silver – and feature adjustable levels of active noise cancellation.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are slated to go on sale in select markets from January 15 onwards, and are priced at $200 (approximately Rs. 14,600). While specific India availability and pricing isn’t available yet, it’s expected that the earphones will be priced at close to Rs. 20,000 in the country, and will likely go on sale in the coming days alongside the Galaxy S21 lineup.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro specifications and features

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has been designed to work best with Samsung Galaxy devices, including smartphones and tablets. A new ‘auto switch’ feature lets the earphones maintain a simultaneous connection with two Galaxy devices, to be able to switch as required, for example between a tablet for media and a smartphone for calls. When used with Galaxy devices, there is also 360 Audio with Dolby Head Tracking technology for a spatial audio experience that reacts to your head movements.

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earphones come in an in-canal fit design for better passive noise isolation to aid the active noise cancellation. This marks a significant change from the unique bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, which was met with some criticism for its odd design and lack of proper noise isolation. Each earpiece on the Galaxy Buds Pro has three microphones – two outer and one inner – along with a separate voice pickup unit.

All features of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro can be customised through the Galaxy Wearable companion app, which lets users adjust the equaliser, active noise cancellation settings, and more. Samsung states that there is intelligent active noise cancellation on the Galaxy Buds Pro, which can quickly switch between ANC and Ambient Sound mode, as well as reduce playback volume when the user speaks, similar to the speak-to-chat feature on the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is claimed to be up to 8 hours on the earpieces with active noise cancellation off, and 5 hours with it on. With the charging case, the total battery life is claimed to be up to 28 hours with ANC off and 18 hours with it on. There is fast USB Type-C charging, as well as Qi wireless charging for the case. The earpieces are IPX7-rated for water resistance.

For sound, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has a two-way driver system, combining an 11mm woofer with a 6.5mm tweeter within the driver casing. Connectivity is through Bluetooth 5, with codec support for SBC, AAC, and Samsung’s proprietary Scalable codec. When used with modern Samsung smartphones and tablets, the earphones will use the Scalable codec which promises better sound quality through high-bitrate audio transfer and improved latency levels.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Samsung Teaser Suggests Galaxy Buds Pro Could Launch on January 14


Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones could be unveiled on January 14, based on a teaser video posted by the company on Twitter. The rumoured Galaxy Buds Pro are likely to be announced alongside the flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone series, at the company’s Galaxy Unpacked event that will be live streamed alongside CES 2021. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are expected to be the company’s most expensive and feature-filled TWS earphones yet, and come only a few months after the launch of the Galaxy Buds Live.

While the event on January 14 will focus on the Galaxy S21 smartphone series, the cryptic teaser tweeted by Samsung suggests that an audio product will also be launched at the Galaxy Unpacked event. There’s no confirmation on the product itself, and the teaser only indicates an audio product and not specifically headphones or earphones. However, based on rumours and reports over the past few weeks, it’s likely that it could be the Galaxy Buds Pro.

Various reports have speculated on Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and at this stage it’s very easy to form a picture of what to expect from the finished product that could be launched on January 14. The Galaxy Buds Pro are expected to have an in-canal fit unlike the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live. There will also be active noise cancellation (ANC), along with other features such as gesture controls, app support, and Scalable Bluetooth codec support, that will give it an edge in sound quality when used with Samsung devices.

A recent report around the Galaxy Buds Pro suggests that the TWS earphones will be the most expensive yet from Samsung, and will be priced at $199 (approximately Rs. 14,600). Given that the Galaxy Buds Live are priced at Rs. 14,990 in India, the Galaxy Buds Pro could retail at closer to Rs. 20,000. This will put it in direct competition with Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 in the premium TWS segment.

Although Samsung Galaxy Buds Live were launched only recently, the company has likely brought forward the launch of Galaxy Buds Pro to address some of the issues with the former headset. Although unique looking, thanks to their bean-like earpiece shape, the Galaxy Buds Live’s strange fit makes for a sub-optimal fit and ANC. The sound quality wasn’t quite up to the mark either.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.





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Gadget

Bose Sport Open Earbuds With Unique Outer Ear Fit Launched


Bose Sport Open Earbuds have been launched. They come with a unique outer ear fit that lets the user clearly hear their surroundings along with the music. With a distinctive design that incorporates ear hooks and an earpiece that sits completely outside the ear canal, Bose Sport Open Earbuds are meant for users who may need to hear their surroundings while listening to music. The earbuds may come in handy for fitness focused as well as regular users in outdoor settings.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds price

Bose Sport Open Earbuds true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones have been listed for pre-orders in the US for $199.95 (roughly Rs. 14,600) and will start shipping on January 20. The company hasn’t announced any information on the earphones’ India pricing or availability yet. However, they can be expected to be launched in the country in the coming months, priced around the Rs. 20,000-mark.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds specifications, features

Bose Sport Open Earbuds feature TWS connectivity, with ear hooks to keep the earpieces stably in place when in use. What makes the Bose Sport Open Earbuds special is what Bose calls OpenAudio technology. This is a proprietary design that allows the user to hear the music from the earpieces that are placed outside and away from the ear canal. This ensures that the ear canal is entirely unblocked, allowing the listener to naturally hear their surroundings.

Although similar in design to bone conduction earphones, Bose’s implementation is claimed to offer a similar fit while avoiding the vibrating effect and tight fit that comes with bone-conduction technology. With Bose Sport Open Earbuds, the company promises a clean listening experience similar to the outer-ear fit made popular by Apple AirPods, but while leaving the ear canal completely unblocked for completely natural ambient sound.

Bose Sport Open Earbuds have a battery life of up to eight hours, and it’s worth noting here that the Bose Sport Open Earbuds don’t have a charging case that lets you charge the earpieces on the go. Instead, the earphones have a magnetic charging cradle, so you’ll only get up to eight hours of listening at a time. This may sound a bit strange, but the Bose Sport Open Earbuds are meant to be used only during workouts and not really as an all-purpose option for all-day listening.

Bose recently launched the QuietComfort Earbuds and Sport Earbuds in India, priced at Rs. 26,990 and Rs. 17,990, respectively. Both of these headsets feature a traditional in-canal fit, with Bose QuietComfort Earbuds additionally featuring active noise cancellation.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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The Best Active Noise Cancelling Headphones and Earphones [January 2021]


For anyone who regularly travels by air, active noise cancellation technology in headphones is a boon. This helps to reduce strain on your ears by blocking out the loud hum of the airplane engines, and it also makes it a lot easier to listen to audio through your headphones. Although the technology tends to work best in an airplane cabin, there are plenty of other use cases where it works as well, including on a commuter train or bus, in an office environment, or even at home to block out the hum from your ceiling fan or air conditioner.

Headphones that offer active noise cancellation aren’t typically affordable, and the best performance is priced at a premium. However, we’ve seen some recent launches that offer decent active noise cancellation at more reasonable prices. This feature also isn’t largely restricted to over-ear headphones anymore; we’ve seen some impressive in-ear and true wireless earphones with active noise cancellation recently. Here’s our list of the best active noise cancelling headphones and earphones that you can buy right now, updated in September 2020.

What is active noise cancellation?

Before we get to the list, we should start with an explanation of the technology itself, and how it works. Active noise cancellation functions by picking up the sounds of your surroundings and creating ‘reverse’ frequencies — the headphones emit sounds at the same amplitude but with an inverted phase compared to the original sound. This combines with the waves of the background sound, to form new waves in a process called ‘interference’, which effectively cancels out the sound going into your ears.

As a result, you hear less of the background ‘noise’, and in some cases with good active noise cancellation, you might hear nothing at all. It works best with sounds that are steady, since the microphones can pick up and reverse these frequencies easily without interfering with what you actually want to hear. Irregular sounds such as voices, honking, and anything that isn’t flat, won’t get cancelled by the system, and you’ll still be able to hear it. Therefore, active noise cancellation isn’t the same as sound-proofing; it simply reduces noise in certain environments.

For a more detailed explanation, check out our guide on getting started with active noise cancellation.

Why should you buy active noise cancelling headphones?

The best way to listen to music is with no other sounds in the background, so you can concentrate on what you’re listening to and pick up on fine details that might otherwise get drowned out. Unfortunately, and especially with headphones, this isn’t always possible; outside sounds will filter in and take away from the experience, no matter how good the passive noise isolation is. Noise cancellation aims to fix this by cutting out noises that can slip through even the best padding and isolation.

It’s also a good way to get some sleep in a noisy environment. Many frequent fliers swear by active noise cancelling headphones, but the technology works in many situations on the ground as well.

The best active noise cancelling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4

Once the best active noise cancelling headphones you could buy, the Sony WH-1000XM3 recently lost out to newer and better competition. However, Sony has now launched the WH-1000XM4, which sees the crown go back to the Japanese electronics specialist. Priced at Rs. 29,990, the Sony WH-1000XM4 combines excellent noise cancellation with class-leading wireless sound quality.

Although Sony has used the same noise cancelling processor on the WH-1000XM4 as on its predecessor, tweaks to the algorithm have made a small but noticeable difference that puts the headset largely on par with, and on occasion, even above the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 when it comes to the quality of the noise cancellation. Thanks to the excellent companion app, the level of noise cancellation and hear-through are adjustable, along with various other aspects of the headset.

sony wh 1000xm4 review main

Where the Sony truly triumphs is in audio quality; this is an insightful, detailed, and very entertaining pair of headphones that captures the essence of practically any track you play. Much of this is thanks to support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec, which lets the headphones extract as much as possible out of your audio tracks. It isn’t quite as insightful as the Shure Aonic 50, but is much more engaging, with more character.

Perhaps the only drawback of the Sony WH-1000XM4 is its lack of support for the Qualcomm aptX codec, which will impact sound quality when used with source devices that don’t support the LDAC codec. The Sony WH-1000XM4 gets everything else right, and is our new top pick among wireless active noise cancelling headphones.

 

Runner-up – ANC quality: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose is widely considered the leader when it comes to active noise cancellation on consumer headphones, and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is indeed among the best you can buy. Priced at Rs. 34,500, this is among the most effective and customisable active noise cancellation implementations we’ve heard on any headphones, offering the absolute starkness of complete silence, transparent ambient listening, or anything in between.

A key feature here is the ability to adjust the level of noise cancellation, so users can choose exactly how strong the effect is. Although we liked the starkness of the ‘level 10′ setting, we see the appeal of having ten adjustment points for people who might want to tone things down a notch and maintain some awareness of their surroundings.

bose noise cancelling headphones 700 review logo

We spent a lot of time using the ‘level 5′ setting since this gave us a bit of ambient awareness while still bringing noise levels down to a comfortable point. It’s most effective with loud droning sounds such as airplane engines, but it worked effectively even in everyday situations such as commuting, in the office, and at home. The level of quietness achieved was refreshing, and also helped us hear things such as dialogue in movies and TV shows more clearly, apart from making music more immersive and distraction-free.

The downside of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is that no advanced Bluetooth codecs are supported, which is a key consideration that puts the Sony WH-1000XM4 ahead for us. While sound quality is good, it falls short of the capabilities of many other competing options when it comes to detail and cohesiveness. Nonetheless, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is an excellent pick, purely based on the quality of its active noise cancellation.

 

Runner up – premium sound: Shure Aonic 50

Professional audio brand Shure is best known for its studio-grade equipment, but the Shure Aonic 50 is part of a new approach by the brand to appeal to retail consumers. Priced at Rs. 33,999, the Aonic 50 is a technically advanced wireless headset that offers everything you could want from a pair of high-end headphones.

There are two levels of active noise cancellation, which can be customised through a companion app for the headphones. A slider switch on the headphones lets you quickly move between ambient sound mode, active noise cancellation, and no effect, and the differences in sound are audible and distinct. The ‘Max’ level of noise cancellation is effective, but we found it a bit too stark; the ‘Normal’ level offered a more comfortable listening experience. Active noise cancellation is good on the whole, but just a bit short of the better all-round experience offered by the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Where the Shure Aonic 50 truly comes into its element is sound quality. With support for all major codecs including advanced options such as LDAC and Qualcomm aptX HD, along with excellent studio-grade tuning, the Shure Aonic 50 is the most analytical, revealing, and detailed pair of wireless headphones we’ve heard. It’s also built beautifully, and offers an exceptional all-round listening experience that combines modern features, technical superiority, and great sound.

 

Best true wireless noise cancelling earphones: Apple AirPods Pro

Till last year, the idea of good active noise cancellation combined with the true wireless form factor wasn’t considered realistic. However, various options have proven that it can be done, including the Apple AirPods Pro. Priced at Rs. 24,900, the Apple AirPods Pro offers effective and highly functional active noise cancellation despite the small size.

All of this is carried out by multiple microphones and Apple’s custom H1 chip, which processes data from the microphones to properly cancel out noise. Although the result naturally doesn’t come close to the stark silence of the Bose and Shure options, there is an audible reduction in noise which makes this a sensible option given its price and form factor. Another big pro is the transparency mode, which offers the most natural hear-through effect we’ve heard on any wireless headset.

To top it all off, the AirPods Pro sounds pretty good as well. These true wireless earphones from Apple are responsive, flexible, and consistent when it comes to sound quality, offering good performance across genres and source devices. Some functionality is limited to Apple’s own devices, but you can use the AirPods Pro effectively even with Windows PCs and Android devices.

 

Best mid-range noise cancelling headphones: Sony WH-CH710N

The successor to the Sony WH-CH700N, the WH-CH710N offers effective noise cancellation for less than Rs. 10,000. The noise cancellation isn’t anywhere near as effective and stark as with the premium options in this list, but it’s entirely usable and functional both indoors and outdoors.

Sound quality on the Sony WH-CH710N is decent as well, and you get class-leading battery life, with the headphones running for over 30 hours with active noise cancellation switched on in our tests. This is our top pick among wireless headphones priced under Rs. 10,000, and good noise cancellation is a big reason for it.

 

Best Affordable Noise Cancelling Headphones: Oppo Enco W51

Active noise cancellation on a budget has typically been far below the standards of even mid-range headsets with the feature, but things changed in 2020. A number of new headsets launched at reasonable prices with functional ANC, including the Oppo Enco W51. This Rs. 4,999 pair of true wireless earphones offers an all-round experience, with decent sound, and features such as wireless charging, and active noise cancellation.

Although still far behind the more capable noise cancelling experience offered by premium headsets such as the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3, the Oppo Enco W51 headphones are a step in the right direction, and offer excellent value for money. Average battery life and unreliable controls do hold these headphones back a bit, but the detailed and energetic sound does make up for this.

 

How we picked these noise cancelling headphones

We’ve limited our picks for this guide to what we consider the best options for active noise cancellation. While there are more affordable options available with the technology as well, we’ve chosen only the top-rated products in our primary picks, based on reviews and our experiences with them and this technology over the years.

Active noise cancellation is still an expensive technology, and the best options remain relatively pricey as compared to most ordinary headsets. Affordable options do exist, but don’t quite offer as good an experience in our opinion, and it may be better to save up and invest in a good option later, rather than simply buy into the technology with a sub-par headset.

Nonetheless, we have mentioned some of the other options in the category below. These may be available at lower prices and could be worth looking at if you’re on a tight budget.

sennheiser momentum true wireless 2 review earphones 2

Also consider

Sony WH-1000XM3: Still widely considered among the best wireless noise cancelling headphones around, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is unfortunately dated and not quite the top dog anymore. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is expected soon, and could well match up to the Bose and Shure options when it comes to both sound quality and active noise cancellation.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2: Purely on musicality and the listening experience, there’s no better pair of true wireless earphones you can buy right now than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. Good active noise cancellation is an added bonus.

Sony WF-1000XM3: Only recently launched in India, the Sony WF-1000XM3 brings its flagship-level active noise cancellation to the true wireless form factor. There’s also a promise of very good battery life with these earphones.

Realme Buds Wireless Pro: Although the ANC on this wireless neckband-style headset negatively affects sound quality, at Rs. 3,999, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is still among the best sounding pairs of earphones with the feature at the price.

Huawei Freebuds 3i: Priced at Rs. 9,990, the Huawei Freebuds 3i is the most affordable pair of true wireless earphones with active noise cancellation around (that we know of). You also get gesture controls and up to 3.5 hours of battery life on the earphones.


Why are smartphone prices rising in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Best True Wireless Earphones You Can Buy [January 2021]


As we enter 2021, the true wireless earphones segment has seen some big launches. Although Apple hasn’t launched anything new since the AirPods Pro, other brands such as Sennheiser and Sony have been hard at work. Apart from the high-profile launches, we’ve also seen affordable players such as Xiaomi enter the space in India, as well as some impressive options from brands such as JVC, Huawei, OnePlus, Vivo, and Realme, to name a few.

Although there’s definitely demand for high-end products, we’ve seen some big shifts in the affordable and mid-range segments as well. We have a new top pick in the mid-range segment, and some noteworthy new entrants in the premium space as well. Read on to find out what our current top picks are when it comes to the true wireless earphones space in India, updated in January 2021.

How do true wireless earphones work?

Up until the advent of true wireless technology, wireless headphones and earphones have had some kind of connector between the left and right channels, be it a wire or a headband. With true wireless earphones, even this short cable is gone, and each earbud features its own battery, DAC, amplifier and Bluetooth chip. The earbuds individually connect to the source device, or a dominant earbud that is connected to the source then also connects with the second earbud to provide the digital signal.

This way, each earphone is able to work independently, yet the two function together to ensure that the listener gets stereo sound output from the source device. The obvious advantage of this arrangement is the convenience of a completely wire-free listening experience, which improves comfort and ease of use. This is a boon in many usage scenarios, including while working out, in crowded places, on your commute, or when you want to use your earphones while lying down.

True wireless earphones often also include built-in microphones, which makes it possible to use them as hands-free devices with your smartphone. Provided the microphones are good enough to pick up sound over a slightly longer distance, this makes true wireless earphones the most discreet and effective way to have call conversations on the move. And while the additional components may make the earbuds a bit heavier than typical earphones, many new options have compact, light-weight designs that are comfortable and don’t rely on winged tips or ear hooks to stay in place in your ears.

Best true wireless earphones: Apple AirPods Pro

Our favourite true wireless headset you can buy today is the Apple AirPods Pro. Yes, it’s expensive at ₹ 24,900. However, for that price, you get features and sound quality that, in our opinion, are unmatched in the segment. The AirPods Pro is a big improvement over previous AirPods and competing headsets, thanks to one big feature – active noise cancellation. This makes the headset a lot more useful than most other true wireless options, and improves your ability to hear the sound even in the noisiest of environments. There’s also Transparency mode, which lets in outside and ambient sound in the most natural sounding way we’ve heard on any earphones to date. We found the sound to be engaging, immersive, and clean.

Much of the improvements in these earphones can be credited to the in-ear fit, which makes for better noise isolation and a more immersive listening experience. The AirPods Pro is also incredibly flexible, and is able to adjust to different tracks on the fly for a comfortable, yet entertaining sound. As expected, the AirPods are meant to be used with Apple devices and work best if you have an iPhone or iPad. That isn’t to say they won’t work on Android smartphones or computers, but certain features will only work with an Apple iOS device. But regardless of what device you use it with, the AirPods Pro is an easy and engaging pair of true wireless earphones.

Buy: AirPods Pro

 

Best under ₹ 15,000: Jabra Elite 75t

Danish audio manufacturer Jabra is best known for its professional audio headsets, but its consumer range is equally good and often underrated. One of its newest products in India is the Jabra Elite 75t, which is a premium true wireless headset priced at ₹ 14,999.

Although the Jabra Elite 75t doesn’t quite match the AirPods Pro, it does give the regular AirPods (2nd Gen) a run for their money thanks to a more secure in-canal fit. There’s no aptX or LDAC Bluetooth codec support, but AAC means the sound will be good enough regardless of what source device you use. The sonic signature is bass-heavy, but the sound is clear, crisp, and very enjoyable. As with other Jabra products, voice call quality is excellent on the Jabra Elite 75t, making this one of the best pairs of true wireless earphones to own if you spend a lot of time on the phone.

Although the Jabra Elite 75t didn’t have active noise cancellation at launch, the company has impressively managed to roll out the feature through a software update. This makes the Jabra Elite 75t among the best true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 15,000, giving options such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Sony WF-1000XM3 strong competition in the sub-Rs. 15,000 price segment.

Buy: Jabra Elite 75t

 

Best under Rs. 10,000: Lypertek Tevi

If you haven’t heard of Lypertek before, we’re not surprised. This small and relatively unknown brand is making waves in audiophile circles with the Tevi, its first pair of true wireless earphones. Priced at Rs. 6,999, the Lypertek Tevi is our current top pick of true wireless earphones priced under Rs. 10,000, thanks to the balanced and natural sound on offer.

Much of the credit for the good sound quality goes to support for the aptX Bluetooth codec, along with excellent tuning that favours detail over excessive thump and power. The resulting sound is clean, enjoyable, and as natural as you can expect on a pair of earphones priced under Rs. 10,000. 

Apart from delivering excellent sound quality, the Lypertek Tevi looks decent, has great battery life, and is IPX7 rated for water resistance, making this perhaps the best all-round pair of true wireless earphones you can buy right now. If your budget is lower than Rs. 10,000, there isn’t a better true wireless headset you can buy than the Lypertek Tevi right now.

Buy: Lypertek Tevi

Best true wireless earphones for battery life: Samsung Galaxy Buds+

While true wireless earphones are extremely convenient, battery life is still a bit of a pain point; the small size of the earphones makes it hard to put large enough batteries into them. However, Samsung appears to have made some progress on this front with the Galaxy Buds+. 

The successor to last year’s Galaxy Buds, these earphones also happen to be the best option to buy if you own a modern Samsung smartphone, thanks to support for the Scalable Bluetooth codec. Improvements in the drivers makes this an excellent sounding headset for ₹ 13,990.

samsung galaxy buds plus review open case

With the earbuds offering an impressive 11 hours of use per charge in our testing, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ is the only headset in our list capable of true all-day, uninterrupted listening. The charging case offers just one additional top-up to the earphones, but this is entirely acceptable given the long run the earphones themselves are capable of.

Buy: Samsung Galaxy Buds+

 

Best true wireless earphones under Rs. 5,000: Oppo Enco W51

Priced at Rs. 4,999, the Oppo Enco W51 is our new top pick in this price segment for one big reason – functional active noise cancellation on true wireless earphones at a previously unimaginable price. Although the quality of the active noise cancellation is nowhere near as good as you’d get with more expensive options, it’s good enough to make the listening experience a bit cleaner and easier. 

oppo enco w51 review in case 2

Interestingly, you also get Qi wireless charging for the case, IP54 dust and water resistance, and sound quality that is cohesive, energetic, and detailed. The Oppo Enco W51 earphones are also comfortable and pretty good for voice calls. Although slightly let down by average battery life and strange touch controls, the pros largely outweigh the cons with the Oppo Enco W51. This is the true wireless headset you should buy if you’re on a tight budget.

 

How we picked the best true wireless earphones

We’ve reviewed or used a wide range of true wireless headphones, including popular options from major electronics manufacturers, as well as options from traditional audio brands that have been in the business of making headphones and earphones for many years. We also took into account specifications, codec support and price to come up with our top recommendations.

True wireless earphones form a relatively new product segment, and we’ve had a chance to test most of the new options. Apart from the earphones themselves, we’ve also paid attention to the charging cases that come with these options. The cases usually offer additional battery backup, and also make for a convenient and safe way to carry your earphones when not in use. With all of these points in mind, we’ve selected our list of top recommendations, as well as other options to look out for as listed below.

Also consider these true wireless earphones

Huawei Freebuds 3i: Priced at ₹ 9,990, the recently launched Huawei Freebuds 3i is one of the most affordable true wireless earphones to come with active noise cancellation. The three-microphone system also promises better performance on voice calls.

OnePlus Buds Z: Priced at Rs. 2,999 gets almost everything right, making this the most impressive pair of true wireless earphones you can buy on a budget. USB Type-C fast charging is a particularly impressive feature for less than Rs. 3,000.

Sony WF-1000XM3: At ₹ 20,000, Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM3 offers the absolute best active noise cancellation you can find on a pair of true wireless earphones. Sound quality is good, but not quite as good as what Apple and Sennheiser have to offer.

Realme Buds Air Pro: Realme’s latest true wireless earphones are also its most impressive yet, offering active noise cancellation, app support, and good sound for less than Rs. 5,000. Although not quite as good as the Oppo Enco W51, this is a solid pair of earphones for the price nonetheless.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2: If you have an Android smartphone to take advantage of the aptX Bluetooth codec, this is the absolute best-sounding pair of true wireless earphones that you can buy right now. It’s expensive, though, at ₹ 24,990.

1More ColorBuds: With aptX codec support and balanced armature drivers, the 1More ColorBuds is among the better sounding true wireless earphones at under Rs. 10,000. There are some connectivity issues, and the app needs some improvement.


Buying a budget TV online? We discussed how you can pick the best one, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Zebronics Zeb-Monk Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Earphones Review


Affordable audio brand Zebronics has been around for a long time, and has a strong position in both the online and offline markets with a presence on e-commerce retailers and in small electronics stores. The company seems to have a good idea of what works in India and what doesn’t, particularly when it comes to affordable audio products such as headphones, earphones, and speakers. One of Zebronics’ newest products in India is the Zeb-Monk, a wireless in-ear headset priced below Rs. 3,000.

Although there are plenty of neckband-style options at this price, what makes the Zeb-Monk special is the inclusion of one key feature: active noise cancellation. This is among the most affordable wireless headsets I’ve come across with ANC, and I’ve been keen to see just how well the Zeb-Monk works, considering its price. Read on to find out everything you need to know about these wireless earphones in our review.

Zebronics is a familiar name in the business of affordable audio, and the Zeb-Monk is among the most affordable wireless headsets with ANC today

 

Design and build quality are less than ideal on the Zebronics Zeb-Monk

There was a time when affordable wireless earphones were pretty basic, but the last couple of years have brought us some impressive options that offer great design and build quality even on a budget, such as the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z. The Zebronics Zeb-Monk doesn’t quite match up to those standards; this is quite an ordinary-looking pair of earphones.

With plain, dull plastic on the earpieces and neckband, the Zebronics Zeb-Monk feels a bit cheap to hold and touch, and even the Zebronics logo on the left side of the neckband seemed to be fading before I had even started using this headset. The earpieces latch together magnetically, but this is only for easy storage and doesn’t control the power as on some headsets. Although it looks and feels ordinary, the Zeb-Monk is a comfortable headset with a decent fit and good passive noise isolation.

The right side has physical buttons for power and active noise cancellation, a touch sensor that controls the volume, and a Micro-USB port for charging. This is quite disappointing considering that many options that cost much less now come with USB Type-C. The sales package includes a total of three pairs of silicone ear tips and a charging cable.

The touch sensor for volume adjustment is strangely complicated to use; a double-tap increases the volume by one small increment at a time, while touching and holding the sensor quickly lowers the volume. This was confusing and quite frustrating to operate, and the Zeb-Monk would have been better off with regular buttons to change the volume.

The Zebronics Zeb-Monk uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, with support for only the SBC codec. There are 12mm dynamic drivers, and the headset is claimed to be splash-proof, but doesn’t have a listed IP rating. As mentioned, there is active noise cancellation on the earphones. I was able to use the Zebronics Zeb-Monk for around 6-7 hours of mixed usage on a single charge, with ANC on most of the time. This isn’t very good, even considering the price and features.

Sound is quite plain on the Zebronics Zeb-Monk

I’ve heard some pretty decent-sounding wireless headphones and earphones priced below Rs. 5,000, and the Zeb-Monk is unfortunately not among the best in the segment when it comes to sound quality. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it bad, it’s best described as ordinary and entirely plain. I used the earphones with Android and iOS smartphones as well as a MacBook Air to stream music, watch videos, and answer phone calls.

The earphones sound closer to what you’d expect from a much more affordable pair such as the Redmi SonicBass wireless earphones, with just the presence of active noise cancellation to try and justify the additional cost. ANC does help make music a bit easier to listen to by cutting out some background sound, but without support for the AAC Bluetooth codec or proper tuning, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

Whether listening to high-resolution music on Tidal or compressed streams on Spotify and YouTube Music, the Zebronics Zeb-Monk sounded the same, as would be expected from any headset that uses just the SBC Bluetooth codec. This also meant that there wasn’t too much detail to be heard, even with nuanced and elaborate tracks such as Truth by Kamasi Washington. The soundstage wasn’t very wide, just about managing to keep up with the interplay between the two channels.

zebronics zeb monk review remote Zebronics

The Zeb-Monk has touch controls for volume, but it’s a rather complicated system that I didn’t find productive

 

That aside, there was always a sense of roughness to the sound, particularly in the lows. Although the Zebronics Zeb-Monk is tuned to amplify the bass and treble in a typical V-shaped sonic signature, there was just a hint of audible harmonic distortion in the lowest frequencies, giving the sound a somewhat unpleasant grunt. This was particularly noticeable in the drums and double-bass elements in Truth.

While well-engineered tracks such as Truth managed to hide the Zeb-Monk’s flaws to some extent, its lack of depth was quite easily revealed in tracks from popular genres. Your Love by Mark Knight was loud and punchy, but the narrow soundstage and unrefined, plain sonic signature brought out none of the excitement and feel in this track that I’ve often enjoyed on good headphones and earphones.

Active noise cancellation for less than Rs. 3,000 is the main promise that got my attention, and while it isn’t quite as good on the Zeb-Monk as on the slightly more expensive Realme Buds Wireless Pro, it wasn’t bad by any means. There was a gentle reduction in typical background household sounds such as ceiling fans and air conditioners, and this made it a bit easier to listen to music and dialogue in videos. It didn’t sound as natural, although it also didn’t affect sound quality, as it does on the Realme headset.

Bluetooth connection quality and stability were decent enough on the Zebronics Zeb-Monk, but call quality was poor. Voices sounded rough and were sometimes unclear, and I had to switch to my smartphone’s earpiece on a couple of occasions. There’s no environmental noise cancellation, and weak microphones meant that I couldn’t be heard on the other end of the call clearly enough.

zebronics zeb monk review earpieces Zebronics

Although ANC is functional, sound quality is very plain on the Zebronics Zeb-Monk

 

Verdict

Although usable active noise cancellation at this price is a feature worth noting, the Zebronics Zeb-Monk offers very little beyond this. With a plain design, strangely complicated controls, ordinary build quality, below-average battery life, and unexciting sound, these earphones don’t have too much going for them. There just isn’t much appeal in the Zeb-Monk beyond its signature feature.

If you’re firm on a budget of Rs. 3,000 and insist on having active noise cancellation, the Zebronics Zeb-Monk fits the bill. However, I’d recommend the Realme Buds Wireless Pro, which is objectively better in every way for just Rs. 1,000 more. If you absolutely don’t want to spend more, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z is an excellent option priced at Rs. 1,999 in terms of sound quality and features, provided you’re willing to give ANC a skip.


Which are the best truly wireless earphones under Rs. 10,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Samsung Galaxy A32 5G Spotted in Bluetooth SIG Listing


Samsung Galaxy A32 5G has been spotted on Bluetooth SIG website after showing up on several other certification sites. This suggests that the launch of the phone could be near. However, Samsung has still not shared any details about the rumoured phone. The Bluetooth SIG listing doesn’t share any specifications of the Galaxy A32 5G, except that it will come with Bluetooth 5.0 support. But previous leaks suggest that the phone could come with a quad rear camera setup and 15W fast charging support.

Tipster Mukul Sharma fist spotted the Bluetooth SIG listing for the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, which shows that the phone will come with Bluetooth 5.0. The listing shows three model numbers — SM-A326B_DS, SM-A326B, and SM-A326BR_DS — and all of them have the product name Galaxy A32 5G. Besides this, the listing does not give away anything else about the phone.

Earlier this month, the rumoured Galaxy A32 5G was spotted in US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and HTML5 test listings that showed that the phone will come with NFC and 15W fast charging support, and run on Android 11 out of the box.

Additionally, alleged renders of the Galaxy A32 5G shared by known tipster Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka OnLeaks, showed a quad rear camera setup, a tiny notch for the selfie camera, a USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There seems to be no camera bump as per the renders and the sensors appear to sit flush with the back panel. The phone is also tipped to feature a 6.5-inch display and measure 164.2×76.1×9.1mm.


Will iPhone 12 mini become the affordable iPhone we’ve been waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

 





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Eufy Announces Bluetooth Enabled Smart Weighing Scale C1 in India


Eufy has announced a Bluetooth enabled ‘Smart Weighing Scale C1′ in India that has 12 types of health measurements such as weight, body fat, BMI, water, BMR, visceral fat, body fat mass, lean body mass, bone mass, muscle mass, and muscle. The weighing scale from Eufy (a sub-brand of Anker) is aimed to help users track fitness, monitor health, and achieve health and fitness goals. It will be available for purchase in the country starting January 2021. As per the company, the Eufy Smart Weighing Scale C1 is designed to motivate users to keep going and staying fit.

Smart Weighing Scale C1 price, availibilty

Smart Weighing Scale C1 is priced at Rs. 1,699. It will be available for purchase in India from January 2021 via Flipkart and retail stores. The weighing scale will be offered in black and white finish. It comes with 15 months warranty.

Smart Weighing Scale C1 features

The weighing scale can store up to 100 readings, as per the company. It can be connected via Bluetooth to the Eufy Home app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play. Once connected to your smartphone, the data recorded syncs to the Eufy Home app. Users can track the health trends of up to 16 users from one account, with users having their own profiles.

As per the company, the Smart Weighing Scale C1 is built with a pair of ‘super sensitive’ G-shaped sensors that ensure more precise measurements compared to other sensor types. The smart scale comes with an ITO coating layer on the surface, which Eufy claims is to ensure precise measurements every time a user steps on to the device.

The weighing scale has anti-slip topcoat to ensure stability and rounded corners so that users don’t hurt their bare feet easily, as per Eufy. The device also supports third party apps such as Apple Health, Google Fit and Fitbit.


Is Mi QLED TV 4K the best affordable smart TV for enthusiasts? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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