Android Police

Audio Reviews

7

Aipower Wearbuds review: Halfway to a good product

True wireless Bluetooth earbuds were introduced in 2014 by the likes of the Bragi Dash and later popularized by the Apple Airpods. Since then, we've seen incremental developments like fitness tracking on the Jabra Elite Active 65T and wireless charging on the Samsung Galaxy Buds, but the form factor has essentially remained the same — a pair of earbuds stored inside a charging case that goes in your pocket. Aipower, a sub-brand of Aukey, is looking to shake things up with the Aipower Wearbuds (that recently went live on Kickstarter) by combining true wireless earbuds with a wrist-based fitness tracker.

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21

Review: Jabra's Elite 85h noise-cancelling headphones are winners

Noise-cancelling headphones are popular among business travelers, those in loud, open office spaces, and frequent commuters for a reason: they make life just a little bit less stressful. But good ones remain a product largely aimed at those with a good amount to spend - Bose and Sony's popular models retail for $300 and $350, respectively. The new Jabra 85h are priced to match Bose's jetsetter staple (seriously, the number of QC35s you'll see in business class cabins on airplanes is crazy), but have already dropped to $250 in promo sales.

While matching or even undercutting Bose for price, Jabra's headphones offer noticeably superior noise cancellation in most situations, better audio, and much better battery life.

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46

Huawei makes the best $99 wireless earbuds you can’t buy in the US

Say you’re in the market for some wireless earbuds and you have a Benjamin to spend. You don’t need noise cancellation, but want good sound quality. What do you buy? There are several choices out there, including OnePlus’ much hyped $99 Bullets Wireless 2. But I’m here to tell you that there’s one unassuming product that stands out—a better device than the Bullets Wireless 2—and it’s not officially available in the US. It’s the $99 Huawei FreeLace.

I didn’t set out to review the FreeLace. I was given a pair at Huawei’s launch event in Paris last March alongside my P30 Pro and P30 review units, just like I received Bullets Wireless 2 as part of my OnePlus 7 Pro media kit.

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31

The Soundcore Liberty Neo finally bring decent audio to cheap true wireless earbuds

Only two months have passed since we reviewed the Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds and now we’re taking a look at — or listen to — the Liberty Neo. Neither set is to be confused with the Liberty earbud range from another Anker sub-brand called Zolo. Why Soundcore needs two distinct but similarly priced models is the first question I pondered. The Liberty Neo (MSRP $60/£58) and Liberty Air (MSRP $80/£80) both feature graphene-coated drivers, Bluetooth 5, and IPX5 sweat resistance, but there are also a few key differences to justify the separate SKUs and price variance.

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4

Moshi's Avanti C hybrid 3.5mm/Type-C headphones are worth the steep asking price

For those of us that prefer wired headphones, or who merely can't tolerate the bugginess of Bluetooth on many Android phones, there aren't a lot of USB Type-C choices out there — especially if you don't want noise canceling. Moshi's new Avanti C checks the right boxes, though. There's no charging, no Bluetooth, and no ANC. What you do get is good audio, nice build quality, and dongle-free wired compatibility with 3.5mm and USB Type-C sources. Moshi thinks that's worth $200, and I agree.

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130

Samsung's excellent Galaxy Buds hit all the right notes at the right price

True wireless earbuds are big business these days, and they’re especially popular since Apple released its to-be-seen-with AirPods. Samsung's first attempt at this product category in 2016 was a little disappointing, but the updated Gear IconX that came out the following year offered improved battery life, a redesigned case, and better connectivity. The $200 price tag was too high for what you got, but frequent discounts made them a slightly more viable prospect.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Samsung is back with its latest iteration. Galaxy Buds is already a far more appealing and marketable name. They also cost much less than their predecessors at $130, even undercutting the AirPods by a full $30.

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74

Moshi's combo USB-C audio & power dongle is a must-buy for charging while listening — especially in the car

I will never change my opinion when it comes to the headphone jack: Taking it away was a terrible, consumer-unfriendly decision. Thanks to Google, Essential, OnePlus, and other OEMs, that means I have to work a bit harder to accommodate new devices into my firmly, happily tangled life, and one of the most annoying sacrifices up until now was using my phone in the car. The standalone Android Auto app actually works great just on your phone's screen, but having to choose between charging and audio was a major bummer.

Thanks to Moshi's power/3.5mm splitter dongle, that's not an issue for me anymore.

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52

Harman Kardon Citation One review: The high-end Google Home you’ve been waiting for

In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.

The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more.

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1

Marshall Stanmore II review: A powerful but pricey Assistant speaker

You are no longer stuck with a few Google-branded speaker options if you want to invite Assistant into your home. There are speakers from JBL, Sony, and many others—including Marshall. The updated Marshall Stanmore II speaker launched recently, and it looks like a feasible alternative to Google's best-in-class Home Max. It combines classic Marshall styling with modern voice assistant features, but it comes with a steep $400 asking price.

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34

Aukey B60 Bluetooth earbuds review: USB-C charging and best-in-class comfort on the cheap

It's a bummer, but wireless audio gadget manufacturers seem reluctant to adopt the USB-C charging port found on most new phones, tablets, and even laptops. Otherwise exciting earbuds like the Soundcore Liberty Air and Jaybird Tarah Pro are still shipping with increasingly outdated microUSB ports — or worse, proprietary charging solutions. So it's great to see that Aukey's affordable B60 buds — significantly cheaper than both former sets — feature the one port to rule them all, especially since so many other things about them are so darn good.

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