If you peruse our Winter 2018 Most Wanted audio guide (and you should — good stuff in there), you'll notice an unfortunate trend. With few exceptions, manufacturers of wireless audio gear seem timid about adopting USB Type-C charging. So I was excited to get my hands on the Rowkin Ascent Charge: they're fully wireless earbuds whose case is decked out with not only the increasingly standard USB-C, but also Qi wireless charging. And after using the buds for a couple of weeks, I like them a lot, but a few grating flaws are stopping me from loving them. Read More
True wireless earbuds have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last couple of years as the products have reached a price point and level of quality that make them viable purchases for mainstream consumers. The IFA 2018 show floor was packed with new models from various brands, and I’ve already reviewed two products in the category in the last couple of months.
The Earin M–2 ($249) and Master & Dynamic MW07 ($299) were both premium products with hefty price tags, but now it’s time to try something a little easier on the wallet. AI company Mobvoi is best known for its TicWatch smartwatches, but it has previous experience with audio, too. Read More
As the 3.5mm headphone jack slowly descends into the freezing cold waters of the past, our audio options for most high-end Android phones are limited to three. We can use and subsequently lose the adapter, get some USB-C headphones, or we can ditch the wires altogether. Bluetooth earbuds inelegantly attached to one another by a wire just won’t do any longer; true wireless earbuds are where it's at right now.
Apple’s AirPods have acted as a blueprint for other manufacturers, but none has yet perfected the form and function of this fledgling product category. It’s now Master & Dynamic’s turn to try. Read More
As headphone jacks keep dying off, wireless headphones keep being relevant. And unless you're at peace with wrangling dongles, that means the average price of decent earbuds is rising. The days of swinging by Target on your way to the airport to grab a passable pair of $10 buds are numbered. C'est la vie.
Jaybird is aware of the rising cost of mobile audio accessories, though, which is why it's introduced the Tarah, a more affordable take on its X series of headphones with fewer bells and whistles. And while I applaud the company's initiative in introducing an entry-level Bluetooth headset to its lineup, at $99.99, the Tarah are plainly too expensive for what you get. Read More
A confession: I gave up on my previous pair of Bluetooth earbuds, Jaybird's own X2, after about a year. It wasn't their fault; they sounded good, they were comfortable, and the battery lasted long enough. But keeping the things charged (with microUSB, no less — yuck) and juggling connections became a chore. I gave them away and cozied up to a pair of no-name wired buds. Once I got a Pixel 2, I was living the dongle life.
After spending a week with the Jaybird X4, though, I'm reminded of what I was missing. By virtue of being wireless, they're miles ahead of any wired earbuds for exercising — they don't catch on gym equipment and pop out. Read More
Smart displays aren't for everyone. They're not exactly tablets, but they look like ones and are both less and more useful, depending on how you look at them. With far superior sound and always listening mics, they act as a smart speaker for your home; but without real apps or a fully functional browser, you hit some roadblocks while using them and wish they could do just a little bit more.
Over the past few months, every time I've read someone compare Smart Displays to crippled tablets, I've had the same reply: I want one because it would work for me. Read More
I'll be honest - when we were first contacted about checking the new Tribit X-Boom out, I wasn't expecting much from it. I had never heard of the company, and the design looked a little cartoonish. On top of all that, the $69.99 price tag was much lower than competing models from companies like UE and JBL. But after using it, I've learned that the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" is quite appropriate here.
Don't get me wrong; the X-Boom isn't perfect. I still think that the design is a bit odd, and it's pretty barren in terms of features. Read More
Swedish company Earin was one of the frontrunners in developing true wireless earbuds, releasing the M–1 back in 2015. That first generation product had its fair share of issues, ranging from unreliable Bluetooth connectivity to unsatisfactory battery life. The startup that was recently acquired by Will.i.am brand i.am+ is now back with a follow-up it hopes will rectify some of those complaints. Read More
Along with the three BackBeat Fit models that I reviewed a few days ago, Plantronics announced on Monday two new Go headsets: the in-ear Go 410 and the over-ear Go 810. The governing idea behind the two units is to bring wireless noise cancelation to the masses at a more affordable price. The company says it conducted studies with users and came away with the conclusion that 28% are looking for noise cancelation in their headsets, but 65% of them won't pay more than $150 for that. That seems about right, as I don't imagine many users have the spare cash to pay $300 or more for a pair of earbuds or headphones. Read More
I've owned and reviewed plenty of Bluetooth headsets over the years, but the brand I keep coming back to again and again is Plantronics. The company balances quality, sound, and price very well and has produced some of my favorite and most-used earbuds. For years, you couldn't see me anywhere without the red BackBeat Go 2 draped around my neck as I listened to podcasts while walking, doing chores, shopping, and more. But it was the BackBeat Fit that stole my heart. It was the perfect sports headphones and after four years of 2-3 weekly runs and gym sessions, it still looks like I bought it yesterday. Read More