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TicPods Free review: Capable true wireless earbuds that won't break the bank

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.

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[Deal Alert] Today only, snag an Oontz Angle 3 Ultra Bluetooth speaker for just $27 ($13 off)

When considering a Bluetooth speaker, there are a few criteria you're probably looking for. Ideally, it should sound great, be easy to transport, and last long enough on a charge. Cambridge Soundworks' Oontz Angle 3 Ultra seems to hit all those marks with the added benefit of having a very silly name, and today, it's only $26.99 on Amazon.

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[Deal Alert] Grab the Bose SoundWear Companion wearable Bluetooth speaker for $250 ($50 off)

Somewhere between dedicated speakers and headphones, there exists the curious breed of wearable Bluetooth speakers. They look like those neck support pillows people wear on airplanes, but they pump out sound in the immediate vicinity of your noggin. Now, one of the pricier models, Bose's SoundWear Companion, is on sale for $249.95 — $50 off its usual $299.95.

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Jaybird X4 review: Great earbuds without much new to offer

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.

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Master & Dynamic MW07 are premium true wireless earbuds with beryllium drivers and USB-C for $299

Perhaps not that well known outside certain circles, New York brand Master & Dynamic creates audio products with a focus on high-end materials and expressive design. Such luxury does not come cheap, with their headline wireless speaker, designed by Sir David Adjaye, selling for an eye-watering $1,800. The MW07 are the company's first true wireless earbuds, and thankfully they won't be quite so pricey.

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Qualcomm aptX Adaptive is the newest attempt to improve Bluetooth audio

Qualcomm is looking to tackle some of the issues with Bluetooth audio with its new aptX Adaptive codec. Its key feature is that it dynamically adjusts to what you're consuming, which should not only improve audio quality overall, but also reduce latency in A/V content like videos and games. 

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Tempow's multi-speaker Bluetooth tech on the Keecker Android robot teases big connected-home ambitions

Last year at IFA we took a look at the then-new Moto X4, checking out (among other features) its Wireless Sound System from Tempow, allowing it to sync audio across multiple Bluetooth speakers or headphones at the same time. This week we got to learn about the next evolution of Tempow's system, TAP Smart, shown off with the help of the Android-powered Keecker home robot.

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Google's hardware 2FA Titan Security Keys available starting today for $50 at the Google Store

If you're conscious of your own digital security in the modern era, then odds are you use two/multi-factor authentication to secure your more important accounts, but not all methods are equal. If you're especially concerned about privacy or in a "high value" position, in security terms, hardware-based keys are the better choice, as they offer additional protections against things like phishing attacks. And starting today, those invested heavily into Google's ecosystem can pick up the previously announced Titan Security Keys over on the Google Store.

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Android P fixes Xbox One S Bluetooth button mapping issues — at least for some controllers

A couple years back, Microsoft released a Bluetooth-compatible version of its Xbox One controller, further cementing the company's game controller dominance. But when it came to using one with an Android device, there was a big catch: button mapping was broken compared to other controllers. According to a recent change on Google's bug tracker, that problem has been resolved in Android P.

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[Deal Alert] Bose QuietControl 30 Bluetooth earphones down to $250 at several retailers ($50 off)

If you're looking for high-end Bluetooth audio accessories, most people think of Bose and for good reason. Sales on the company's products aren't too frequent, but another has popped up right after the QC35 II from this past weekend. The QuietControl 30 earphones are down $250 at various retailers, including Bose itself, Amazon, Best Buy, and so on.

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