We've all been in a video conference where background noise coming from someone's microphone ruined the entire conversation. Although this is easily solved by going on mute, the problem persists if the participant needs to speak. Thankfully, Google announced a noise cancellation feature for Meet, preventing the attendees from hearing unwanted background, back in April. After the company already rolled out the feature to most G Suite Enterprise users, it plans on bringing the feature to more G Suite organizations in more markets.
Noise-canceling headphones are gaining in popularity during lockdown, as they isolate from unwanted noise and help remain focused on work. Sadly, many of these cost at least $150, which can be too steep for most people, especially if they seldom need to use them. Thankfully, Anker's Soundcore Life 2 headphones are currently available for just $40, making them very affordable and a smart purchase given the current context.
The active noise-canceling headphone market has been booming lately, with commendable options from the likes of Sony, Jabra, and Microsoft — not to mention Bose, which has practically defined the product category for years. If you want the best, though, you'll have to pay: it's not uncommon for high-end ANC cans to run $200 or more. Mpow's H5 noise-canceling headphones can't compete with the big guys, but at $50, they're not trying to — and they're probably just right for a lot of people.
Last year, Bose revealed a unique new product called the "sleepbuds," a pair of white noise-generating earphones that help users to fall asleep. It was quite a divisive product when it launched, given that they paired with a phone but still couldn't even play music. In fact, most of us here at Android Police thought they were kind of ridiculous. After being on the market for only 16 months, Bose is now discontinuing the sleepbuds.
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.
Bose is known for making high-end audio gear. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that its latest fully wireless earbuds cost $250. What is a little surprising, though, is that the new "revolutionary noise-masking sleepbuds" (sleepbuds is one word, lowercase) can't play music. These pricey, battery-powered, Bluetooth-connected earphones are made solely to drown out noise and help you sleep, and they literally can't do anything else.
Over-ear Bluetooth headphones are a dime a dozen these days, but great ones that also offer noise canceling and high-quality audio are few and far between. Sony's MDR-1000X is one of these but its $399.99 price is enough to give anyone pause. However, it's now being discounted $102 thus making it $298, its lowest price yet.
The MDR-1000X is often mentioned each time we talk about the Bose QC35 and other expensive noise canceling headphones, because it falls in the same league and offers one clear advantage over its competitors: LDAC support. In layman terms, LDAC lets you transmit high-quality audio files (24-bit, 96kHz) quickly enough over Bluetooth, but if you're interested in learning more about it, you can check out this explainer from Android Authority.