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Audio Reviews

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Master & Dynamic MW07 review: Exceptional sounding true wireless earbuds, but probably too pricey for most

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.

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Jaybird Tarah review: Not enough bang for your hundred bucks

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.

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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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JBL Link View review: Great sound from JBL, but Smart Displays still have a long way to go

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.

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Tribit X-Boom review: An incredible-sounding Bluetooth speaker for the money

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.

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Earin M–2 review: Great sounding low-latency earbuds, but not without a few compromises

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.

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Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 and 810 review: Active noise cancelation at more affordable prices

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.

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Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100, 2100, and 350 quick review: Sports earbuds done right

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.

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Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 review: Great sound, excellent value

Back at CES, I had the chance to chat with Optoma about what we could expect from the NuForce brand this year. I was promised that something good was in the works and that it would be worth the wait. So when the BE Sport4 arrived on my doorstep, some six months after I got home from Vegas, I was pretty excited to see if the wait had, indeed, been worth it.

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Razer Hammerhead USB-C earphones review: Best bang for your buck

With more and more phones dropping the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack, one might have hoped that more USB-C accessories, notably earphones, would have appeared by now. Sadly, the market of reliable, trustworthy options is still quite small and the ones you do find aren't cheap. If you own a Pixel 2 XL, for instance, you probably understand how frustrating the dongle situation can be... if you can even get one at time of writing.

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