Trending February 2024 # Airpods Review Roundup: Weird Looks, Okay Sound, Really Clever Tech # Suggested March 2024 # Top 3 Popular

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Here, however, we found greater agreement. Everyone was impressed by the instant pairing and by the intelligence in the AirPods – like auto-pausing when you remove them from your ear. Most people seem to agree that the sound quality is distinctly average but acceptable to most. And there’s also widespread agreement that the look is definitely on the dorky side …

Business Insider describes them as ‘a mixed bag,’ with Siri control the greatest drawback.

They fit nicely in my ears, they sound fine, and Apple finally solved the annoying Bluetooth pairing process. I also enjoyed having a new way to communicate with Siri.

At the same time, a lot about the AirPods make it apparent that this is a version one product, especially when it comes to controlling your music […] Unlike Apple’s wired EarPods, there’s no dongle for controlling your music, answering calls, or adjusting the volume. That means you have to do everything through Siri or directly on your phone. It’s easily the biggest drawback to the AirPods, and it will likely be a deal breaker for many unless Apple comes up with a software fix between now and launch.

Let’s take volume control, for example. If you’re listening to music and want to turn up the volume, you have to double tap one of the AirPods. That activates Siri, which in turn pauses your music (ugh!) so you can say “raise the volume.” Then the music resumes with the volume turned up. Compare that to simply tapping on the volume button on the wired EarPods, and you can imagine how annoying the process is.

Buzzfeed said the W1’s instant pairing was the best feature, and they also stay in well. The sound quality was okay, the design less so.

No settings menus, no tapping around, no button holding — once you open the lid of the floss-sized case, it’s done. The AirPods are paired. It makes normal Bluetooth look dumb […]

The AirPods must be full of dark magic, because they do NOT fall out. Something about their giant-‘80s-earrings-esque shape helps them latch onto your ears for dear life.

The sound won’t blow your mind, but they’re good enough for runs and talking on the phone, if that’s your thing […]

When they were in my ears, it just looked like I was wearing broken earbuds. The permanently angled stem that directs the microphone towards your mouth is curiously long. I wish they made you look a little bit less like a…cyborg.

CNET is not sold on the look, thinks the sound is okay – though still prone to pops and cutouts.

[Sound-wise], mostly they’re good. I liked listening to music with AirPods. I started finding myself preferring them to plug-in headphones, thanks to the freedom of movement they provided.

Until, of course, they produced some of the same little pops and interruptions I always get from Bluetooth earphones when I’m walking. I didn’t seem to get quite as many with the AirPods, but they sometimes happened…and skipping interruptions made me wish for something wired.

Engadget likes the pairing, usability for Siri & phone calls and the battery-life, but not the controls, design or audio quality. It thinks this is more of a proof of concept than a solid product today.

They’re elegant in some ways, with a simple pairing process and good voice-call quality. It’s too bad that Apple otherwise fell short in the sound department, and that you’re forced to talk to Siri to get just about everything done […]

If you’re reading this, Apple, this was a solid first attempt. Don’t give up on the concept, because I believe future AirPods could be great.

The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple was impressed by the fit, the pairing and the intelligence, while the sound quality was better than expected.

I walked, jumped, ran, shook my head around, bent down, tipped over, and did every other move I could think of to make the AirPods fall out of my ears—they never did […]

All you have to do with the AirPods is open the case. The iPhone 7 recognizes they are available and brings up a screen on the iPhone with one button that says, “Connect.” Press it and you’re done. My AirPods were connected to my iPhone 7 Plus, Mac, and Apple Watch all at once. Not just one device, but all of my devices […]

I thought the audio quality of the AirPods was exceptional for Bluetooth headphones—actually it was just exceptional. I’ve been using them much more than the Lightning EarPods because they were so convenient and they sounded so good […] While they may not be for the audiophile, they are perfect for the average user and those that want convenience. That’s what Apple is going for here and they nailed it.

TechCrunch loves the pairing and the reliability, and was happy with the sound, but most of all liked the idea of keeping Siri in your ear.

“Pairing” the AirPods is incredibly easy, thanks to the W1 chip. The method is so easy in fact that Apple does not use the word pairing anywhere in its instruction manual — using the word ‘connect’ instead. It’s marketing, but it’s also a fair differentiation between the baroque drama that is most Bluetooth pairing sessions and the process of connecting AirPods […]

The W1 chip […] also does some quality-of-service work in the background. Think of it as a buttress under the Bluetooth’s rainbow bridge of questionable reputation […]

The sound quality is very solid. Nice thumpy bass and crisp highs produce a very listenable sound, though it’s far from audiophile quality […]

Before Apple’s AI becomes a true audio platform, it needs hardware that makes it easier to put Siri in your ear — and no real reason to take it out. Enter the AirPods.

TechRadar likes the intelligent connectivity and auto-pause, as well as the battery-life, but has mixed views of the design and is concerned about the ease with which they could get lost and the fact of another thing to charge.

They look and feel just like those familiar EarPods – minus the cable – and their play-and-pause connectivity is so intelligently designed, it’s enough to bring back the “magical” descriptor.

With five-hour battery life and a charging case for 24 hours of additional battery life, AirPods could stealthily set the bar fully wireless earbuds in October, all while everyone is focused on the past and the missing headphone jack [but …]

The funky design isn’t for everyone, [it’s] yet another thing to charge [and] what happens when you lose one?

Wired wasn’t impressed by the look or the sound, but did like the pairing and the microphones …

Wearing AirPods is like wearing a toothbrush in your ear […] I say they look both weird and bad […]

Your $159 doesn’t buy you any better audio than you’ll get from the EarPods that come free in the box with your iPhone. I mean, look: they sound fine. Statistically, most people are fine with the EarPods, and they’ll be fine with the AirPods too. But if you’ve ever purchased a pair of headphones that cost more than $50, I’d bet they sound better than the AirPods. If you’ve spent more than $100, they definitely do […]

Take the AirPods out of their box, open up the lid to the dental-floss-dispenser case, and set them down next to your iPhone. A pop-up window appears from the bottom of your phone’s screen, asking if you want to connect your new AirPods. Of course you do! So you press the very large “Connect” button, and you’re done […]

The microphone is fantastic. The dual-mic setup, along with Apple’s clever noise-cancelling tech that uses subtle vibrations to know you’re speaking, makes for one of the clearest remote-input devices I’ve ever used.

One additional piece of good news: some of us had been under the impression that the ‘secret sauce’ of the W1 chip required matching tech in the iPhone 7, but it turns out that’s not the case. The W1 chip in the AirPods are able to perform their magic with older devices too (as far back as iPhone 5 with iOS 10).

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Creative Sound Blaster Roar Sr20 Review

Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20 Review

The team at Creative have made something special in the Sound Blaster Roar SR20. This isn’t just a Bluetooth speaker. It’s not just an alarm clock. It’s not just a collection of wireless and wired sound-centric features in a single package. It’s part of the future – one in which multiple abilities doesn’t mean lower quality in any one of those abilities. The Creative team have made a masterpiece of personal, portable sound. Multiple connections, multiple uses – a real do-everything-well machine.

This speaker works with two 1.5-inch high frequency drivers, two side-firing passive radiators, and a heavy-duty 2.5-inch subwoofer up top. You’ll be able to tap the TeraBass button to reinforce bass when volume is extra low. There’s a ROAR button up top to give your audio an extra punch, as well.

There are multiple ways in which you might use this device. You can use it as a USB speaker with the Sound Blaster Control Panel for Mac or PC. You can use it as a wireless speaker for your phone with Bluetooth.

You can play music from a memory card – this speaker has a has a built-in microSD card slot. You’ll be able to record sound to the device and play it back. You can also use this device as a speakerphone – it has both speaker and microphone abilities.

Integrated with this device are the following points of connection:

• NFC

• Aux In (headphone jack)

• DC Out (full-size USB for charging phones)

• Micro-USB (USB speaker)

• MicroSD/SDHC card slot

• MP3, WMA, WAV reading from microSD card

• Bluetooth 3.0 (100 meters of connectivity) with aptX and ACC

You’ve also got the following features:

• Built-in 6000mAh battery (for music and/or USB charging)

• One-touch Siren – a LOUD siren for emergency situations

• MegaStereo – two Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20 connected can provide extended left/right stereo sound

• Call recording – press the Record button while your phone is connected with Bluetooth to record a call

One of the stranger – but very welcome – features is Link Security. There’s a switch at the back of this unit that shows 2, 1, and OFF. If you’re in LS2 mode, that’s “Multipoint” mode, and it allows two devices to connect to the speaker at once.

If you’re in LS1 “Friendly” access mode, only devices that’ve connected to the speaker before will be able to gain access. Selecting OFF enacts “Free For All” mode, allowing anyone Bluetooth discoverable action for anyone with a Bluetooth device.

The Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20 isn’t made to stick out in a room. In fact it’s made to look simple and elegant – it’ll fit in with any room you happen to have surrounding it. The minimalistic look this speaker works with won it a 2014 Reddot award for top-notch design.

The Sound Blaster Roar SR20 is small enough to fit in a backpack – not really made for purses, and will be great for your desk or nightstand.

The only thing we’d like this speaker to improve on is the clarity with which its many abilities are presented. The Roar – the namesake of this device – suggests it’ll make your sound louder, and give it a bit of a punch. That it does, but why not just integrate that ability in with the rest of the controls?

No worries, though, every brand needs to cut through the garbage that is the lesser speaker environment somehow or another. If this speaker needs to have a “Roar” button to do it, then so be it.

In the box you’ll have a few adapters for traveling overseas (dependent on your region), a standard 15v power cord to keep it charged up, and the speaker itself.

This speaker is going to cost you $149.99. For what you’re getting in this small package, that’s a good deal no matter how you cut it.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D Review Roundup – And Overview

Last Updated on March 6, 2023

Ryzen 9 7950X3D review roundup Ryzen 9 7950X3D overview

AMD has promised that its X3D chips will outperform Intel’s in both gaming and productivity while using less power. To determine the accuracy of this claim, we compared AMD’s flagship 7950X3D to Intel’s Core i9-13900K and Core i9-13900KS chips.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D: Specs

One of the most significant and exciting aspects of the new Ryzen 9 7950X3D from AMD is the inclusion of the innovative 3D V-cache technology. This technology introduces an additional layer of cache memory, which provides a massive boost to the processor’s performance and efficiency. Specifically, the 7950X3D features an impressive 144MB of cache, which is divided into three levels of cache: L1, L2, and L3.

The first two levels of cache (L1 and L2) are similar to those found in previous Ryzen processors, providing fast and efficient access to frequently used data. However, the third level of cache (L3) is where the 3D V-cache technology comes into play. This cache layer is stacked on top of the existing L3 cache, using a vertical stacking design that increases the amount of cache memory available while maintaining low power consumption.

The result is a significant improvement in overall processor performance, with faster data access and reduced latency. This is particularly beneficial for tasks that require large amounts of data to be processed quickly, such as high-resolution gaming, video editing, and other content creation tasks. The 3D V-cache technology is a game-changer for the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, giving it an edge over competing processors and cementing its position as one of the most powerful CPUs on the market.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D: Performance

With the release date of AMD’s new 7000X3D processors now available, and reviews starting to emerge, it is becoming clear that these chips could determine the future of AMD’s processor line and potentially shift the balance in the ongoing Team Red vs. Team Blue battle with Intel processors. According to public benchmarks conducted thus far, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D from AMD is giving the Core i9-13900K from Intel a run for its money, with similar levels of performance observed in most of the games tested. However, there are some notable exceptions where the X3D outperforms the Core i9-13900K by a significant margin, showcasing the immense capabilities of AMD’s new chip.

This is particularly significant for gamers and content creators who require high-performance processing power to handle demanding tasks with ease. With the competition heating up, it will be interesting to see how AMD’s new processors perform in real-world scenarios and whether they can indeed surpass Intel’s offerings, marking a significant turning point in the battle for processor supremacy.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D: Conclusion

In a preemptive move against AMD’s new Ryzen 9 7950X3D, Intel launched its own $699 Core i9-13900KS processor, boasting an impressive 6GHz boost clock and a premium price tag. However, despite these features, it offers only marginally better performance than the more affordable $589 Core i9-13900K.

As such, the latter is the true contender against AMD’s new chip. Both the K and KS versions of the Core i9 suffer the same fate when compared to the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. At stock settings, the 7950X3D is 12% faster at 1080p gaming, and even when overclocked, the Intel chips still fall short, trailing behind by 9%. This is disappointing news for Intel, as its processors consume more power but cannot outperform the Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

The Ryzen 9 7950X3D from AMD is an impressive feat, boasting a 26% improvement over its predecessor, the 7950X, and giving AMD’s Zen 4 architecture the overall performance lead. This performance gain is nearly on par with the 32% improvement seen with the previous generation Ryzen 7 5800X3D over the non-V-Cache 5800X, despite both chips featuring a single CCD.

This highlights the success of AMD’s new thread scheduling techniques, enabling the company to leverage 3D V-Cache acceleration on a dual-CCD processor effectively. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D is a true game-changer, and it will be interesting to see how Intel responds in the ongoing battle for processor supremacy.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9I Review: The Right Kind Of Weird

Best Prices Today: Lenovo Yoga Book 9i

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Lenovo has a history of experimental dual-screen laptops.

The current range includes the ThinkPad X1 Fold‘s flexible, folding OLED display and ThinkBook Plus Twist‘s has an extra e-ink screen on the screen. Looking further back, 2009’s ThinkPad W700ds had a slide-out second display.

The Yoga Book 9i builds on these ideas to deliver a versatile, functional 2-in-1 that packs maximum display real estate into a 13.3in chassis. It’s a fascinating device, albeit not one many people should buy right now. Here’s our full review.

Design & build

Unique dual-screen design

Very versatile

Premium build

The Yoga Book 9i’s exterior looks just like regular Yoga Slim 9i (just Yoga 9i in North America) when unfolded, with the only exception being an eye-catching blue option. It’s a refreshing change from the usual black, grey or silver.

A combination of brushed aluminium and chrome edging make for a very premium look and feel. The curvature of the device gives the device an unusual aesthetic, but also makes it more comfortable to hold.

As soon as you open the Yoga Book 9i, though, things get a bit weird. Dual displays mean both the top and bottom halves of the device are screens. Both support touch and have a glossy finish, making it a real magnet for fingerprint smudges and other dirt.

IDG / Matthew Smith

While difficult to get used to at first, this design offers some real perks when used as a 2-in-1.

Firstly, there’s plenty of flexibility in terms of the way the device is used and held. The Yoga Book 9i’s bottom half can fold 360° for use as a standard tablet, or be held like a book with both displays in use at once.

Other options include is ‘tent’ mode, where the bottom half becomes a kickstand, or laying it flat on a table to become a large touchscreen canvas. Of course, it can be used as a regular clamshell laptop if you’d prefer.

The Yoga Book 9i’s design is certainly unusual, but it doesn’t feel like a gimmick

And then there’s Lenovo’s party trick: the Yoga Book 9i’s stand. Otherwise used as a cover for the detachable keyboard and the stylus, it can fold into a shape that props both displays up in an open position. You then place the keyboard below both screens, giving you a total screen area that’s larger than a normal 16in laptop.

This is a genuinely useful option for travellers, who often have many apps open at once but don’t want the extra size and weight of a bigger laptop. Just be warned: the kickstand only works on a stable, flat surface such as a desk or table.

The Yoga Book 9i’s design is certainly unusual, but it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Packing two touchscreens into a 13in laptop makes it a compact yet functional 2-in-1.

Keyboard, trackpad & ports

Frustrating Bluetooth keyboard

Annoying virtual touchpad

Only USB-C ports

Of course, the section above misses out a key part of the Yoga Book 9i’s design: the keyboard and touchpad. In exchange for the attractive and versatile dual-screen design, both are significantly compromised.

The bundled wireless keyboard connects to the device via Bluetooth. When used as a laptop, the keyboard is placed in a position just below the main display. But it can also be used on a desk, attached magnetically to the kickstand or shifted to the bottom half of the lower screen.

While the flexibility is nice, but the typing experience as a regular laptop is awkward. The keyboard is raised noticeably above the palm rest surface, meaning your wrists are simply left to dangle without support.

IDG / Matthew Smith

While the keyboard is uncomfortable at times, the touchpad is downright annoying. There’s no physical touchpad of any description, with a virtual version appearing below the keyboard when in laptop mode.

But it’s difficult to know if your fingertip is within the touchpad surface without looking, as there’s no tactile feedback. Sometimes, the cursor also ended up hidden below the keyboard or completely unresponsive.

While the keyboard is uncomfortable at times, the touchpad is downright annoying

These problems are perhaps an inevitable consequence of the Yoga Book 9i’s design, but important to note nonetheless. If you plan on using it primarily as a regular clamshell laptop, and only occasionally as a dual-screen tablet or with pen input, you’ll be disappointed by the keyboard and touchpad.

Ports are also very limited, with just three USB-C connections. All support Thunderbolt 4 and you can use any of them for charging, but the lack of USB-A or dedicated video output means you’ll most likely need an adapter or hub.

The unique design can also limit access to the USB-C ports at times. In the vertical dual-display mode, where the screens are side-by-side in portrait orientation, you can’t access at least one of them.

Display & audio

Dual 13.3in OLED displays

Great for all types of content

Very good speakers

The Yoga Book 9i’s dual displays are mirror images of one another. Both are 13.3in, 2880×1800 OLED panels, and looks excellent in all situations.

Opting for OLED means contrast is superb, with deep inky blacks and great shadows. Colours are also very accurate, with good coverage of all the usual gamuts. Lenovo has gone for a vivid, hyper-saturated look here, which should be to most people’s liking.

IDG / Matthew Smith

With around 255 pixels per inch (ppi), sharpness is also excellent. That’s higher than Apple’s 2023 MacBook Pro, and means you’re getting close to a 4K panel across both displays. With over 10.3 million pixels in total, it’s actually around 2 million higher than your average 4K screen.

According to my measurements, the Yoga Book 9i actually slightly exceeded its promise of 400 nits of max brightness – that’s more than enough for a home office.

Opting for OLED means contrast is superb, with deep inky blacks and great shadows

However, the glossy finish of both displays means there’s plenty of glare in bright lighting conditions – including outside. The displays are also a top-tier fingerprint magnet, so they can get very dirty after only a day or so of use. If travelling, make sure you pack a microfibre cloth.

Audio quality is an unexpected highlight. The Yoga Book 9i has a powerful Bowers & Wilkins sound system built into the display hinge. It provides loud, clear audio which is impressively balanced and offers a surprising amount of bass.

Given the sound on many laptops is relatively tinny, the depth and clarity of the audio you get here is refreshing. As a result, the Yoga Book 9i is well suited for music, movies, and games. It can easily fill a home office with sound. 

Webcam, microphones & biometrics

Impressive 1440p webcam

Decent microphones

Face unlock works well

Lenovo offers another surprise win with the webcam. When using as a clamshell laptop, it’s located above the top display in its traditional position.

The 5Mp sensor is capable of recording video at up to 1440p resolution and 30 fps. Even without much lighting, video looks very sharp. Webcam colours are accurate and well saturated, making the Yoga Book 9i a great option for video calls.

An array of noise-cancelling microphones deliver audio that’s clear and crisp, but quite tinny. As a result, I wouldn’t recommend it for recording podcasts or making videos. But if you just need to jump on a video call, it’s absolutely fine.

Webcam colours are accurate and well saturated, making the Yoga Book 9i a great option for video calls

There’s one biometric option, with the webcam and separate IR sensor enabling Windows Hello facial recognition. This provides a quick, hands-free way to access the device.

The Yoga Book 9i also supports zero touch login and locking, which use the camera to detect when you are present at the computer. When on, these features automatically wake the device when you sit down in front of it and automatically lock it when you step away. They’re genuinely useful, and mostly accurate, but can be turned off if you’d prefer. 

Specs & performance

Intel Core i7-1355U and 16GB RAM

No discrete GPU

Decent everyday performance, but limited elsewhere

The Yoga Book 9i isn’t a particularly large device, something that has consequences for its performance.

It’s powered by Intel’s Core i7-1355U processor, which offers a total of 10 cores and maximum turbo boost of 5GHz. That might sound good, but only two of those cores are focused on performance, with the rest primarily about efficiency.

Lenovo has also opted for Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, rather than a discrete GPU of any kind. 16GB of DDR5x RAM and a 512GB SSD are impressive, but performance specs aren’t the most high-end.

IDG / Matthew Smith

PCMark 10 (above) paints a disappointing picture of the Yoga Book 9i’s performance. Its combined score is lower than many recent laptops, including the Surface Laptop 5, despite Microsoft’s device using the older Intel Core i7-1255U processor. 

IDG / Matthew Smith

The modest performance continues in Cinebench R15 (above), where the Yoga Book 9i’s multi-core score is lower than many rivals.

IDG / Matthew Smith

Handbrake (above) is more encouraging, but the device still lags behind many laptops of a similar size. Clearly, the Yoga Book 9i is tuned to focus more on portability than performance.

IDG / Matthew Smith

3DMark Time Spy (above), a graphics test, also delivers disappointing results. The Yoga Book 9i once again finds itself behind the competition, including laptops that also use Intel Iris Xe graphics.

You can enhance performance slightly by enabling the ‘Extreme Performance’ mode. The Cinebench R15 score rises from 1,211 to 1,439, while 3DMark Time Spy improves from 1,681 to 1,289.

However, overall performance remains mediocre, and you get the extra fan noise and higher external temperatures.

Clearly, the Yoga Book 9i is tuned to focus more on portability than performance

The Yoga Book 9i feels snappy in day-to-day use, but benchmarks make its limits clear. It’s not a device for high-resolution content creation, streaming, gaming or other demanding tasks.

That shouldn’t come as a big surprise given the size of the Yoga Book 9i, but lacklustre performance definitely reduces its overall value. Most similarly-priced Windows machines offer better performance.

With only USB-C ports on the device, Lenovo clearly wants you to embrace wireless accessories. With both Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, that shouldn’t be an issue. Wi-Fi connectivity was reliable in my time with the device, and I had no issues with Bluetooth connectivity.

Battery life

80Wh capacity

Decent battery life

The Yoga Book 9i’s dual-screen design put a strain on the battery, which has to power twice as many pixels as usual.

To help with this, Lenovo has included a sizeable 80Wh cell. You can expect acceptable battery life, but nothing outstanding.

You can expect acceptable battery life, but nothing outstanding

I recorded 10 hours and 23 minutes of runtime in our standard 4K video playback test, with the results shown in minutes below. This is comparable to laptops and 2-in-1s of similar size and price: the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro lasted over an hour more, but the HP Dragonfly Pro lags by a half-hour. 

IDG / Matthew Smith

Any of the three USB-C ports can be used for charging, making it compatible with a wide range of chargers. Anything 65W and above will ensure you’re not waiting too long.

Third-party GaN chargers that deliver at least 65 watts will charge the laptop without issue.

Price & availability

As you might imagine, the Yoga Book 9i doesn’t come cheap.

It starts at $2,000/£2,200 for an Intel Core i7-1355U processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. But for a 1TB, you’ll pay at least $2,100/£2,290.

The device is available from Lenovo or Best Buy in the US and Lenovo or Currys in the UK.

That makes it one of the most expensive 2-in-1 devices you can buy. Most people will be better off with the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 or iPad Pro 12.9in, but none can match the range of functionality the Yoga Book 9i offers.

Verdict

The Yoga Book 9i is a successful experiment in dual-screen PC design that raises the bar for Lenovo’s competitors.

Its slim profile, 360° hinge and attractive OLED screens are well-suited for both touch input and use with the included stylus. This versatility is a key strength, especially when combined with a great webcam, solid microphones and impressive speakers.

However, the wireless keyboard and reliance on a virtual keyboard make the Yoga Book 9i frustrating to use as a regular laptop. Its high price tag almost means most people will be better off with something more tradition.

But if you’re a frequent flier who’d like the flexibility of an extra monitor, or simply enjoy using a stylus, the Yoga Book 9i could be the right kind of weird for you.

Specs

CPU: Intel Core i7-1355U

Memory: 16GB LPDDR5

Graphics/GPU: Intel Iris Xe

Display: 2x 13.3-inch 2,880 x 1,800 OLED touchscreens

Storage: 1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD

Webcam: 1440p 

Connectivity:  3x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C

Networking: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1

Biometrics: IR Camera for Windows Hello facial recognition 

Battery capacity: 80Wh

Dimensions:11.84 x 8 x .63 inches

Weight: 3.51 pounds (1.59kg)

Tribit Flybuds C1 Review: An Affordable Alternative To Airpods

Pros

Incredible battery life

Top-of-the-range audio performance

Ultra-stable connection

Cons

No companion app

No wireless charging

Our Verdict

The 100% wireless Tribit FlyBuds C1 promise top-notch audio performance and excellent battery life for a very affordable price, but they aren’t completely faultless.

Best Prices Today: Tribit FlyBuds C1

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$59.99

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Since 2023, Tribit has made a habit of creating innovative, high-performance audio devices at prices that challenge competitors.

With its FlyBuds C1, the Chinese company is offering a very similar product to Apple’s AirPods for half the price. According to Tribit, they also have better transmission capacity than other earphones in the same range, with stable connectivity and balanced sound.

But is this the real deal? I was lucky enough to be able to try them out, and have all the answers you need.

Design

Ultra comfortable

Modern design

Physical controls

The design of the FlyBuds C1 gives an impression of solidity and durability, which is reassuring for mid-range headphones. The model tested is a black wireless pair, with small flashes of red in the outer areas, which I appreciate for their discretion. Their shape, and that of the casing, is similar to that of the well-known AirPods, although the latter are much thinner.

FlyBuds C1 on the left / AirPods Pro on the right

Mathilde Vicente / Foundry

They are housed in a slightly textured oval case that prevents them from slipping out of your hands. What’s more, the earphones are secured by a magnet placed in each hole, so they stay in place without fear of being lost or dropped once the case is opened.

For comfort, Tribit includes different sizes of ear tips to attach to the earphones, so that they can be adapted to the ears of the wearer. Thanks to the silicone material, they are very comfortable to wear and, once the right angle has been found, rarely fall out.

Their shape, and that of the casing, is similar to that of the well-known AirPods, although the latter are much slimmer

Each earpiece is fitted with physical micro-buttons with direct haptic feedback that allow you to manage music playback and calls, or activate the voice assistant (which unfortunately didn’t work for us) and adjust the volume. These are located on the stems, and are practical in situations that require more frequent adjustment of the headphones, such as during sports sessions.

Mathilde Vicente / Foundry

Tribit has fitted these buds with IPX5 protection for resistance to splashes and perspiration.

Connection

Stable Bluetooth

Simple configuration

As you can see, the Tribit FlyBud C1 are wireless headphones that connect to your smartphone or computer via Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and support AAC, AptX and SBC codecs.

Pairing is simple and straightforward. All you have to do is place the earphones in their case, then hold down the button for a few seconds before searching for them in your phone’s Bluetooth settings.

The connection was very stable during our tests, with a range of up to eight metres. After pairing with your smartphone once, they’ll do so automatically the next few times, without needing to go through the settings.

Audio performance

Good active noise reduction, except during calls

Balanced, clear sound

After testing them listening to different styles of music (afropop, rock and jazz), I was more than pleasantly surprised by the experience.

They use 4-microphone ENC and CVC 8.0 technology to reduce background noise by 90%, according to the brand. Personally, I can’t confirm or deny such information, but I did find it very effective when waiting at the station, strolling through the city centre or working in an office.

I found the sound to be very balanced, immersive and optimised, a surprising result for such a small price. The mids sound soft and warm, the highs are clear despite a slight lack of brilliance, and the bass is powerful and well-tuned.

To put the microphones to the test, I made several calls during which voices were distinct and well reproduced. It was during these calls, however, that the active noise reduction system showed its weaknesses, letting some of the surrounding sounds through.

Mathilde Vicente / Foundry

This performance is made possible by the integration of the Qualcomm QCC3040 aptX chip, which offers even better transmission, with a 75% increase in connectivity. What’s more, it supports 16-bit audio with a sampling frequency of 48 kHz, which translates into CD quality, with surprisingly high precision in all directions – as if they were incorporating surround technology.

They adopt 4-microphone ENC and CVC 8.0 technology to reduce background noise by 90%

To round things off, I’d have liked to be able to adjust and customise the audio using a companion app. However, at this price it’s not surprising that there isn’t one. If that’s not enough for you, then you might want to consider the FlyBuds C1 Pro model, available for £79.99 from Amazon.

Battery life and charging

50 hour battery life with case

Quicker or slower recharging

Without the cable, and on a single charge, you can expect to be listening for around ten hours. This battery life is far superior to similar or even top-of-the-range earphones.

On the front of the case, there are 4 small LED indicators to let you know the battery status and that of the earphones.

Mathilde Vicente / Foundry

Price and availability

At just $74.99/£59.99 (and discounted even further at the time of writing), the Tribit FlyBuds C1 are very affordable and formidable contenders among the best cheap 100% wireless headphones. In the US, you can get them from Tribit and Amazon – UK readers can just get them from Amazon.

And if you want to spend less, bear in mind that wireless headphones with ANC for around this price are very rare. Here, you’ll have a pair of earphones that offer exceptional value for money, with surprisingly high-end features.

You can see further options in our list of the best cheap headphones and the best true wireless earbuds.

Verdict

What’s more, they have a pleasing AirPod inspired design, and are very comfortable, especially over time. The absence of a companion app is a shame, as is the lack of wireless charging.

That said, if you choose to buy the FlyBuds C1, you won’t be disappointed. They’re perfectly capable of holding their own – all for a tempting price tag.

This review is a translated and localised piece – you can find the original article by Mathilde Vicente over on Tech Advisor France.

Specifications

IPX5

Bluetooth 5.2

Range up to 8 metres

Up to 50 hours with charging case

12 hours of listening time on a single charge

Audio Codec laptX™, AAC, SBC

Review: The Raumfeld One M Is A Wireless Streaming Speaker With Incredible Sound

When it comes to multi-room audio solutions, Sonos is about as ubiquitous as it gets, but German audio manufacturer Raumfeld is looking to get into the action with its own set of wireless speakers.

Its 120-watt One M Wireless Speaker (Amazon) has been sitting on my desk for the last few weeks, and like Sonos, it brings easy-to-configure wireless audio streaming to any room in the house. Raumfeld sent me two speaker setups to test, the aforementioned single speaker One M, and the Stereo Cubes — an option that delivers a wider sound stage.

I’m still putting the Stereo Cubes to the test, but have used the One M for long enough that I feel comfortable speaking about its pluses and minuses. If you subscribe to one of the unit’s supported streaming services, and are aware of its shortcomings, then the One M can be an excellent pick.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. As of now, Raumfeld’s speakers don’t work with Apple Music or Google Play Music, although support for Google Cast is scheduled to land sometime soon.

The lack of Apple Music support hurts, though, especially when Sonos, the top dog in the multi-room audio game, has it. It’s possible to stream music that you’ve manually synced or purchased from iTunes, and it’s also possible to play downloaded music from iTunes Match, but that still doesn’t make up for the lack of Apple Music support.

Hands-on video

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Whether Raumfeld’s speakers will ever gain support for Apple Music is anyone’s guess. If Apple’s streaming service is an absolute must-have, then you’ll need to look elsewhere, at least for the time being.

And keep in mind that these speakers do not feature AirPlay or Bluetooth support, so you can’t use either of those technologies as workarounds to play Apple Music.

If you’re a Spotify Premium or Tidal subscriber, however, then the One M gets a lot more interesting. The benefit of an Internet-connected wireless streaming speaker is that the connection is between the speaker and the Internet. Thus, it can continue playing even if your phone leaves the network, receives a phone call, etc.

Raumfeld’s wireless speaker model lineup Build quality and design

The One M is a 5-driver 2-way stereo single-speaker solution that comes with a built-in down-firing subwoofer for awesome sound throughout the whole frequency range.

The speaker rests on two feet that are positioned so that the high and mid-range drivers fire at a slight upward angle. The feet also serve to give the down-firing subwoofer room to breathe.

At just a hair under 9 pounds, and dimensions of 16.1 x 7.9 x 7.1 inches, the One M is a solidly built speaker that will remain firmly planted wherever it is stationed.

The speaker housing is constructed out of black or white MDF with a non-removable mesh speaker grill. Beneath the drivers rests brushed metal accents and buttons for controlling power and volume. You’ll also find four handy preset buttons near the bottom of the speaker for quick one-touch access to favorite Internet radio stations, albums, or playlists.

One thing that I appreciate about Raumfeld’s speakers is that they are clearly designed to take a front-and-center role in the living space. With brushed metal accents and knobs, it’s a look that’s purposely designed to be seen and shown off.

I’d feel totally comfortable placing the One M on my living room mantle, in my bedroom, in my office, or in virtually any other living space.

Connectivity

Although the Raumfeld One M is designed to work wirelessly, it does feature an Ethernet jack to connect directly to a router. I’ve tested the One M using an Ethernet connection and it worked well, but doing so disables its wireless connectivity. If you ever plan on moving the speaker around the house, you’ll want to stick with wireless connectivity for the most flexibility.

Right above the Ethernet jack, on the rear of the One M, rests a pair of RCA line inputs. These inputs can be used for line level connectivity for an external device, such as a record player, CD player, MP3 player, mixer or other analog source. The great thing about the line input is that it can be shared across the network to other Raumfeld speakers in a multi-room setup. I’ll discuss that more in a follow-up post.

Lastly, you’ll find a USB port for sharing music from a USB drive. The same port also has the ability to charge your iPhone.

Raumfeld app

If you’ve never used a multi-room wireless speaker before, it might seem strange that it doesn’t come with a remote. This is because your iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone functions as the remote.

You’ll need to download the Raumfeld app to both set up and control your One M. The setup process is relatively easy, and involves pressing the setup button on the rear of the speaker cabinet, and going through a few initial steps inside the app.

The Raumfeld app lends access to a variety of music streaming services, which include the following:

TuneIn

Tidal

Rhapsody

SoundCloud

Spotify

Coming soon: Google Play Music (Google Cast), Pandora, iHeartRadio, Deezer.

As mentioned earlier, conspicuously missing from the currently supported list is Apple Music and Google Play Music. Considering that these are the two flagship music services for Apple and Android users, such omissions have to be carefully considered for anyone looking to delve headfirst into the Raumfeld ecosystem. The good news is that Google Cast support should be coming soon via a software update.

Like the Sonos app, the Raumfeld app integrates many of these services directly within the app itself. This means that you can, for instance, control SoundCloud music and Tidal music from a single unified interface.

Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be said about Spotify. Although you can control Spotify playback via the Raumfeld app, you can’t actually search for Spotify songs, or directly select which song you wish to play. To fully control Spotify, you’ll need to open the Spotify app and use its Connect feature, which is only available for Spotify premium subscribers.

The app needs work…

The app’s initial setup process is fairly straightforward, but I found that its navigation could use some additional polish. The app is too cluttered, and filled with nooks and crannies that give it a steep learning curve.

I’ve also ran into occasional glitches and hiccups that forced me to restart the app to restore its normal functionality. This especially occurs when playing back music using Spotify, and attempting to switch to another streaming service.

If you’re primarily a Spotify Premium user, then you won’t have to worry much about navigating around the Raumfeld app, since Spotify playback is managed via its own app.

Of course, you’ll still need to use the Raumfeld app to control speaker settings, adjust equalizer settings, rename the speakers, disable LED indicator lights, etc.

…but it has potential

That’s not to say that the app is terrible, because it’s not. If you’re a Tidal user, then you’ll enjoy the fully integrated experience with that particular music service. You can also mix and match songs from multiple music services to combine them into a single playlist that plays back as if it were all coming from one source.

Of course, the most glaring flaw with the entire Raumfeld ecosystem is the lack of support for two of the top streaming services — Apple Music and Google Play Music. I’m not trying to sound like a broken record, but if Raumfeld hopes to compete in a space traditionally dominated by Sonos, it needs to eventually rectify this issue.

Sound quality is ridiculously good

If there’s one thing that the One M excels at over everything else, it’s easily the sound quality. The sound pumped out of the One M’s 5-driver setup is seriously impressive. Even at low volume levels, the speaker filled my entire office with crystal clear sound.

Not only does the One M push forth clear highs and mids, but you get awesome low end sound thanks to the built-in down-firing subwoofer. The sub, as you might imagine, makes a world of difference when compared to similarly-sized speakers that lack such a feature. That said, it’s best if you can place the unit in a corner to hear (and feel) the full benefit of the subwoofer.

The One M gets super-loud, certainly louder than my ears could stand when I cranked the volume dial all the way up. Although I was satisfied with the out-of-the-box sound, I did opt to widen the sound stage — a preference found inside of the app’s settings. Out of the box, the sound stage is a bit narrow, which may be noticeable depending on speaker placement and room size.

The bottom line is that One M’s sound quality is phenomenal, which goes a long way towards making it easier to overlook the app’s shortcomings. An app can be improved and iterated on, while the speaker hardware can not. Fortunately, Raumfeld got it right on the first try hardware-wise.

Preset buttons

The front panel of the One M features four preset buttons that can be assigned to specific albums, playlists, or radio stations. For example, while listening to a radio station on TuneIn, simply press and hold the desired preset button for 3 seconds. You’ll hear a little chime to let you know that the preset was set successfully.

Presets allow you to quickly begin music playback without needing to interface with your iPhone. It’s especially great for radio stations, but works fine for playlists across many of the music services registered in the Raumfeld app. Sadly, there’s no way to skip tracks or go back to the previous track without launching the app, which seems like a missed opportunity in my opinion.

Conclusion

It’s disappointing that there’s no support for Apple Music or Google Cast as of yet, and the app itself can be quite frustrating and finicky at times. The lack of AirPlay support may also be a deal breaker for many. That said, Raumfeld knocks it out of the park when it comes to the most important feature for a speaker in this price range: sound quality.

If I’m just starting off with establishing a wireless speaker setup at home, then I’m seriously considering Raumfeld’s ecosystem, especially if Apple Music isn’t a prerequisite. The build quality, styling, and most of all, sound quality, make it a worthy Sonos competitor from a pure sound perspective.

In a follow-up hands-on, we’ll discuss Raumfeld’s Stereo Cube speakers, talk about establishing a multi-room setup via the app’s preferences, and showcase streaming line level analog audio to other rooms.

You can purchase Raumfeld’s One M from Amazon for $499. Visit Raumfeld’s official website for more details.

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