Gadget news
I tried Sony’s new cheap ANC headphones, and they’re officially a bargain
5:00 pm | June 4, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

The new Sony WH-CH720N noise-cancelling headphones are a direct replacement for the previous CH710N model, adding new features, plus sound and noise-cancelling upgrades. With a price of $129 / £99 / AU$259, they're aggressive from Sony, bringing a lot of flagship-level features from the best noise-cancelling headphones to lower budgets.

But do they bring flagship-level performance too? Well, I mean, obviously not the same as the Sony WH-1000XM5, which cost more than three times as much – but I've been using my trusty Sony WH-1000XM3 for years now, and they were the flagship back in 2018, and recently dropped as low as $180 / £160 in places where they're still on sale (they seem to be finally on the out, sadly). 

So I thought there's a chance that the new headphones might be able to match this older model, which would be incredibly exciting at this price. I took them both out to play in the traffic of the city, because the noise cancellation is where there tends to be the biggest gap between models at different prices.

And the short answer is: the old 1000XM3 were a clear step above the Sony WH-CH720N for blocking noise – and it's the same story for sound quality. The CH720N came out of it looking good for the price still, but it's the extra features where they really shine – they're not the Prometheus of headphones, stealing fire from the expensive gods, which is kind of how the fantastic Sony WF-C700N come across.

The noise cancellation of the CH720N very effectively puts its boot down on the loud sounds of city traffic, to be clear. I walked along the road listening to music that I could hear clearly, and I didn't have to crank the volume loud in order to make out the instruments – at only about 25% volume, I could listen happily. So they pass the core test with flying colors.

But standing at one intersection and switching between the CH720N and 1000XM3 revealed that the older model was able to move into a whole higher gear when it came to blocking the edges of the sound. The clearest example was that with the CH720N I could hear traffic from an adjoining busy road about 200 feet away. With the XM3, that road ceased to exist as far as my ears were concerned.

Sony WH-CH520N headphones worn by TechRadar Editor Matthew Bolton, near a road, who has a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones around his neck too

The roads were very busy at all times other than the moment I took this photo, I swear. (Image credit: Future)

It seems to my ears that the CN720N are close in effectiveness to the XM3 for higher-end sounds, but let in more at the bass end, which means the rumble of that further road came in disproportionately clearly compared to closer sounds that ripple across more of the sound range.

I haven't had a chance to test them on a plane yet, which is always a major challenge for noise-cancelling headphones, but I will soon, so I'll have a more complete picture of their noise-blocking chops for my full review. But I suspect the verdict will be same as now: very good for the price, but if you spend more, you get a real step up.

The sound quality is a similar story to the noise cancellation, in that I've enjoyed listening to the CH720N and they impress in a bunch of ways, but the 1000XM3 are an obvious improvement.

For some reason, the CH720N set themselves to Sony's 'Excited' EQ preset out of the box, and that made them heavily bass-loaded, which I didn't actually hate, but just felt OTT. But after heading into Sony's excellent app and turning off the EQ adjustment, I found they're supposed to deliver a pretty much ideal balance. Bass is warm but level-headed, mid-range is robust and individual instruments stand out in it well, and treble has plenty of clarity to make the little details pop.

It's also a fairly relaxed presentation – even with the ANC on, I didn't find them fatiguing to listen to at all over a whole afternoon of using them nearly non-stop.

Sony WH-CH520N headphones play/pause buttons on the underside of an earcup

The WH-CH520N come in white, black or blue. (Image credit: Future)

But. Switching to the 1000XM3 got me a sound that's clearly more dynamic. Sounds start and stop with extra snappiness, there's a greater depth between elements in dense soundstages, and so it's all just more natural and more refreshing to the ears.

However, the CH720N's bargain status isn't solely about performance. It's about having support for the Sony app and its EQ adjustments, and other sound mode options – including 360 Reality Audio and DSEE upscaling of mediocre-quality tracks (looking at you, still, Spotify).

They have Bluetooth 5.2, so could support Bluetooth LE Audio and Auracast in the future, if Sony can persuade itself to support the same next-gen standards as everyone else. They have multi-point pairing for easy switching between devices. They have a USB-C port and a 3.5mm jack, with a good-length cable in the box. They promise 35 hours of battery, though I haven't had a chance to test that yet.

All that stuff in combination with solid noise cancellation and nice sound is why they're officially a bargain. There are compromises, such as the plasticky feel of the finish and buttons, and lack of sensors to auto-pause when you take them off, but I can live with those.

Our full review is on the way, but if you're looking at mid-range noise-cancelling headphones, they should absolutely be on your list.

Sony WH-CH720N: Price & release date

  • $129 / £99 / AU$259
  • Released in spring 2023

The Sony WH-CH720N are extremely competitively priced at $129 / £99 / AU$259 – you don't get many noise-cancelling headphones from big brands at that kind of price, generally. Much like their earbuds sibling, the Sony WF-C700N, they really over-deliver on features in general compared to most other options in this price range.

Most of the WH-CH720N's competition is from the likes of Anker Soundcore or 1More, though JBL is probably the best known competitor – most notably with the JBL Tune 750BTNC, which costs pretty much the same.

vivo TWS Air Pro announced with ANC and 30 hour total battery life
3:13 pm | May 31, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Alongside the vivo S17 and S17 Pro, we also got a new pair of wireless earbuds with the vivo TWS Air Pro. These wireless earbuds are identical to the recently announced iQOO TWS Air Pro with 14.2mm drivers, active noise cancelation (ANC) and a 30 hours combined battery life with their charging case. vivo TWS Air Pro The buds pair over Bluetooth 5.3 and support AAC and SBC audio codecs. You also get an IP54 rating for water splash resistance, dual pairing, a Find my Earbuds function and a low-latency game mode. Pricing is set at CNY 299 ($42) and you can already pick up a pair...

Beats Studio Buds + announced with improved ANC and longer battery life
7:02 pm | May 17, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

As expected, Apple introduced its latest Beats Studio Buds + today with improved Active Noise Cancelling (ANC), longer-lasting battery life and a cool new transparent version. The new Beats earbuds feature a custom "Beats Proprietary Platform” chip which supports one-touch pairing with Apple devices, Hey Siri and Apple Find My support as well as device switching via iCloud. Beats Studio Buds + Transparent edition The new bit here is that the buds are also compatible with Google Fast Pair, Google Find My Device tracking as well as audio switching between a wider range of devices...

Realme Buds Air 5 Pro arrive with ANC, LDAC support and 40 hours of playback
8:11 pm | May 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Alongside the Realme 11 series, we also got the latest member of the Buds Air family – Realme Buds Air 5 Pro. The new flagship wireless earbuds from Realme bring 11mm woofers and 6mm planar drivers, active noise cancelation (ANC) and support for the high-bitrate LDAC codec. Buds Air 5 Pro in Sunrise City and Starry Night Black The earbuds pair over Bluetooth 5.3 and are IPX5 splashproof. Realme claims its ANC system can drown out up to 50dB of noise around you thanks to the six microphones split between the two buds. Battery life is rated at up to 11 hours on the buds with ANC off...

Sony WF-C700N review: the best cheaper noise-cancelling earbuds you can buy
4:46 pm | April 14, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Sony WF-C700N: Two-minute review

Sony's WF-C700N earbuds are a joy to wear. But how often have you loved the design and fit of a set of earbuds only to be let down when you actually get them doing their job – ie. playing your music? 

That won't happen here. In fact, with the WF-C700N, Sony just ripped my notions on what is achievable at this level to smithereens. Some of the best noise-cancelling earbuds of the year, then? Indeed. Can they be bettered by rivals? Yes, but not for this money. You'll have to set your sights much farther up the food chain if you want to beat this suite of features and sound quality. 

Honestly, I cannot believe Sony has priced them so low. Suffice to say, I like them a lot. You do need to look past Sony's odd naming game (the N addition to the moniker does indeed stand for Noise cancellation; these 'buds mark Sony's new entry level for ANC earbuds) but once that's done you'll find a truly likeable, solid set of earbuds that are nothing short of fantastic for the money. 

Add to this the fact that their talents go above and beyond their Adaptive ANC and into Sony's 360 Reality Audio, guided by the excellent Sony Headphones Connect app, and you get an inkling of what I'm about to go to great lengths to celebrate. 

Multi-point connectivity and adaptive sound control are here (you can select 'Walking', 'Waiting', 'Travelling' or 'Registered places' in the app, which is frankly incredible at this level) and you get Sony's standard DSEE audio 'upscaling' engine, so Spotify tracks are going to sound a lot better. Look, it's the kind of tech people like me are more au fait with when it comes to the excellent – but quite a bit more expensive – Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds and Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ears. And those are some of the best wireless headphones on the planet right now… whereas the WF-C700N are in what I like to call the budget-to-mid sector. 

Did I mention that the build quality and battery life are bang-on too? There's less protrusion than with Sony's more affordable buds (Sony WF-C500, all eyes on you), because they're 37% lighter and 38% smaller than the top-tier WF-1000XM4

The long and short of it is this: the eagerly-awaited Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds had better be good when they land in my lap (even if they are rumored to be a lot smaller), because as far as I'm concerned, the WF-C700N is where the smart money goes… 

Sony WF-C700N earbuds in a hand, on white background

Sony is showing exceptional talent in distilling its audio know-how down into ever diminutive earpieces.  (Image credit: Future)

Sony WF-C700N review: Price & release date

  • Released on April 1, 2023
  • Priced $119 / £99 / AU$199 

If the prices above made you double-take, well done you. Yes, Sony has challenged in this territory before, (see the sporty IP55-rated Sony WF-SP800N which feature a degree of noise-cancellation, or the budget friendly Sony WF-C500, if you can live without ANC) but never with quite this level of skill and accomplishment.

As with other options in Sony's more affordable oeuvre, these cheaper earbuds come in a few whimsical colorways: lavender and sage green (which is more like pistachio ice cream) as well as the more traditional black or white finishes. 

At this level, the closest competition is likely the Panasonic RZ-S500W earbuds, or even the cheaper (but devoid of ANC or immersive audio) Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, but both options involve compromises, including a bulkier size and slightly bassier presentation in the Panasonic product (although perhaps you love that), and a more basic app in the Cambridge Audio option in addition to lacking noise cancellation. 

Sony WF-C700N earbuds in their case, on white background

Yes, the box is plasticky. But it's oh-so pocketable…  (Image credit: Future)

Sony WF-C700N review: Specs

Sony WF-C700N case held in a hand on gray background

The earbuds feature little magnets to find each other and 'hug', if you place them down (Image credit: Future)

Sony WF-C700N review: Features

  • Excellent immersive 360 Reality Audio
  • ANC profiles and optimization add value
  • No auto-off feature 

For this level, I think it would be churlish to ask any more from your earbuds. Call-handling? A breeze – but not literally; Sony has worked hard on neutralizing wind-interference (there's a new mesh structure surrounding the microphone) and the fact that the units are much more flush with your ear does promote clearer calls. 

But where these 'buds come alive for me, is when I get to playing Tidal tracks, because this opens the door to Sony 360 Reality Audio – aka 24 object-based channels arranged in a 360-degree soundstage, which Sony launched back in 2019. You'll have to take photos of your ear, which is a little tricky at first, then link your Tidal account. But it is emphatically worth it. I'll wax lyrical on the sound quality later, but as features at this level go, you're looking at game-changing immersive sound for this money.

As noted, Sony's excellent Headphones Connect app takes the wheel here. It's very good. Why? Adaptive Sound Control, optimized according to what you're doing, that's why – yes, these headphones learn how you use them and try to help. Don't like that it deploys ANC when it knows you're 'Staying'? That's fine, tap the cog in the app's Headphone Settings and you can deploy Ambient sound or turn all noise profiles off – and until you change it, that'll happen whenever you're sitting at your desk. 

When Ambient is deployed, you can select from 1-20 on a slider (I keep mine at around 12 when 'Walking' to my train and 20 when 'Running') and these work very well indeed. When ANC is on, at my desk, all but the loudest noises are softened, leaving me immersed in my playlists. It's a feat and no mistake. 

Perks abound. You can even deploy safe listening levels or collect badges pertaining to how often you've listened, and in which scenarios!

Any omissions worth mentioning? No auto-off when you remove them, but at this price, I'm prepared to follow Elsa's advice in Frozen and let it go.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Sony WF-C700N earbuds on gray background

Aw, aren't they just lovely?  (Image credit: Future)

Sony WF-C700N review: Sound quality

  • Tidal tracks come alive with surround-sound and verve
  • Even Spotify tracks are levelled up 
  • A truly exuberant, agile and fun listen

Those who have read the entirety of this review won't be shocked to learn that this particular section, like those before it, is extremely positive. But if you've skipped straight to here (naughty!), well, it's good news. 

Those with a Tidal account are in for a real treat, but even when I stream lossy Spotify tracks or much better Apple Music streams, the WF-C700N put on a resoundingly agile, meaty, enthusiastic performance. 

When streaming The Bangles' Eternal Flame, backing vocals arrive in each ear but never to the detriment of Susanna Hoffs' occasionally pensive, understated vocal. I feel like we get an extra ounce of detail and texture through her high belt, too, compared to the competition. Stream XTC's Making Plans for Nigel on Tidal and guitar riffs and whooping vocals attack each ear in one of the most expansive, three-dimensional and fun soundstages I've heard from a set of earbuds – and that's not a statement I make lightly. 

For dynamic build, the WF-C700N also shine, with Fontaines D.C.'s I Don't Belong starting out brooding and just slightly further away than the band seems as the track builds to its conclusion.

Want a test of what the Sony WF-C700N can really do for immersive detail? Stream the first 30 seconds Prince's When Doves Cry on Tidal. Listen to how those "yeah"s skulk over from your left ear, around the back of your head and finish in your right. It doesn't feel gimmicky (the funk-heavy bass and guitar licks are masterfully held in check in what is an admirably cohesive mix), but there's so much space for that vocal to shine… 

  • Sound quality score: 5/5

Sony WF-C700N earbuds close-up in a hand, on gray background

The multi-function button on the WF-C700N beats any capacitive touch option I've tried. (Image credit: Future)

Sony WF-C700N review: Design

  • Beautifully compact, ergonomic earpieces
  • Push-button works very well
  • No on-ear volume control 

These are some of the most easy to wear, comfortable earbuds I've ever had the pleasure of wearing, a fact which shouldn't be a huge surprise given the Sony LinkBuds S are another firm favorite for my smaller ears. While a little fuller over the body, they fit without having to stretch my ear or screw them in, in any way. And thanks to the new material (which Sony says "holds on to the inner cup of your ear") they stay put for hours on end. 

Yes, the case is plastic and feels a shade off high-end, but it's pocketable, functional and shuts with a reassuring snap. The mesh over the mic on each earbud is a stroke of genius because as well as enhancing call-quality and ANC, it's tactile, thus helping my finger navigate to the little raised lip of the multi-function button with ease. 

Said button is a great solution. Depress it, and you know you've done something (unlike so many touch-based solutions) and I find myself neglecting my phone to answer calls, scroll through ANC profiles (on the left earbuds) and pause my music (on the right, but this can be customized in the app). 

My only gripe here is the lack of on-ear volume control, although Sony says that following a firmware update, it will be possible, with a four-time press "or more" of either earbud. On public transport, it would be lovely not to have to dig my (relatively expensive) source device out from its special safe place in my bag, is all I'm saying.

  • Design score: 4/5

Sony WF-C700N review: Value

  • As feature-packed as any earbuds has any business being for the money
  • A no-brainer for Tidal members
  • Unbeatable for comfort and sound-quality at the level

I'll speak plain: for features, design and most-importantly sound quality, these cannot be bettered for the money. In fact, you'd have to double your outlay to do so.

Okay, if you're prepared to spend over three times the money, there's more detail and sonic insight (through the higher frequencies) to be gleaned from the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2, but those earbuds don't have the battery life or ANC talent of these inexpensive Sony earbuds.

Prior to now, my shout for this money would be the Panasonic RZ-S500W, but in my humble opinion, the Sony WF-C700N now edge those for sound. It's a close-run race, but the bass feels just that bit tighter, snappier and less prone to overstatement in the Sony product.

  • Value score: 5/5

Should I buy the Sony WF-C700N?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Sony WF-C700N review: Also consider

How I tested the Sony WF-C700N

Sony WF-C700N earbuds worn by Becky Scarrott

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for two weeks, listened against the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 and even the Audeze Euclid
  • Used at work (in the office; walking through London; on a train) and at home
  • Listened to Tidal Masters, Apple Music Lossless tracks and Spotify on an iPhone XR, a Samsung Galaxy S22 and a MacBook Pro

As always when testing earbuds or headphones, the Sony WF-C700N became my musical companions for two weeks – after a thorough 48-hour run-in period. 

They accompanied me to work on weekdays (walking brusquely to the station; boarding a train and the London Underground; at the office) and throughout a long weekend on the UK coastline – a great way to test any wind-interference from mics during calls.

To better test the comfort levels (and battery life claims) of the Sony WF-C700N, I wore them throughout the working day too – and they certainly did not disappoint. 

To check the audio quality across the frequencies, I listened to various playlists (spanning everything from acid jazz to thrash metal) on Apple Music and Tidal, but also to podcasts and albums on Spotify – and YouTube tutorials (mostly about crochet stitches, since you ask) from my MacBook Pro. 

I’ve been testing audio products for five years now. As a dancer, aerialist and musical theater performer in another life, sound quality, fit and the user experience have always taken priority for me personally – but having heard how wonderful ANC can be when done well, I know what to look for. 

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: April 2023
Epos H3Pro Hybrid headset review
12:50 pm | April 6, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

There’s very little that the Epos H3Pro Hybrid gets wrong. It delivers on its relatively high price bracket with a suite of high-end features that you typically won’t find with cheaper gaming headsets. It nails the fundamentals, offering superb audio quality, backed up by 7.1 surround sound support, strong active noise canceling and an acoustic seal to blot out unwanted background noise.

If you prize immersion from the best wireless gaming headsets, and indeed the best PS5 headsets, the H3Pro Hybrid is a frontrunner in this regard. It’s supportive of long gaming sessions, too, thanks to cushioned cups and adjustable headband resting snugly on heads of various sizes. Battery life is a standout here as well, offering up to 38-40 hours depending on connection type and features enabled.

Add in a detachable mic that offers crisp vocal output and you’ve got a headset that justifies its asking price. The H3Pro is so good that its only real drawback is that it’s slightly lacking in overall build quality, which is apparent when stacked up against more affordable headsets like the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro or the SteelSeries Arctis 9. Even still, the H3Pro Hybrid won’t easily break under normal circumstances, and is serviceable in this area.

Epos H3Pro Hybrid: price and availability

The Epos H3Pro Hybrid will run you $279 / £239 / AU$399 at retail price, and is available from Epos’ official store page. Separate versions for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S compatibility are available to buy, and both also work with Nintendo Switch via Bluetooth connectivity as well as PC and mobile.

Epos H3Pro Hybrid: design and features

Epos H3Pro Hybrid

(Image credit: Future)
  • Slightly above average build quality
  • Extremely comfy
  • Robust, yet simple button layout

Out of the box, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Epos H3Pro Hybrid isn’t much to write home about. Build quality isn’t quite up to par with competing headsets, and its lightweight nature lends an initial feeling of cheapness. That weightlessness ends up working in the headset’s favor, though, as it rests gently on your head and never irritates. That’s also helped by the cushioned cups and adjustable headband, providing a supreme level of comfort that’s hard to beat.

The box also contains a USB dongle for wireless connectivity, a USB cable, USB-A extension cable and a 3.5mm jack for wired play. It’s a no-nonsense package offering a variety of methods of connectivity that should suit both wireless and wired preferences.

On-headset features aren’t particularly busy, which is great for those looking for a plug-and-play headset. You have the power button, a circular volume slider, ANC (active noise canceling) toggle and ports for wired connectivity. Most interesting is the Bluetooth connectivity button, which doubles as a smart button. By pressing instead of holding, you can switch between multiple EQs. Downloading the Epos Gaming Suite app will also let you switch the smart button’s behavior to a surround sound toggle.

Lastly, the detachable mic can be removed and reconnected magnetically, and an included cover plate will hide the port, keeping the headset looking presentable when you want to go micless. The mic itself is durable and adjustable, making it versatile and doesn’t obscure your view when not in use.

Epos H3Pro Hybrid: audio quality

Epos H3Pro Hybrid

(Image credit: Future)
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • 7.1 surround sound support
  • Top-shelf ANC

Sound quality is certainly the chief reason to buy the Epos H3Pro Hybrid. Not only is the overall auditory experience fantastic, the amount of options the headset grants is seriously impressive.

Typically, my first port of call with any headset is to get a feel for its soundscape. I put the headset through its paces with a few tracks before jumping into a game. I’m happy to say that the H3Pro Hybrid excels for general music listening. The rich, multi-layered electronic sound of mobile game Punishing: Gray Raven sounds divine here, with the headset able to pick up on even the subtlest notes. Similarly, the sweeping overworld melodies of Genshin Impact feel vibrant and alive; the headset’s spatial audio lending an embracing layer of immersion.

The H3Pro Hybrid’s ability to pick up on even the faintest notes works wonders in-game, too. It’s a fantastic headset for absorbing yourself in the hustle and bustle of Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City; its busy streets and back alleys benefiting greatly from 7.1 surround sound. Over to Resident Evil 4’s remake, I’ve never felt more placed into the action than here with the H3Pro Hybrid. The dread-filled ambience of the castle and subtly menacing village sections really come alive here.

Of course, a solid gaming headset is practically a requirement in more competitive environments. And once again, the H3Pro Hybrid is an excellent pick here. The headset’s bespoke BrainAdapt technology hones in on quieter, distant sound effects like footsteps and gunfire. It’s excellent for games like PUBG: Battlegrounds and Warzone 2 where situational awareness is paramount to success.

During use, you may want to enable ANC , too. This helps to almost completely eliminate ambient background noise, allowing you to focus on gaming or listening to music. The feature is excellent on the H3Pro Hybrid, and well worth using if you’re looking to maximize your immersion.

EPOS H3Pro Hybrid: Performance

Epos H3Pro Hybrid

(Image credit: Future)
  • Strong battery life in all modes
  • Near-instant connectivity
  • ANC battery life could be slightly better

The EPOS H3Pro Hybrid puts on yet another strong front in regards to battery life. Via Bluetooth connection with no extras enabled, you’ll get roughly 35-40 hours on a full charge. If you’re using the dongle instead, that drops slightly to around 30-35 hours.

If you want to enable active noise canceling while using the headset, you’ll incur a pretty steep hit to overall battery life, but you’ll still get around 20-25 hours via Bluetooth and approximately 18 hours with the dongle. Overall, battery life is very impressive, but I do wish the headset could squeeze a little more with ANC enabled.

Via both dongle and Bluetooth, I was impressed by the headset’s ability to pair and connect quickly in both scenarios. Headsets like the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max and the RIG 800 Pro can take a good few moments to recognize the pairing. But the process was close to instantaneous on the H3Pro Hybrid.

I found that you’re able to walk a good distance away from your connection without audio cutting out, too. A good barometer for me is to walk to my kitchen and make a coffee with the headset on, as it’s a few rooms apart from my home office. Thankfully, the H3 Pro Hybrid maintained connection throughout this process, without cutting out even slightly. I’d say that makes the headset an excellent choice if, say, you’re doing other things at home like chores or preparing food.

Should I buy the EPOS H3Pro Hybrid?

Epos H3Pro Hybrid

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You’re after a seriously powerful gaming headset
The H3Pro Hybrid sounds fantastic, has a good quality mic and a strong wireless connection.

You want an immersive multiplayer experience
With a crystal clear mic and strong directional audio performance, the H3Pro Hybrid works wonders in online multiplayer environments.

You like ANC
The headset’s active noise canceling is some of the best in the business, cutting out unwelcome background noise almost completely.

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a tight budget
The H3 Pro Hybrid is an expensive bit of kit. You’ll certainly get your money’s worth, but you may wish to look for a cheaper option if money is an object.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX review: All other earbuds have now been ruined
8:44 am | March 31, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Two-Minute Review

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX wireless earbuds presented plenty of promise when they were announced in April 2022. In true B&O style, they looked unlike any of the best wireless earbuds already available, exhibiting gorgeous Scandinavian design that would make them just as much a luxury accessory as a pair of earbuds. But with an equally luxurious $399 / £349 / AU$650 price tag, they had to offer substance as well as style to justify the investment. 

And boy do they. If you’re looking for some of the best-sounding wireless earbuds, then you can end your search here. The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX exceeded all my expectations in the sound department to the point where I had to question how good my own pair of Apple AirPods Pro 2 actually were. Serving up perfect levels of bass and treble in my opinion, the Beoplay EX offers one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. 

Key to Beoplay EX’s success is the sheer amount of sound profile customization you can perform from within the companion app. Rather than just offer a range of presets – although these are there if you want – B&O serves you up with a touch-controlled on-screen dial that lets you fine tune the sound equalizer to set them up to your exact preferences. You can even save a multitude of sound profiles to seamlessly switch between depending on the genre of music you’re listening to. 

The engineers at Bang & Olufsen also upped the ante of the Beoplay EX’s adaptive noise cancelation smarts, and it does indeed work exceptionally well. It may not be on the same level as the ANC found on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but this is hardly a criticism as the Bose buds are truly in a league of their own. The ANC here still performs well, and does an excellent job of cutting you off from the outside world. 

Lunar Red Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX in charging case

(Image credit: Future)

It’s not all glowing remarks in this review though and it should be said the Beoplay EX aren’t without their foibles. I experienced occasional signal dropouts during my time using them, something I’ve not previously experienced with my AirPods Pro 2, nor something I would expect from a pair of wireless earbuds in this price bracket. 

The companion app, while offering a wealth of customization options, is also not immune to fault. The setup process to connect the earbuds with the app wasn’t as smooth as I expected, and it occasionally failed to recognize them on occasions when I opened it on future uses. 

Battery life is also so often an important consideration for the discerning wireless earbud owner. Fortunately, the Beoplay EX claims a six-hour life with ANC turned on, which is extended to a total of 20 hours from the included charging case, putting them on par with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. We were favorable in our assessment of the Bose pair, and it’s a tick from us again here, but an extra hour or two would have been nice considering the money you’re spending.

I wouldn’t call these dealbreakers as, again, the sound quality alone does more than enough to make up for these shortcomings. But for such a sizable sum of money, I had expected a more complete package. 

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Price and release date

  • Released on May 5, 2022
  • $399 / £349 / AU$650
  • Available to buy now in most markets

Bang & Olufsen’s latest pair of wireless earbuds are available now for $399 / £349 / AU$650, making them around $100 / £100 more expensive than the excellent Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II in the US and UK, and some AU$200 more expensive in Australia. It's this high price that has cost them half a star in overall verdict.

The Beoplay EX initially launched on May 5, 2022 in just its Anthracite Oxygen color, before being joined by Gold Tone and Black Anthracite at later dates. In the US and Australia, these three colors have also now been joined by Lunar Red, which is the color my test sample arrived in. 

How much you’re willing to spend on a pair of wireless earbuds is something only you can answer, but there’s no denying the Beoplay EX will be a stretch for many. And when you factor in the breadth of admirable competition from the likes of Bose, Sony and Apple – all of whom have produced class-leading pairs of earbuds that are never too far from price drops – the decision to dig deep to nab yourself a pair from B&O is one that will need to be carefully considered.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Features & battery

  • Adaptive ANC is effective
  • Experienced occasional signal dropouts
  • Battery life could be better

Bang & Olufsen has made the Beoplay EX as simple to use as possible. Unlike pairs of wireless earbuds from Bose and Apple, there’s no audio tests to conduct to determine the best fit for your ears, or to personalize the audio response based on your individual ear canals. Instead, just pop the buds into your ears, connect to Bluetooth and press play. Foolproof. 

During playback, you can control your music using the earbuds, with the left and right playing host to different functions, depending on whether you’re listening to music or making a phone call. To adjust the volume, for example, you need to touch and hold a finger on the right bud to increase it, or touch and hold the left to decrease it. Play/pause functions require just a single tap on the right unit, and you can cycle through the various levels of ANC with a single tap on the left earbud. 

Key Specs

Colors: Anthracite Oxygen, Gold Tone, Black Anthracite, Lunar Red
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Codec support: SBC, AAC , aptX Adaptive
ANC: Yes; adaptive
Water resistance: IP57
Battery life: 6 hours (buds); 20 hours total (charging case)
Weight: 6g (per bud); 53g (charging case)

I found the Beoplay EX’s glass touch surface controls to be incredibly responsive, although sometimes perhaps a little too sensitive. On more than one occasion I found myself accidentally touching the surface and pausing my music when readjusting the fit of the right bud. The Beoplay EX will also stop playing music when you take either or both of the units out of your ears, and resume when they’re reinserted.

Inside each earbud you’ll find a 9.2mm Neodymium speaker driver, the largest B&O has ever installed in a pair of wireless buds and which claim a frequency range of 20 - 20,000Hz. Connectivity comes via Bluetooth 5.2 (which has since been superseded by Bluetooth 5.3, although differences are minimal) and there’s good support for various audio codecs, including SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive. The latter is an interesting inclusion, as it’s Qualcomm’s Bluetooth codec that claims to combine the best of both aptX HD and aptX low-latency, i.e. one that can support music files up to 24-bit/48kHz with the promise of minimal to no interference.

But, you will only reap the benefits of this if your source music player supports aptX Adaptive. The bulk of my testing was carried out on either an iPhone 13 Pro or a MacBook Pro, neither of which support aptX. Apple has instead chosen to go down the route of AAC, and this could explain why I experienced occasional signal dropouts during my time with the Beoplay EX, because I wasn’t able to stream using the low-latency aptX Adaptive codec.

I couldn’t pinpoint any specific triggers that caused the dropouts, so can’t be sure if it’s a hardware or software issue, and I also only had the one pair to test so can’t say for sure that this is a problem that plagues all pairs of Beoplay EX earbuds. 

I was also able to listen to them using a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as the source device too, a phone that does support aptX Adaptive. I didn’t come across any signal dropouts, but I didn’t listen to them for as long a duration as I had done using my iPhone. Because I hadn’t noticed any triggers that cause the issue when paired with the iPhone, I wasn't able to easily replicate the same scenario on an Android device.

Still, the occasional dropouts weren’t enough to dampen my listening experience, which was bolstered by some rather effective active noise cancelation (ANC). Bang & Olufsen gives you the option of switching between Adaptive ANC – whereby the six microphones (three in each bud) analyze the environment around you and adjust the level of noise cancelation accordingly to prevent you from being disturbed – or setting your own level on a scale of one to three.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX being worn in ears

(Image credit: Future)

I predominantly leaned towards choosing my own level, which I kept at the maximum of three. I accept there are use cases for wanting some ambient sound to come through, such as if you’re cycling and need to be aware of the road conditions around you. There is a Transparency mode that facilitates this, although, to my ears at least, I couldn’t quite hear much of a difference when switching between that and Noise Cancelation when sitting in the office. I also couldn’t hear much of the conversations taking place around me in either mode, even when changing the level of effectiveness for each.

Conducting the same test using the Bose QuietComfort EarBuds II, however, did allow more sound to travel through when in their equivalent of Transparency mode. It's a close call, but Bose still manages to take the crown for noise cancelation here.

For my personal preferences, I prefer to stay in ANC mode. I only use public transport or my legs to get me places, so blocking out as much of the world around me to allow me to indulge in my playlists is something I value, and I can confidently report the Beoplay EX obliged with roaring success.

I wore the Beoplay EX on a quick weekend flight from Sydney to Byron Bay and continued to be impressed. I’ve previously used the Sony WH-1000XM4 and my AirPods Pro 2 on flights before, and of the three, the B&O pair – in my opinion – did the best job of isolating me from the trifecta of aeroplane annoyances: engines, screaming babies and your annoying seat neighbor. I could still hear the engines whirring away (thankfully) and I’ve personally yet to find a pair of headphones that can omit the constant hum completely.

You’ll also find a feature within the companion app to reduce wind noise, which is pretty self-explanatory. However, whilst waiting for a bus in rather windy conditions, I toggled the feature on and off, but didn’t notice any discernible difference. Perhaps it’s better-suited to hurricane-like conditions?

Other features include Bluetooth multipoint connectivity – which the Bose QCE II miss out on – meaning you can connect the Beoplay EX to two devices simultaneously, saving you the hassle of disconnecting and reconnecting devices if you’re switching between your phone and a tablet or laptop, for example.

As far as battery and charging go, it’s fair to say the Beoplay EX aren’t class-leading. Bang & Olufsen claims six hours from a single charge with ANC turned on and eight hours with it turned off. This increases to a total of 20 hours from the extra juice supplied by the (rather attractive) charging case. Said charging case is recharged via USB-C (B&O includes a USB-A to USB-C colour-matching cable in the box) or via Qi wireless charging (something not all other competitors can claim). A full charge via USB-C takes around 1 hour 45 minutes, or 2 hours 15 minutes via wireless.

Overall I had no issues with the battery life during my testing period. I used the Beoplay EX a lot, on the daily commute, at the gym and pretty much whenever I found myself out of the house. The headphones themselves were always fully charged, and I plugged the case in to charge whenever I was near a USB-C cable (you might be surprised how often this was). There’s an LED light on the case which displays green, amber or red, to indicate approximately how much charge it has left (a lot, some or not much).

Features score: 4/5

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Design

  • Lightweight and comfortable, ergonomic design
  • Gorgeous Scandinavian style in a range of colors
  • No fit test feature

When the Beoplay EX was announced in April 2022, one of the main talking points was how good-looking they appeared in pictures. They’re available in a range of colors, including  Anthracite Oxygen, Gold Tone and Black Anthracite in the US, UK and Australia, but American and Australian audio fans also get the option of Lunar Red. I was offered the black, gold or red pair for my review unit, and I settled on the latter because it looks nice, different and it’s unusual. 

Those dashing good-looks on paper transferred perfectly into reality, and I really do think they’re some of the best-looking wireless earbuds you can currently buy. Whereas other brands have gone for failsafe black or white colouring, B&O has – perhaps unsurprisingly given the aesthetics of its other products – treated its in-ears as just as much a piece of art as a pair of headphones.

The glass touch panel on each earbud gives off a delightful shine that cements their premium credentials, while the lightweight charging case with engraved Bang & Olufsen branding reassures you they’re protecting something special inside. 

But they’re not the most discreet pair of wireless earbuds around, although I would hardly call them obtrusive. As with many other pairs on the market, they employ a stem design, which helps to bring the integrated microphones closer to your mouth. 

They’re relatively lightweight too, with each bud weighing in at six grams on the scales, and they also get an IP57 rating protecting them against dust and water. 

B&O Beoplay EX left earbud in profile

(Image credit: Future)

B&O supplies you with four pairs of silicone ear tips in increasing sizes, as well as a pair of Comply foam ear tips which help to ensure you create as tight a seal within your canals as possible. I initially tried the Beoplay EX as they came out of the box, with the medium-sized pair of silicone tips attached. I found they didn’t feel secure and the sound was pretty weak, so I switched them out for the largest pair and was astounded by the difference it made. 

Not only did switching to the larger pair provide a more snug and comfortable fit, but they actually exposed how poor the fit of my AirPods Pro 2 was. I thought it was great, but being able to easily compare the difference, the AirPods felt loose in comparison.

I also tried out the Comply foam tips, but these too come in different sizes and unfortunately, the pair included were too small for my ears. I found them to feel more secure than my AirPods Pro 2, despite also using the largest pair of silicone ear tips on those. Indeed, the AirPods can be removed from my ears with barely any effort, but the Beoplay EX does require a little bit of extra force. Whilst I didn’t test the fit for runs or cycles at the gym, I’d be confident of them staying in your ears no matter what you’re doing – just as long as you have the tightest possible seal. 

Unlike other pairs of wireless earbuds, such as those from Apple and Bose, there’s no feature here to test the fit in your ears. Instead, you just have to rely on your perceptions to determine if you’ve created the best possible seal.

Design score: 5/5

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Audio performance

  • Enveloping sound without spatial audio-like algorithms
  • Incredible level of sound customization
  • Decent call quality

The best word I can think of to describe the audio performance of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX is ‘immersive’. I thought my AirPods Pro 2 did a fine job of delivering tunes to my ears, but B&O has turned the whole experience up to 11 for me. 

You’ll no doubt have read or heard that other pairs of wireless earbuds can either lack bass or have so much of it it drowns out vocals, but I found no such issues with the Beoplay EX. Every aspect of the soundstage is balanced tremendously well and with great depth. You can clearly identify different parts and instruments on a track. But rather than them all being left to fend for themselves, B&O brings them all together to form one utterly convincing cohesive package. It’s quite remarkable. 

I should make a note here that I was streaming music from Apple Music, which I believe offers superior sound quality to Spotify. The majority of my music is streamed in ALAC lossless quality. 

B&O Beoplay EX in Lunar Red resting against their charging case

(Image credit: Future)

I’m a man who enjoys his dance music, so a good amount of bass naturally excites me. I’ve previously been of the mindset that the more bass a pair of headphones can deliver, the better they are (much to the bewilderment of previous colleagues).

However, after listening to some of my favorite songs through the Beoplay EX, I now fully appreciate that a bass-in-your-face approach isn’t necessarily the way to go. Take Dom Dolla’s 2019 belter San Frandisco. The build up at the beginning shows off the Beoplay EX’s dynamic capabilities and the first bass drop is expertly handled with great impact. Yes, they still shake my brain around at a questionable level, but the overall package is more cohesive compared to what I’m used to. I loved it.

What I also love is, despite the eartips being inserted a fair distance into my ears, whereby I would expect the audio to sound incredibly direct and in close proximity, it was quite a different experience. The sound delivered feels more open and spacious. There’s no spatial audio computational technology here, but I don’t think it’s needed, as the soundfield created organically does a fine job of immersing (there’s that word again) you in whatever you’re listening to. 

Some other favorite tracks of mine to test out include Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? and Madonna’s Frozen. Through the Beoplay EX, Rod’s salacious single bounces along with great energy and enthusiasm. You can clearly define the guitar riff in the background, those iconic synth notes hit wonderful heights and Rod’s raspy vocals take centerstage. As for the latter, it’s exquisite and probably the best I’ve heard it sound through a pair of in-ears. This track, for me, perfectly highlights the difference in quality between the Beoplay EX and my ol’ faithful AirPods. There’s a greater impact on each drum beat from B&O’s effort and Madge’s vocals are goosebump-inducingly beautiful. 

It’s a similar story when playing Rammstein’s Los. Comparing the performance of the Beoplay EX side by side with the Bose QC Earbuds II, it became clear there was a greater sense of enthusiasm from the Danish pair of buds. I kept the volume level on my iPhone the same when connecting both pairs and the Beoplay EX delivered a performance that I found to be louder and far more enjoyable. This doesn’t mean the Bose sounded bad in comparison, but I think B&O was simply showing where your extra money is being spent. 

Bang & Olufsen companion app screenshots

(Image credit: Future)

The beauty of the Beoplay EX is that you can fine-tune the sound profile to the nth degree. Bose offers some form of customization through its Music app, and Apple gives you a list of presets in the settings, but both pale in comparison to what’s offered by B&O. Within the app you’re presented with an EQ wheel, with four distinct directions for the sound: Bright, Energetic, Warm and Relaxed. You’re free to move the indicator to anywhere within the wheel you wish, including to various points in between the four set points. The further out towards the edge, the more pronounced the EQ effect, and vice versa when keeping it closer to the centre. 

For me, the sweet spot was between Bright and Energetic, but closer towards Energetic. According to the wheel, this indicated a helping of high treble with a sprinkle of high bass. You can save multiple sound profiles, so if you listen to a range of genres, you may want to set different profiles for each. You can save as many as you want, but you can only have five appear on the home screen of the app for quick access.

The real beauty of this in-depth level of personalization, for me, is that there’s no ‘right or wrong’ setting. Everyone will have their own perspective as to what sounds good and what doesn’t. I will happily concede that not everyone will be down to party with the level of bass I like to listen to. So, rather than just give you a few preset options – we’ve all cycled through the usual array of Dance, Rock, Pop and Jazz EQ settings on our audio players – you’re instead allowed to decide what’s best for you. For this, I think B&O deserves plenty of praise.

One area that can cause wireless earbuds some trouble is call quality. There’s nothing worse than calling someone or leaving them a voice note, only for them to hear static or loud noises in the background. I regularly make international calls using WhatsApp and, whenever I’ve used my AirPods Pro 2, my dear mother has claimed I sound like I’m underwater. So I was keen to try out B&O’s claims that I would sound “crystal clear,” thanks to the three microphones in each earbud, combined with “intelligent beam-forming technology [that] distinguishes between [my] voice and other sounds.” 

Whilst on a call to mum and walking next to a busy main road, I switched between both my AirPods Pro 2 and the Beoplay EX and asked her if I sounded clearer on one pair over the other. Well B&O, you’ve won my mother over, as she said I was much clearer when talking on the Beoplay EX. It wasn’t perfect mind you, and I wouldn’t say I came through “crystal clear,” as there was still some interference from cars in the background, but it wasn’t enough to drown out my voice and was a noticeable improvement over the AirPods. 

As with audio, you have a few options to influence how you sound on a phone call within the companion app. I switched between these modes too – Own Voice, Neutral and Noise Cancelation – whilst on the call with mum, even with her not-always-great hearing, she could distinguish a difference. The best option? Own Voice. 

Audio performance score: 5/5

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Value

  • Sound is some of the best I’ve experienced
  • More expensive than closest rivals
  • Signal dropouts disappointing

We said in our review of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II that they weren’t cheap, but the class-leading ANC performance and great audio helped to justify their cost. In the case of Bang & Olufsen, it’s a similar story. The sound quality and ANC performance are both excellent, but the question that has to be asked is, do they warrant a $100 / £100 / AU$200 premium over their peers? 

To be honest, yes, I think they do. To me this isn’t just another pair of wireless earbuds, but more like a pair of speakers that you strap to your head – the audio quality is unlike anything I’ve personally heard before. We all have our vices, the things we’re happy to splash some cash on because they make us feel good. If you’re a lover of music and you don’t want to walk around with a pair of over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, I implore you to at least try the Beoplay EX. 

I only have the Beoplay EX on loan, and when they go back and I revert back to my AirPods Pro 2, I just know I’m not going to listen to music in the same way again. B&O has ruined all other pairs of wireless earbuds for me. For my personal financial situation, I can’t justify buying a pair, but boy do I wish I could. 

Value score: 4/5

Should I buy the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Also consider...

How I tested the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

  • Review test period = 1 month
  • Testing included = Listening to a range of genres in various scenarios: indoors, outdoor, on public transport
  • Compared with previous and similar five-star reviewed products

When I tested these Bang and Olufsen headphones, I gave them an initial buffering period of around 9- 10 hours to allow the speaker drivers to break in. I then used the same selection of songs that I use for all other headphone reviews, streamed from an iPhone 13 Pro via Apple Music.

I listened to the same section of a song multiple times to pick out various aspects, focusing on a different one each time. I then repeated this process with competitor products to see how they compared. 

Because these B&O headphones featured active noise cancellation (ANC) I had to test its effectiveness in various situations where external noises were high. I used them in a quieter office setting, on my daily commute to the office by train and on a one-hour flight from Sydney to Byron Bay. 

Read more about how we test

1More Aero review: budget-friendly head-tracked spatial audio on a budget
5:46 pm | March 23, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

1More Aero: Two-minute review

1More is an audio tech brand that hasn’t produced devices on a par with big names such as Sony, Bose or even JBL – at least not yet. But over the past few years it has been releasing both over-ear headphones and true wireless earbuds that have held their own in a crowded market, including the 1More Evo, 1More Sonoflow and 1More ComfoBuds Mini. So how do the 1More Aero true wireless earbuds compare? 

The good news is that the 1More Aero true wireless earbuds are the definite step up from 2022’s 1More ComfoBuds Pro that 1More claims they are. They’re solid all-rounders that offer an impressive set of features for their price. I enjoyed the good overall sound quality on offer, ANC works well and battery life is… fine. I also liked the fit and the tapered stem design that 1More first debuted with the ComfoBuds Pro – although that’s down to personal preference.

However, there are many true wireless earbuds to choose from these days, from the best true wireless earbuds your money can buy through to the best budget wireless earbuds for those who want a cheaper alternative. So what sets the 1More Aero apart from the rest? The answer is spatial audio, which makes it seem as if you’re hearing sound from all around you in a three-dimensional space – and crucially here, it even alters you turn your head from the source device.

There’s a lot to love about the 1More Aero buds, but spatial audio for around $100/£100 is the main selling point here. But although I certainly enjoyed listening to my favorite tracks with spatial audio switched on, does everyone really need spatial audio? Read on to find out more in this 1More Aero review. 

Someone holding one of the 1More Aero true wireless earbuds with the charging case in the background.

The first thing you’ll notice about the 1More Aero is those stems, which are tapered at the ends. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca Caddy)

1More Aero review: Price & release date

  • Cost $109.99/£99.99/around AU$182
  • Released in October 2022

The 1More Aero true wireless earbuds were released in October 2022 and cost $109.99/£99.99/around AU$182. Hovering around the $100/£100 mark makes the 1More Aero a similar price compared to rivals and they just qualify for TechRadar's best budget earbuds category. However, the competition is pretty fierce at this level. 

The most obvious competition comes from the Earfun Air Pro 3. TechRadar also described these buds as good all-rounders and they cost $99/£99 at launch – although you can find them a little cheaper now. The Air Pro 3 buds offer a similar sound and ANC experience, as well as a significantly longer battery life, but you won’t get spatial audio. 

To get the spatial audio feature you’ll find in the 1More Aero, instead you’d need to spend significantly more for alternatives, like the LG Tone Free T90Q ($229.99 / £199.98) and Sony WF-1000XM4s ($279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95). More on whether the 1More Aero buds perform at the levels of these higher-end options soon…

1More Aero review: Specs

The 1More Aero earbuds pictured on a wooden surface next to their charging case.

I really love the design of these buds, but appreciate they won’t be for everyone – especially if you don’t like stems. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca Caddy)

1More Aero review: Features

  • Head-tracked spatial audio is the star of the show
  • ANC works well 
  • Smart Loudness tech is handy

Before I even put the 1More Aero to the test, I was impressed with the range of features on offer here, many of which can be tweaked within the 1More app, which I found clear and easy to use. 

The first noteworthy feature is ANC. During my testing, I found noise cancelling to be generally impressive. There are four levels of ANC to choose from, but I opted for the highest level ‘Strong’ the most often. Because why put ANC on if you’re not going to put it ON, right? Although if you work in an office and need varying levels, the choice might be handy for you. 

ANC was effective, drowning out conversations in a coffee shop completely. Difficult, higher-pitched sounds, like an alarm and toddler screaming, were muffled but still audible. And deep rumbling sounds, like a train and a fan, were still detectable a little, but everything was significantly dulled. If you’re looking for buds to simply lessen the chatter at work, these will do nicely. There’s also a transparency mode, which is handy for conversations, but I found it easier to just pop one of the buds out instead of faffing with my phone. 

Something I haven’t seen before is a Smart Loudness feature, which you can switch on and off and then use a slider to amp up. This is to keep the bass, mids and trebles detectable at low volumes, but it was hit-and-miss. If you listen to music at lower volumes it’s worth turning on, especially to reintroduce bass, but it wasn’t a feature that wowed me.

You can control the buds via touch controls on the stems and you can customize what these do via the app – although there’s no option to decline a call. These controls worked well most of the time, but sometimes weren’t as responsive and sensitive as I'd have liked. I found myself getting my phone out to make adjustments instead.

Within the app (oddly, under 'Experimental Features') there’s the option to switch on multipoint pairing, allowing you to move between audio input devices. Although there was a slight lag as I switched between a phone and a laptop, it did work and it’s a feature that’s incredibly handy – especially when working on my laptop, then taking a voice call on my phone, then moving back to the laptop to listen to music or join yet another video call. 

In terms of battery life, you’ll get 7 hours from the buds with ANC off and 5 hours with ANC on. I found these estimates from 1More to be bang on during my testing. You can get 28 hours in total from the case and buds combined, with ANC off. That’s a decent amount of battery life, but can be bested by similar-priced rivals, like the EarFun Air Pro 3 that gives you 9 hours from the buds and 36 hours from the case with ANC off. Or the JBL Live Pro 2 buds, which offer 40 hours of listening time in total. And TechRadar's pick of the bunch here is the far cheaper Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, which will bag you 35 hours in High Performance mode, or 45 in Low Power mode… 

  • Features score: 5/5

The 1More Aero true wireless earbuds in their charging case

We like the clam shell style design of the 1More Aero charging case. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca Caddy)

1More Aero review: Sound quality

  • Enjoyable sound
  • ANC isn’t great but it’s good enough
  • Spatial audio is fun – especially for TV, movies and games

Overall, I found the 1More Aero buds an enjoyable listen. I felt that way across the genres too – noting a really nice balance, with crisp highs and crystal clear vocals, underpinned by more than enough bassline rumble underneath when it was needed. 

There was a real smoothness and warmth to some of my favorite tracks, too, like Tango by Onyx Collective. When I listened to big, classical tracks, like Johann Johannsson’s score for Arrival, I occasionally yearned for a wider, more expansive listen, which I've experienced with other buds at the level (see the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro). But I was impressed with the power and bass these little buds delivered through their solid low end, handling such epic and eerie instrumental tracks well.

You can tweak the sound, too. Within the 1More app there’s an equalizer you can manually adjust, as well as a bunch of EQ presets, including Studio and Classical. I enjoyed testing some of these and recommend you do the same, although some seemed a bit heavy-handed. Case in point: Bass Booster with Latto x Mariah Carey’s Big Energy made the bassline sound, well… a bit silly, like I was listening to a boomy sample track on a keyboard. The same goes for Vocal Booster, and Pop, which was very tinny. Then again, putting Bass Booster on for the Arrival soundtrack actually added to the drama. The lesson here is, you’ll need to play around with the settings to see what suits you – and you might need to do that each time you switch genres. 

On the subject of settings, switch spatial audio on and you’re in for a 360-degree sound treat. I mostly felt as if positional audio was accurate, so sounds came from a central stage or instruments around me. There’s head tracking here too, which essentially means that as well as feeling like sound is all around you, to some extent, you’re moving around it too.

I probably enjoyed spatial audio the most when watching TV shows and movies. For example, I watched The Mandalorian with the 1More Aeros and replayed a scene when the Razor Crest landed with and without spatial audio. It was subtle, but definitely created more of a cinematic, stereo sound feel than I'm used to.

Back to music, putting on spatial audio halfway through De La Soul’s Supa Emcees and selecting the Hip-Hop EQ preset was a pleasing upgrade. The track came alive more than ever. It might sound a bit cheesy, but it genuinely felt like I’d gone from listening to a track positioned directly in front of me to hearing it performed on a stage above me – exactly what you want from spatial audio. 

I felt the same about pop music. Miley Cyrus’ Flowers was noticeably elevated with spatial audio switched on. I then chose the Deep preset for added bass and Studio for a more neutral listen. The energy of this track was simply phenomenal. The best earbuds can help you notice things about your favorite tracks you haven’t before. 

Having said that, not all music was as sparkly and elevated with spatial audio – even tracks optimized for it – and I did prefer the spatial audio experience with other buds, like the LG Tone Free T90Q, as they provided a more consistent and convincing sound. Then again, that was for almost double the price. 

I did wonder whether the wow factor of spatial audio had already faded. This might be because, other than the EQ settings, you can’t change anything else about how spatial audio or head tracking works, which it would have been nice to adjust. Then again, this is an affordable application of spatial audio, so I really am being picky. 

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

The 1More Aero earbuds pictured on a wooden surface next to their charging case.

Each 1More Aero bud weighs 4.9g, making them lightweight and therefore comfy enough to wear for hours at a time.  (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca Caddy)

1More Aero review: Design

  • Teardrop design 
  • Light at 4.9g per bud
  • They stay put

Like a lot of true wireless earbuds on the market at the moment, the 1More Aero buds have a stem-like design. At first glance they may look very similar to other buds, like the Apple AirPods Pro, but they’re a little different in that they’re teardrop-shaped with tapered ends. I like this small design quirk when other brands are just copying and pasting the AirPods design, but appreciate they may not be for everyone. 

The buds are light at 4.9g each, which makes them easy to wear for long periods. In fact, I had no trouble keeping them in for most of the working day and you have S, M, L and XL tips to choose from to find the perfect fit. The silicone tips I selected created a decent seal. They came a little loose when I wore them for more than 30 minutes, and I did knock the stems a couple of times, but this experience was no different to all of the other true wireless earbuds I’ve tested. 

There’s an IPX5 rating here, which means these buds are not fully waterproof but are certainly sweat-proof and rain-proof, which makes them a good option if you’re looking for a pair of workout buds. Although they did budge enough for me to keep securing them during a jog and when I was trying to perfect my downward-facing dog, although not enough to fall out.

The buds come with a charging case that’s small enough to slide into a pocket and weighs 45.2g. It has a clamshell-style design which I personally prefer to the pill-shaped box that seems to have become standard from rival brands. My only criticism of the case is the magnets that keep the buds in place could have been a bit stronger, they felt weak compared to similar devices I've tested.

  • Design score: 4/5

The 1More Aero true wireless earbuds pictured in the palm of someone's hand.

The design of the 1More Aero buds is similar to the Apple AirPods, but with a more tear-shaped tip. (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca caddy)

1More Aero review: Value

  • Cheaper buds offer improvements in some areas
  • You’d have to pay much more for spatial audio

As a whole package, the 1More Aero buds are good value. They offer everything most people need from a pair of buds, including good audio and ANC, decent battery life and a comfortable fit. However, in some areas other buds shine. For example, if you want a longer battery life or a bump in ANC, there are better alternatives at a similar price – look to the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro or JBL Live Pro 2 for starters. 

That said, if you want that top-tier spatial audio feature, you’d have to pay significantly more. So in that respect, they’re great value. The question you need to ask yourself is: do you really need head-tracked spatial audio? It’s fun at first, and certainly improves the experience of TV shows and movies, but I'm not convinced it’s a must-have for everyone. 

So are the 1More Aero good value? That entirely depends on what you’re looking for. 

  • Value score: 4/5

Should I buy the 1More Aero?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

1More Aero review: Also consider

How I tested the 1More Aero

Becca with the 1More Aero earbuds in her ears

I spent a week testing the 1More Aero true wireless earbuds, taking them with me everywhere I went – on a bus, to the gym, running along the beach.  (Image credit: Future/TechRadar/Becca Caddy)
  • Tested for 7 days
  • Used working at a coffee shop, while working out at home and on a few bus and train journeys
  • Mostly tested with Apple Music and iPhone 13 Pro

To test the 1More Aero buds, I took them with them everywhere over the course of a week. They came with me while working at a coffee shop, on long walks through a town, on the bus and train to meetings and kept me occupied during workouts, too. 

I’m always keen to see how true wireless buds fare over long periods, so I can really test their comfort levels and make sure the battery claims are accurate. So I kept them in for hours on end, while going from working to walking to working out. 

I mostly used the buds to listen to a range of playlists on Apple Music, but also used them to listen to audiobooks, stream podcasts and watch a few TV shows – a good chance to see how spatial audio compares with different types of sound.

I’ve been testing audio products and wearable devices for around ten years now. I like to focus on how comfortable tech is and how easy it is to use.

  • First reviewed: March 2023
Nothing Ear (2) announced with improved ANC, LHDC support and personalized sound profiles
6:30 pm | March 22, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Nothing Tech just announced its Ear (2) wireless earphones. These are the third member of the wireless earbud range from Nothing and they serve as a direct successor to the Nothing Ear (1), which launched back in June 2021. Not much has changed in terms of design between the two models, but the specs department has gained some useful additions. Nothing Ear (2) bring support for the LHDC 5.0 audio codec which allows you to stream Hi-Res audio. The buds also feature a new personalized sound profile that lets you calibrate the buds to your specific hearing after taking a quick test in the...

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: the best cheap noise-cancelling earbuds you can get
6:55 pm | February 28, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

EarFun Air Pro 3: Two-minute review

The EarFun Air Pro 3 are the latest affordable noise-cancelling buds from a company that makes some of the best budget wireless earbuds around. EarFun has released several pairs of earbuds that we rated highly, including the original EarFun Air Pro and EarFun Air S, all delivering decent sound and fantastic value.

The EarFun Air Pro 3 build on this further, all for under $100 / £100. In terms of design, they're more elegant-looking than their predecessors, and although they feel a little cheap, that means a light and comfortable fit that stayed put throughout the day when I tested them… with one notable exception that I'll come to. 

The EarFun Air Pro 3's ANC (active noise cancellation) isn't on par with the best noise-cancelling earbuds available today, but they cost less than half as much as most, and the decent level of quiet offered here should be good enough to focus at work or keep most sounds dampened down when you’re travelling. It's impressive for the price. 

The same goes for audio. If you’re after detailed and audiophile-grade sound, look to rivals instead. The EarFun Air Pro 3 won’t beat the top-performing buds in our best wireless earbuds guide, but I liked their punchy sound and found them fun to listen to. 

There’s a great battery life on offer here – nine hours from the buds and an additional 36 from the case – as well as multipoint pairing. There are also some next-gen features available that we couldn’t test yet, but may soon make these buds even more special, including support for the highly-anticipated Bluetooth LE Audio tech. 

No one feature stood out when I was testing the EarFun Air Pro 3. Instead, these buds are brilliant all-rounders, delivering everything most people would need from a pair of true wireless earbuds today all for well under $100/£100. But there are other options that may tempt you: the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are better sounding, but with no ANC; the JBL Live Pro 2 feature better noise cancellation, but cost a little more.

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds held in a hand above a wooden table

There's a lot of tech packed into the affordable EarFun Air Pro 3. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Price & release date

  • Released in January 2023
  • Costs $99 / £99 at launch but discounted already
  • No Australian availability at time of writing

The EarFun Air Pro 3 true wireless earbuds were launched in January 2023. They originally cost $99 / £99, but they’ve been reduced to $79 /£79 on the Earfun website and other third party retailers at the time of writing, so that's clearly a price to expect them to hit regularly. As we publish, there’s no news on Australian availability.

Their sub-$100/£100 price tag puts the EarFun Air Pro 3 at a similar price as some of our favorite budget earbuds, like the ​​Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. But although we rated the sound of the Audio-Technica buds, there are more features on offer from the EarFun Air Pro 3, most notably ANC. 

Having spent a few weeks testing them, I'd say that the EarFun Air Pro 3 are similar in terms of sound, ANC, specs and even design as the JBL Live Pro 2, but at $149 / £129 / AU$199, the JBL are significantly more expensive.

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Specs

Earfun Air Pro 3 case closed on wooden table

The EarFun Air Pro 3 case isn't as small as some, but is reasonably compact. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Features

  • Great battery life 
  • Multipoint pairing and active noise cancellation
  • Bluetooth LE Audio support could be a game-changer

For the price, there are a lot of features on offer here. I like that the EarFun Air Pro 3 have multipoint pairing, allowing you to listen to music on your laptop and then easily switch to say taking a call on your phone. During testing, this worked well and was seamless most of the time. 

In terms of controls and customization, the EarFun Air Pro 3 buds come with an app that’s minimal but has everything you need. There are also controls at the top of the stems. At times, these touch controls required a slower, more deliberate press to work. That’s fine, but not ideal given they’re there to be used intuitively. I did like that you can customize their actions from within the app. 

It’s a shame there are no sensors that know when you take out the buds and pause the audio. That feature isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is one you don’t realize is incredibly handy until it’s not there.

The battery life of the EarFun Air Pro 3 is among the best you’ll find from a pair of true wireless buds. EarFun promises nine hours from the buds and a further 36 from the charging case. That’s a mega-impressive 45 hours in total. Of course, that’s with ANC off. With it on, we’re talking seven hours in the buds and 37 hours in total. I got 6.5 hours with ANC on at a high volume, which I still found impressive.

This is a similar battery life to some of our favorite buds, like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, although they don’t have ANC. It’s also just a little less than our current mid-range favorites, the JBL Live Pro 2, which offer up 40 hours of battery life in total. So considering the EarFun Air Pro 3 are budget buds with ANC, they outperform much of the competition. 

The EarFun Air Pro 3 feel like a truly modern pair of buds in terms of specs, and one feature is so cutting edge I couldn’t even test it: next-gen Bluetooth LE Audio technology. This is a new Bluetooth standard that promises to upgrade the way we listen to music, including improved sound quality and battery life. The problem? No smartphones are compatible yet. 

There’s also support for a feature called Auracast. This allows you to jump between audio playing from different devices, so you can seamlessly listen to what your friends are listening to or what’s playing in a public space – again, though, there's no support in the wild yet.

That’s not all. The buds also support Qualcomm’s apt-X Adaptive audio codec, which is capable of delivering CD-quality 16-bit.44.1kHz audio over Bluetooth. This also provides low-latency performance when streaming from devices that support the Qualcomm standard.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 close up in case on wooden table

With aptX and Bluetooth LC3 support, the EarFun Air Pro 3 are all set for Hi-Res audio. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Sound quality

  • Fun but not fantastic sound
  • Adjustable EQ
  • ANC is good

The EarFun Air Pro 3 buds were powerful and punchy right out of the gate. I listened to Stevie Nicks' Edge of Seventeen and For What It’s Worth, and the signature sound was spot on, perfectly suited to these iconic tracks with big, booming vocals. 

I found this to be the case across any genre that was all about the power and the bass, these buds handle the lower end well most of the time. Other tracks felt a little muddied or just didn’t suit the boom and the energy these buds excel in. Don’t get me wrong, they were still an enjoyable listen, but I couldn’t pick out the details or hear the precision of certain vocals or instruments as much as I can with higher-performing rivals. 

I felt this acutely with Hildur Guðnadóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Good Night, Day. This beautiful strings piece builds power and energy throughout, but I didn’t hear that instrumental distinction with the Air Pro 3 quite as much as I'd really like. 

At times there’s also a noticeable boom and even a rattle on the bass when you push to high volumes which, after listening for more than an hour straight, can be a bit too much. I found this to be particularly the case with ANC on.

If you want powerful sound, you’ll love them. If you like to appreciate the details of a mix, you might find them lacking. There is an equalizer on offer here that you can customize to a degree. There are also some presets, like bass boost. But I didn’t notice much of a difference when I tried them and preferred the signature profile for the most part. 

You won’t get that silent cocoon of sound type of ANC that’s typical of more expensive earbuds from these EarFun buds. But you get a sufficient level of ANC. The buds block a decent amount of bass range sounds, like the rumble of traffic. I tested them in a busy coffee shop and although all chatter wasn’t silenced, a noisy conversation next to me was significantly dampened down so as not to be annoying. You’d need to bump up in price to get noticeably better ANC.

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds on wooden table

The shiny stem on the EarFun Air Pro 3 helps them look more premium. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Design

  • Long stem design
  • Look fancier than they are
  • Very light

When you first pick up these buds you’ll notice they feel plasticky – by which I mean: cheap – but that’s kind of good news as they’re also incredibly light at 52g for both buds and case. This is subjective, but I find the lighter the bud, the more comfy the fit. 

I achieved a good seal from the tips that came with the buds and chose the smallest size. They stayed secure and in place most of the time, but I did experience a bit of slipping when I wore them for a long time and when I took them on a run. To be fair, that’s pretty decent considering these aren’t workout buds. I only had to adjust them a few times and they do have an IPX5 rating, which makes them sweatproof and worth considering if you’re looking for a spare pair of buds for the gym.   

They have a shiny black plastic design on the back, which I didn’t like, but that’s the bit that sits against your ear. What sticks out is a long, mirrored stem with gesture controls at the top end and the EarFun logo at the button. This shiny finish is subtle and makes the buds look much more premium than their price tag suggests. 

However, the stem is long, and although the seal of the tips was great ,the stems affected it several times. This was particularly the case with long hair. When I wore my hair down around the buds, then pushed my hair out of the way, it got caught on the stems and the buds came loose. Not everyone will have this problem and I learned to be careful, especially outside. But I've tested a lot of true wireless earbuds at this point and never had this problem in the past. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Earfun Air Pro 3 buds close up on wooden table

As all-rounders, the EarFun Air Pro 3 are hard to beat. (Image credit: Future)

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Value

  • Possibly the best sub-$100/£100 buds I’ve tried
  • You have to pay at least $50/£50 more for comparable features
  • You’d need to be sure about the design

The EarFun Air Pro 3 buds perform well in every respect, but in terms of value they’re fantastic. Although their inner shiny plastic finish may give away that they’re cheap, as does their weight, the simple mirror design of the stems makes them look much more premium than they should when you wear them. 

The ANC might not be the best, but I think it’ll suit most everyday scenarios and it’s often rare to get solid ANC with a sub-$100/£100 price tag. Just look at two of our current budget favorites, the ​​Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW and Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, which excel in some areas more than the Air Pro 3, but don’t have ANC. 

Battery life is fantastic, multipoint pairing is handy and the Bluetooth LE Audio support will hopefully make these buds even more of a no-brainer proposition as the tech rolls out more widely. 

All in all, these buds won’t beat higher-end buds and sound is only fine, but in terms of what you get for what you pay in total, they're pretty much unmatched.

  • Value score: 5/5

Should I buy the EarFun Air Pro 3?

Buy them if...

Don't buy it if...

EarFun Air Pro 3 review: Also consider

How I tested the EarFun Air Pro 3

Earfun Air Pro 3 worn in the ears of a woman outdoors on wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for 10 days
  • Used in home office, working at a coffee shop, the gym, countryside walk, public transport in a busy town
  • Mostly tested with Apple Music and iPhone 13 Pro

In order to put the EarFun Air Pro 3 buds through their paces, I used them in a range of different environments as I went about my daily routine over the course of 10 days. I took them to the gym when I worked out, on a walk through the countryside, while travelling by both train and bus, and out on lots of walks around suburban areas at all times of day.

These are true wireless earbuds designed to be worn for long periods, so I kept them on when transitioning from a walk outside to working back at my desk again. This was a good opportunity to try out multipoint pairing, moving from listening to a podcast and taking calls on my phone to watching videos on my laptop. 

I mostly listened to Apple Music, but also streamed podcasts, audiobooks and watched videos too – I also used them as I caught up on the latest episode of The Last of Us.

I’ve been testing audio products and wearable tech for around a decade, particularly focusing on the devices that can accompany you on walks and workouts, as well as general ease of use and comfort.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: February 2023
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