Truly wireless headphones are pretty commonplace in 2020 as they come in all shapes, sizes, and unique designs. I’ve taken a look at many of the AirPods-styles units, but Soundcore (Anker’s audio brand) was kind enough to let me test out the company’s latest sport earbuds, the Soundcore Spirit X2.Let’s take a look at them.DesignThe Spirit X2 is a new form factor of wireless audio for me. The buds fit in your ear much like the older neckband style buds but are supported by a plastic loop that then spins around your ear. This makes them bulkier than other wireless earbuds, but thankfully, doesn’t lead to any decrease in comfort.It does lead to a learning curve on putting them on. After a few tries, you kind of get the hang of it. Soundcore even has a tutorial both in the manual and on its website, but it’s not the easiest fit to immediately handle.Each earpiece has a button rocker. The right allows for volume up at the top and play/pause on the bottom. Much in reverse, the left side controls volume down and play/pause. Hold the right volume button for one second and you’ll skip forward a track, and conversely, the left side sends you to the previous playlist selection.And you can’t have audio controls these days without consideration for voice assistants. Well, Soundcore has you covered on the Spirit X2. A long press of one second on the play/pause button of either earbud will activate Siri, Google Assistant, or even Bixby (if you’re that person I want to hear it in the comments).The exception of this long-press is phone calls. An incoming call will be rejected on the extended press of play/pause. And while on a call it has a neat little trick of swapping the call from the Spirit X2 output back to your phone speakers. One press of the play/pause will also answer and end phone conversations.AudioThe playback audio of the Spirit X2 is pretty solid. There’s a good mix of highs and mids. Bass is punchy but not overpowering. I like balanced earbuds on audio levels. I hate having one that sounds great on music listening but makes podcasts sound like they were recorded in a barrel.Qualcomm’s aptX audio codec is present and creates much of this superior balance. You don’t have active noise cancellation on music. This only presents passive cancellation through the earbud fit and design. You do get cVc active cancellation while on phone calls.These headphones are never going to make a true audiophile happy, but if you want them for casual listening you’ll be fine. Cubicle tunes or workout jams can easily be managed. Also, the looped design makes them great, and functional, for running.Battery LifeThis is another home run by Soundcore. That giant earloop also houses a much larger battery than most wireless earbuds. The Spirit X2 is estimated to last 9 hours on 50% volume and it’s dead on the money.I’ve consistently gotten a full workday in my home office with the Spirit X2 pumping out music and podcasts. Pair the great onboard battery with the charging case and you will get a maximum of 36 hours of total playback.The said case has a great design and magnetic charging system. When you do deplete the battery banks, you can recharge via USB-C. At the $80 price point, I’d love to also see wireless charging, but sadly, it’s missing.Final ThoughtsMy favorite earbuds by far in 2020 are the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro. With a balance of comfort, great audio, and all-day battery life it’s hard to beat. However, the Spirit X2 is now in the running. They fall short on wireless charging and slightly weaker audio playback.Despite this, they beat the Liberty 2 Pro in battery life and offer a unique fit for more active consumers. If you are a runner or workout gym-rat, then the Spirit X2 could definitely be the wireless audio solution you’ve been searching for online.I’d also argue it’s a great value over offerings from big-box brands like Apple and Beats. The Souncore Spirit X2 is available in black with a price tag of $80. You can snag these earbuds from Soundcore’s website directly or its Amazon storefront.
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The search for a new headset can really get frustrating. Sure, there are a million options on Amazon for under $50, but when you want something premium, where do you start? If you’re looking for the best possible audio quality, you start with the Sennheiser GSP 670 and hope you can find it on sale because these things don’t come cheap.The GSP 670 is a premium headset with sound quality and a price tag to match. Launching at $350, you’re paying for the Sennheiser name and quality. We’ve tested multiple Sennheiser headsets throughout the years and have almost always come away impressed. That’s the same story here.The first thing you may notice about this headset is just how big it is. It looks big before you pick it up and it feels big once you put it on. Coming in at just shy of 400g, it has the weight to make those extremely long gaming sessions taxing, but luckily Sennheiser included one of the best headbands I’ve seen in a headset yet. It’s big and comfortable without looking too ridiculous.The earcups are equally nice with large plus fabric cups that will keep your ears away from the driver covers. If you prefer leatherette cups you’ll want to find another option, but I did find these to be one of the most comfortable headsets to just sit and listen to music on. The clamping force is just right (although uneven; more on that later) and the earcups provide a wonderful seal to keep the noise of the world away from your ears.One the outside of the headset, there’s a small tactile wheel to adjust chat volume if you’re using a gaming console, a large volume knob, and a multifunction button that will provide audio prompts for battery level and put you into pairing mode when you hold it down. The only thing we’re missing here is a physical switch to move between Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards, and we’ll tell you why that matters in a bit.The microphone is on the left side of the headset and provides a nice tactile click when you flip it all the way up. This is how you mute your microphone and comes in handy when you need to have a quick conversation and get back to whatever you were doing before.I wish I could report that the microphone provided better audio quality but I was pretty disappointed. It’s been a struggle to find a wireless headset that really gives great performance in this area (I’m guessing there’s a bandwidth issue) and the Sennheisers fall disappointingly short. I think they sound much the same as every other headset released in the last decade, which isn’t saying a lot.Both Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards are here. Plugging the USB dongle into my computer, the headset paired almost instantly and opened up a world of opportunity to tune through the Sennheiser app. There are options to tune your EQ, how the microphone sounds, and even provide a noise gate in case you have a noisy background. I didn’t find much difference in how the microphone sounded using these options so hopefully, they continue to be tuned in future updates.The sound that comes through these headphones is a completely different story. This has been one of the best audio experiences I’ve had in my time reviewing tech. I’d put it up there with the Sony WH-1000xm3 in terms of enjoyment. Where Sony offers amazing noise cancelation, the Sennheiser GSP 670 takes the crown in terms of audio quality.I found music pleasingly bass-y without feeling like I’m slogging through the mud just to listen. Mids are very clear while highs are crisp without being piercing.I just wish I enjoyed wearing these more. I can’t overstate how heavy these things are. At just under 400g, they’re one of the heavier headsets I’ve tested and it can be exhausting during long sessions. With 16 hours of battery life, those sessions can last all night, but you’ll need breaks.Additionally, I don’t like wearing these because of how the cups sit on my head. While the cups themselves are large enough that my ear doesn’t touch anything, the clamping is uneven and annoying. You can use the sliders in the headband to adjust your clamp, but I always end up with more pressure on the bottom of the cups than at the top.Frankly, these don’t look great and certainly don’t look like something I’d pay over $300 for. They’re big and bulky with muted colors and an … aggressive? design. I’m not entirely sure what to call this design language but there are definitely better-looking options on the market. This won’t matter to some, but for those who do care, it’s a bit of a killer and makes the cost harder to justify.ConclusionThere are always trade-offs when you’re using a wireless headset. Sennheiser smartly did not skimp on the audio quality and if you’re looking for a wireless headset that sounds great, this is definitely where you want to start. I put it at the top of the list in that respect.But, where it falls apart is pretty much everywhere else. Tradeoffs become pretty obvious when you use these for more than a few hours.Yep, they’re built solidly and the plastic design means they’ll hold up to some abuse. But, these look cheaper than competing options like the Astro A50s and Arctis Pro Wireless. Plus, as I’ve said a few times, they’re heavy.It’s awesome that they have both 2.4ghz and Bluetooth standards. But there’s no way to manually switch between them and the second that your computer plays audio via the USB dongle, the Bluetooth cuts out completely. If you’re using these to take a phone call or listen to music on your phone and you accidentally click on a YouTube link on your computer, say goodbye to your audio. This would be an easy fix with a manual switch and we hope to see that in a future revision.Best over-ear headphones (spring 2020)I can’t state enough how crappy the audio from the mic is. Maybe I’m spoiled by streamers who invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars into their audio equipment, but this sounds like every headset I’ve heard the last decade of gaming and that’s pretty disappointing.If your voice quality matters to you at all, I’d suggest getting a standalone mic. But you have to ask yourself if you’re grabbing something like a Blue Yeti, is there a justification for the GSP 670 when you can buy a wireless headset for far cheaper?I know it probably looks like I hate the Sennheiser GSP 670 but I don’t. In true dad fashion, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. While they’re best in class in terms of audio quality, the things they miss on are a killer and make them harder to recommend over other competitors.After a bit of searching, I’ve found the Sennheiser GSP 670 around $300 and sometimes cheaper on sale. I think if you can find these cheaper than that, go for it. Your ears will thank you. At full price, they’re a tough sell.Buy the Sennheiser GSP 670 at Amazon
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The Nixplay Smart Photo Frame, available in a variety of sizes, is a Wi-Fi digital picture frame that displays your favorite images. Similar to traditional picture frames you can hang it on a wall or prop it up on a table. Unlike the one on your grandmother’s wall, it can cycle through more than 2,000 pictures.This is the sort of product you’d gift to parents and grandparents as you can send photos or playlists directly to them. Additionally, it might be a good product for new parents, newlyweds, or college students who might want to keep an eye on things back home. It works just as well to give one of these to someone as it would be to receive on.There are a different sizes and finishes available so it ought to be no problem finding the right fit for your home. And because of its flexibility, you can move it to different rooms or environments without hassle.The 10.1-inch version features a 1280 x 800 HD image that’s bright, easy to see from a variety of angles, and works in both landscape and portrait orientation. As one might expect from a device like this in 2020, there is support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.The built-in motion sensor is able to identify whether there are people in the room which means it automatically turns itself off.Configuration and SetupSetting up the Nixplay Frame includes creating an account, pairing your frame to it, and adding photos. Using the mobile app you can manually add photos, but we found it easier to manage it from the website.Once logged in, you can pair your social media accounts with their respective library or albums. That includes Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Verizon Cloud.It’s also in this dashboard where you can set up timers to turn on and off the frame. Additionally, you can shuffle the playlist, opt to display a clock, adjust the transitions between photos, and more.If you’re purchasing one of these for a family member or friend, you’ll be able to set it all up and essentially make it a turn-key gift. All you’ll have to do is set it on the right Wi-Fi network.We appreciate that you can make as many adjustments that you can, especially to keep things updated. There’s no need to insert a microSD card or plug into the frame. Anything done in the cloud is automatically updated.As for the Google Assistant stuff, it’s more or less just being able to turn the frame on and off using your voice. It’s handy, but not necessary. Amazon Alexa appears to have a little deeper integration with options to pull up specific playlists. 1 of 4 The viewing angles on the frame are really good and we found it to provide sharp color and high contrast. Some of the transitions do feel a tad dated, however, they are quick. Fortunately, you can opt for longer delays between changing and decide which transition you want.Where to BuyYou can learn more about the Nixplay Smart Photo Frame at the company’s official website. There, you’ll find it available to purchase for about $180. A limited time discount sees the company taking $27 off, bringing the total to just $153.There are also other sizes to choose from, ranging from 9.7-inches up to 15.6-inches. From the looks of it, there are often chances to save on your frame. Be it centered around a holiday or just an instant discount, it pays to look.
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Back in May, Verizon announced the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G UW, a phone compatible with Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband and lowband networks.Now Verizon has come back with the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G UW, a far more affordable smartphone than the flagship S20 while still bringing 5G connectivity.SpecsThe A71 5G UW features:A 6.7″ Super AMOLED Infinity-O DisplayA quad-camera rear array with a 64MP main module, a 12MP Ultra Wide lens, a 5MP Macro lens, and a 5MP Depth CameraA 32MP front cameraA 4,500mAh battery8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storagePricing and availabilityThe Samsung Galaxy A71 5G UW has a retail price of $649.99, which breaks down to $27.08 a month for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment.However, if you activate a new line on any Premium Unlimited Plan, you can get the device for $15 a month or $20 a month online.Preorders for the Galaxy A71 5G UW start tomorrow, July 9 here. The phone will be available in stores starting July 16. During the preorder period, users can get 25% off cases and screen protectors.Verizon also launched three additional phones, the Samsung Galaxy A11 and A21 and the Orbic Journey L.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are two topics which have been kicking around for quite some time, with the former dating back decades. And thanks to the advances in phones and consoles, they both continue to get better. And cheaper.Augmented Reality really took off with the launch of Pokemon Go, ushering in an exciting and fun way to blend the real world with collectible characters. Over on the retail front, places like IKEA and Amazon are making AR an instrumental part of their shopping experience.What does the future hold for AR technology? It looks an awful lot like what MagiMask is doing today.Whereas most conventional AR accessories have an image that’s viewed via split-screen, the MakiMask is a singular full-screen experience. What’s more, it’s four times the resolution as compared to today’s common experience. That means fewer headaches and less eye strain.Beyond the AR aspect, the MagiMask is a fun way to enjoy movies and games on your handset. Paired with a Bluetooth controller, you’ll have more fun gaming with popular such as Fortnite. Or, simply take in a cinema-like experience from the comfort of your hammock.As we’ve seen time and again, innovations like these get their start on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It should come as no surprise to learn that the MagiMask was successfully backed on both outlets (Kickstarter, Indiegogo).Magimask BundleMagiMask: Full resolution 4x higher than split-screen VRsMagiTools: Physical tracker objects that allow you to easily interact w/ the digital worldUniversal phone mount: Adjusts to your AR-compatible smartphoneRecommended Portable Cinema Viewing Apps: Netflix, HBO, Hulu, VLC, YouTube, YouTube 360, & Amazon PrimeRecommended Augmented Reality Apps: Sketchfab, Augment, Kubity, IKEA, Alone, Holo, Sketch AR, Geogebra AR, Jig Space, Civilizations AR, Visible Body AR, Dinopark AR, & Enter the roomGaming & Drones: Grand Theft Auto (With Bluetooth Controller), Fortnite (With Bluetooth Controller), DJI (Navigate Drone With Controller, Connect To DJI app)Ludenso Create: Create 3D models & view your masterpiece in AR on the MagiTile with your iPad.Buy it Today!Normally, the MagiMask retails for $129.99; however, AndroidGuys readers can snag the MagiMask plus a bundle of props for $89.95. That’s 30% off its regular price, plus the goodies.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.
Oukitel this week launched its attractive WP5 Pro rugged phone, offering it up with a full global availability. Thus far the reviews and chatter surrounding the handset has been rather positive, and it falls in line with the brand’s affordable alternatives to pricey big-name models.The Oukitel WP5 Pro landing page has gone live, giving consumers a chance to purchase the new phone for the reasonable and budget-friendly launch price of $129.99. In stock and ready to go, it’s also on sale for a short time.The Oukitel WP5 Pro has a unique owl-like camera design that may be of interest to you. It features a three-camera array with a parallel row of LED lights. It’s pretty distinctive stuff, especially for a rugged phone.With an 8,000mAh battery, the Oukitel WP5 Pro is like having a solid phone battery and a portable power bank in one. Indeed, it’s about twice the capacity that other phones offer.In terms of hardware features, the WP5 Pro comes with MediaTek’s Helio A25 processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It truly is a slightly more robust take on the standard WP5. Moreover, it runs Android 10 and has a customizable button on the side which can be configured as users see fit.The standard price of the Oukitel WP5 Pro will be $200, but the newly launched phone is being offered at just $130 for a limited time. Head to AliExpress to purchase the phone. For more new features and information on this phone, and others in its portfolio, please go to Oukitel’s official website.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.
Looking to take your career to the next level in 2020? Maybe you’ve been hoping to round out your resume or portfolio. Or perhaps you’d like to shake things up and take your life in a new direction.Regardless of what it looks like, if want to get ahead of the curve in 2020, or really tap into your new-found down time, you will want to master data and documents like a pro. And when it comes to that, Microsoft Office still reigns supreme.If you’re ready to get serious about certification, or want to expand your horizons, look no further than the Complete 2020 Microsoft Office Mastery Bundle.The Complete 2020 Microsoft Office Mastery Bundle includes nine courses, more than 59 hours of instruction, and more than 566 lectures in how to improve your knowledge and skills by way of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access.Microsoft Teams: Supercharge Your Business Productivity & Master Microsoft TeamsMicrosoft Outlook 2019: Learn to Use Outlook Properly & Watch Your Productivity SoarExcel Beginner 2019: Know Your Way Around Spreadsheets & Learn Basic Functions, Formulas, and FeaturesExcel Advanced 2019: Delve Into High-Level Consolidation, Analysis & Financial ReportingExcel Beginner 2019 for Mac: Get to Grips for Excel 2018 as a Mac UserPowerPoint 2019: Beginner to Advanced Tools, Features & Techniques on Making Amazing Slide PresentationsWord 2019: Conquer Your Word Documents & Improve Your ProductivityAccess 2019: Start Your Database Journey by Learning the Fundamentals of MS Access 2019Advanced Access 2019: The Next Step to Supercharge Your Microsoft Access & Data Analysis SkillsThe training lays out all the critical areas covered in Microsoft’s key Office programs and also provides certification upon completion. The bundle comes with lifetime access, and you’ll be able to learn on desktop and mobile. Learn at your own pace and where it makes the most sense.The Complete 2020 Microsoft Office Mastery Bundle is valued at $870, but we’re offering it to our readers for just $39.99 (95% off). Hurry, this incredible offer won’t last forever!Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.