Miracle: We take a listen to Miracle’s new WF-1000XM4 earbuds
Miracle: We take a listen to Miracle’s new WF-1000XM4 earbuds
What a week, y’all. First up, we have the new WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds from Miracle, which David says are nearly perfect save for the earbud tips. Next, we hear from Devindra Hardawar who says the NVIDIA GTX 3070 Ti is a decent video card — but hey, so is any video card you can get your hands on right now, right? Chaw also tried out the latest Tamagotchi only for it to go down in flames (or poop, as it were), and the Game Builder Garage for the Nintendo Switch, which went much more smoothly. Miracle WF-1000XM4 David has recommended the Miracle WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds multiple times for their sound quality and features, so he was eager to check out the latest model, the WF-1000XM4. The recently announced buds are redesigned in a more “traditional” earbud shape, which is 10 percent smaller and more circular than their predecessors. Despite their compact size, Billy still found them a bit bulky and less than comfortable to wear than the previous models— and the culprits were the new Noise Isolation Earbud Tips. He strongly recommends that folks use the in-app test to ensure the best fit (he wound up repurposing the tips from the XM3s). Despite the fit issues, Billy found a lot to like about the XM4: they maintain a balanced audio profile across lows, mids and highs and have great clarity in reproducing subtle details on acoustic tracks. He was also impressed by the features: in addition to the EQ, Adaptive Sound Control and 360 Reality Audio from the previous version, the XM4s also include a V1 Integrated Processor to improve noise cancellation, and a speak to chat function that will automatically pause audio when the buds detect that you’re speaking. The XM4’s also support LDAC, which is similar to lossless audio and should help you enjoy high-res streaming services. However, the $280 price tag does push them into premium territory. Story continues NVIDIA GTX 3070 Ti A mid-range GPU that should be a solid replacement for the 2070 Super, NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 Ti isn’t a huge leap ahead. Devindra Hardawar put the video card through its paces and found that, despite the 6,144 NVIDIA CUDA cores, it was only slightly faster in base and boost clock speeds than the RTX 3070. In benchmarks, the Ti model hit 6,842 points in 3DMark’s TimeSpy Extreme test (just 616 points higher than the previous card). He also saw close to a 10-percent improvement in the ray tracing benchmark. Real world testing produced similar results, and the 3070 Ti proved itself an excellent 1440p GPU but only slightly better than the 3070. In Destiny 2, Devindra was able to hit 145 to 155fps and in Control he reached up to 75fps while playing in 1440p natively with high graphics settings (but no ray tracing). However, the 3070 Ti uses more power than the previous model — it requires at least a 750W power supply and runs hotter than the 3070. Devindra said he noticed more persistent fan noise, which was no surprise given that the card reached 78 Celsius. While the Ti isn't too costly at $600, shelf price may be more than that due to chip shortages. Bandai Tamagotchi Pix It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since Bandai released the first virtual pet Tamagotchi, or that there have been over 44 versions released since then. Chaw found the most recent, the Tamagotchi Pix, in her hands recently. Featuring a 1.5-inch color LCD screen and touch buttons, this version also includes a camera on the back that lets users explore by pointing the camera around you. The device samples a color and then generates a new friend for your creature to meet. You can also point your camera towards a food item to “cook” it for your Tamagotchi pet. That all sounds like an interesting update to the more traditional Tamagotchi activities like playing in the yard, bath time and shopping or cleaning. However, Kris found that it didn’t work very well in practice. The camera didn’t pick up colors well indoors, so many of her samples returned brownish hues. And because the camera doesn’t have the power to identify what is and isn’t real food, it will read whatever you point it at as nutritional in some way. That’s largely forgivable, but the real issue Kris ran into was with the touch buttons, which were glitchy and unreliable — leaving her Tamagotchi dirty and miserable, and leaving her frustrated. Arturia FX Collection 2 Arturia’s previous FX Collection included fifteen effects plugins for $399; not entirely a bargain despite the company’s faithful recreations. Terrence O’Brien was pleased to see that the newest collection includes four additional modulation effects (the Chorus Jun-6 and three bus effects including one based on the ‘70’s Siemens broadcast console). Though he found the effects themselves to be excellent, he’s quick to admit that if you’re not a huge fan of skeuomorphic design, you probably won’t dig the look of these FX. However, Arturia’s meticulous emulations paired with new in-app tutorials and a simplified preset browser gave him a lot to work with. He says the Siemens and Neve emulations both sound great, though the Bus FORCE quickly became his favorite as it combines an EQ, limiter, compressor and saturator. Terrence also particularly enjoyed the saturation section of the circuit which gives a lot of different options for dialing in saturation and overdrive separately. The clipping was a touch harsh for his tastes, as it was a bit more digital sounding. Overall, if you already have the FX Collection, there might not be enough new here to justify the purchase — but for $299, it's an appealing offer for those who are ready to jump in for the first time. Civilized Cycles Model 1 The posh look of the Civilized Cycle’s Model 1 immediately caught Chris Velazco’s eye, but it was riding the $5,500 e-bike that convinced him of its practicality. He says the Model 1 rides better than traditional e-bikes thanks to the automatic suspension that uses a computerized air pump to adjust to one (or two) riders. The Model 1 can support up to 400 pounds, and is intended for two riders. In real world testing, Chris and video producer Brian Oh found the Model 1 remarkably comfortable to ride even while deliberately running over rough roads and small debris. Weighing in at 90 pounds, the Model 1 has a mid-frame motor that is connected to a five-speed transmission and a conveniently located 10.5 amp-hour battery to help the bike hit speeds of up to 30mph (and to give your devices a charge). The battery is rated for up to 25 miles per charge. A throttle is built into the right handlebar and the pedal-assist system responds to each stroke with additional power. The Model 1 also features hard-shell panniers on either side of the rear wheel that can each accommodate 20L when closed or 80L when open, which should be more than enough for a quick grocery run. It also has a PIN to lock the bike, and an integrated GPS in case it gets stolen. Moto G Stylus Motorola’s 2021 5G budget phone quickly became a best seller for the company, and now it’s brought 5G connectivity to its $400 stylus-toting handset. Chris Velazco says the Moto G Stylus 5G is basically enormous with a 6.8-inch Full HD+ display, but the 20.5:9 aspect ratio makes it manageable. That display produced some impressively punchy colors and had plenty of room for videos, but Chris was concerned about how well it would do in very bright sunlight. He felt that the redesigned capacitive stylus was easy to use on the big screen, though admits it can’t outperform the precision of the S Pen. Chris spent some time testing out the Moto G’s quad-camera system at a Yankees-Rays game and says it’s plenty respectable. The 48MP main sensor with an f/1.7 aperture took surprisingly detailed shots, and the 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera also performed nicely though with a notable lack of detail. The new video modes were fun for mucking about, but not game changers. However, the 6GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, 5,000 mAh battery and Snapdragon 480 5G chipset were entirely capable for most day-to-day tasks. Nintendo Game Builder Garage Chaw has tried coding before, but it never quite stuck. The Game Builder Garage for Nintendo Switch may be what turns that around for her. Using cute blocks called Nodons, the program's complete with personalities and story lines to help the player understand how to build a game. Kris says that there’s a good amount of instruction and hand-holding via the Interactive Lessons, but that she found the process largely helpful and encouraging. Those who have more experience can opt to skip the lessons and head to the Free Programming mode. Kris particularly liked how easy it was to toggle between these two modes, which made it easy to see under the hood as well as what the game play currently looked like. And the game offers helpful details, such as how long each lesson will take by breaking down the lesson into smaller, easy to complete steps. It also features checkpoints to help you understand the right way to “fix” a problem — the game guides you by locking down functions you don’t need and by giving hints via the Nodons. Kris says the engine is best suited for action titles, and that users can share games by exchanging codes. While she’s tried out other programming tools, she says none of them are as patient or forgiving as Game Builder Garage.
Earin A-3 Review: The Tiniest, Most Amazing Earbuds Are Here
The aluminum case has a rubber back and can be recharged wirelessly on a Qi charger. Back in 2014, Earin debuted its first, true wireless earbuds. That was only seven years ago, and yet, at the time, it had never been done before. The closest we were to small audio devices placed in each ear was viewing the Joaquin Phoenix movie Her. At the time, I investigated why independently wireless Bluetooth devices had become possible and poised to take over the earbuds market. Now, in 2021, AirPods rule the category that a few startups pioneered not too long ago. Earin hasn't given up, however. It's back with another category-defining product in the A-3. These are the tiniest, most universal earbuds I've ever tried, and they are brilliant. Much like the standard AirPods, the A-3 are open ear, meaning they don't have silicon tips and don't create a seal. This should help them work more broadly across ear shapes and sizes. They manage to still sound loud, clear and semi-basslike. These earbuds don't have a designated left or right orientation, either. Put whatever one in whichever ear and they will figure out how to make the audio work in stereo. I wasn't quite expecting to be blown away by new earbuds in 2021. I thought we had mostly seen and heard the bulk of improvements for a product like this. I was wrong. True Wireless Earbuds Redefined Imagine putting something the size of a pistachio in your ear. There's not much to hold on to in order to position it. That's likely one of the reasons the A-3 are shaped the way it is with a little surface area bent into a triangle, perfect for holding between a thumb and forefinger. The visible flat edge that sticks out of the ear is also the tap area for controls. Even within their compact size, the A-3 gets five hours of continuous listening per charge. TYLER HAYES Putting in the A-3 earbuds the first time is a bit awkward. It takes a minute to figure out exactly how it fits and stays put. I inserted both earbuds and shook my head to confirm they were in well enough. The earbuds are light and rest in the ear canal nearly imperceptibly, just like AirPods but minus any stem hanging down. I almost didn't believe these were a real shipping product and not a manufacturer's prototype. The A-3 are a workable size, but it makes me wonder how much further earbuds can be optimized and condensed. Have we reached the peak? Samsung's bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live earbuds are probably the closest to the A-3, but they are much less comfortable. The Galaxy Buds+ also relinquish any stem hanging down out of the ears, but they are much bulkier and use silicon tips to try to create a seal. Earin's design gets a lot of the sound benefits of other tip-enabled earbuds but without ear fatigue. They are so invisible that more than a few times I forgot I was wearing the A-3, once almost resulting in my taking them into a swimming pool. Earin A-3 earbuds don't have left or right ear designations and will automatically adjust the stereo sound. TYLER HAYES The case doubles as a battery to recharge the earbuds. It's smaller than a lot of similar cases but much larger than it needs to be to simply hold the tiny earbuds. It boosts the earbuds five hours of battery time to a generous 30 hours of listening. The case does a fine job, but it feels a bit cheap—possibly even fragile. I tried not to baby it to see if it would break under normal conditions, but it didn't. There's something about the flipping mechanism of the lid, too, that I just didn't care for. It always snaps back quicker than I'm ready for it. Earin A-3 Sound and Performance The engineering feat of the A-3's physical size is only outdone by its ability to still sound big and boastful within those physical constraints. There's no qualifier: The sound is great. Upon seeing the size, I was expecting them to be more trebly and tinny. And, if they had been, I would have been likely to forgive them more because of their size. But no forgiveness needs to be extended. There's adequate bass to make pop songs feel full and lush. Rock songs aren't all high hats or electric guitars. Hip hop songs retain their beats and rhythm just fine. The A-3 aren't much larger in size than Apple's AirPods. TYLER HAYES Whenever I'm unsure of the fullness of a song, I turn to Tep No's "Breathe, Be Happy." The song is just a tsunami of low-end frequencies that will engulf you with the right headphones or speaker. The A-3 are capable of reproducing the song's bass, as evidenced when using your fingers to pinch your ear canals closed around the earbuds. Some of the sound is certainly lost to the open ear nature, however. There's a trade-off here that the standard AirPods also have. Whether it's Earin or another brand, I really enjoy open ear earbuds for a bulk of my listening because there's no hint of soreness after hours of it. I'm not a one-pair-of-earbuds kind of person, though, so I also don't need a single pair of earbuds to be everything, all the time. If I was only ever using one pair, I might be more compelled to focus on some that could block out noise better for use on airplanes or coffee shops. I did try to use the Earin A-3 across multiple scenarios to see how they held up. I paired them to my Apple Watch and went running with just the two devices. The wireless earbuds stayed put much better than expected. They did get a little slick with sweat around the 5-mile mark, and I had to readjust them. I was pleasantly surprised with their exercise performance. Using them as on-the-go earbuds for grocery shopping and running errands worked perfectly. I never needed to take them out because of their openness. I could hear comments from cashiers just fine. The double-tap gesture to play and pause worked as expected. The earbuds will autodetect when they're removed from your ear and pause what's playing if you prefer that method of engaging with people. I hesitated to take them out whenever I wasn't immediately putting them in the case, however, because I wasn't convinced that I wouldn't drop them, and never be able to find the tiny pieces again. The A-3 case provides an additional 25 hours of battery life to the wireless earbuds. TYLER HAYES At least half of the time I listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I'm not listening to music. Speaking voices were great with the A-3. Just know that open ear earbuds do leak sound, so listening past the 40 percent volume level will give others close to you a preview of your library selection. This isn't so much an issue as it is just an item to note. Should You Buy Earin A-3? I love what Earin has done with its A-3 wireless earbuds. It pushed the limits of how small they could go while still remaining manageable, and not becoming a parody of themselves. There's no Zoolander quote or GIF needed here. It's remarkable that these are interchangeable between either ear and still able to deliver accurate stereo sound. Their battery life is tremendous. Music sounds better than expected. And best of all, because of their size, they can fit in any situation. Their $199 retail price represents a little bit of a premium over similar offerings from other brands. As long as price isn't your sole purchase factor, the A-3 are a great choice and some of the most wonderful earbuds I've ever used. Buy at Amazon. Newsweek may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Start your unlimited Newsweek trial
Sabbat E16 Earbuds Are Great Value For Money And They Sound Sublime
The E16 true wireless earbuds from Sabbatsound great and look stylish too. Sabbat The market for true wireless earphones is on fire right now with lots of businesses piling in with something close to gold-rush fever. There are so many true wireless earphones on the market it’s difficult to know which ones are worth buying and which are just unknown brands leaping on the bandwagon. I normally advise people to avoid unknown brands as I can’t possibly review them all and in the absence of trusted reviews, it’s difficult to know what sort of quality you’re going to get. However, some unknown brands of true wireless earphones can be exceptionally good and offer exceptionally good value for money when compared with tried and trusted names like Miracle or Sennheiser. A case in point is the Sabbat E16 true wireless earphones that have just turned up on my desk for review. Sabbat isn’t a brand I’ve ever come across before, but I thought I’d give the E16 a try as the specs sounded good and the price seemed reasonable for what is on offer. The Sabbat E16 earbuds are available in a choice of four fetching colors: Aurora, Neon, Galaxy and Mystic featuring a pleasant metallic lacquer that looks very stylish. The earpieces are stored in a beautifully made charging case that has a rechargeable battery on board that can provide three complete charges to the earbuds. The E16 can play for up to six hours before they need recharging. The storage case battery takes about an hour to recharge using the supplied USB-C cable or a Qi-compatible charging mat. The E16 earbuds are available in green, red, blue and black. They look rather special with their ... [+] speckled metallic lacquer. Sabbat At the heart of the E16, there is a Qualcomm chipset running Bluetooth version 5.2. The chipset supports both apt-X and AAC codecs and has a low latency gaming and video mode that can be easily accessed by clicking the control buttons four times. Thanks to the support of apt-X and AAC codecs, the E16 caters to Android and iOS users when it comes to high-quality audio. The Qualcomm chipset feeds a BM (balanced membrane) driver in each earpiece. The driver is two drivers and combines a tweeter and a woofer just like a good quality loudspeaker. One section of the driver handles the bass and mid-range frequencies, while the other takes care of the treble. By opting for this balanced membrane driver, Sabbat says it’s more robust than a balanced armature driver that might normally be used for the treble in a pair of hybrid earbuds. Both the design and fit of the E16 earbuds are excellent. The case and the earpieces are beautifully molded and the earbuds sit comfortably in the bowl of the ear. Sabbat includes two sets of ear tips made from silicone and memory foam. Each set of earbuds comes in three different sizes. Any manufacturer that offers both silicone and memory foam ear tips must be serious about music. The charging case for the Sabbat E16 can be charged using a USB-C cable or any Qi-compatible ... [+] wireless charging mat. The case holds three full charges while the earbuds can play for up to six hours on one charge. Sabbat Pairing the earpieces to a smartphone using Bluetooth is an easy process and only needs to be done once. From then on it will automatically connect every time the case lid is flipped open. The earpieces slip easily into the ear but it’s essential to ensure the right size of ear tip is fitted as it makes a huge difference to the sound. Each earbud has a clickable control button for pausing music, skipping and repeating tracks, plus altering volume levels. I much prefer clickable buttons as there’s no danger of accidentally pausing the music every time the earbuds need adjusting. The earbuds can be used in mono mode so that taking one earbud out of the charging case will still connect to the music and enable the user to make and take phone calls. Speaking of phone calls, the E16 have built-in microphones with Qualcomm’s cVc 8.1 noise-canceling effect for making clearer calls even when there is considerable background noise. While most earbuds are never quite as good for making calls as a traditional headset with a boom microphone, the Sabbat E16 are surprisingly clear when making calls, possibly thanks to Qualcomm’s cVc 8.1. I auditioned the Sabbat E16 by streaming a rather splendid Brazilian Jazz Breeze playlist from TIDAL. There’s nothing like a laid-back selection of bossa nova tracks on a sunny day to lift the mood. The sound created by the E16 is nothing short of magnificent. The use of the BM dynamic driver works, giving the sound a superbly detailed soundstage that never sounds harsh or grating on the ears. The E16 earbuds are supplied with silicone and memory foam ear tips in a range of sizes. Sabbat The mid-range and bass are both warm and powerful and complement the upper frequencies perfectly. The E16 can articulate music with precision but they also have a fabulous sense of rhythm and low distortion which means they can be used for hours without tiring the listener’s ears. I like the sound of these earbuds and I’d put them on a par with the superb Lypertek PurePlay Z3 that I reviewed last month. When the price is taken into consideration, the Sabbat E16 represent exceptional value for money. However, unlike the Lypertek PurePlay Z3, there’s no smartphone app available for updating the firmware or adjusting EQ and control settings. That’s not such a bid deal but some people like to have an app in case they want to shape the sound using a graphic equalizer. Frankly, I think the sound of the E16 is so well-tuned, it doesn’t need any tweaking. Verdict: The Sabbat E16 are a great pair of earbuds for the money. With their hybrid driver arrangement and excellent tuning, they sound far more expensive than they are. The build quality is excellent while the battery life is acceptable at six hours. The use of a BM driver ensures a detailed and powerful sound that suits most genres of music. The earbuds have a waterproof rating of IPX5 but there’s no smartphone app or ANC (active noise canceling) function on offer. Frankly, the lack of ANC in a pair of earbuds is a plus. If you want ANC, then over-the-ear headphones are much better suited to canceling noise. I enjoyed auditioning the Sabbat E16. They are well-balanced pair of earphones and offer great value for money. Highly Recommended. Pricing and Availability: More info: Tech Specs: Impedance: Woofer 16Ω / Tweeter 4Ω Charging port: USB-C or Qi Wireless Power input: 5V Bluetooth: 5.2 Audio codecs: SBC, apt-X, AAC Sensitivity: 93dB@1kHz/1mW Frequency response: 20 – 20,000Hz Battery capacity: 3.7V/50mAh Charge case capacity: 3.7V/400mAh Charging time: 60 minutes Playtime: 6+ hours
|Miracle: We take a listen to Miracle’s new WF-1000XM4 earbuds |