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OnePlus Nord Review- The King of Mid-Range Phones in 2020

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OnePlus Nord Review

OnePlus is quite an interesting company because it started out as a phone manufacturer that builds flagship killers.

Flagship killers are devices with high-end specs that are sold at a much affordable price, thus ‘killing’ flagship smartphones with amazing value.

Over time, the company has veered away from that path, and instead, it has produced flagship products which are great, by the way, but it was no longer a company that is known for more affordable devices.

Well, the company is set to return to its roots by offering the OnePlus Nord. This is touted to be a great phone that although doesn’t necessarily have flagship-killing specs, does offer quite a bit more than your standard mid-range device.

Read further to find out why I think the OnePlus Nord is the king of mid-range phones in 2020.

Design

As is the case with mid-range devices, there are bound to be some compromises just to get that price down and it is certainly evident with the OnePlus Nord.

Instead of an aluminum build, the phone is made of durable plastic that is still quite sturdy and robust, albeit you can definitely feel the change in material from what was used in the OnePlus 8.

Still, there is a metallic frame that you can feel on the side, but the back portion of the device is entirely made of plastic.

The good thing, though, is that the display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 which makes the device sturdier than other mid-range devices.

This phone measures 153.8 x 73. 3 x 8.2 mm and it weighs just around 184 grams. It is lightweight for its size and I have to commend OnePlus for that.

On the right side, you will find the power/lock button, as well as the OnePlus alert slider that instantly allows you to turn the phone into its vibrate, silent, and normal modes.

Situated on the left side are the volume controls and at the bottom, you will find the USB Type-C port for charging and data transfers, as well as a mono speaker system and surprisingly, the dual SIM card slot.

Do keep in mind that the card slot only provides you with the option to insert two different SIM cards, which means that it doesn’t allow you to expand the storage of the device (which is a bummer, but a fair compromise).

This phone is available in two different colors. I personally love the Blue Marble as it is colorful and vibrant, but the Gray Onyx is still nice for people that want a more subtle finish.

Display

OnePlus Nord Review 2020

For a mid-range device, the OnePlus Nord is one of the only phones that come with a high refresh rate screen. You can set the refresh rate to 90Hz for a much smoother experience.

For the price of $450, you are getting a phone with a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and Full HD+ resolution (and of course, the 90Hz refresh rate).

I like the fact that phones nowadays go toward the more bezel-less approach and it truly shows with the Nord.

Because of the aspect ratio, content consumption on this thing is great. Also, its screen real estate allows you to enjoy your favorite Android games even more.

My only gripe with the display is that it has two punch-hole cameras situated on the upper lefthand corner. Because it is much larger than a single punch-hole camera, the notification area kind of suffers as a result.

Still, you are left with a lot of screen real estate and over time, you will get used to the selfie cameras anyway.

Cameras

The camera quality of the OnePlus Nord is, to put it bluntly, kind of average. The company touts this to be a device with ‘flagship’ cameras but to be honest, most of the additional cameras are superfluous as they do not provide the kind of quality that is present in both Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Pixel devices.

This phone comes with six cameras. That’s right, you get six different snappers- four of which are located at the back and two of which are on the front.

Its headline shooter is the 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor. To my surprise, turning on the camera application for the first time and going to the settings indicate that the snapper is set to 12 megapixels by default.

I think that the company did this as a means of reducing the file size needed to save the files on the phone itself as 48-megapixel images are definitely storage hogs. However, most people do not tinker with the settings so this might be overlooked by many.

Anyway, the main shooter provides impressive shots. It has a f/1.57 aperture which, for the most part, gives you stunning images, provided that you get ample lighting.

Although there is a nightscape mode that can dramatically improve the quality of images that you can take at low-light environments, your hands have to be quite stable in order to take full advantage of the feature.

Along with the main shooter are three different cameras. One is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 119-degree field of view, another is the 5-megapixel depth shooter, and lastly, the 2-megapixel macro sensor.

The ultra-wide lens is passable as it can help you get more subjects into the frame, but for the other two? You can safely ditch them as they do not provide high-quality shots at all.

For instance, when enabling the macro mode (which is available by tapping an option at the top corner of the phone), your hands should be so steady so as to not move. If you budge even a little bit, the resulting image is going to be blurry.

How about the depth sensor? Well, to be honest, it feels as if I cannot see it function at all. In other words, it is pretty useless.

Despite the lackluster performance of the other three cameras at the back, I am happy with the selfie cameras.

You get a 32-megapixel main shooter with an aperture of f/2.45 and it is accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 105-degree field of view.

The quality of the selfie cameras is pretty good as subjects within the frame are stunning and provide a lot of detail. Even when using the ultra-wide lens, you are still getting high-quality shots nevertheless.

For the video quality, both the front and back cameras are capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps. But, keep in mind that if you do set it to the said resolution, you need to have a gimbal to stabilize the device. Otherwise, you are getting shaky video quality and that is something that you do not want.

The main Sony IMX sensor at the back, however, provides you with steady videos, albeit this is only available when you shoot and record videos at 1080p resolution.

Specs and Performance

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • GPU: Adreno 620
  • RAM: 8GB/12GB
  • Display: 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz screen refresh rate, in-display fingerprint sensor, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS 2.1 (non-expandable)
  • Cameras: 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens (119-degree view), 5-megapixel depth sensor, 2-megapixel macro; 32-megapixel, f/2.45 selfie camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens (105-degree view)
  • 4Battery: 4,115 mAh, Warp Charge 30T (30 watts) charger included

As for the OnePlus Nord’s performance, is actually pretty good. It is packed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor which basically has comparable performance to the company’s previous flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 845.

The main difference here is that the new processor that is built into this thing has 5G connectivity, so if you want a competitively priced 5G phone, this is the one that you should be looking at.

Setting the display’s refresh rate to 90Hz provides an overall smooth experience- whether it be browsing your social media or playing games.

Speaking of games, you can play even the most graphically demanding titles at medium to high settings without any issues.

I was able to play Fortnite at a relatively steady 60fps but it kind of dips down to 54fps (which doesn’t really feel sluggish at all).

The same thing goes with Call of Duty Mobile but the thing is that the phone can get warm after a couple of minutes. It is not a cause for alarm though as it is normal when you are playing graphics-intensive games.

The chipset does exhibit some hiccups here and there, especially when you are opening the camera app for the first time from a cold boot. But for the most part, the experience is fluid and seamless.

Battery

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus is always great when it comes to smartphone batteries and it shows in this device. The OnePlus Nord comes with a 4,115 mAh battery with the patented Warp Charge 30T, 30-watt charger in the box.

The charger is so fast that it can top up the device from 0 to 100 in just 54 minutes. That is truly impressive.

I do have to point out that there is a smart charging feature that significantly reduces charging time when the phone reaches 80%. That is to save the battery and give it more life, but you can disable the option if you do not want it.

Verdict

There is a lot to love about the OnePlus Nord. For $450, it provides amazing value across the board with smooth performance, a battery that can last an entire day, a pretty fast charger (though no wireless charging), and a pretty solid build.

However, it does have some downsides, mainly in the camera department. Honestly, OnePlus could have saved a bit more money if it ditched the two camera sensors at the back. I would be happy with a 4-camera setup rather than six mediocre ones.

The main shooter, as well as the main selfie camera, provides stunning images even in low-light conditions, but the other sensors leave much to be desired.

The main camera app also needs improvement as I can see noticeable delays whenever I am enabling a certain feature. This can be rectified with software updates which, according to the company, will provide you with at least 2 years of software support.

OnePlus used a name that signifies ‘true north’ and I think that the company is thinking of going back to its roots.

The OnePlus Nord is certainly a step into that direction, though I do not know if they are going back to developing flagship killers of actual flagship phones.

But in conclusion, this device is truly the king of mid-range smartphones in 2020.

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The 8 Best Headphones in 2020 That Will Provide a Great Listening Experience

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Sennheiser HD 450BT

Are you looking for the best headphones in 2020? If so, you’ve come to the right article. For today, I am going to be talking about top-notch headphones that will surely help you enjoy your music even more.

Before We Begin

There are different types of headphones out there and one thing that people usually ask about this topic is: What is the best pair of headphones out there?

Well, that question is actually hard to answer because there are a lot of different factors to consider. The better question would be what is the best pair of headphones for you.

You see, a lot of us are seeking so many different features. Some would prefer using earbuds when they are working out. Some would prefer noise-canceling headphones as they commute to work. And there are those that want some headphones with an over-ear design that will help isolate the sound- providing a more immersive listening experience.

That is why before heading out there and choosing the best pair of headphones for you, it is important that you jot down your preferences so that you will narrow down your choices considerably.

To help you decide, here are some of the things worth considering if you intend to purchase some headphones soon:

  • Type: As mentioned earlier, there are three types of headphones you can choose from. There are earbuds or earphones that are small sound output devices that pretty much cover your ears perfectly. There are on-ear headphones that rest on your ears providing a somewhat immersive listening experience. And there are the over-ear headphones that do a good job of noise isolation. Of course, this is a matter of preference. Personally, I like over-ears simply because they inherently have some form of noise-canceling and it truly isolates sound within your ear space
  • Drivers: These are responsible for creating the sound that you hear. Earphones typically have 8mm-13mm drivers and over-ear headphones have 40-55mm. The on-ears sit somewhere in between. The bigger the driver, the louder the sound can get and the more punchy bass you will receive. Of course, the bigger the driver, the bigger the size of the headphones will be
  • Noise Cancellation: This is a feature that is present in both in-ear and over-ear headphones. There are two types: Passive and Active. Passive noise cancellation is where the headphones do a good job of removing as much noise from the outside as possible without enabling anything. Active noise cancellation is where you will enable a feature that will basically remove any external noise. The thing that you have to remember when it comes to active noise cancelation is that not all of them are created equally. There are those that do a good job of isolating the sound in your ear space and there are those that produce mediocre results
  • Wireless Connectivity: As more and more smartphones ditch the 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth headphones have become quite popular. If you are going to buy one, it is important that you look at the audio codecs it supports. Ideally, you want to go with a pair of headphones that either supports the aptX or the AAC codecs because they produce the best sound. Android phones will have no problems supporting both, but iPhones typically only support the AAC codec. Again, if you are shopping for a pair of wireless headphones, it is important that you look at the code that it supports
  • Smart Features: Do you constantly use Siri, Alexa, or Google’s voice assistant? If so, you’d want to go for wireless headphones that support the said smart features. They typically have built-in microphones that allow you to speak freely to activate the AI technology you want to use. In addition, the built-in mic also serves as a handy microphone for calls as well
  • Price: Back then, I would typically tell people to establish a budget first before buying but I am blown away by the fact that headphones these days need not be expensive to have all of the features that you want. For example, you can get an amazing pair of ANC headphones for less than $100. Before, such an item would cost you more than $300, but that is no longer the case today.

Best Headphones in 2020

For the purpose of this article, I will only recommend over-ear headphones because I’d assume that that’s what people want to buy in this day and age. That being said, let’s go on with our top headphones list, shall we?

1.Sony WH-1000MX3

Price: $250

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

This is what I would consider as one of the best wireless headphones in the market. The Sony WH-1000MX3 has got it all. It is comfortable, its sound quality is superb, and it has active noise canceling feature that effectively removes any external noise while you are listening to your favorite music.

These things are so comfortable that you will barely notice them on your head. It has a nice black aesthetic so that it remains subtle even if you are wearing them at night.

Among the other wireless headphones on the market, this thing makes use of a USB Type-C connection which is pretty much a futureproof device at this point.

When it comes to audio, it provides lots of detail and it uses analogue amplification that will give that immersive sound experience that you are clamoring for.

To top it all off, this thing can last up to 30 hours on a single charge which is definitely one of the best out there.

The Sony WH-1000MC3 is, without a doubt, one of the best active noise-canceling headphones in 2020. Best of all, it has received a $100 price drop and is sold for just $250 at the time of writing, thus making this a killer deal!

2.Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Price: $400

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Another amazing wireless headphones, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is hailed by many as ‘best-in-class’. But like I’ve said earlier, what others might deem as the best might not be for you, so you will still have to try this one out for yourself to test that claim.

Anyway, this is another pair of over-the-ear headphones that are quite comfortable to wear even for hours and hours.

It has a large 43.6mm driver and it has a lot of dynamic range which means that whether you are listening to songs that have a punchy bass or those that have zapping vocals, this thing can handle it without any issues at all.

Although this is a wireless pair of headphones, there is actually an included cable that you can use that will allow you to use this thing when wired to your smartphone or game console, for example.

Just like the recommendation above, the PX7 can last up to 30 hours on a single charge which should put your mind at ease.

In terms of codecs, the PX7 uses aptX adaptive so if your phone supports it, then you will get an unparalleled sound as a result.

Although it is on the pricey side, you can never go wrong with the Bowers & Wilkins PX7.

3.Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

Price: $315

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

Sennheiser is a household name when it comes to portable audio products and this next one is definitely one of the best wireless headphones out there.

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless was deemed by sound experts as one of the best headphones of 2019, but without the massive influx of new products this year, I think this remains to be the case today as well.

What you have here is a gorgeous pair of headphones that sit over your ear and provides that level of comfort unlike any other. They are so comfortable that you do not want to remove them from your noggin.

It has superb active noise canceling capabilities and it uses the aptX codec of your smartphone for amazing sound output.

The only thing that is holding this back is that its battery life is quite mediocre. At 50% volume and without the ANC enabled, this thing can last up to 17 hours. Increase the value a bit and turn on the ANC and you will have less than 12.

It could have been rectified if it had a 3.5mm headphone cable you can use but it doesn’t support that either which is a bummer.

But hey, if you want amazing sound quality and great comfort, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) is still very easy to recommend.

4.Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Price: $400

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Some Bluetooth headphones are pretty hard to pair up with your portable device, but not this next one.

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 is expensive but for all of the right reasons. It has a stylish yet sturdy form factor. It is comfortable to wear even for hours on end. And, its sound output is definitely top-notch.

It has one of the best active noise-canceling features among the ANC headphones that you can find on the market. So much so that I will advise you not to enable the feature when you are walking down the street as you can literally not hear anything from your surroundings.

While it produces amazing sound by default, I am just saddened by the lack of EQ settings. It would have elevated this product even more if it had it but hey, I guess some compromises have to be made.

If you value punchy bass, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 will not disappoint.

5.Beyerdynamic Amiron

Price: $620

Beyerdynamic Amiron

Typically, headphones favor one part of the frequency curve. There are those that offer a great lower frequency response. There are those that value the crispness of the mids or vocals. And there are also those that handle the treble really well.

However, if you are like me and want a pair of headphones that can support the entire frequency range, then the Beyerdynamic Amiron has got you covered.

This is one of the more balanced sounding headphones on the market. They sound fantastic no matter what genre of music you intend to listen to.

They are also quite comfortable and although this doesn’t have ANC, it does have a relatively good passive noise canceling nonetheless.

The only thing that might put you off from getting these headphones (well, aside from the price) is that it only uses a wired interface. There are 3.5mm, as well as 6.3mm cables in the box.

6.Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

Price: $45

Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

As mentioned earlier in the article, price is no longer a huge consideration when shopping for headphones. In fact, you can get a good wireless pair of headphones that don’t break the bank and this next one will surely be quite appealing to you.

The Plantronics Backbeat Go 810 is a wireless pair of headphones that can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It does so really well and you can pair it with your device quickly and easily.

It has 40mm dynamic drivers that produce a warm, more balanced sound. This is perfect if you are listening to music from all types of genres.

This thing has a very impressive wireless range. You can be 100 feet away from your device and it would still not cut off, which is unparalleled for a budget wireless headphones.

While it has active noise canceling, it is not as good as the other headphones on this list but hey, at least it is there if you want to enable it.

7.Sennheiser HD 450BT

Price: $200

Sennheiser HD 450BT

People who want a pair of headphones with a minimalist design will love the Sennheiser HD 450BT.

As you can tell by the product’s name, it is a wireless pair of headphones that make use of the aptX codec for amazing sound quality.

True enough, it produces a more well-rounded sound, so whether you want to feel the kick of the bass or the melody of the vocals, this thing can handle them very well.

This is also an active noise-canceling headphone but its implementation is not as good as the other options on this list.

Its battery life is good though as it can last up to 24 hours with the volume set at 75%.

8.MPOW H10

Price: $70

MPOW H10 Review 2020

The last pair of headphones on this list is also a budget offering. The MPOW H10 is quite popular on Amazon and that is because it is cheap but offers some of the features that are found in more premium models.

The MPOW H10 is comfortable despite it having a plastic exterior. It has active noise canceling and for the price, it is actually pretty solid.

The sound quality is okay. It favors more on the lower end of the frequency curve but it does a good enough job not to drown out the highs and the mids.

For a pair of wireless headphones this cheap, I am surprised by its impressive battery life. It can last up to 30 hours and it has fast charging so you can give it enough juice to last you a considerable amount of time.

Its downside is its build quality, but for what you are getting for $70, I wouldn’t really complain.

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Wi-Fi 6 Explained- What’s New and Why You Might Be Interested

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WiFi 6 Explained

As the world is more connected to the internet now more than ever before, our routers have to be well-equipped to handle the massive demand.

Therefore, a new generation of routers is set to take the stage, replacing the old 802.11ac routers that have populated the vast majority of households worldwide.

Today, I am going to explain what WiFi 6 is and tell you what is new and why this might interest you, especially in the near future.

What if WiFi 6?

When you were browsing some routers before, you might find words such as ‘Wireless N’, ‘Wireless AC’, ‘802.11ac’, and so much more. These are just old WiFi naming conventions and while they did help segregate the product stack, it might be confusing for the layman.

That is why the WiFi Alliance has deemed the naming convention obsolete and have opted to use numbers instead of confusing alpha-numeric combinations. Thus, the WiFi 6 standard was born.

WiFi 6 is set to replace the old 802.11ac (or Wireless AC) standard and it is going to be official this September 2020.

It brings with it a lot of new and exciting technologies that will surely help keep up with the growing demands of internet connectivity all throughout the world.

You see, as more and more smartphones and smart gadgets are used on a daily basis, the routers that we have might not have the capacity nor the throughput to handle the demand.

WiFi 6 aims to solve that and then some which is why it is pretty interesting to talk about it here.

The Benefits

WiFi 6 Explained 2020

There are a lot of benefits that can be had by using the new standard, some of which are:

  • More support for simultaneous connections thanks to the increased throughput and more data streams
  • More bandwidth for people to use, allowing you to stream 4K content or engage in virtual reality streaming
  • The network is able to handle more data at once thanks to variable packets instead of uniform packets of data
  • Up to 4x more performance than even the fastest AC router available today
  • Ability to sustain internet performance despite many connected devices in the network
  • More data spectrums will be supported. Aside from the usual 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, the new standard will also support the upcoming 1GHz and 6GHz frequencies as well
  • More data spectrums would mean more routes for communication- allowing better performance across the board.

The New Technologies

The new WiFi 6 standard will actually bring with it a slew of new technologies and features that will surely help the ever-increasing demand for internet connectivity across the globe.

Some of them are entirely new while others are just improvements over existing technologies. Here are just some of the new stuff that you can expect:

  • MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output)- This is already existing technology in Wireless AC routers but the problem is that the current one only supports 4×4 MIMO streams. With WiFi 6, the input and output is effectively doubled (8×8) which means that there is plenty of streams that the connected devices can use- resulting in fewer conflicts and minimal cutting off of service
  • OFDMAThis stands for ‘Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access’ and what this means is that it works in tandem with MU-MIMO to deliver you low-latency and efficient internet data streams where possible. Even if 30 users are connected to the network at once, all of them will be serviced without any problems
  • OBSSAlso known as ‘Spatial Frequency Reuse’, each connected device in the network will be assigned a particular color and that color will be assigned to a specific access point. This translates to less network congestion even when multiple devices are connected to the network and using the internet connection at once
  • Dynamic FragmentationInstead of uniform data packets like the ones used by the WiFi AC standard, WiFi 6 makes use of variable data packets which means that the router’s resources will be used in more important tasks than this one. This means reduced latency and improved data throughput while also being efficient in its operation as well
  • BeamformingWhile not entirely new, the beamforming technology in WiFi 6 enabled devices would mean better performance by realigning the data to a new direction much faster than ever before
  • Better Resource ManagementBecause WiFi 6 routers have better scheduler parameters and WiFi 6 devices have better scheduling and wake-up schemes, the new standard basically means better resource management for both the router and the connected devices.

Faster than 5G

Did you know that when all of the new frequencies are in place, WiFi 6 is actually better and much faster than even the mmWave 5G connections? That’s right, by using a 5G Phone, you can test this yourself (assuming that you also have a WiFi 6 router as well).

How to Get WiFi 6?

WiFi 6 Explained 2020 (1)

Now, you may have been convinced to get the new WiFi standard immediately, but you may have to wait for 2-3 years for it to mature.

That being said, to take advantage of the new standard, you will have to have a device that supports WiFi AX and you also have to have a router that is using the new WiFi standard as well. That means that both the networking device, as well as your phone or computer, will have to be WiFi 6 compliant for everything to work.

After that, it is just a means of connecting the said device to the router and the latter will take care of the rest.

Conclusion

WiFi 6 is the newest WiFi standard. It is easy to remember and its performance is 4x much better than the current 802.11ac standard.

While it offers a lot of new features, you will still have to wait up to 3 years for everything to be up to speed.

For now, you might want to get your hands on a WiFi 6-compatible device while you’re waiting for everything to mature.

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Cowin E7 Headphones Review- Is This $50 ANC Headphones Worth It?

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Cowin E7 Review

Active noise-canceling headphones need not be expensive. There are certainly many budget offerings you can find out there, but are they really worth buying?

Today, I am going to review the Cowin E7. These are active noise-canceling headphones that you can buy for just under $50. Is it worth it or should you go for something else?

Design

As you can typically expect from a budget pair of headphones, the build quality of the Cowin E7 is not its strongest suit.

It has a predominantly plastic build that is supported by a metal frame just near the earcups. It should do the job of keeping things together but I’d recommend that you do not drop these things because there is a huge chance that it may break.

On the left side, you will find the active noise-canceling (ANC) button that you can press to turn the feature on or off.

On the right side, you will find a play/pause button directly on top of the earcup and situated at the bottom, you will find +/- controls for the volume (by tapping them) or for back/skip tracks (if you press and hold for 2 seconds).

I don’t know why but it seems that most headphone manufacturers think that all heads are created the same from an ergonomic standpoint.

I would say that these headphones were created only for those people with perfectly round heads. It is not ideal for people who have large heads like me.

In other words, this pair of cans fit perfectly for small or medium-sized heads, but they are certainly not meant for people with bigger noggins.

Because this is using faux leather earcups, it does a good job of isolating the sound inside the earcups, thereby minimizing the sound leakage, but they do tend to get warm after an hour or so of listening.

Connectivity

Cowin E7 Review 2020

The Cowin E7 is a pair of Bluetooth headphones. No, it doesn’t come with a companion app which means that you can simply connect these to your smartphone by enabling its Bluetooth functionality.

It cannot connect to multiple devices at the same time but it does a pretty admirable job of connecting to just one source.

In terms of range, it can reach roughly 10 meters away from the source which is pretty respectable and should be in line with other budget Bluetooth headphones.

The wireless latency of the Cowin E7 is 160ms which is okay, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you intend to play games on your mobile device.

It is also worth noting that if you intend to use this wired (because it comes with a 3.5mm cable), you will not be able to communicate with other people because the built-in microphones do not work while using the wired interface.

Noise Canceling

This pair of headphones has an ANC button located at the left earcup and you can enable it by just pressing the said button.

When enabled, I could barely notice that the feature was on in the first place. Technically, it can reduce ambient sound by as much as 8dB which is pretty weak in performance compared to other budget Bluetooth headphones.

Honestly, if you were to enable its ANC and you are inside a coffee shop with a lot of people, the active-noise canceling on this thing is just akin to wearing a pair of cans on your noggin and that’s it.

Audio Quality

As an audiophile, sound quality is always a very important matter and I have to say that the Cowin E7 is just so disappointing.

Sure, it heavily favors the lower frequencies which means that you get more thump every time the bass kicks in, but it is so overpowering that the mids and highs are simply muddied as a resylt.

I listen to rock and metal songs and the lead guitar solos just do not sound right. The vocals, while much clearer than the guitar solos, are also overpowered by the bass as well.

If I were to describe the audio quality, I would say that it is darker than your average pair of headphones.

I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone else other than people that want nothing but a good bass response and that’s it.

Battery

Cowin E7

The company said that these headphones can last up to 30 hours with active noise canceling on. In my testing, that is not the case.

Although, I do have to say that I was able to eke out 22 hours with ANC enabled and volume set to 75%. Your mileage may vary depending on the volume level you stick with, but at least you get a rough idea of how long-lasting this battery is when both of those things are factored into the mix.

It does come with an included microUSB cable for charging but I have to say that it’s a pretty slow one. To fully charge this thing, you have to wait for 3 hours or so for it to reach 0 to 100%, which is unacceptable for a lot of people.

Verdict

The Cowin E7 is a disappointment, to say the least. Its ANC feature is the weakest among the budget headphones I’ve tested. Its comfort is not suited for people with big heads like me and the charging time is just so slow by today’s standards.

Sure, it is a pretty enticing product since it is sold at just under $50, but you are better off saving a bit more to get a high-quality pair of ANC headphones.

I would suggest that you save up for the Sony WH-1000MX3 or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II instead as both of them have received major price drops recently.

If I were to be honest, I would stay away from the Cowin E7 like the plague.

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OnePlus Nord Review- The King of Mid-Range Phones in 2020

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OnePlus Nord Review

OnePlus is quite an interesting company because it started out as a phone manufacturer that builds flagship killers.

Flagship killers are devices with high-end specs that are sold at a much affordable price, thus ‘killing’ flagship smartphones with amazing value.

Over time, the company has veered away from that path, and instead, it has produced flagship products which are great, by the way, but it was no longer a company that is known for more affordable devices.

Well, the company is set to return to its roots by offering the OnePlus Nord. This is touted to be a great phone that although doesn’t necessarily have flagship-killing specs, does offer quite a bit more than your standard mid-range device.

Read further to find out why I think the OnePlus Nord is the king of mid-range phones in 2020.

Design

As is the case with mid-range devices, there are bound to be some compromises just to get that price down and it is certainly evident with the OnePlus Nord.

Instead of an aluminum build, the phone is made of durable plastic that is still quite sturdy and robust, albeit you can definitely feel the change in material from what was used in the OnePlus 8.

Still, there is a metallic frame that you can feel on the side, but the back portion of the device is entirely made of plastic.

The good thing, though, is that the display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 which makes the device sturdier than other mid-range devices.

This phone measures 153.8 x 73. 3 x 8.2 mm and it weighs just around 184 grams. It is lightweight for its size and I have to commend OnePlus for that.

On the right side, you will find the power/lock button, as well as the OnePlus alert slider that instantly allows you to turn the phone into its vibrate, silent, and normal modes.

Situated on the left side are the volume controls and at the bottom, you will find the USB Type-C port for charging and data transfers, as well as a mono speaker system and surprisingly, the dual SIM card slot.

Do keep in mind that the card slot only provides you with the option to insert two different SIM cards, which means that it doesn’t allow you to expand the storage of the device (which is a bummer, but a fair compromise).

This phone is available in two different colors. I personally love the Blue Marble as it is colorful and vibrant, but the Gray Onyx is still nice for people that want a more subtle finish.

Display

OnePlus Nord Review 2020

For a mid-range device, the OnePlus Nord is one of the only phones that come with a high refresh rate screen. You can set the refresh rate to 90Hz for a much smoother experience.

For the price of $450, you are getting a phone with a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and Full HD+ resolution (and of course, the 90Hz refresh rate).

I like the fact that phones nowadays go toward the more bezel-less approach and it truly shows with the Nord.

Because of the aspect ratio, content consumption on this thing is great. Also, its screen real estate allows you to enjoy your favorite Android games even more.

My only gripe with the display is that it has two punch-hole cameras situated on the upper lefthand corner. Because it is much larger than a single punch-hole camera, the notification area kind of suffers as a result.

Still, you are left with a lot of screen real estate and over time, you will get used to the selfie cameras anyway.

Cameras

The camera quality of the OnePlus Nord is, to put it bluntly, kind of average. The company touts this to be a device with ‘flagship’ cameras but to be honest, most of the additional cameras are superfluous as they do not provide the kind of quality that is present in both Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Pixel devices.

This phone comes with six cameras. That’s right, you get six different snappers- four of which are located at the back and two of which are on the front.

Its headline shooter is the 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor. To my surprise, turning on the camera application for the first time and going to the settings indicate that the snapper is set to 12 megapixels by default.

I think that the company did this as a means of reducing the file size needed to save the files on the phone itself as 48-megapixel images are definitely storage hogs. However, most people do not tinker with the settings so this might be overlooked by many.

Anyway, the main shooter provides impressive shots. It has a f/1.57 aperture which, for the most part, gives you stunning images, provided that you get ample lighting.

Although there is a nightscape mode that can dramatically improve the quality of images that you can take at low-light environments, your hands have to be quite stable in order to take full advantage of the feature.

Along with the main shooter are three different cameras. One is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 119-degree field of view, another is the 5-megapixel depth shooter, and lastly, the 2-megapixel macro sensor.

The ultra-wide lens is passable as it can help you get more subjects into the frame, but for the other two? You can safely ditch them as they do not provide high-quality shots at all.

For instance, when enabling the macro mode (which is available by tapping an option at the top corner of the phone), your hands should be so steady so as to not move. If you budge even a little bit, the resulting image is going to be blurry.

How about the depth sensor? Well, to be honest, it feels as if I cannot see it function at all. In other words, it is pretty useless.

Despite the lackluster performance of the other three cameras at the back, I am happy with the selfie cameras.

You get a 32-megapixel main shooter with an aperture of f/2.45 and it is accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 105-degree field of view.

The quality of the selfie cameras is pretty good as subjects within the frame are stunning and provide a lot of detail. Even when using the ultra-wide lens, you are still getting high-quality shots nevertheless.

For the video quality, both the front and back cameras are capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps. But, keep in mind that if you do set it to the said resolution, you need to have a gimbal to stabilize the device. Otherwise, you are getting shaky video quality and that is something that you do not want.

The main Sony IMX sensor at the back, however, provides you with steady videos, albeit this is only available when you shoot and record videos at 1080p resolution.

Specs and Performance

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
  • GPU: Adreno 620
  • RAM: 8GB/12GB
  • Display: 6.44-inch Fluid AMOLED, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz screen refresh rate, in-display fingerprint sensor, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS 2.1 (non-expandable)
  • Cameras: 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens (119-degree view), 5-megapixel depth sensor, 2-megapixel macro; 32-megapixel, f/2.45 selfie camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens (105-degree view)
  • 4Battery: 4,115 mAh, Warp Charge 30T (30 watts) charger included

As for the OnePlus Nord’s performance, is actually pretty good. It is packed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor which basically has comparable performance to the company’s previous flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 845.

The main difference here is that the new processor that is built into this thing has 5G connectivity, so if you want a competitively priced 5G phone, this is the one that you should be looking at.

Setting the display’s refresh rate to 90Hz provides an overall smooth experience- whether it be browsing your social media or playing games.

Speaking of games, you can play even the most graphically demanding titles at medium to high settings without any issues.

I was able to play Fortnite at a relatively steady 60fps but it kind of dips down to 54fps (which doesn’t really feel sluggish at all).

The same thing goes with Call of Duty Mobile but the thing is that the phone can get warm after a couple of minutes. It is not a cause for alarm though as it is normal when you are playing graphics-intensive games.

The chipset does exhibit some hiccups here and there, especially when you are opening the camera app for the first time from a cold boot. But for the most part, the experience is fluid and seamless.

Battery

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus is always great when it comes to smartphone batteries and it shows in this device. The OnePlus Nord comes with a 4,115 mAh battery with the patented Warp Charge 30T, 30-watt charger in the box.

The charger is so fast that it can top up the device from 0 to 100 in just 54 minutes. That is truly impressive.

I do have to point out that there is a smart charging feature that significantly reduces charging time when the phone reaches 80%. That is to save the battery and give it more life, but you can disable the option if you do not want it.

Verdict

There is a lot to love about the OnePlus Nord. For $450, it provides amazing value across the board with smooth performance, a battery that can last an entire day, a pretty fast charger (though no wireless charging), and a pretty solid build.

However, it does have some downsides, mainly in the camera department. Honestly, OnePlus could have saved a bit more money if it ditched the two camera sensors at the back. I would be happy with a 4-camera setup rather than six mediocre ones.

The main shooter, as well as the main selfie camera, provides stunning images even in low-light conditions, but the other sensors leave much to be desired.

The main camera app also needs improvement as I can see noticeable delays whenever I am enabling a certain feature. This can be rectified with software updates which, according to the company, will provide you with at least 2 years of software support.

OnePlus used a name that signifies ‘true north’ and I think that the company is thinking of going back to its roots.

The OnePlus Nord is certainly a step into that direction, though I do not know if they are going back to developing flagship killers of actual flagship phones.

But in conclusion, this device is truly the king of mid-range smartphones in 2020.

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The 8 Best Headphones in 2020 That Will Provide a Great Listening Experience

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Sennheiser HD 450BT

Are you looking for the best headphones in 2020? If so, you’ve come to the right article. For today, I am going to be talking about top-notch headphones that will surely help you enjoy your music even more.

Before We Begin

There are different types of headphones out there and one thing that people usually ask about this topic is: What is the best pair of headphones out there?

Well, that question is actually hard to answer because there are a lot of different factors to consider. The better question would be what is the best pair of headphones for you.

You see, a lot of us are seeking so many different features. Some would prefer using earbuds when they are working out. Some would prefer noise-canceling headphones as they commute to work. And there are those that want some headphones with an over-ear design that will help isolate the sound- providing a more immersive listening experience.

That is why before heading out there and choosing the best pair of headphones for you, it is important that you jot down your preferences so that you will narrow down your choices considerably.

To help you decide, here are some of the things worth considering if you intend to purchase some headphones soon:

  • Type: As mentioned earlier, there are three types of headphones you can choose from. There are earbuds or earphones that are small sound output devices that pretty much cover your ears perfectly. There are on-ear headphones that rest on your ears providing a somewhat immersive listening experience. And there are the over-ear headphones that do a good job of noise isolation. Of course, this is a matter of preference. Personally, I like over-ears simply because they inherently have some form of noise-canceling and it truly isolates sound within your ear space
  • Drivers: These are responsible for creating the sound that you hear. Earphones typically have 8mm-13mm drivers and over-ear headphones have 40-55mm. The on-ears sit somewhere in between. The bigger the driver, the louder the sound can get and the more punchy bass you will receive. Of course, the bigger the driver, the bigger the size of the headphones will be
  • Noise Cancellation: This is a feature that is present in both in-ear and over-ear headphones. There are two types: Passive and Active. Passive noise cancellation is where the headphones do a good job of removing as much noise from the outside as possible without enabling anything. Active noise cancellation is where you will enable a feature that will basically remove any external noise. The thing that you have to remember when it comes to active noise cancelation is that not all of them are created equally. There are those that do a good job of isolating the sound in your ear space and there are those that produce mediocre results
  • Wireless Connectivity: As more and more smartphones ditch the 3.5mm audio jack, Bluetooth headphones have become quite popular. If you are going to buy one, it is important that you look at the audio codecs it supports. Ideally, you want to go with a pair of headphones that either supports the aptX or the AAC codecs because they produce the best sound. Android phones will have no problems supporting both, but iPhones typically only support the AAC codec. Again, if you are shopping for a pair of wireless headphones, it is important that you look at the code that it supports
  • Smart Features: Do you constantly use Siri, Alexa, or Google’s voice assistant? If so, you’d want to go for wireless headphones that support the said smart features. They typically have built-in microphones that allow you to speak freely to activate the AI technology you want to use. In addition, the built-in mic also serves as a handy microphone for calls as well
  • Price: Back then, I would typically tell people to establish a budget first before buying but I am blown away by the fact that headphones these days need not be expensive to have all of the features that you want. For example, you can get an amazing pair of ANC headphones for less than $100. Before, such an item would cost you more than $300, but that is no longer the case today.

Best Headphones in 2020

For the purpose of this article, I will only recommend over-ear headphones because I’d assume that that’s what people want to buy in this day and age. That being said, let’s go on with our top headphones list, shall we?

1.Sony WH-1000MX3

Price: $250

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

This is what I would consider as one of the best wireless headphones in the market. The Sony WH-1000MX3 has got it all. It is comfortable, its sound quality is superb, and it has active noise canceling feature that effectively removes any external noise while you are listening to your favorite music.

These things are so comfortable that you will barely notice them on your head. It has a nice black aesthetic so that it remains subtle even if you are wearing them at night.

Among the other wireless headphones on the market, this thing makes use of a USB Type-C connection which is pretty much a futureproof device at this point.

When it comes to audio, it provides lots of detail and it uses analogue amplification that will give that immersive sound experience that you are clamoring for.

To top it all off, this thing can last up to 30 hours on a single charge which is definitely one of the best out there.

The Sony WH-1000MC3 is, without a doubt, one of the best active noise-canceling headphones in 2020. Best of all, it has received a $100 price drop and is sold for just $250 at the time of writing, thus making this a killer deal!

2.Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Price: $400

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Another amazing wireless headphones, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is hailed by many as ‘best-in-class’. But like I’ve said earlier, what others might deem as the best might not be for you, so you will still have to try this one out for yourself to test that claim.

Anyway, this is another pair of over-the-ear headphones that are quite comfortable to wear even for hours and hours.

It has a large 43.6mm driver and it has a lot of dynamic range which means that whether you are listening to songs that have a punchy bass or those that have zapping vocals, this thing can handle it without any issues at all.

Although this is a wireless pair of headphones, there is actually an included cable that you can use that will allow you to use this thing when wired to your smartphone or game console, for example.

Just like the recommendation above, the PX7 can last up to 30 hours on a single charge which should put your mind at ease.

In terms of codecs, the PX7 uses aptX adaptive so if your phone supports it, then you will get an unparalleled sound as a result.

Although it is on the pricey side, you can never go wrong with the Bowers & Wilkins PX7.

3.Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

Price: $315

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

Sennheiser is a household name when it comes to portable audio products and this next one is definitely one of the best wireless headphones out there.

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless was deemed by sound experts as one of the best headphones of 2019, but without the massive influx of new products this year, I think this remains to be the case today as well.

What you have here is a gorgeous pair of headphones that sit over your ear and provides that level of comfort unlike any other. They are so comfortable that you do not want to remove them from your noggin.

It has superb active noise canceling capabilities and it uses the aptX codec of your smartphone for amazing sound output.

The only thing that is holding this back is that its battery life is quite mediocre. At 50% volume and without the ANC enabled, this thing can last up to 17 hours. Increase the value a bit and turn on the ANC and you will have less than 12.

It could have been rectified if it had a 3.5mm headphone cable you can use but it doesn’t support that either which is a bummer.

But hey, if you want amazing sound quality and great comfort, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) is still very easy to recommend.

4.Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Price: $400

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Some Bluetooth headphones are pretty hard to pair up with your portable device, but not this next one.

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 is expensive but for all of the right reasons. It has a stylish yet sturdy form factor. It is comfortable to wear even for hours on end. And, its sound output is definitely top-notch.

It has one of the best active noise-canceling features among the ANC headphones that you can find on the market. So much so that I will advise you not to enable the feature when you are walking down the street as you can literally not hear anything from your surroundings.

While it produces amazing sound by default, I am just saddened by the lack of EQ settings. It would have elevated this product even more if it had it but hey, I guess some compromises have to be made.

If you value punchy bass, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 will not disappoint.

5.Beyerdynamic Amiron

Price: $620

Beyerdynamic Amiron

Typically, headphones favor one part of the frequency curve. There are those that offer a great lower frequency response. There are those that value the crispness of the mids or vocals. And there are also those that handle the treble really well.

However, if you are like me and want a pair of headphones that can support the entire frequency range, then the Beyerdynamic Amiron has got you covered.

This is one of the more balanced sounding headphones on the market. They sound fantastic no matter what genre of music you intend to listen to.

They are also quite comfortable and although this doesn’t have ANC, it does have a relatively good passive noise canceling nonetheless.

The only thing that might put you off from getting these headphones (well, aside from the price) is that it only uses a wired interface. There are 3.5mm, as well as 6.3mm cables in the box.

6.Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

Price: $45

Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

As mentioned earlier in the article, price is no longer a huge consideration when shopping for headphones. In fact, you can get a good wireless pair of headphones that don’t break the bank and this next one will surely be quite appealing to you.

The Plantronics Backbeat Go 810 is a wireless pair of headphones that can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It does so really well and you can pair it with your device quickly and easily.

It has 40mm dynamic drivers that produce a warm, more balanced sound. This is perfect if you are listening to music from all types of genres.

This thing has a very impressive wireless range. You can be 100 feet away from your device and it would still not cut off, which is unparalleled for a budget wireless headphones.

While it has active noise canceling, it is not as good as the other headphones on this list but hey, at least it is there if you want to enable it.

7.Sennheiser HD 450BT

Price: $200

Sennheiser HD 450BT

People who want a pair of headphones with a minimalist design will love the Sennheiser HD 450BT.

As you can tell by the product’s name, it is a wireless pair of headphones that make use of the aptX codec for amazing sound quality.

True enough, it produces a more well-rounded sound, so whether you want to feel the kick of the bass or the melody of the vocals, this thing can handle them very well.

This is also an active noise-canceling headphone but its implementation is not as good as the other options on this list.

Its battery life is good though as it can last up to 24 hours with the volume set at 75%.

8.MPOW H10

Price: $70

MPOW H10 Review 2020

The last pair of headphones on this list is also a budget offering. The MPOW H10 is quite popular on Amazon and that is because it is cheap but offers some of the features that are found in more premium models.

The MPOW H10 is comfortable despite it having a plastic exterior. It has active noise canceling and for the price, it is actually pretty solid.

The sound quality is okay. It favors more on the lower end of the frequency curve but it does a good enough job not to drown out the highs and the mids.

For a pair of wireless headphones this cheap, I am surprised by its impressive battery life. It can last up to 30 hours and it has fast charging so you can give it enough juice to last you a considerable amount of time.

Its downside is its build quality, but for what you are getting for $70, I wouldn’t really complain.

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Wi-Fi 6 Explained- What’s New and Why You Might Be Interested

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WiFi 6 Explained

As the world is more connected to the internet now more than ever before, our routers have to be well-equipped to handle the massive demand.

Therefore, a new generation of routers is set to take the stage, replacing the old 802.11ac routers that have populated the vast majority of households worldwide.

Today, I am going to explain what WiFi 6 is and tell you what is new and why this might interest you, especially in the near future.

What if WiFi 6?

When you were browsing some routers before, you might find words such as ‘Wireless N’, ‘Wireless AC’, ‘802.11ac’, and so much more. These are just old WiFi naming conventions and while they did help segregate the product stack, it might be confusing for the layman.

That is why the WiFi Alliance has deemed the naming convention obsolete and have opted to use numbers instead of confusing alpha-numeric combinations. Thus, the WiFi 6 standard was born.

WiFi 6 is set to replace the old 802.11ac (or Wireless AC) standard and it is going to be official this September 2020.

It brings with it a lot of new and exciting technologies that will surely help keep up with the growing demands of internet connectivity all throughout the world.

You see, as more and more smartphones and smart gadgets are used on a daily basis, the routers that we have might not have the capacity nor the throughput to handle the demand.

WiFi 6 aims to solve that and then some which is why it is pretty interesting to talk about it here.

The Benefits

WiFi 6 Explained 2020

There are a lot of benefits that can be had by using the new standard, some of which are:

  • More support for simultaneous connections thanks to the increased throughput and more data streams
  • More bandwidth for people to use, allowing you to stream 4K content or engage in virtual reality streaming
  • The network is able to handle more data at once thanks to variable packets instead of uniform packets of data
  • Up to 4x more performance than even the fastest AC router available today
  • Ability to sustain internet performance despite many connected devices in the network
  • More data spectrums will be supported. Aside from the usual 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, the new standard will also support the upcoming 1GHz and 6GHz frequencies as well
  • More data spectrums would mean more routes for communication- allowing better performance across the board.

The New Technologies

The new WiFi 6 standard will actually bring with it a slew of new technologies and features that will surely help the ever-increasing demand for internet connectivity across the globe.

Some of them are entirely new while others are just improvements over existing technologies. Here are just some of the new stuff that you can expect:

  • MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output)- This is already existing technology in Wireless AC routers but the problem is that the current one only supports 4×4 MIMO streams. With WiFi 6, the input and output is effectively doubled (8×8) which means that there is plenty of streams that the connected devices can use- resulting in fewer conflicts and minimal cutting off of service
  • OFDMAThis stands for ‘Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access’ and what this means is that it works in tandem with MU-MIMO to deliver you low-latency and efficient internet data streams where possible. Even if 30 users are connected to the network at once, all of them will be serviced without any problems
  • OBSSAlso known as ‘Spatial Frequency Reuse’, each connected device in the network will be assigned a particular color and that color will be assigned to a specific access point. This translates to less network congestion even when multiple devices are connected to the network and using the internet connection at once
  • Dynamic FragmentationInstead of uniform data packets like the ones used by the WiFi AC standard, WiFi 6 makes use of variable data packets which means that the router’s resources will be used in more important tasks than this one. This means reduced latency and improved data throughput while also being efficient in its operation as well
  • BeamformingWhile not entirely new, the beamforming technology in WiFi 6 enabled devices would mean better performance by realigning the data to a new direction much faster than ever before
  • Better Resource ManagementBecause WiFi 6 routers have better scheduler parameters and WiFi 6 devices have better scheduling and wake-up schemes, the new standard basically means better resource management for both the router and the connected devices.

Faster than 5G

Did you know that when all of the new frequencies are in place, WiFi 6 is actually better and much faster than even the mmWave 5G connections? That’s right, by using a 5G Phone, you can test this yourself (assuming that you also have a WiFi 6 router as well).

How to Get WiFi 6?

WiFi 6 Explained 2020 (1)

Now, you may have been convinced to get the new WiFi standard immediately, but you may have to wait for 2-3 years for it to mature.

That being said, to take advantage of the new standard, you will have to have a device that supports WiFi AX and you also have to have a router that is using the new WiFi standard as well. That means that both the networking device, as well as your phone or computer, will have to be WiFi 6 compliant for everything to work.

After that, it is just a means of connecting the said device to the router and the latter will take care of the rest.

Conclusion

WiFi 6 is the newest WiFi standard. It is easy to remember and its performance is 4x much better than the current 802.11ac standard.

While it offers a lot of new features, you will still have to wait up to 3 years for everything to be up to speed.

For now, you might want to get your hands on a WiFi 6-compatible device while you’re waiting for everything to mature.

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Cowin E7 Headphones Review- Is This $50 ANC Headphones Worth It?

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Cowin E7 Review

Active noise-canceling headphones need not be expensive. There are certainly many budget offerings you can find out there, but are they really worth buying?

Today, I am going to review the Cowin E7. These are active noise-canceling headphones that you can buy for just under $50. Is it worth it or should you go for something else?

Design

As you can typically expect from a budget pair of headphones, the build quality of the Cowin E7 is not its strongest suit.

It has a predominantly plastic build that is supported by a metal frame just near the earcups. It should do the job of keeping things together but I’d recommend that you do not drop these things because there is a huge chance that it may break.

On the left side, you will find the active noise-canceling (ANC) button that you can press to turn the feature on or off.

On the right side, you will find a play/pause button directly on top of the earcup and situated at the bottom, you will find +/- controls for the volume (by tapping them) or for back/skip tracks (if you press and hold for 2 seconds).

I don’t know why but it seems that most headphone manufacturers think that all heads are created the same from an ergonomic standpoint.

I would say that these headphones were created only for those people with perfectly round heads. It is not ideal for people who have large heads like me.

In other words, this pair of cans fit perfectly for small or medium-sized heads, but they are certainly not meant for people with bigger noggins.

Because this is using faux leather earcups, it does a good job of isolating the sound inside the earcups, thereby minimizing the sound leakage, but they do tend to get warm after an hour or so of listening.

Connectivity

Cowin E7 Review 2020

The Cowin E7 is a pair of Bluetooth headphones. No, it doesn’t come with a companion app which means that you can simply connect these to your smartphone by enabling its Bluetooth functionality.

It cannot connect to multiple devices at the same time but it does a pretty admirable job of connecting to just one source.

In terms of range, it can reach roughly 10 meters away from the source which is pretty respectable and should be in line with other budget Bluetooth headphones.

The wireless latency of the Cowin E7 is 160ms which is okay, but I wouldn’t recommend this if you intend to play games on your mobile device.

It is also worth noting that if you intend to use this wired (because it comes with a 3.5mm cable), you will not be able to communicate with other people because the built-in microphones do not work while using the wired interface.

Noise Canceling

This pair of headphones has an ANC button located at the left earcup and you can enable it by just pressing the said button.

When enabled, I could barely notice that the feature was on in the first place. Technically, it can reduce ambient sound by as much as 8dB which is pretty weak in performance compared to other budget Bluetooth headphones.

Honestly, if you were to enable its ANC and you are inside a coffee shop with a lot of people, the active-noise canceling on this thing is just akin to wearing a pair of cans on your noggin and that’s it.

Audio Quality

As an audiophile, sound quality is always a very important matter and I have to say that the Cowin E7 is just so disappointing.

Sure, it heavily favors the lower frequencies which means that you get more thump every time the bass kicks in, but it is so overpowering that the mids and highs are simply muddied as a resylt.

I listen to rock and metal songs and the lead guitar solos just do not sound right. The vocals, while much clearer than the guitar solos, are also overpowered by the bass as well.

If I were to describe the audio quality, I would say that it is darker than your average pair of headphones.

I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone else other than people that want nothing but a good bass response and that’s it.

Battery

Cowin E7

The company said that these headphones can last up to 30 hours with active noise canceling on. In my testing, that is not the case.

Although, I do have to say that I was able to eke out 22 hours with ANC enabled and volume set to 75%. Your mileage may vary depending on the volume level you stick with, but at least you get a rough idea of how long-lasting this battery is when both of those things are factored into the mix.

It does come with an included microUSB cable for charging but I have to say that it’s a pretty slow one. To fully charge this thing, you have to wait for 3 hours or so for it to reach 0 to 100%, which is unacceptable for a lot of people.

Verdict

The Cowin E7 is a disappointment, to say the least. Its ANC feature is the weakest among the budget headphones I’ve tested. Its comfort is not suited for people with big heads like me and the charging time is just so slow by today’s standards.

Sure, it is a pretty enticing product since it is sold at just under $50, but you are better off saving a bit more to get a high-quality pair of ANC headphones.

I would suggest that you save up for the Sony WH-1000MX3 or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II instead as both of them have received major price drops recently.

If I were to be honest, I would stay away from the Cowin E7 like the plague.

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