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?
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
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)
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
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.
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
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
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%.
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.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
iOS 14 is Finally Here- Everything You Need to Know
The iOS 14 beta was first introduced back in June 2020 but on September 16, Apple has released the final version of the ever-popular mobile operating system that is placed at the heart of your Apple iPhone.
Just like Android 11, iOS 14 can be construed as an incremental upgrade but there are some noteworthy improvements that you will surely love.
Today, I am going to go over everything you need to know about Apple’s new mobile operating system and find out what new features you might like using immediately.
When you swipe right on the homescreen a couple of times, you will be presented with a new feature called the App Library. Think of this as Apple’s implementation of an app drawer (that is a mainstay in Android Devices).
All of the applications that are found in the App Library are neatly categorized for your convenience. Here, you can find all of your folders and some app folder suggestions as well.
Apple understands that iPhone homescreens can get really cluttered, and so, the company has provided users with the ability to stack the same type of apps into a single folder.
Furthermore, depending on the time of day, the operating system can suggest certain apps that you might like to use at that moment.
For example, the OS might suggest that you use a music streaming app if you want to jog a couple of laps while listening to your favorite music.
Apple was heavily criticized for not giving users the freedom to add widgets to the homescreen. Well, that has changed in iOS 14.
Now, users have the ability to add any widgets that they like on the homescreen. Not only that but these widgets provide useful information right off the bat so that you can simply glance at the particular widget to find out the current weather conditions, for instance.
You can add as many widgets as you want and you can also resize them a little bit, though its implementation is not as extensive as the Android ecosystem.
People often use Siri as a means of enabling almost hands-free access to their iPhones. Well, in iOS 14, Siri is vastly improved- both in its AI technology and the things that it can do.
You can make use of Siri to craft messages for you, call specific people, translate foreign languages (more on this later), block possible incoming calls, and so much more.
In addition to what I’ve said, Siri also doesn’t take up the entire screen anymore. Instead, you can look for Siri in a small globe icon that is usually situated at the bottom of the display.
This feature was first implemented on iPads, but you can also enjoy picture-in-picture mode on your iPhone as well.
This allows you to play videos on the background while you are face timing someone which is pretty awesome.
Think of App Clips as Apple’s implementation of Android’s Instant Apps. Basically, you get a hold of some specific app features without actually having to download and install the said app.
For example, you can purchase a coffee from Starbucks just by scanning a particular code. This alleviates the need for downloading the company’s specific app just for the same job.
Not a lot of applications support this as of yet but expect that more and more of them will be supported in the future.
7.iMessage Has New Features
Apple’s Messages app has plenty of new features that you will really love using frequently. First is the ability to pin any important messages within a conversation. You can pin messages just by swiping a particular part of the conversation to the right. The pinned comment can be placed on your homescreen for convenience.
Aside from that, you now have the ability to reply to a specific message within the conversation via inline replies.
Have you ever used Facebook Messenger and you want to mute notifications from certain group chats but still want to get notified if your name is mentioned at any point in the conversation?
Well, that specific feature is also now available on the Messages app as well. This is a great feature if you want to mute notifications from your group chats but you still want to get notified if you’re ever given a special mention.
To mention any person within the chat group, all you have to do is use the ‘@’ symbol and a list of names should pop up. Just tap on the person that you want to shoutout and the app should do the rest.
Lastly, if photos are uploaded to the group chat, you can add an image overlay on top of it or you can add some cute emojis to make it more fun and lively.
Memojis are nothing new, but the iOS 14 introduces some new ones, including new headwear, hairstyles, stickers, and so much more.
Moreover, Apple has done a pretty good job of making Memojis even more expressive than ever before!
WatchOS 7 was released in the same window as iOS 14 and because of that, you can expect some integrations with Apple Smartwatches as well.
The new health app not only allows you to use your Apple Watch’s sleep tracking feature, but it also records some important data that you can use to relay to your physician to give you a general idea of your overall health.
10.Improved Weather App
The default weather app in iOS 14 also gets some major improvements, including the ability to give you notifications and more information about upcoming severe weather systems, improved forecast accuracy, precipitation readings, and so much more.
You can use your Apple Watch to help provide you with clear routes if you intend to use a bike to go to work. Although this doesn’t work in all cities all over the world, Apple intends to add support for more cities sometime in the near future.
12.Digital Car Keys
This unique feature not only unlocks your car doors but it can also be used as a means of starting your car’s engine as well.
Not all new cars are supported, however, so if you want to use this feature, make sure that you have a compatible vehicle.
In addition, when the u1 chip is released next year, you can also unlock your car doors without having the phone with you (but you will need an Apple Watch that is tethered to your phone for this to work).
You will find a new Translate app when you install the new update. The beauty of this application is that you can use its extensive features even when you are not connected to your home network.
This means that if you’re talking to your friend that doesn’t speak the local language, you can use the app to have things translated for you and you can also use its conversations feature so that the translated text can be spoken out loud for your friend to hear (and understand).
Furthermore, you can use your Apple Watch to do the same thing as well since it, too, has its own translate app.
Every time you fire up an application that sends or requires user data, that application must provide you with a heads up if they’re going to do those things. You are given the power to either provide access to that application or deny permissions.
In addition to that, you will see a colored dot that indicates whether your camera or your microphone is in use (green for the camera and orange for the microphone, respectively).
15.Set Default Apps
Apple has finally given you the freedom to choose your own default apps. At the time of writing, you can only set your default web browser and mail application, but the company is set to add support for more applications moving forward.
If you are using the Airpods Pro and you are also using other Bluetooth devices as well, now you can switch between the said devices seamlessly thanks to an automatic switching ability.
Airpods Pro users can also enjoy the improved spatial audio feature which essentially provides you with an even more immersive listening experience.
If you’ve been using the same password in almost all of your accounts using an iPhone, iOS 14 introduces a new password monitoring system that will alert you to change passwords whenever it detects any data breach that could compromise your data.
The best thing that you can do is to use a password manager like LastPass so that you will only have to remember a single master password for all of your passwords.
How to Get the New Update?
So, which devices are supported? Well, any iPhone that is above the iPhone 6 is supported. This means that from the iPhone 6s to the newest Apple iPhone SE should receive a notification to download the latest update.
Apple Watch SE Review- The Apple Watch to Get for Most People
People would always assume that if a product comes from Apple that you need to spend quite a bit of money compared to its competitors. For the most part, that is actually true, but not for the product that I am going to review today.
In this article, I will be talking about the Apple Watch SE. Find out why I think this is the Apple Watch to get for most people.
The Apple Watch SE is set to be an entry-level smartwatch by Apple, but this is by no means a ‘cheap’ product as it does come with features that are also present in the Apple Watch 6, for example.
Its design is quite similar to the Apple Watches of old which is actually a good thing. The familiar look will make people who’ve owned those watches feel quite comfortable when using the newer model.
You basically have two size options to choose from (40mm and 44mm) and the screen is big enough so that you can utilize its functions more readily than other smartwatches that you can find on the market.
When you are going to buy this thing, you get to choose which strap you want to get along with it. The default strap uses nylon fiber which is not only comfortable but can also be used as a daily watch without getting ‘too gimmicky’.
The other option would be for you to get the ‘Solo Loop’ variant which is essentially a strap that conforms to your wrist- kind of like using a rubber band.
If you are going for the Solo Loop straps, it is important that you get the right fit as its fitting options are a bit limited. You have 9 choices to choose from but you will have to measure your wrist just right in order for you to get a relaxed fit.
Don’t worry, Apple’s website provides you with some guidelines to help you get the exact measurements.
Other than that, you have the watch crown situated on the right side of the watch which feels good whenever you use it.
One of the big differences between the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch 6 is that the former doesn’t have an always-on display. This is to be expected, given that this particular model is the more affordable one.
I have the 44mm version and its display has a screen resolution of 368 x 448 which should provide you with adequate screen real estate to enjoy the watch’s features.
The display is no slouch because its brightness can be turned up automatically whenever you are outside. In other words, outside visibility is not an issue at all.
The Apple Watch SE is perfectly suited for casual use and for those that want to have an active lifestyle.
Just like its bigger brother, this watch also has new activity-tracking options for functional strength training, core exercises, dance, and cool down. The last one is great for people to have an idea of how long they should perform static stretches after working out to provide their muscles with an optimal way to start recovery.
This smartwatch also has GPS and I’ve used it to calculate the distance after taking a couple of minutes to run. It is relatively accurate and I am pleased with it.
You do have a step counter to give you a rough estimate of how many steps you’ve taken during the course of the day. It is somewhat accurate, but there are more accurate watches out there.
It is interesting that the Apple Watch SE comes with the new WatchOS 7 preloaded which means that you do not have to do some manual updates once you receive the unit.
Keep in mind that because this watch is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart, there are no ECG and Sp02 sensors that can be found here, but that is a fair compromise, in my opinion.
One of the biggest features that I really love about the new operating system is the sleep tracking capability.
You can set a specific time when you usually sleep and if it is that time already, the watch will not only dim its display but will also make sure that notifications that you may receive at the specified time will not disturb your sound slumber.
Although the company doesn’t encourage you to completely believe in the results that the watch gives you (because this is not marketed as a bonafide medical instrument), I find it to be quite helpful nonetheless.
If the watch detects that you haven’t had enough sleep, it will provide you with some helpful tips to improve the quality of your sleep the next night which is pretty nice.
Another unique feature here is the hand-washing reminder. Every time you wash your hands, the watch will use its sensors and microphone to tell you if you’ve washed your hands for 20 seconds or not.
If you’ve finished earlier than the said time, the watch will notify you to continue. This ensures that you kill the Covid-19 virus, as well as other pathogens that might prove to be dangerous to your overall health.
The Apple Watch SE’s battery life is probably its biggest downside. It is rated to last up to 18 hours, but if you are using the GPS or the watch’s other features quite a lot, you will get less than that number.
It is also worth noting that charging time for this particular smartwatch requires 2.5 hours to complete. That is sad considering that the Apple Watch 6 only requires 90 minutes to be fully charged.
If you need to be using the watch’s features quite a lot, I suggest that you carry a hefty power bank with you at all times.
A lot of people love using Apple products because it has better integration with its ecosystem compared to other products on the market.
That being said, the Apple Watch SE is a great introductory product for people that want a smartwatch that does a lot of things.
It is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart but all of the useful features such as sleep tracking, more activity tracking, GPS, and others are present here, which means that it would still be a good purchase nonetheless.
And, at just $280, the Apple Watch SE is definitely what I would recommend for people that want a relatively affordable smartwatch with plenty to offer.
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