Connect with us

Phone

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 and Spirit X2 Reviews- Great Earbuds for Active Users

Avatar

Published

on

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 and Dot 2 Review

Have you heard of the company Anker? If so, you’re probably thinking of a company that only sells chargers and cables, but that is actually not true. In fact, they’ve dabbled into wireless audio and they’ve made quite good ones offered at affordable prices.

In this article, I will talk about their newest products called the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 and the Spirit X2. Both are touted to be Bluetooth earbuds that are meant for active users. But, do they really deliver the audio performance and durability? Let’s find out!

Design

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 and Dot 2 Review 2020

Since we are reviewing two products today, I will first talk about the Spirit Dot 2. Its design is actually similar to the Jabra Active 75t, albeit it is a bit on the smaller side.

Despite its compact design, it still does fit your ears quite nicely. Even if you move about doing your intense workouts, it should have no problems sticking to your ears.

It does have an included case with a sliding mechanism to open and close it. It is pretty good and it has some magnets to keep the earbuds held securely in place.

The Spirit X2, on the other hand, comes with ear hooks. If you fear that the Dot 2s will fall off while you train, the Spirit X2 should provide you with peace of mind.

Keep in mind that because of the ear hooks, it takes some time getting used to and I am willing to bet that it is not for everyone. While it does help with making the earbuds more secure in your ear, you can definitely feel that it is there and some might find it uncomfortable.

In the package, the Spirit X2 comes with three additional earfin sleeves and five additional ear tips. The ear tips, in particular, are sweat-proof so you do not have to worry about it when it is subjected to sweat or water.

Speaking of water-proof, the new Anker true wireless earbuds have IP ratings. The Dot 2 has an IP rating of 67 while the Spirit X2 has a rating of 68. Even if you sweat a lot, these earbuds should have no problem functioning even in extreme conditions.

The Spirit X2’s case has a clamshell design where you flip the lid open as opposed to sliding it. I like it better than the Dot 2’s case, though you may prefer them over this one.

Specs

Anker Soundcore Dot 2

Spirit X2

Driver: 12mm composite drivers with BassTurbo acoustic design

IP Rating: IP68

Total Playtime: 9 Hours

Total Playtime with Charging Case: 36 Hours

BT Technology: Bluetooth 5.0

Mic: 2 microphones with cVc 8.0 uplink noise reduction

Notable Features: BassUp technology, Qualcomm aptX, ear hooks for a secure fit

Spirit Dot 2

Driver: Driver size not disclosed but it has Epic Bass via composite drivers

IP Rating: IP67 with SweatGuard technology

Total Playtime: 5.5 Hours

Total Playtime with Charging Case: 16 Hours

BT Technology: Bluetooth 5.0

Mic: 1 microphone on each earbud

Notable Features: Passive noise isolation, BassUp Technology

Audio Quality

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

The Spirit Dot 2’s audio quality is actually pretty good. These earbuds only have two onboard EQs: Normal and BassUp. But to be clear, both of them kind of exaggerates the lower frequencies which means that the bass levels are elevated and the ‘normal’ preset doesn’t actually produce a natural sound.

I think that the reason behind this is that Anker touts these earbuds to be great for active users and that is why they employ what they call ‘bass-enhancing drivers’ to produce that much-needed ‘thump’ while you workout.

To be honest, I am surprised by the bass of these things. They are definitely small, but the sound that they produce actually packs a punch.

Some reviewers say that the bass doesn’t overpower the other frequencies, but I beg to disagree. Because the bass is more pronounced, it does drown out the mid and higher frequencies, though not as bad as other TWS products out there.

How about the Spirit X2? As you can tell with its 12mm drivers, the bass response is punchy. It is great if you mainly listen to rap tracks and songs that have some amazing bass lines, but it is certainly not meant for classical music or any other songs that have high strumming notes.

I am pleasantly surprised that even if you max the volume of the Spirit X2s that the earbuds themselves can handle the thump and the boom. Normally, earbuds this size will suffer from bass distortion but that is not the case here.

Now, you might be thinking if both of these earbuds come with a companion app and, sadly, they don’t. They only come with ‘Normal’ and ‘BassUp’ EQ presets and nothing more.

Mic Quality

Anker Soundcore Dot 2 TWS

So, how about the mic quality of these earbuds? To be honest, both of them offer mediocre performance in this department, especially the Dot 2. The Spirit X2 does offer better mic quality but they do not sound better than the Apple Airpods though.

Charging Case

Anker Soundcore Dot 2 Wiress Earbuds

Both of them have different charging cases with the Spirit X2’s case being able to hold more power than the Dot 2.

With the Spirit X2, you can expect 36 hours of total playtime with the case included. With the Dot 2, you can only expect around 16 hours.

Thankfully, both of them have USB Type-C cables included in the box and they charge pretty quickly. I was able to charge the Spirit X2 well under 3 hours and the Dot 2 can fully charge within 90 minutes.

Verdict

What do I think about the new budget earbuds from Anker? To be honest, they both sound amazing. Sure, they amplify the lower frequencies but that is because most people who workout get more energy with the help of more bass.

Both these earbuds are quite good in the bass department and you can also treat them as gaming earbuds as well because of that.

Mic quality is okay and its signal is actually pretty good, but I wouldn’t say that it is anything stellar.

The only thing that I wished that they had was a companion app that allows you to tweak its audio even more. But, with the included onboard presets, they are good for most active users.

So, which one do I recommend the most? Well, both of them are pretty good but it is up to you whether you want more comfort (Dot 2) or more battery life (X2).

Both of them are priced at $80 which I think makes them quite good for a budget pair of wireless earbuds.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phone

Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

Avatar

Published

on

Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

Continue Reading

Phone

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

Avatar

Published

on

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

Continue Reading

Phone

Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

Avatar

Published

on

Amazon Echo Studio Review

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?

Design

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.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

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.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

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.

Conclusion

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?

Continue Reading

Trending Story

Phone

Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 and Spirit X2 Reviews- Great Earbuds for Active Users

Avatar

Published

on

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 and Dot 2 Review

Have you heard of the company Anker? If so, you’re probably thinking of a company that only sells chargers and cables, but that is actually not true. In fact, they’ve dabbled into wireless audio and they’ve made quite good ones offered at affordable prices.

In this article, I will talk about their newest products called the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 and the Spirit X2. Both are touted to be Bluetooth earbuds that are meant for active users. But, do they really deliver the audio performance and durability? Let’s find out!

Design

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2 and Dot 2 Review 2020

Since we are reviewing two products today, I will first talk about the Spirit Dot 2. Its design is actually similar to the Jabra Active 75t, albeit it is a bit on the smaller side.

Despite its compact design, it still does fit your ears quite nicely. Even if you move about doing your intense workouts, it should have no problems sticking to your ears.

It does have an included case with a sliding mechanism to open and close it. It is pretty good and it has some magnets to keep the earbuds held securely in place.

The Spirit X2, on the other hand, comes with ear hooks. If you fear that the Dot 2s will fall off while you train, the Spirit X2 should provide you with peace of mind.

Keep in mind that because of the ear hooks, it takes some time getting used to and I am willing to bet that it is not for everyone. While it does help with making the earbuds more secure in your ear, you can definitely feel that it is there and some might find it uncomfortable.

In the package, the Spirit X2 comes with three additional earfin sleeves and five additional ear tips. The ear tips, in particular, are sweat-proof so you do not have to worry about it when it is subjected to sweat or water.

Speaking of water-proof, the new Anker true wireless earbuds have IP ratings. The Dot 2 has an IP rating of 67 while the Spirit X2 has a rating of 68. Even if you sweat a lot, these earbuds should have no problem functioning even in extreme conditions.

The Spirit X2’s case has a clamshell design where you flip the lid open as opposed to sliding it. I like it better than the Dot 2’s case, though you may prefer them over this one.

Specs

Anker Soundcore Dot 2

Spirit X2

Driver: 12mm composite drivers with BassTurbo acoustic design

IP Rating: IP68

Total Playtime: 9 Hours

Total Playtime with Charging Case: 36 Hours

BT Technology: Bluetooth 5.0

Mic: 2 microphones with cVc 8.0 uplink noise reduction

Notable Features: BassUp technology, Qualcomm aptX, ear hooks for a secure fit

Spirit Dot 2

Driver: Driver size not disclosed but it has Epic Bass via composite drivers

IP Rating: IP67 with SweatGuard technology

Total Playtime: 5.5 Hours

Total Playtime with Charging Case: 16 Hours

BT Technology: Bluetooth 5.0

Mic: 1 microphone on each earbud

Notable Features: Passive noise isolation, BassUp Technology

Audio Quality

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

The Spirit Dot 2’s audio quality is actually pretty good. These earbuds only have two onboard EQs: Normal and BassUp. But to be clear, both of them kind of exaggerates the lower frequencies which means that the bass levels are elevated and the ‘normal’ preset doesn’t actually produce a natural sound.

I think that the reason behind this is that Anker touts these earbuds to be great for active users and that is why they employ what they call ‘bass-enhancing drivers’ to produce that much-needed ‘thump’ while you workout.

To be honest, I am surprised by the bass of these things. They are definitely small, but the sound that they produce actually packs a punch.

Some reviewers say that the bass doesn’t overpower the other frequencies, but I beg to disagree. Because the bass is more pronounced, it does drown out the mid and higher frequencies, though not as bad as other TWS products out there.

How about the Spirit X2? As you can tell with its 12mm drivers, the bass response is punchy. It is great if you mainly listen to rap tracks and songs that have some amazing bass lines, but it is certainly not meant for classical music or any other songs that have high strumming notes.

I am pleasantly surprised that even if you max the volume of the Spirit X2s that the earbuds themselves can handle the thump and the boom. Normally, earbuds this size will suffer from bass distortion but that is not the case here.

Now, you might be thinking if both of these earbuds come with a companion app and, sadly, they don’t. They only come with ‘Normal’ and ‘BassUp’ EQ presets and nothing more.

Mic Quality

Anker Soundcore Dot 2 TWS

So, how about the mic quality of these earbuds? To be honest, both of them offer mediocre performance in this department, especially the Dot 2. The Spirit X2 does offer better mic quality but they do not sound better than the Apple Airpods though.

Charging Case

Anker Soundcore Dot 2 Wiress Earbuds

Both of them have different charging cases with the Spirit X2’s case being able to hold more power than the Dot 2.

With the Spirit X2, you can expect 36 hours of total playtime with the case included. With the Dot 2, you can only expect around 16 hours.

Thankfully, both of them have USB Type-C cables included in the box and they charge pretty quickly. I was able to charge the Spirit X2 well under 3 hours and the Dot 2 can fully charge within 90 minutes.

Verdict

What do I think about the new budget earbuds from Anker? To be honest, they both sound amazing. Sure, they amplify the lower frequencies but that is because most people who workout get more energy with the help of more bass.

Both these earbuds are quite good in the bass department and you can also treat them as gaming earbuds as well because of that.

Mic quality is okay and its signal is actually pretty good, but I wouldn’t say that it is anything stellar.

The only thing that I wished that they had was a companion app that allows you to tweak its audio even more. But, with the included onboard presets, they are good for most active users.

So, which one do I recommend the most? Well, both of them are pretty good but it is up to you whether you want more comfort (Dot 2) or more battery life (X2).

Both of them are priced at $80 which I think makes them quite good for a budget pair of wireless earbuds.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phone

Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers

Avatar

Published

on

Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo

Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.

You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.

That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!

Design

For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.

Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.

With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.

For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.

On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.

At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.

Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.

Sound Quality

Amazon Echo

If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.

This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.

Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.

Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.

Smart Features

Google Nest Audio

To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.

The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.

On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.

It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.

However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.

Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.

Availability

The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.

Continue Reading

Phone

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade

Avatar

Published

on

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review

When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.

That being said, the 8th generation iPad was just released after the new iOS 14 update was launched. But, if you already have a 6th or 7th generation iPad, should you upgrade to the new one?

Design

Apple iPad 8th Generation Review 2020

There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.

You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.

Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.

Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.

There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.

Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.

Display

Apple iPad 8th Gen

The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.

You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).

What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: A12 Bionic
  • GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/128GB
  • Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
  • OS: iPadOS 14
  • Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Battery: 32.4 Wh

So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.

While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.

Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.

Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games

Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.

It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.

Apple iPad 8th Gen Review

Verdict

Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.

However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.

My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.

If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.

The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.

Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.

Continue Reading

Phone

Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

Avatar

Published

on

Amazon Echo Studio Review

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?

Design

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.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

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.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

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.

Conclusion

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?

Continue Reading

Trending Story