Review: Sony’s WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones

Blog / Technology

Sony’s WHX-1000XM3 wireless NC headphones are essentially an upgrade to the 1000XM2’s released last year. The new cans feature a series of minor improvements that collectively Sony believes justify a new model number, so I was happy to give them a test drive over on MacRumors.

Sony threatened to topple the apple cart in 2016 when it unleashed its flagship MDR-1000X cans on a headphones market which up until then had been dominated by Bose in the premium travel-grade noise-canceling department.

Combining excellent wireless sound with active NC that made even QuietComfort fans sit up and take notice, Sony’s awkwardly named headset proved that the Japanese company’s extensive acoustic R&D had finally hit on a winner, giving rival NC headphone makers due cause for worry in the process.

Unsurprisingly, Sony has sought to improve upon this winning formula in the intervening years, starting with another tongue-twisting rebrand of its flagship range (the inexplicably named WH-1000X series) and two follow-up models boasting incremental improvements, both of which have been well received.

What’s perhaps more surprising about these developments is Bose’s lack of response to them, having released in that time only a tweaked version of its flagship QC35 cans with support for Google Assistant. Whether that’s down to complete confidence in the quality of its existing noise-canceling smarts or just lack of innovation is a moot point, given that Sony’s adaptive NC technology and sonic prowess has essentially overtaken the company, as these latest cans exemplify.

macOS High Sierra: tips and tricks

Latest / Online / Technology

Apple’s latest desktop operating system is called macOS High Sierra, which sounds awfully similar to the last one. That’s because, like the transition from OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard, Apple has chosen to refine its established Mac OS rather than replace it wholesale, thereby avoiding the risk of introducing niggles and issues and that were previously absent.

That of course still equates to additional new features for macOS which we’ll cover in this article, but perhaps more importantly, it should mean improved speed and stability for your Mac.

In another piece of good news, if your Mac is capable of running Sierra, then it’s fully compatible with High Sierra, too. So head on over to TechRadar to find out how to get the most out of macOS 10.13, by yours truly.

Review: Lofree’s Mechanical Bluetooth Keyboard Is a Beautiful, Frustrating Typewriter

First look / Latest / Online / Technology

Redesigning an input device is a risky business. When Apple introduced its latest MacBooks, some users complained that the new butterfly mechanism in the keys was a turnoff. They criticized the keyboard for its lack of travel, and said the experience of typing was not much different to tapping on a touch screen. Other users felt okay with the change. Whichever side people fell on the debate, everyone could agree that how a keyboard actually feels beneath the fingers matters a great deal.

With the lofree Bluetooth keyboard, the designers have tried to re-imagine the typing process in a more radical way, by recreating the experience of operating a traditional typewriter, but in an elegant retro-modern design.

The desirability of such a product is in no doubt – lofree’s Indiegogo campaign set out to raise $10,000 over 30 days, but has already garnered $364,443 from over 4,000 backers, with several weeks to spare. I got a hold of a finished unit to see if the lofree keyboard can live up to expectations. Check out the review over on MacRumors.

Review: Jabra Elite Sport Wireless Biometric Earbuds Make Workouts Sound Better

Latest / Online / Technology

Headphone jack controversies aside, Apple’s cord-free AirPods have contributed to a recent surge of interest in “truly wireless” earphones, with several companies vying for a piece of the market.

Denmark-based audio outfit Jabra has embraced the freedom-of-movement appeal of wireless buds more than most with its Elite Sport headphones ($250), which it calls “the most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds” around. Boasting a number of features such as in-ear coaching and heart-rate tracking, they’re an intriguing prospect for fitness-focused headphone users frustrated by flailing cords.

While Jabra claims the Elite Sport buds improve your workouts while providing great sound, $250 is a lot to pay for a wireless headset. I checked out a pair over on MacRumors to see if they deliver on their promises.

Review: Bragi’s ‘The Headphone’ Wireless Buds Lack the Finesse of AirPods

Latest / Online / Technology

Bragi announced its Dash earphones at CES way back in 2015, when wireless Bluetooth headsets were still relatively niche. Since then we’ve seen Apple, Samsung, and a host of other companies launch their own “truly wireless” headphones, prompting Bragi to give the market another pop with “The Headphone” ($149), a less expensive, more awkwardly named variant of its original cord-free buds.

Announced last September two days before the Apple iPhone 7 event, The Headphone only began shipping in January, so Bragi has had plenty of time to iron out any last-minute kinks. Not that there should be any. The Headphone buds are a lot less ambitious than the Dash.

They don’t have touch-sensitive controls, for one. Bragi has also done away with the internal music player, heart-rate monitoring and fitness tracking features found in the company’s original wireless buds. Are they susceptible to the same connection problems that initially befell the Dash? And how do they compare against Apple’s AirPods? I sought to find out over on MacRumors.

The best new tech for designers to drop in 2017

Latest / Online / Technology

Whether its high-powered all-in-one PCs or simply more refined input devices that are on the horizon, more technology companies than ever are eager to please designers, illustrators and digital artists of all types with inspirational wares.

Much like an artist on the hunt for the best pencils, digital artists are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest gadgets to help bring their creations to life. If that’s you, don’t miss what Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Wacom, and a host of other big brands have in store for the discerning creative in 2017. Find out more in my latest piece for CreativeBloq.