Windows 10 Is Finally Getting Better Support for AirPods

Part of Microsoft’s great big overhaul to Windows 10 finally includes some major changes to Bluetooth support and audio endpoints. These changes are now live in the latest Windows 10 Insider preview build, reports The Verge.

Advertisement

The bigger of the two changes involves adding support for the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) over Bluetooth. Currently, Windows only supports SBC and AptX over Bluetooth, and anyone with a pair of Apple’s headphones knows AAC is the default compression codec for those devices.

It’s a compressed, lossy format to create small file sizes, and it’s the most popular consumer audio format. Many think AAC makes music sound a bit better, too, since it’s a great codec for streaming music.

Microsoft is also cleaning up how it displays audio endpoints. Instead of seeing the same audio device listed multiple different ways, Windows 10 will now unify them into a single audio endpoint. On my PC, it’s currently showing me four playback devices even though I only have a single pair of headphones plugged into the 3.5mm jack.

But with this update, only one audio endpoint will be shown in the volume dropdown, and Windows 10 will automatically switch to a different audio output if you’re watching a YouTube video and need to take a Teams call, for instance.

In addition to these latest changes, Microsoft is reportedly overhauling its store on Windows 10 to make it more attractive to use. Windows 10 is also getting a total redesign of its classic icons like Documents and Music.

Advertisement

Bless These Sleepbuds for Drowning Out My Snoring Husband

Illustration for article titled Bless These Sleepbuds for Drowning Out My Snoring Husband

Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

The universe conspires against my beauty rest. My husband snores. Not every night, but when he does, my bedroom becomes the Thunderdome. Most nights, my cat yowls at 4 a.m. for more food, and at 5 a.m., bats my face with his paws until I raise the window blinds so he can stare at pigeons. My geriatric dog cries at 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. because her bladder is small and she has to pee. So really, I volunteered to review the Bose Sleepbuds 2 because I don’t remember the last time I slept a full, uninterrupted eight hours.

Advertisement

The premise behind Bose’s Sleepbuds is simple: You wear the earbuds to bed, and they block out ambient noise using masking sounds that you load up from the companion app. For the record, these don’t have active noise cancellation. It’s more like sticking a tiny white noise machine in your ear. At $249, however, these are an expensive alternative to the dozens of mindfulness apps out there with sleep soundscapes. That’s especially true when you consider that these earbuds aren’t capable of streaming music or podcasts. You can only play a selection of masking sounds that you download directly from the Bose Sleep app.

The original Sleepbuds (which also cost $249) had a loyal fanbase, though there were several problems. They were ultimately discontinued due to battery issues, but customers also reported spotty connectivity and the buds failing to charge because they didn’t sit properly on the case’s charging nodes. With the Sleepbuds 2, Bose seems to have really taken that feedback to heart. This time around, the battery has been replaced with a more reliable one, the Bluetooth radio upgraded, the Bose Sleep app redesigned, the sound library expanded, and a third prong plus magnets have been added to the case so the buds automatically snap into place when charging. Another issue customers had with the previous generation was “pillow squeak,” a problem where side sleepers were woken up by the noise of the buds rubbing up against a pillow. With the Sleepbuds 2, Bose says it’s solved that problem by adding a special anti-friction coating.

I was hopeful, but intensely skeptical when I unboxed the Sleepbuds 2. I’ve tried sleeping with my AirPods Pro and it’s never worked for me. Either I wake up because they’re too uncomfortable, or the next morning I’m crawling under the bed to find a missing, dead AirPod. So I was pleasantly surprised with the design of these buds.

The buds themselves are incredibly light at just 0.08 ounces and come with three sizes of ear tips. According to Bose, getting a proper fit is key as the whole noise-masking thing doesn’t work too well if you don’t get a tight seal. I found the medium size fit me well and were comfortable. Another thing I appreciated was how the buds lay flush with my ears. Even when I slept on my side, the buds never fell out or got caught on my pillow. I also never experienced pillow squeak, so I guess that anti-friction coating did its job.

Illustration for article titled Bless These Sleepbuds for Drowning Out My Snoring Husband

Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Advertisement

I’m also a big fan of the case. It’s not an eyesore on my nightstand and it’s the perfect size to toss in a purse or travel bag in the future where we’re all able to travel again. As for charging, we love USB-C compatible gadgets, and the LED battery indicator lights are simple and intuitive. The magnets near the charging prongs were also a good addition, as I never had to fiddle with the buds to make sure they attached properly.

Setting these babies up was easy and connectivity was reliable. During my testing, there was only one instance where my phone had trouble finding one of the earbuds—and that was easily fixed by putting them back into the case and taking them out again. The buds also were quick to connect with my phone, which is clutch when all you want to do is fall face-first into your pillow.

Advertisement

Bose has greatly expanded its library of sounds. There are now more than 50 soundscapes to choose from in three different categories. The first is noise-masking sounds, which range from warm static and the hum of an engine room to crackling campfires and ocean swells. The second category, naturescapes, feels nearly identical but I guess they’re more… nature-y. Honestly, I’m not too sure why these categories are separate. Bose contends noise-masking sounds are optimized for covering up ambient noises like traffic, snoring, and conversation. Meanwhile, naturescapes are meant to transport you to other locales. Trust me when I say there’s not much of a difference. The third category, tranquilities, is new. I can only describe the tranquilities category as the type of woo-woo synth tones you find at a hippy-dippy yoga studio. Cool if that’s your thing, but personally I hated all of them.

Illustration for article titled Bless These Sleepbuds for Drowning Out My Snoring Husband

Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Advertisement

Overall, these are good improvements and the design itself is solid. That said, the Sleepbuds 2 aren’t perfect. My biggest gripe that you have to be super intentional in how you use them. Because the noise-masking sounds are stored locally on the device—they’re not streamed—you have to transfer any new sound you want to try from your phone ahead of time. The transfers are relatively quick, but it’s just long enough to be annoying when you’ve had a rough day. The same is true for updates. Those take 5-10 minutes. Not terrible, but I put off an update for days because I was tired and it was inconvenient.

If you’re not keen on planning ahead, you can put the buds in a phone-free mode. In that mode, the buds will play a pre-selected sound so you can skip connecting to your phone and go straight to sleep. While that feature was neat, you have to intentionally set the buds to that mode beforehand—and doing so has its drawbacks. For instance, I really liked the buds’ alarm feature, which gradually increases in volume at your chosen wake-up time. It’s a great option if you and your partner need to wake up at different times. The problem is the buds rely on your phone to tell time. That means alarms don’t work in the phone-free mode because the buds have no idea what time it is. When I’m sleepy, I have zero brain cells to remember which mode the buds were in, and no patience to decide whether I want to prioritize convenience or waking up on time. So while I appreciate the phone-free mode, it would’ve been nice if I could have that and the alarm.

Advertisement

In switching to a new, more reliable battery, Bose also had to sacrifice battery life. While the original Sleepbuds could go for 16 hours straight, these can only for 10 hours. That wasn’t really a problem for me, as in my old age, I am physically incapable of sleeping in. As for charging, I only had to plug in the case every four or five days.

The case doesn’t look out of place on my nightstand.

The case doesn’t look out of place on my nightstand.
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Advertisement

Ultimately, these buds aren’t worth it unless they help you sleep. So did it work for me? Yes and no. Finding the optimal volume—loud enough to mask the meowing cat, but quiet enough to fall asleep—was tricky and I didn’t get it right for the first few nights. (Also, there’s no sound on Earth that can stop a persistent cat from smacking you awake.) That said, I did sleep through more of my pets’ shenanigans. Instead of waking up five or six times a night, I woke up “only” two or three times. Plus, I did manage one night of interrupted sleep using the buds. That’s a huge win in my book. Anecdotally, I felt like I fell asleep faster on nights I used the buds, but that could’ve also been a placebo effect.

Even though these buds are probably the best possible design for sleeping, not everyone will find them comfortable. I tested these for about two weeks, and the first few times I tried them, I woke up in the middle of the night to take them out. It just felt odd. Although I eventually got used to it, I still occasionally wake up with a mild ache around the entrance to my ear canal.

Advertisement

I suspect whether the Sleepbuds 2 are worth it will be different from person to person. You won’t know how well it works for you until you try them yourself, and $249 is a lot to ask of someone for a gadget that might not work. However, Bose does offer a 90-day trial, so if you’re inclined to try these—you might as well. To be completely honest, I didn’t find the soundscapes to be that different from using the Calm app, which is more affordable at $70 per year. It was mostly that the noise was closer to my ear, so it was easier to ignore disturbances. That’s not nothing! It made a noticeable difference for me. It just may not work perfectly every single time, and you have to be patient enough to experiment.

If you don’t have trouble sleeping or only experience occasional disturbances, you should obviously save your moolah. Even with a trial, these are so expensive that I’d only recommend them if you’ve tried every other option. It might also be worth it if, like me, you have a snoring partner who can’t be effectively drowned out with a white noise machine or phone alone. Personally, I won’t use these every night—but you can bet I’ll reach for them when my pets and husband are too loud to ignore.

Advertisement

Bowers & Wilkins’ New Wireless Earbuds Can Stream Audio From Devices Without Bluetooth, Including Airplane Seats

Illustration for article titled Bowers & Wilkins' New Wireless Earbuds Can Stream Audio From Devices Without Bluetooth, Including Airplane Seats

Photo: Bowers & Wilkins

Every new set of true wireless earbuds seems to refine the experience with better ANC, improved sound quality, or longer battery life. But Bowers & Wilkins is introducing an entirely new feature in its PI7 truly wireless earbuds. Using the charging case as a wireless adapter, the earbuds can actually stream audio from almost any device, even older ones lacking Bluetooth connectivity.

Advertisement

It’s a problem that’s plagued anyone who’s flown with a pair of wireless active noise-canceling earbuds. Unlike larger wireless headphones that include a backup cable that enables them to physically connect to the headphone jack of a plane’s in-flight entertainment system, wireless earbuds can only be connected to a device that supports Bluetooth. That means you have to skip the in-flight movie for content that you hopefully remembered to download to your smartphone or tablet.

Gif: Bowers & Wilkins

With Bowers & Wilkins’ new PI7 truly wireless earbuds, you can enjoy what is arguably a more comfortable way to block out the endless whine of a plane’s engines, while still enjoying a seat-back entertainment system. The USB-C port on the bottom of the PI7’s wireless charging case also accept a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter cable, meaning it can be plugged into nearly any device in existence that has a headphone jack, and the sound will be wirelessly streamed to the earbuds.

It’s an incredibly useful and innovative feature that’s not only useful for frequent flyers. It means the wireless earbuds can be used with everything from handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch, to cars that offer headphones jacks for the passengers, to old MP3 players like the classic iPods. This functionality has already been available through standalone Bluetooth transmitters that essentially do the same thing, but the PI7 means there’s one less device you have to remember to bring on a trip.

Illustration for article titled Bowers & Wilkins' New Wireless Earbuds Can Stream Audio From Devices Without Bluetooth, Including Airplane Seats

Image: Bowers & Wilkins

The new Bowers & Wilkins also feature “Dual Hybrid Drive” speaker units in each earbud for improved sound, adaptive active noise cancellation that takes advantage of six microphones across both buds, support for Siri or Google Assistant, and customizability through a smartphone app. Battery life is rated at four hours of playback time plus 16 additional hours when topped off using the charging case, for a total of 20 hours before you need to find a power source again. The PI7 also offer fast charging—placing the earbuds in the charging case for just 15 minutes provides two hours of playback, although there’s no word on what toll the charging case streaming functionality takes on its own battery life.

Advertisement

The PI7 True Wireless earbuds are available starting today for $400, making them $100 more expensive than the excellent Master & Dynamic MW08s, and $150 more expensive than Apple’s AirPods Pro. Today Bowers & Wilkins also released a more affordable pair of true wireless earbuds called the PI5 for $250, and while they offer slightly better battery life with up to 24 hours of playback when paired with the charging case, they only feature four microphones powering their active noise cancellation, and also sacrifice the very useful Bluetooth broadcasting feature which is easily the biggest selling point of the PI7s.

We’re Liveblogging Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event Right Here

Illustration for article titled We're Liveblogging Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Right Here

Screenshot: Apple

Now that we’ve had time to recover from last fall’s never-ending stream of Apple events, it’s time to get ready for… another Apple event! Today’s Spring Loaded event kicks off at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT, and as always you can catch the livestream at its event page. If you’re looking for other ways to watch, don’t worry—we got you covered.

Advertisement

A lot is up in the air as to what Apple might unveil today, but the one thing leakers, analysts, and tech journalists seem to agree on is this: iPads. As for which iPads, it’s most likely we’ll see new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros—and the latter will likely sport a nifty Mini LED display. The timing is also ripe for AirTags. In the last few weeks, Apple’s been dropping hints left and right that these much-anticipated Bluetooth trackers are finally ready to launch. There’s also been plenty of murmurs around new Apple Silicon-powered iMacs, which would be the first redesign for these babies in nine years. A new Apple TV, AirPods 3, and apparently, a subscription podcast service might also be in the cards. As much as we’d love it if Apple got in on high-tech vaping for 4/20, I regret to inform you it’s not happening. (Though we can direct you to some cool gadgets with which to blaze it.)

Live, in-person events aren’t back yet, so like last year, today’s Spring Loaded event will be virtual. And if last year’s events were any indication, that means we’re likely going to see products launching at a fast clip. It’s cool. Relax. The dream team of myself, my partner in crime Catie Keck, and our EIC John Biggs will be manning the liveblog, while the rest of Gizmodo’s consumer tech crew brings you deep cuts into everything we’ll be seeing today.

These Headphones Offer Solid Active Noise Cancellation for Those on a Budget

Illustration for article titled These Headphones Offer Solid Active Noise Cancellation for Those on a Budget

Photo: John Biggs/Gizmodo

Urbanista isn’t a household name. Founded in Sweden, the company makes low-cost, high-design headphones for folks who don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars on options from Apple, Bose, or Beats. Their latest product, the Miami, is a pair of active noise-canceling headphones with 50-hour battery life and a tempting price tag.

Advertisement

These are not premium headphones. They are nicely designed and the monochrome hues—on the review unit I tested, a glossy glowing green/blue that really pops—are quite fashionable. The audio quality is fine and they fit great even on bigger heads. I used them exercising for a few weeks and then on a six-hour flight and I was impressed in both cases. They stayed on my head while I was shadowboxing and running, and on the flight, they destroyed enough plane noise to make things very pleasant.

The headphones also have on-ear sensors so they’ll stop playing when you take them off. Couple that with a 50-hour battery and you’ve got an interesting set of noise-canceling cans.

You can connect the Urbanista Miami wirelessly via Bluetooth or to a regular audio jack with the included cable. The box also includes an international adaptor for plane seats with dual audio inputs. All of that works well, and you can turn off the ANC with a button on the side. You can even listen to the headphones when the battery is dead, although the sound quality is very muddy.

If you need audiophile quality, however, a pair of $149 headphones is decidedly not it. The attractive design notwithstanding, you definitely don’t get much range with these guys. They’re bass-heavy, a fairly common problem with cheaper, mass-market headphones like these. That’s great for kids and teens or maybe if you’re looking for something that you’ll wear for a few years at the gym or on the road, these will work fine. I can’t attest to the long-term build quality, but the entire set is made of plastic and I saw a bit of wear and tear even in the few weeks I’ve used them. As you can see, the rubber ear pads are already wrinkling with a bit of use and could easily crack and split with extreme use.

undefined

Photo: John Biggs/Gizmodo

Advertisement

But the active noise cancellation works, and that’s the real draw of the Miami’s real draw. Finding quality ANC in a $149 set of headphones is rare, and these definitely work. They’re an acceptable alternative to lower-cost powered headphones like Sony WH-CH510 or the slightly more expensive $179 AKG N60NC noise-cancelling headphones.

That said, if you’re looking for a pair of headphones for a picky teenager or a traveler on a budget, you could do worse than these—a pair of fashion-focused headphones with a little bit of high tech thrown in. Folks who have used headphones like the Bose Noise Canceling Headphone 700, Sony WH-1000XM3, or the AirPods Pro Max will definitely be disappointed with the Urbanista Miami, but if you’re looking for a quick and affordable fix for your noise-canceling needs, they’re priced right and work well.

Advertisement

THX’s First Consumer Gadget Is a Tiny Headphone Amp That Will Have You Embracing Wires Again

Illustration for article titled THX's First Consumer Gadget Is a Tiny Headphone Amp That Will Have You Embracing Wires Again

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

THX is a brand synonymous with sound, best known for its eardrum-tickling deep note trailer played before movies in theaters. For years, THX has partnered with hardware makers, lending its expertise in sound to improve the audio capabilities of everything from smartphones to laptops, and now the company is finally releasing its own consumer product: a tiny amp that promises to make headphones sound better if you’re willing to give up the convenience of wireless.

Advertisement

Before we dive in, I’ll admit that I’m in no way an audiophile. I’m happy to listen to music through a pair of lightweight wireless earbuds with the audio compressed several times (while it’s being streamed, and then further compressed so it can squeeze into the limited wireless bandwidth of the Bluetooth protocol) before it reaches my ears. But I’ve also spent plenty of time behind a mixing board with professional studio headphones pumping live music into my ears, and can easily hear the difference between the two. Most of the time I’m happy to prioritize convenience over quality, and I have little interest in bankrolling and obsessing over a home stereo setup costing tens of thousands of dollars, but when working at home and listening to music I’ll always reach for a pair of over-ear headphones instead of buds.

THX’s first consumer product might seem like it’s targeted solely at audiophiles, but after trying the $200 Onyx for a few weeks, I think it’s definitely an upgrade that anyone looking to improve their headphone listening experience should consider. But to really take advantage of what it offers, you’re going to want to also consider a serious headphone upgrade—and I mean spending well north of even the $550 Apple AirPods Max.

The THX Onyx is a combination amplifier and DAC—digital to audio converter—that’s designed to make the audio coming out of a pair of headphones sound as good as it can possibly be. The headphone jack on your laptop or (older) smartphone already functions as both an amp and a DAC, converting digital audio files or streams into analog signals and then passing them along to the drivers in a pair of headphones, and for most consumer-grade audio gear, they do an adequate job.

But your average laptop and smartphone also use average performing amplification and DAC components to keep prices low, which can result in compromises in sound quality and audio fidelity when digital files are being converted, as well as unwanted noise being introduced. It can even result in a large pair of headphones just not being loud enough because the built-in amp on a device simply doesn’t send enough power through the headphone jack.

The Onyx might not be the first headphone amplifier available—audiophiles have been relying on these types of devices for years—but THX has created what might now be the sleekest and easiest to use amp/DAC available to consumers. Squeezed inside the slim dongle is a THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (which promises increased sound levels with minimal noise and distortion) paired with an ESS ES9281PRO DAC that includes an “integrated hardware MQA renderer.” It all sounds very technical and most consumers don’t really need to know what any of that means, but MQA—which stands for Master Quality Authenticated—is a new standard that promises better than CD quality sound through digital files that are still small enough to stream or download, and it’s a standard that’s quickly being adopted across streaming services promising high-fidelity audio.

undefined

The THX Onyx is small and easy to pocket, and even features a magnetic closure so you can create a loop to help wrangle and organize headphone cables.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Advertisement

In layman’s terms, the THX Onyx is an easy to use USB-C dongle (it includes an adapter for old-school USB ports) that provides an alternate place to plug your headphones in for better sound. It draws all the power it needs from a computer or mobile device and does everything needed to deliver better sound to a pair of headphones automatically. There are no buttons to press, no dials to turn, and nothing to configure. It just works.

undefined

You’ll also need Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter to connect the THX Onyx to an iPhone’s Lightning port.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Advertisement

As easy as the Onyx is to use, it does come with one big compromise—you’ll have to embrace wires again. The improvements in sound quality it promises aren’t available through wireless headphones. It gets even worse if the smartphone you’re using is an iPhone with an antiquated Lightning port (there’s a reason Apple doesn’t use Lightning on its laptops) instead of USB-C. According to THX, you’ll need to pair the Onyx with Apple’s $29 Lightning to USB Camera Adapter for it to work with iPhones, adding one more dongle to the mix.

undefined

On one end of the THX Onyx is a USB-C connector, while the other features a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Advertisement

Returning to a life of headphone cables and dongles isn’t easy, but if you regularly listen to music through a pair of on-ear or over-ear headphones, you’ll immediately notice a difference when using the Onyx. I tested the amp/DAC with a pair of Sony’s excellent WH-1000XM4 headphones (with an audio cable attached) and I immediately noticed how much louder and fuller the sound is. When plugged directly into my MacBook Pro’s headphone jack I can turn the volume all the way up on the Sonys for most songs without the sound levels being uncomfortable, although near the upper levels it does start to sound like the signal is being overdriven. Through the THX Onyx I can only turn the volume up a little past the halfway mark before the Sony headphones are too loud for my years, but even at those levels there are no compromises in how good the music sounds, and it doesn’t sound like the amplification is reaching its limits—only my ears are.

It’s not just about being louder, though. A stronger signal helps headphones produced a more nuanced and fuller sound, with a larger dynamic range that helps ensure what you’re hearing is closer to what the sound engineers behind a track wanted you to hear.

Advertisement

undefined

A set of three color-changing LEDs on the THX Onyx indicate the quality level of the music you’re listening to in four stages from CD quality to up to MQA studio quality.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

If you really want to experience the full benefits of the $200 THX Onyx you’re going to want to spend a little (or a lot of) money. Streaming services like Amazon Music HD and apps like Audirvana provide access to and playback of higher bit rate audio files, as do video services like Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix. Apple Music doesn’t currently offer a higher quality streaming option, and Spotify only recently announced a HiFi option, so while testing the THX Onyx I relied on Tidal HiFi ($20/month subscription with a free month-long preview) which offers many tracks at a ‘Master’ level that promises studio quality audio.

Advertisement

The Onyx itself will actually let you know the quality of the track you’re listening to with its set of three color-changing LEDs. Blue is CD quality or slightly above, yellow is high resolution, red is Direct Stream Digital (what Sony and Philips used for Super Audio CDs), and magenta is for max quality MQA certified tracks. I was skeptical that I’d hear much of a difference swapping the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones between my MacBook Pro’s headphone jack and the THX Onyx while listening to ‘Master’ quality tracks through Tidal, but my ears had no trouble discerning which was which. Music coming through the MBP’s headphone jack was noticeably flatter with less of a dynamic range than when connected to the Onyx. I’m not sure if the difference is big enough to warrant spending $20/month on Tidal HiFi if you’re using $350 headphones, but it might be if you upgrade.

undefined

Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Advertisement

The other obvious way to take advantage of a device like the THX Onyx is with a better set of headphones, so in addition to the Sonys, I also tested the Onyx with a pair of $1,000 Beyerdynamic T5 High-end Tesla headphones. Now that my ears have had a taste of the better life, they’ll never be happy with wireless earbuds again. Imagine taking a high-performance sports car for a spin after filling its tank with Zippo lighter fluid, and then once again filled with jet fuel. The Beyerdynamics still provide a better listening experience than the $350 Sonys when plugged directly into my MacBook Pro, but when plugged into the THX Onyx, the T5s are given everything a $1,000 pair of headphones needs to make a hifi audio track sound unbelievable.

Audio compression often strips away frequencies our ears are less sensitive to to reduce file sizes, but with a hifi digital stream, the Onyx, and $1,000 headphones, you hear everything. Blasting the original Star Wars theme through Tidal made it feel like I was sitting on stage with the London Symphony Orchestra, and I now understand the stereotype of the rich old dude sitting in a plush leather chair with a giant pair of expensive headphones on. I didn’t want to take the Beyerdynamics off either.

Advertisement

Like many of you, I often roll my eyes at audiophiles who look down their noses at anyone who hasn’t shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for audio gear, but the reality is that even if you have a much smaller budget, you can still vastly improve your listening experience. The THX Onyx is a good first step in that direction. Just be mindful that it’s a $200 upgrade that could potentially put you on a slippery slope towards spending a lot more money. You’ve been warned.

The 10 Best Deals of April 1, 2021

Graphic: Juliana Clark

Thursday’s Best Deals | Kinja Deals

It’s April 1, and we at Kinja Deals are here to bring you the top 10 deals of the day. Escape the current dystopia with the PlayStation Plus – 12 Months. Say goodbye to unhealthy snacks with the Gluten-Free Healthy Snacks Care Package. And cleanse your space with the TaoTronics Air Purifier.

Advertisement

If you’re still craving more deals, take a peek at Thursday’s best deals overall.

Back at the launch of Destiny 2: Beyond Light, I made my not-so triumphant return to the Crucible, the game’s PVP mode. As it turned out, everyone had gotten better at the game, and I’d gotten much worse. If you want to raise your K/D ratio fast, here’s a tip: all you have to do is log into a match that I’m in and wait for me to shoot hand cannon shots 20 feet above your head, giving you ample time to one-shot me with just about any weapon, it seems.

If you’re a PlayStation owner and you want in on this easy target practice, you’ll need to make sure you have PlayStation Plus, which allows you to play games like Destiny 2 online. You can get a full year of Sony’s online service for $27 after service fees from Eneba by using the code APRILGAMESAREHERE at checkout. Make sure to wave emote in my direction before you embarrass me into orbit.

This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio. 

Advertisement

Whether you are or someone you love has a gluten intolerance it can make eating less enjoyable as it narrows what you can have. Even if you are gluten sensitive like me, the selection of options can be found wanting depending on where you are. This wonderful bundle of twenty gluten-free snacks from Gift Box is curated just for your sensitive system. Save 15% on the Gluten-Free Healthy Snacks Care Package right now.

These boxes are great for discovering new treats. I’ve always been a fan of ones that put together goodies from around the world; it’s like a passport for your tastebuds. In this case, if you are new to your gluten-free life (I’m actually this person), finding tasty treats for an afternoon pick me up can be an interesting challenge. Not wanting to spend a lot on a giant unknown bundle of chips, these smaller bags are ideal to see what you might like for future noshes in between meals. Each snack is guaranteed to have expiration dates at least fifty days out from when they arrive, no need to rush and try them all at once. It’s delivered conveniently to you or your someone special in a sturdy protective box, so no smashed goods. This is a great step in your journey towards a happier tummy and healthier life.

Advertisement

This will ship for free for Prime members.

Advertisement

This deal was originally posted by Sheilah Villari.

Advertisement

This is the Dark Souls of board games. No wait, I guess Dark Souls: The Board Game is the Dark Souls of board games. I guess it’s more accurate to say this is the Bloodborne of board games, because it’s Bloodborne: The Board Game. That’s right, the Dark Souls-like Soulslike game from the creators of Dark Souls is now a board game, just like Dark Souls: The Board Game. Similar to Dark Souls: The Board Game, Bloodborne: The Board Game is a one to four player board game based on Bloodborne. Just like Bloodborne, Bloodborne: The Board Game features the Dark Souls of board game gameplay. There are branching quests and a tabletop combat system that draws inspiration from Bloodborne, which draws inspiration from Dark Souls. Bloodborne: The Board Game also Dark Souls, which Bloodborne. It’s worth nothing that Dark Souls, Dark Souls. Also Bloodborne. Dark Souls Bloodborne board game: Bloodborne. Dark. Dark. Bl. Da. D.

Bloodborne: The Board Game is on sale for $80 at Amazon today.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.

Advertisement

MagSafe is one of the clever, yet unseen new enhancements for Apple’s iPhone 12, implementing a magnetic anchor beneath the backing glass that you can snap a wireless charger and other accessories onto. In classic Apple fashion, however, the accessories are pricey: the MagSafe charging pad itself is $39 without the needed power brick, which will run you another $19.

Here’s a more cost-effective unofficial MagSafe charger from third-party maker RAVPower, which offers a wide range of great accessories for phones and other devices. This charger magnetically snaps onto the back of any iPhone 12 model, plus you can use it for AirPods Pro and wirelessly chargeable AirPods cases.

Advertisement

It also comes with the needed 20W USB-C PD power adapter to plug it into the wall, and it’s all yours for just $16 right now when you clip the coupon on the page and pop in promo code KJ012RPWC at checkout. That’s less than one-third the price of buying Apple’s own components.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Andrew Hayward.

Advertisement

If you’ve been in the market for a new air purifier, you may want to give this one a try. The TaoTronics Air Purifier is only $96 when you use promo code 24AP008 at checkout, and is equipped with a true HEPA filter. It can sift out dander, mold, and pollutants for anyone with horrible allergies. Nothing much to say, so go ahead and clear the air with a fresh new purchase for your dusty ass apartment. It’s $24 off the list price right now when you use the code.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher. 

Advertisement

As I’ve been testing a myriad of products from Aukey, one thing is certain; each is great quality for the price. Don’t be a fool and miss this deal today. Treat yourself and save 45% on these True Wireless Sport Earbuds with the clipped coupon.

As with most of these secure fit earbuds, they’re built for a fast-paced life. These were made for the gym, hikes, runs, the court, and anything else for those adventurers with an active lifestyle. I’ve found ear-hooks are an acquired taste, but they definitely ensure everything stays where it needs to. And these are obviously waterproof to protect against sweat. Great bass and full sound given their size. Expect around thirty-five hours of playtime with the case, so you’ll get just about seven hours off of a single charge. A great value for a set of earbuds to take on the road with you.

Advertisement

These will ship free for Prime members.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.

Advertisement

Hello, hello. If you’re reading this it means that you may be somewhat interested in audio, or at the very least, are in the market for a new, affordable pair of headphones. Well, look no further than these Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro ANC Headphones, down to $100 from the original list price of $130. Available in four colors, The Souncore Liberty 2 Pros are the latest in a steady brand compatible with both Apple and Andriod. The headphones themselves have targeted ANC (active noise cancellation) and boasts HearID, a personalized EQ that looks inside your ears and analyzes the shape for a customized listening experience.

The Liberty Air 2 Pros also have up to 26 hours of playtime and seven hours of playback with just one charge, and if you use the charging case (you should!), you’ll get three re-charges. Of course, they come with noise-canceling microphones so you can take Zoom calls in peace, especially if you have too thin walls and too loud neighbors. And honestly, these are great competition to the original AirPods and the AirPods Pro which are about $150 and $250, respectfully.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher.

Advertisement

You need computer stuff? We’ve got computer stuff! Amazon is little running a sale on Acer products that includes monitors, mice, and a “gaming backpack.” I don’t know what that means, but I guess it’s a backpack for gamers. If you have no need for a gaming backpack, you can grab a 144Hz 23.6″ full HD monitor for $150. That might be perfect if you’re looking for an inexpensive monitor and don’t need 4K power. You could also grab a Predator Cestus gaming mouse for $45 and click on things very well. If you really want to go all out, Acer’s Aspire Desktop PC is down to $450. Combine all three and hey, you’re most of the way to a modest, but totally usable PC setup for under $1,000. If only you had a gaming backpack to put it all in, though.

Advertisement

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.

Advertisement

We’ve all been there: Your controller is constantly reminding you to change the batteries, your remote stops working, or your kid needs juice for some toy. Why not think ahead now and resolve that issue by investing in some bulk batteries?

Big packs of standard, disposable batteries are handy just in case you need ‘em in a pinch. You don’t want to find out in the middle of a power outage that your flashlight is out of batteries, right? Grab a 48-pack of NECTIUM AA batteries for just $15 when you use promo code 64AT2XTM, or a 48-pack of AAA batteries for $13 with the same code.

Advertisement

Don’t need as many batteries? Snag an 8-pack of AA batteries or an 8-pack of AAA batteries for just over $4 when you use promo code 64AT2XTM. No matter which pack you choose, you’ll save 40% off the list price with this code.

Advertisement

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Elizabeth Lanier.

Advertisement

Happy Outriders launch day, you big nerds! People Can Fly’s new third-person shooter is here and so far, hey, it’s fun! The looter shooter has quite a bit of content to explore and some extremely cool loot to collect. I already have a gun that shocks people and a perk that makes my melee poison AND freeze people. You love to see it. If you have an Xbox console, you can play it for free via Xbox Game Pass, but PlayStation owners will need to buy it. Sorry! I don’t make the rules! If you want to save a little money, Walmart has the PS4 Day 1 edition down to $50. It’s better than nothing.

Advertisement

This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.


Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro ANC Headphones Drop to $100

Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro ANC Headphones | $100 | Amazon

Hello, hello. If you’re reading this it means that you may be somewhat interested in audio, or at the very least, are in the market for a new, affordable pair of headphones. Well, look no further than these Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro ANC Headphones, down to $100 from the original list price of $130. Available in four colors, The Souncore Liberty 2 Pros are the latest in a steady brand compatible with both Apple and Andriod. The headphones themselves have targeted ANC (active noise cancellation) and boasts HearID, a personalized EQ that looks inside your ears and analyzes the shape for a customized listening experience.

Advertisement

The Liberty Air 2 Pros also have up to 26 hours of playtime and seven hours of playback with just one charge, and if you use the charging case (you should!), you’ll get three re-charges. Of course, they come with noise-canceling microphones so you can take Zoom calls in peace, especially if you have too thin walls and too loud neighbors. And honestly, these are great competition to the original AirPods and the AirPods Pro which are about $150 and $250, respectfully.


Snag Microsoft’s Active Noise-Canceling Surface Headphones for Just $106 at Woot

Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

Microsoft Surface Headphones | $106 | Woot

Did you know that Microsoft makes headphones? The Surface Headphones are surprisingly distinctive-looking too, with a unique flourish to the headband, plus they’re Bluetooth wireless cans with up to 15 hours of battery life, the built-in Cortana voice assistant, and active noise canceling smarts.

Advertisement

Woot is currently offering them for $106 new, which is more than half off the original list price, and $21 less than you’ll find them at Amazon right now. But since Amazon owns Woot, Amazon Prime members get free shipping on these. This deal is only good through today, unless they sell out sooner!


You Can Finally Buy Decent-Sounding True Wireless Earbuds for $25

Illustration for article titled You Can Finally Buy Decent-Sounding True Wireless Earbuds for $25

Photo: Andrew Liszewski – Gizmodo

Anyone who’s ever had to buy a replacement set of earbuds at the airport after losing their good ones during a trip already knows what a $25 pair of earbuds sounds like: disappointment and regret. And yet somehow Skullcandy’s new $25 Dime truly wireless earbuds sound surprisingly decent given the price—just don’t expect more than a convenient cord-free way to enjoy your music.

Advertisement

If you’re looking for the full wireless earbuds experience, the new Skullcandy Dime will not deliver that. If money’s no object, grab yourself a pair of Master & Dynamic’s $300 MW08s instead and your ears will thank you. If you want to be somewhat fiscally responsible, both the $230 Jabra Elite 85t and $249 AirPods Pro offer excellent noise cancellation and sound quality, too. There are also lots of great options for less than $200 if you don’t care about ANC and are happy to live without premium features. But no matter the cost, there’s one feature that all wireless earbuds share: They’re incredibly easy to lose. If it feels like you’re having to replace your buds every month, the Skullcandy Dime might be worth considering as your I’m-leaving-the-house-and-I-don’t-really-care-what-happens-to-them set.

The Skullcandy Dime comes with one of the smallest charging cases I’ve ever tested, and it gives the original AirPods some stiff competition in terms of pocketability. I also like that Skullcandy has included a lanyard loop and a magnetic lid that also securely snaps shut, so you can leave these hanging off a backpack shoulder strap for easy access.

But it doesn’t take long to discover why these will set you back $25 and the AirPods cost $159. The charging case is made from a lightweight plastic that doesn’t feel like it could survive much of a drop. It also uses microUSB, which is less than ideal given most gadgets have graduated to USB-C.

undefined

Battery life for each Skullcandy Dime bud manages to outperform the Apple AirPods (3.5 hours vs. 3 hours) but that’s expanded to just 12 hours in total with the Dime’s charging case, compared to 24 hours with the AirPods case.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

There’s also the issue of battery life. The Master & Dynamic MW08 wireless earbuds boast 12 hours of playback on a charge and up to 42 hours with the charging case, while Apple’s AirPods deliver three hours and up to 24 hours with their case. The Skullcandy Dime earbuds do slightly better on their own, promising 3.5 hours of playback per charge, but that’s extended to just 12 hours in total with the charging case.

Advertisement

I do like that Skullcandy has included color-changing charging and mode status LEDs on the Dime earbuds themselves, which makes it a lot easier to know when you’ve successfully put them into pairing mode (there are audible mode prompts too when worn). However, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why Skullcandy designed the lid of the charging case with a pair of cut-outs where the earbuds show through. The case is by no means waterproof—there’s no rubber gasket sealing the lid when it’s closed—but this design choice makes it feel like the case couldn’t even shrug off the occasional splash.

Advertisement

The earbuds themselves are IPX4 sweat- and water-resistant, so if liquid does seep into the case it’s not a game-over situation, but I’m still left scratching my head over those cut-outs.

undefined

Each earbud has a physical button (you press on the tiny Skullcandy skull logo) that can be pressed in various ways to access shortcuts, but be prepared to study the included manual, or just keep your phone in hand all the time.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Advertisement

Functionality is basic, but Skullcandy has included a physical shortcut button on each bud (you press on the tiny skull and can feel a definite click). The shortcuts include playback, volume control, answering calls, and even activating a voice assistant. It’s nice to have, but you’re going to have to take some time to memorize how to access the various shortcuts, which can require single taps, double taps, triple taps, long presses of various lengths, and even combinations of the two. As someone who still has nightmares about college exams and forgetting to study, I’m more inclined to keep my phone in hand for these.

As for that answering calls part, with a microphone in each earbud you can use the Dimes as a hands-free alternative to your phone, but really only for telemarketers or people you really hate. The mic quality is unfortunately not great, and while it doesn’t quite sound like you’re talking to someone through a tin can attached to a string, your voice will come across muffled, over compressed, and with lots of static to whomever you’re speaking to.

Advertisement

undefined

The design of the Skullcandy Dime allows them to nestle into your ear, and because they’re lightweight, they’re also very comfortable to wear.
Photo: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

Without active noise cancellation you’re going to have to rely on deciding which of the three sets of silicone tips provide the best seal in your ear to physically block unwanted sounds, and it works about as well as in-ear buds always have: not that great. So with feature compromises left and right in order to hit a $25 price point, you’d assume that the Skullcandy Dime earbuds would be torture for your ears—but they’re not.

Advertisement

They’re by no stretch of the imagination an amazing sounding set of wireless earbuds, but I’ve had far worse-sounding buds in my ears with $150 price tags. The audio quality is comparable to last year’s $30 Skullcandy Jib True: The highs are crisp with good separation, while the bass has a satisfying thump, although depending on the track you’re listening to, it can come across a little strong and occasionally has a tendency to muffle some of the highs. I’d prefer a little more balance and the bass dialed back just a touch (there’s no adjustable EQ through an app to do that yourself), but if I was staring down a 10-hour flight home from an exotic locale with my favorite set of wireless earbuds MIA, I’d be quite happy with the Skullcandy Dimes as my emergency backup. They’ll never be my favorites, but I’m genuinely impressed that after five years you can already get a decent-sounding set of wireless earbuds for just $25.