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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

How to Watch Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event Today

Illustration for article titled How to Watch Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Today

Image: Apple

As is the norm for Apple, we do not know what the company plans to announce at its big 4/20 event today. We can probably safely guess a few gadgets that could be revealed during the presentation, however.

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The most likely candidates are iPad Pros with miniLED screens, rumored to be arriving in 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes, possibly with a new Apple Pencil. There have also been rumors of appearances from Apple’s AirTags, an iMac redesign, AirPods 3, and if we’re lucky, maybe even a new Apple TV set-top box with an overhauled remote experience for all you Apple TV remote haters.

There’s also a possibility that Apple could announce a new service called Podcasts+, another paid subscription service (as if we don’t already have enough of those), as some have speculated after some changes to the Podcast app in the iOS 14.5 beta.

The event will be live-streamed, so you’ll be able to tune in and follow along in real time. There are several ways to watch, but the easiest might be bookmarking its dedicated YouTube page, where things will kick off at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. We’ve linked that page above. You can also watch by bookmarking Apple’s dedicated events page. Apple TV users, meanwhile, should be able to see an Apple Events section in their app for tuning in as well.

Gizmodo will be live-blogging the entire thing, so be sure to follow along and chime in with your thoughts. Head to the homepage at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT to kick things off with us an hour before the main event.

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.

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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.

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Photo: John Biggs/Gizmodo

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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This will ship for free for Prime members.

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This deal was originally posted by Sheilah Villari.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.

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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.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Andrew Hayward.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher. 

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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.

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These will ship free for Prime members.

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This deal was originally published by Sheilah Villari.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Ignacia Fulcher.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Giovanni Colantonio.

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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.

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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.

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This deal was originally published by Elizabeth Lanier.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

I Wish These Bose Open Earbuds Weren’t So Damn Thick and Heavy

Illustration for article titled I Wish These Bose Open Earbuds Weren't So Damn Thick and Heavy

Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

I’m pro-open ear headphones for outdoor exercise. Bikers, cars, unsupervised children on scooters—they’ve all been hazardous to my health while running. So even though I had reservations about the Bose Sport Open Earbuds, I was eager to give them a go.

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Open-ear audio has been around for awhile in the form of bone conduction headphones, like the ones made by AfterShokz. They’re actually pretty nifty and a good option if you want to stay clued into your surroundings, but they come with some serious tradeoffs, too. Despite multiple attempts, I wasn’t a fan of the sound quality, especially because you can feel distracting vibrations at higher volumes. Most bone conduction headphones also feature a wraparound headband, which I’ve never really been into for comfort reasons. The concept behind the Sport Open Earbuds is that they use actual drivers that are strategically aimed at your ears—but don’t actually go in them. That’s supposed to get you situational awareness and comfort without sacrificing audio quality.

Too good to be true? Well, from the get-go I was wary about the shape and size of these earbuds. Fit and comfort are important in a pair of workout buds, but so is their ability to stay put when you’re in motion. At 48mm wide and 55mm high, these buds are significantly larger than my Jabra Elite 65t and AirPods Pro. They’re also a lot heavier at 14 grams. When I read those measurements on paper, I was afraid they wouldn’t work with my small-ish ears.

Those fears were and weren’t justified. They aren’t hard to put on, but you do have to take an extra second to make sure they’re secure. The back portion is also rather thick, and if my ears were any smaller, I’m not sure they’d sit right. That thickness also causes issues if you want to wear them with glasses or sunglasses. Depending on your frames, the arms and the earbud might have to compete for space. My main glasses have teeny, thin arms but even so, the space behind my ear felt weighted down and crowded. I’d recommend switching to contacts if you’re using these buds, but that doesn’t help if you want to wear polarized sunglasses for sunny days. Add on the loops for a mask, and these buds feel awkward at best.

To their credit, the earbuds never fell off, even when I ran with glasses and a mask on. I can’t say that for my Jabras or my AirPods, which have both tumbled out of my ears during runs and other types of exercise. It just always felt like the Bose earbuds were going to fall off during the first 10-15 minutes.

See how the back part bends the top of my ear down? It stays put, but it’s crowded back there.

See how the back part bends the top of my ear down? It stays put, but it’s crowded back there.
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

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As for sound quality, the Sport Open Earbuds are much better than bone conduction headphones and on par with other exercise earbuds. The clarity was also impressive, considering these don’t create any sort of seal. You don’t have to worry about wind distorting your music, or things sounding tinny. It’s not going to be as good as fancier earbuds with some form of ANC, but unless you absolutely need the best audio quality while exercising, these will be more than adequate. Sometimes earbuds that don’t fit perfectly leave me with that same clogged feeling you get on airplanes, but I never had that issue with the Bose.

One gripe I had was the proprietary charger. The shape of these buds is undeniably unique, which means you can’t just buy a USB-C or micro-USB cable and be done with it. The charger itself is easy to use, thanks to magnetic connectors, but it’s yet another cable you have to keep track of and much harder to replace should you accidentally lose it.

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The battery life was also disappointing. Although Bose says these buds offer an estimated 8 hours of usage, that’s not what I got in practice. After charging the buds up to full, I took them on four 30- to 40-minute runs. Each run depleted my battery by about 20-25%, and I was left with about 10% battery at the end of the week. Charging my earbuds once a week isn’t too annoying, but I only got about half of the promised battery life. As for charging time, I did appreciate that 30 minutes will get you to roughly 40-50% battery. Going from zero to 100%, however, takes about 2 hours.

Not a fan of proprietary chargers.

Not a fan of proprietary chargers.
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

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As for controls, they’re fairly straightforward. Each bud has a small button on the bottom—the one on the left bud controls voice, while the one on the right is for music and phone calls. To play or pause, you simply press the right button. Double-pressing skips you forward, triple-pressing skips backward. That’s standard for wireless earbuds these days. I was less a fan of volume control. You’re supposed to be able to tap the center of the left bud to decrease volume, and the right to increase. I could never remember which one was what, and I could never get the volume controls to work for the life of me. I just ended up tapping my ears with increasing frustration until passersby looked at me like I was out of my mind.

Phone controls are also standard for wireless earbuds. You press the right button to answer or end a call, and double-press to decline. Call quality was fine in terms of what I could hear. According to a friend, I sounded “pretty good for headphones” if a tad “echo-y. These buds don’t leak a whole lot of sound either. In my home office, I could listen to music without my husband, who sits about two feet away from me, complaining. That’s definitely better than the Bose Frames, which he could definitely hear from the same distance. That said, I wouldn’t really use these headphones for everyday work. Not only are you not going to block out ambient noise, but there are also more comfortable options out there for extended wear.

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My Jabra Elite 65t are much smaller and lighter than the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.

My Jabra Elite 65t are much smaller and lighter than the Bose Sport Open Earbuds.
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

A must with exercise earbuds is sweat resistance. These buds are IPX4, which means you should be fine if you get caught in a drizzle and my sweaty hair and ears caused zero problems. Technically, there’s a Bose companion app for these buds but it’s pretty useless. I tried setting up the earbuds in the app but it couldn’t even find them—while my phone had zero trouble. The app doesn’t offer much in the way of features, aside from telling you the battery level, so save yourself space on your phone.

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While I truly dig the sound quality on these earbuds, they don’t sound amazing enough to justify the $200 price tag when you also consider the bulky size and meh battery life. You can find the Jabra Elite 75t Active on sale for $140, and those earbuds offer you a comfortable fit in a much smaller package with way better battery life and great sound (plus digital ANC). The Jaybird Vistas are also a decent option, and while they don’t deliver the best sound, they are hardy buggers with an IPX7 rating.

For me, comfort is what it comes down to, and I just can’t get over how thick and heavy these buds are. I only have so much space behind my ear. Admittedly, this might be because I exercise with my glasses on if I’m not going to be working out for at least an hour. If you’ve got bigger ears and 20/20 vision, this might not be a problem for you. Frankly, I’m kind of bummed since I’m deeply appreciative of the situational awareness these earbuds afford me. As it is, I’ll probably stick with the Bose Frames for my open-ear audio needs.

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