Wirecutter’s best deals: Save $40 on BeatsX wireless earbuds

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.

Accell Powramid Air Surge Protector

Street Price: $ 35; Deal Price: $ 18

The Accell Powramid Air is a new addition to our surge protector guide. Usually $ 35, this surge protector is all the way down to $ 18. This is only the second time we’ve seen it discounted this heavily and it’s as low as it has gotten. The Accell Powramid Air is available at this price in the black and white colors, though to get the white color you must select Amazon as the seller and there’s potentially a wait of a few weeks. Shipping is free with Prime.

The Accell Powramid Air surge protector is a compact option we like in our guide to the best surge protector. Mark Smirnotis wrote, “For lighter duty situations, like under nightstands or side tables, the Accell Powramid Air is the way to go. It has two USB ports and six outlets in a comparatively small package. The USB ports put out a combined 2.4 amps, enough to charge one smartphone or tablet at high speed or two devices at low speed. The circular layout of the Powramid outlets makes them all usable with a variety of plug sizes. Despite the silly name, the Powramid packs real protection and tested almost as well as our larger pick against individual surges—though the protection might not hold up to as many surges as larger models.”

PetKit Eversweet Pet Water Fountain

Street Price: $ 70; Deal Price: $ 56

If you’re seeking a high-end water fountain for your pet, the PetKit Eversweet Pet Water Fountain is available a little cheaper today. Usually $ 70 or more, today you can get it for $ 56, bringing this model, which includes nice upgrades like auto turn-off, closer to the price of some of our other picks. This is the lowest price we’ve seen for it, so grab it while available.

The PetKit Eversweet pet fountain is our upgrade pick in our guide to the best water fountain for cats and dogs. Rebekah Valentine wrote, “If silence and ease of use are your top priority, and price is no object, it’s worth looking into the PetKit Eversweet. This drinking fountain automatically turns off the pump when the fountain runs dry (which would cause a motor burnout in all other models), has an LED indicator to tell you when it’s time to change the filter, and is the quietest fountain we tested. But it costs nearly twice as much as our top pick and has the lowest capacity of any fountain we tested, so it’s not worth it for everyone.”

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker

Street Price: $ 50; Deal Price: $ 40 + $ 10 eGift Card

If you’re a regular Target shopper, this is a particularly good deal on our top slow cooker pick. The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is already nicely discounted at $ 40 in-cart, but add to that an additional $ 10 Target eGift card (will show up in-cart) to be used later and for Target shoppers you’re effectively getting this slow cooker for $ 30, a great price. You can save an additional 5% if you’re a REDcard holder. All of this results in an excellent deal on an item that has a typical street price near $ 50.

The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is the top pick in our guide to the best slow cooker. Christine Cyr Clisset, Camille Chatterjee, Lesley Stockton, and wrote, “Although the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker isn’t the most luxurious or sleekest-looking machine out there, it does everything it should at a very modest price. It has the largest digital display of the models we tested, making it the easiest to read from across the kitchen, and its interface was the simplest to use. It cooks at true slow-cooking temperatures, unlike others we tried that ran too hot. Its locking lid also makes it more portable. We like that the Set & Forget has an alarm that rings at the start and the end of the cooking cycle–a helpful feature many newer, fancier cookers, like the others we tested, omit. Finally, the Set & Forget was the only slow cooker we found that included a temperature probe.”

BeatsX Wireless Earbuds

Street Price: $ 150; Deal Price: $ 110

If you’d had your eye on some BeatsX wireless earbuds, this is a nice opportunity to get them at a discount. While we’ve seen them around $ 10 lower previously, we haven’t seen those prices since late July, so at present, this is the best price available on BeatsX in Gray, White, Black, or Blue. These earbuds tend to bounce right back up to near the full price of $ 150 once a sale is over, so grab them while they’re this low if you need wireless earbuds.

The BeatsX wireless headphones are our pick for Apple users in our guide to the best wireless earbuds. Lauren Dragan wrote, “If you need better call quality than sport headphones can provide, but don’t care for the bulky collar design of our other picks, the BeatsX is a great option—especially for iPhone users. The high price makes it a worse value compared with our other picks, but unlike our other picks’ stiff collars, the BeatsX’s flexible neckband can easily coil up into a pocketable package. In addition to being more portable, the BeatsX has a W1 Bluetooth chip (the same chip as in Apple’s AirPods), which makes pairing with Apple devices super-easy and also slightly improves switching between paired devices. The average battery life of eight hours should get you through most days, but these headphones don’t work while charging. However, Apple users will appreciate that they charge via Lightning cable—so you have one fewer cable type to bring while you’re traveling. The sound quality on the BeatsX is great, with the exception of a boosted and somewhat blurry bass frequency region. We usually like the fun of extra bass; it’s just that the BeatsX’s “thump” sounds a little more like a “thud.” It has some other downsides, too: The microphone quality, for starters, is about what you’d get from a corded set of earbuds, so your calls will sound okay, but this mic will pick up more background noise than our pick’s mic will.”

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursday, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to thewirecutter.com.

Engadget RSS Feed

Jaybird Run review: The perfect truly wireless earbuds for workouts

Completely wireless earbuds are everywhere this year. Call it the Apple AirPods effect, or perhaps it’s just a matter of the right components being available at the right time. But now that completely cordless designs are less novel than they used to be, companies have to work harder to stand out. Jaybird, which has had years of experience in wireless audio, is taking a stab at the increasingly crowded field with its $ 180 Run earbuds. They’re comfortable, sound great for their size, and offer solid reception (for the most part).

Hardware

The Jaybird Run don’t look particularly distinctive, aside from a small logo on the outside. At this point, most companies seem to be settling on a similar style for fully wireless earbuds. They generally try to make them as small as possible — a departure from the clunky Bluetooth headsets you might be used to. One unique element here is the metal ring around the outer edges of the Run serves as the antenna, which should technically give it a leg-up on reception over competitors with internal antennas. They’re about as subtle as the earbuds from Her — noticeable, but they don’t call attention to themselves either.

The differences between wireless buds really come down to the earpiece design. They need to stay in your ears reliably — there’s no cord to save them from falling on the ground, after all — and ideally, they should be comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time. This is one area where the Jaybird Run excels: It features the “fin” typically found on the brand’s headphones, which fits into the upper groove of your ear to hold them in place. Once you get them in, it’s hard to notice you’re wearing them.

Jaybird gives you four sets of silicone tips: small and large round options, as well as two different oval-shaped tips. There are also three different types of fin accessories, along with a finless one if you have very small ears. And, as you’d imagine, the Run are both sweatproof and water resistant. Jaybird says they feature a “double hydrophobic nano coating” to deal with sweat, which is much tougher on gadgets than plain water.

The Jaybird Run also comes with a chunky carrying case, which adds another eight hours to their advertised four-hour battery life. The case is too large to fit comfortably in your pocket, but it’s easy to chuck into a messenger bag or backpack. It can also give the Run earbuds one hour of juice with just a five-minute charge. The case could use a more secure latch, though. It popped open in my bag on several occasions, which made my iPhone automatically connect to them. That was particularly annoying when it was causing my phone to de-prioritize my other devices.

In use

Setting up the Run earbuds was a cinch. Within 30 seconds of tearing open the packaging, I had them securely in my ears and paired with my iPhone 6S. I was lucky enough to have a perfect fit with the default buds. It was definitely the fastest setup period I’ve seen with any pair of wireless headphones, even my BeatsX.

The right Run earbud handles all of the connectivity with your phone. You can choose to wear it by itself if you’d rather keep one ear open (which is how I typically walk around New York City). The left earbud automatically connects to the right one over Bluetooth when you turn it on, and the sound carries over without any interruption. Everything sounds a bit compressed when you’re just using the right earbud, but the audio field expands seamlessly once you turn on the left bud.

You don’t have many options for controlling the Run. Each earbud has just one button. Powering them on and off takes one long press, but you can also skip forward to the next track by double-clicking them. The buttons are easy enough to find, but they’re difficult to press. Pushing them simply felt painful, since doing so also jams the Run deeper into your ear. Because of that, I avoided the buttons entirely while wearing the earbuds.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

When it comes to sound quality, the Run delivers far more than you’d expect, given its tiny frame. My usual round of test music tracks, including “Like A Dog Chasing Cars” from the Dark Knight soundtrack, and Little Dragon’s “Klapp Klapp,” all sounded great, with a healthy amount of detail and a surprising bass. The JayBird Run unfortunately had trouble with complex high notes; cymbals sometimes sounded like a distorted mess. They certainly didn’t sound as good as the BeatsX or the Jaybird Freedom, though, both of which deliver quality that’s almost on par with wired headphones.

The Jaybird Run were especially great for podcasts. Dialog sounded rich and natural, with none of the tinniness you get from some wireless headphones. And since podcasts are usually recorded at a much lower fidelity than music, they ended up being ideal for the Run’s more limited audio range. I caught up on a big chunk of my podcast backlog while testing them, simply because they were so convenient to wear.

If you like to customize your audio experience, you can also use Jaybird’s mobile app to tweak the Run’s sound profile. It’s flat by default, but the company provides a variety of options like “Bring the bass,” which boosts the low-end, or “Extended listening,” which cuts down harsh high notes. There are also custom profiles from athletes like Nick Rimando and Kerri Walsh Jennings, and you can find profiles from other Jaybird users as well. If you want, you can also adjust your levels manually. (I opted for the “Signature” settings, which boosts bass and high notes a bit.) The app changes the Run’s sound at the firmware level, so any tweaks will apply no matter what you’re listening to. If you need help finding exercise tunes, there’s also a curated selection of Spotify playlists within the app.

With no wires in the way, the Jaybird Run made listening to just about anything feel completely seamless. It takes just a few seconds to pop it out of the case, and they paired with my phone quickly too. Since they’re so comfortable, I occasionally forgot I was even wearing them. At times, too, it felt like they were simply an extension of my hearing. They didn’t fall out of my ears once after hours of testing, and after a while my low-level anxiety about dropping them on a New York City sidewalk evaporated.

My honeymoon with the Jaybird Run almost ended abruptly during my first jogging session. They simply couldn’t stay synchronized in stereo mode while I was moving, a problem multiple reviewers have brought up over the past few weeks. When I asked Jaybird for comment, a spokesperson said that the unit I was testing were pre-production, and not the final hardware consumers would get. Typically I’d find that answer suspicious, but since the Run aren’t actually shipping to customers until later this month, all I can do for now is take the company at their word.

So that’s the story of how I received a second Jaybird Run pair to review. I immediately took them out for a two-mile run around Brooklyn’s Prospect Park , and thankfully didn’t experience any further synchronization issues. My podcasts and exercise playlist all played without incident. Compared to the Jaybird Freedom, which are wirelessly connected to your phone, but still have a thin cable attaching the earbuds, the Run offered a completely different experience.

It’s one thing not to have to worry about managing a headphone cable, but running through the park unencumbered by any cables felt truly liberating. I still experienced minor synchronization issues when walking around Manhattan, but that’s something I’ve also noticed with other wireless buds. Extreme radio interference is part of the cost of living in a dense urban environment.

Jaybird’s four-hour battery life claim for the Run was close to what I actually saw. The buds would typically last for around three hours and 45 minutes during my testing. As you’d expect, that timing changed a bit if I was listening to quiet podcasts, or loud music most of the time. Together with the battery case, the Run typically lasted around two to three days, depending on if I could fit in a jogging session. As our resident marathoner, Engadget’s executive editor Dana Wollman notes that the Run’s battery life should be fine for most runners. But you’d probably want a wired pair if you’re hitting the pavement beyond four hours.

Pricing and the competition

At $ 180, the Jaybird Run are slightly more expensive than competing wireless earbuds. Apple’s AirPods go for $ 159, while Bragi’s “The Headphone” comes in at $ 149. If you want to cut the cord mainly for exercise, though, the added cost will likely be worth it for the Run’s sweat and water resistance. Jabra’s Elite Sport are another solid workout alternative, but they’re a lot pricier at $ 250.

If you’re considering wireless headphones, it’s worth taking a step back and considering how you plan to use them. If you’re a fitness fanatic, it makes more sense to forgo wires entirely with the Jaybird Run. But if you care more about having higher audio quality, and only need headphones for occasional exercise, you might be better off with something like Jaybird Freedom or BeatsX, which still have short cables.

Wrap-up

Jaybird didn’t disappoint with the Run. They’re everything I’d want in a pair of truly cord-free headphones. While they still require sacrificing a bit of audio quality, that’s true of everything else in this category. Losing a bit of fidelity is worth it, though, if you’ve ever dreamt of going for a run while losing yourself to music and not worrying about any annoying cords.

Engadget RSS Feed

Truly wireless earbuds are coming for your headphones

One of the dominant trends of IFA 2017 was the sheer volume of companies, both known and not-so known, that launched Bluetooth earbuds. The “truly wireless” revolution that was kickstarted by Bragi and embraced by Samsung and Apple is now a bandwagon that everyone is jumping on.

A recent Wirecutter roundup listed more than 20 companies making truly wireless earbuds, and we can expect that number to increase exponentially soon. At the show we took a closer look at offerings from mid-lower-end players like Philips and higher-end ones like B&O Play.

Speaking with representatives at the show, it’s clear that the advent of the Bragi, back in 2014, sparked a flurry of internal discussions at many audio companies. But many didn’t begin working on their own product until the launch of AirPods and the iPhone 7, which did away with the headphone port.

The slow (and contentious) demise of the smartphone’s headphone jack is prompting a wave of interest in wireless audio. And that, as consumers are gently encouraged to ditch the wire connecting them to their phones, they might as well abandon the ones that you’ll find in traditional Bluetooth headphones.

The numbers back it up, too, analysts NPD believe that around 900,000 pairs of wireless earbuds have been sold in the US since the start of the year. Of that figure, however, it’s thought that 85 percent of them were sold by Apple, with the rest fighting for the remaining 15 percent.

One of the smartest things that Bragi did was to embrace what could have been the fatal flaws in its design. These earbuds are super small, with limited battery space and it’s far, far too easy to lose them — all points that would dissuade plenty of wary customers from purchasing them. But by offering a charging case, supplied alongside the earbuds, Bragi solved both problems by forcing users to develop a habit of only ever moving their earbuds from their skulls to the dock.

SONY DSC

The case is just as important as the earbuds, which is why B&O made a big deal of making theirs look like a scaled-down sunglass case. You could easily plonk it down on the table in a restaurant and no-one would bat an eyelid.

There’s also the issue of sound quality, which requires some elegant audio engineering to get around how cramped these devices are. By and large, most of them that we tried at the show didn’t sound too bad, although it’s clear that — for now — they’ll never be as expressive as a pair of larger cans.

But being good enough, especially if users are only listening to low-resolution Spotify streams while they navigate a crowded subway station or office, will probably suffice. And the convenience of wire-free listening is probably enough to allay concerns from all but the snootiest audio snob.

What’s likely, however, is that as more companies build their own entrants to the market, that we’ll see prices crater. And since there still seems to be some room for innovation, expect to see plenty of nuanced takes on the form — and yeah, a million and one copycats as well.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!

Engadget RSS Feed

The delayed BeatsX wireless earbuds arrive February 10th

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a pair of BeatsX wireless earbuds, you’re in luck. Today, Beats revealed on Twitter that the delayed model will arrive this Friday (February 10th). What’s more, in addition to the black and white color options that were previously announced, the company tells CNET that blue and gray versions will follow shortly.

BeatsX is one of three wireless models Apple teased when it confirmed it was killing the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. The three different Beats headphones were meant to give customers some options alongside the newfangled AirPods. Like those AirPods though, the BeatsX was also delayed. The wireless earbuds were supposed to arrive back in the fall, but the company announced in December that they wouldn’t go on sale until February.

In addition to providing a $ 150 alternative to the pricier AirPods, BeatsX also packs in Apple’s W1 chip for quick pairing via Bluetooth and Fast Fuel quick charging. That latter feature means BeatsX will give you two hours of use on just a five minute charge. It’s something that could come in handy if the earbuds go dead while you’re at the gym. They’re also attached to each other with a cord and in-line remote, if you’re worried about losing individual buds. When the time comes on Friday, expect to nab the new listening accessory via both Apple and Beats websites as well as Apple’s retail stores.


Via: 9to5Mac, CNET

Source: Beats By Dre

Engadget RSS Feed

Earin’s latest wireless earbuds tout AirPod-like controls

Fancy the subtle tap-based controls of Apple’s AirPods, but want something that’s not quite so conspicuous (or conspicuously targeted at iPhone owners)? Earin wants to talk. It’s introducing its second set of wireless earbuds, the M-2, and they promise a taste of AirPod-like control in a subtler design. You only have to tap an earbud to pause your music or answer a call — no reaching for your phone or fiddling with buttons. It’s not as sophisticated as the AirPods (you won’t be talking to Siri as easily), but the simplicity remains a big deal.

The M-2s are also more ergonomic than their cylindrical ancestors. Battery life hasn’t changed much, though: you can expect 3 hours on a charge, and the magnetic charging capsule will give you a total of 12 hours of listening. This is more for your workout than a long flight, in other words. Earin hasn’t divulged pricing, but the new earbuds should hit shelves near the end of the first quarter.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

Source: PR Newswire

Engadget RSS Feed

V-Moda’s line of ‘Forza’ earbuds is meant for workouts

If you’re familiar with V-Moda, you know that the brand is mostly known for making premium over-the-ear headphones. While it does have earbuds in its portfolio, that’s never been the company’s main focus. Today, however, V-Moda is introducing the Forza Series, a trio of in-ear headphones designed for people who love to work out on a regular basis. It’s an interesting move for the company, which seems to be taking on Beats’ fitness-oriented products, like the PowerBeats and upcoming BeatsX.

For starters, there’s the entry-level Forza Sport Hybrid, which features Hi-Res Audio and 5.8mm drivers enclosed in a plastic housing. According to V-Moda, it’s the first sport set to support high-resolution audio files, yet it’s only going to cost $ 100. Meanwhile, the Forza Metallo comes with the same size drivers as the Sport Hybrid but in a metal housing, as well as Hi-Res Audio. That’s the model pictured above, which also has a tangle-free, Kevlar-reinforced cable. The Metallo is slightly more expensive, at $ 130.

It’s worth noting that both of those two models have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need a dongle if you own an iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or another “courageous” smartphone. If you don’t want to deal with any of that, V-Moda has a higher-end wireless option. Aptly named Forza Metallo Wireless, these $ 170 earphones also sport 5.8mm drivers, though they lack the Hi-Res Audio feature from the wired models. The neckband, for its part, is made out of titanium and designed to lock comfortably around your neck for better stability. Battery life is rated at up to 10 hours — two more than what you’d get with the BeatsX, for reference. And, thanks to fast-charging tech, a 30-minute charge gives you two hours of use.

As you might expect, since V-Moda’s Forza line is intended for an active crowd, all three options are sweat and water resistant. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test the audio quality when V-Moda showed me the Forza Metallo V-Moda in a recent demo, as the unit I saw was merely a prototype. Still, the company claims the they are tuned with “the V-Moda standard,” which means you should expect your tracks to sound clean, crisp and not so bass-heavy most of the time.

Engadget RSS Feed

Apple’s high-end wireless earbuds may not ship with iPhone 7

The long-rumoured death of the iPhone’s headphone jack has left everybody wondering: What’s going to become of Apple’s EarPods? Well, they’ll probably go wireless, but according to one analyst, they won’t come with your iPhone. They’ll be sold separately — and they might be expensive. KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will announce a pair of high-end “AirPod” earbuds tomorrow as a premium accessory for iPhone 7 buyers. They won’t come in the box like Apple’s current earbuds, he says, and may not even use Bluetooth.

According to Kuo, Apple may have designed a “Bluetooth-like communications chip” with more strict limits on power consumption. This same low-power chip may also be used to communicate with smart car systems and other home accessories. The Analyst even goes as far as to name Taiwan Semiconductor as the company he believes developed the chip.

So, if Apple’s wireless answer to removing the headphone jack is going to be a premium accessory, what about the average user? Not to worry: Kuo believes the iPhone 7 will bundle in a pair of lighting-connector compatible earbuds or, at bare minimum, a 3.5mm to lighting adapter. Even so, take this report with a grain of salt — Kuo has a strong history of getting these kinds of predictions right, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow.

Source: Apple Insider, Digital Trends

Engadget RSS Feed