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Review: Bang & Olufsen Earset

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The iconic Bang & Olufsen Earset is back, with a Bluetooth twist. The AED 1199 earphone is a redesigned and wireless version of the company’s first Earset that was released over a decade ago. Like its predecessor, the new Earset has adjustable ear-hooks and a 90s aesthetic based on Anders Hermansen’s original design.

The Earset is mostly made of anodised aluminium. Though B&O have retained the iconic design, there are some major changes in the technology behind them. Aside from being wireless, the new Earset packs much-upgraded internals: a 14.2mm electro-dynamic driver, integrated cabinet with two acoustic vents, a bass port and digital equalizers inside the Bluetooth chipset.

The Earset makes away with the 3.5mm plug, because who needs it when you got Bluetooth? Like the original, each earpiece on the Earset has been designed to sit just inside the inner ear, and not push deep into the ear canal. The Earset also comes with an integrated three-button remote and mic.

The ear hooks on this thing are made of soft rubber for more flexible positioning. B&O has used diamond-cut edges and radially polished surfaces for the housing, and anodization on the other parts, too, for better durability. You can adjust the angle, height of the piston and the curve of the hook, in three directions for a perfect fit.

The B&O Earset is available in two colours, graphite brown and white – our review unit was the brown variant. The device charges through a USB-C port and promises five hours of battery life on paper.

B&O is known for their brilliant designs and premium sound and it stands true for the Earset. It sounds premium everywhere – from the packaging to the build quality to the actual audio quality. Inside the box, you get the earbuds along with a travelling pouch, a USB-C to USB-A cable, three pairs of foam pads and a quick start guide.

The team at B&O have taken great pains to optimise the technical sound aspects for the ergonomic design. And this has resulted in a set of earbuds that deliver excellent audio quality. The earbuds’ form-fitting design allows the device to sit snugly in your ear, in order to deliver B&O’s trademark sound into your ears.

Wearing the Earset for extended hours is still comfortable, as you get impressed by the elegant sound quality every time. During our tests, we clocked around 4 hours of continuous playtime on a single charge. While the Earset takes around 2 hours to completely charge, there is also a quick charge function that offers a battery life of 1 hour after a 20-minute charge.

Wireless connectivity through Bluetooth 4.2 is brilliant and offers a range of about 35 feet. For a price of AED 1199, the Earset may sound expensive, but if you are looking for luxurious and ultra-customizable design, elegant sound quality, awesome comfort, and high build quality, the Earset is the pair of earbuds you are looking for.

Price: AED 1199

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Audio Devices

Marshall Launches Major V and Minor IV Headphones

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Marshall has introduced two new products in its audio lineup: the Major V on-ear headphones and the Minor IV true wireless earbuds. Both models promise enhancements in sound quality, battery life, and durability. According to Martin Wennberg, Product Manager at Marshall, the new Major V builds on its predecessor’s capabilities, increasing playtime from 80+ to 100+ hours. “We’ve refined every detail for the fifth incarnation of Major, from the sound quality to the iconic design,” Wennberg explains.

The Major V is designed to accommodate the demands of frequent users with its rugged, foldable structure, which facilitates easy transportation. It also features a customizable M-button that interacts with the Marshall Bluetooth app to allow quick access to various functions such as Spotify tap, EQ switching, and voice assistant.

The Minor IV earbuds are tailored for extended wear, offering a comfortable fit and 30+ hours of battery life. These earbuds are designed to deliver high acoustic performance and are customizable through the Marshall app. Additionally, both models support Bluetooth LE Audio, a technology that promises higher audio quality and more reliable streaming, suitable for future multimedia applications.

The Major V is available for pre-order for $149, while the Minor IV is priced at $129. Both models will be available for purchase globally via Marshall’s official website.

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Bluetooth Devices

Nothing Launches Ear (2) Hi-Res Audio Certified True Wireless Earbuds

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Nothing has launched Ear (2), a set of truly wireless earbuds that celebrates Nothing’s iconic transparent design with elite engineering and next-level personalization for the ultimate audio experience. Ear (2) delivers an authentic sound experience, boasting Hi-Res Audio certification and LHDC 5.0 technology. Users can also create their own Personal Sound Profile by completing a hearing test through the Nothing X app. Ear (2) will then adjust the equaliser settings accordingly in real time for optimal sound quality.

The earbuds feature an 11.6 mm custom driver for deep, powerful bass and crystal-clear highs, and a new dual-chamber design enhances the overall sound quality with smoother airflow. Moreover, Ear (2) features Dual Connection for easy device switching, improved wind-proof, and crowd-proof Clear Voice Technology, and Personalised Active Noise Cancellation that adapts to the unique shape of a user’s ear canal.

“We are excited to introduce Ear (2) as a significant upgrade to our debut product Ear (1), which sold over 600,000 units,” said Carl Pei, CEO, and Co-founder of Nothing. “With Ear (2), we’ve re-engineered everything from the ground up and utilised cutting-edge technology to create the ultimate personal listening experience.”

Ear (2) is Hi-Res Audio certified for a truly immersive sound experience that transports you to the recording studio. LHDC 5.0 codec technology ensures that even the finest sound details are delivered to an industry-leading standard, transmitting frequencies up to 24 bit/192 kHz at speeds of up to 1 Mbps.

Featuring an 11.6 mm dynamic driver with a custom diaphragm, Ear (2) boasts enhanced acoustic performance. The redesigned combination of polyurethane and graphene materials delivers even richer high frequencies and deeper, softer bass. Plus, the unique dual-chamber design creates a larger space for smoother airflow and even clearer sound.

Ear (2) is a mighty refinement compared to Nothing’s first-generation audio product. It provides users with a more personalised and seamless listening experience, catering to their everyday needs. Including Dual Connection, Personal Sound Profile, and Nothing’s most advanced Clear Voice Technology and Active Noise Cancellation yet.

Ear (2) offers Dual Connection, which allows users to connect to two devices simultaneously and seamlessly switch between playing music or receiving calls. For instance, if a user is enjoying music on their laptop and receives a call on their phone, Ear (2) will automatically alert them of the incoming call. They can easily answer the call using the press control of the earbud, and when the call is finished, the earbuds will automatically resume playing music from the laptop.

Nothing set out to create an audio product that could cater to each individual’s listening requirements. Ear (2) allows users to create a Personal Sound Profile with their hearing ID. After taking a hearing test in the Nothing X app, Ear (2) adjusts the equaliser levels in real-time to match the user’s hearing for an optimal listening experience.

For the clearest calls, Ear (2) features Nothing’s best Clear Voice Technology yet. With three high-definition microphones on each earbud and an AI noise reduction algorithm that can filter out over 20 million sound samples, Ear (2) can eliminate background noise and enhance the user’s voice during calls in real time.

Ear (2) is engineered with Nothing’s best noise cancellation technology yet, achieving up to 40 dB of noise reduction. With Personalised Active Noise Cancellation tailored to the exact shape of a user’s ear canal and Adaptive Mode that automatically adjusts the noise reduction level based on your environment in real-time, Ear (2) provides the optimal noise cancellation experience.

Ear (2) can deliver up to 36 hours of music playback after a full charge of the charging case (with ANC turned off). With a fast charge, it can deliver up to 8 hours on a 10-minute charge. Ear (2) also supports wireless charging up to 2.5W and can reverse charge on compatible devices like the Nothing Phone (1).

Ear (2) is built to withstand everyday needs with an IP54 water-resistance rating for its earbuds, while the charging case is IP55 for extra peace of mind.

For a more comfortable and precise user experience, Ear (2) has press controls to avoid any accidental touches and discomfort of tapping into the ear canal. Users can skip tracks, switch between noise cancellation modes, and adjust volume – all with a press. The controls can be customised for individual needs in the Nothing X app, which is a one-stop shop for everything Ear (2) and is available to download from the Google Play Store and the App Store.

Ear (2) supports Google Fast Pair on Android devices and Microsoft Swift Pair on Windows devices. Once connected to the Phone (1) in Game Mode, the earbuds will automatically turn on Low Lag Mode for an enhanced gaming experience. Non-Phone (1) users need to manually turn on Low Lag Mode in the Nothing X app.

The device is now available in UAE for AED 479, in Kuwait for KD 39.9, and in KSA for SAR 539.

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Accessories

Sony Intros New Float Run Headphones for Runners and Athletes

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Sony has announced a new model of headphones designed with runners in mind. Sony’s new off-ear headphones Float Run, a novel headphone style that positions the speaker near, but without touching the ear canal, leaving the ear safely uncovered while still delivering a rich sound experience.

The Float Run headphones focus on the runner’s form, for a comfortable and stable experience without having to compromise sound quality. Float Run offers important features to runners or athletes, including a light-weight design with a flexible neckband that doesn’t slip when in motion, and a pressure-free design that sits off of the ears, so runners no longer need to worry about sweat or chafing getting in the way of their workout. This product was well received by crowdfunding, which led to its official launch.

With a special off-ear design, runners won’t have to worry about pressure or stuffiness on their ears. For extended comfort, the Float Run headphones sit on the ears of the wearer, so they can enjoy comfort for longer without disruption. Additionally, Float Run headphones only weigh approximately 33 grams, so runners can focus on their surroundings.

Designed to be stable and secure, Float Run headphones stay in place no matter how the runner moves. Tested on a wide range of head shapes and hairstyles, the headphones will stay with the runner, due to the flexible neckband design. Additionally, Float Run headphones were tested with accessories including hats and sunglasses. Whatever is worn, the stabilising neckband will keep them secure.

The 16mm drivers and precise tuning combined with the off-ear style offer a more natural and wider sound so there is no compromise on sound quality. The Float Run headphones have an open-type design that eliminates echo of the sounds your body makes, like footsteps, chewing, or heavy breathing, and allows ambient sound.

The Float Run headphones are designed to fill the user’s ears, but not cover them, so they can be aware of their surroundings. The Float Run design allows music to naturally mix with ambient sound and be formed by the user’s ear shape. Float Run off-ear headphones keep ears unobstructed, to achieve peak performance in whatever activity they are performing.

With an IPX4 water-resistant rating, consumers don’t have to worry about damage from sweat or from getting caught out in the rain. With long battery life and up to 10 hours of playtime when fully charged, the Float Run headphones will power long runs. In a hurry? A quick charge of 10 minutes will give an hour of play.

With a variety of controls built in, users can control playback and access their smartphone’s voice assistant without having to take it out of their pocket or bag[ Availability of function depends on the smartphone or app version.]. When their run is over and it’s time to get to work, the Float Run headphones have a high-quality built-in microphone to make them just as ideal for productivity tasks. Float Run headphones conveniently charge using USB-C. Additionally, the headphones include a carrying pouch to keep the supplied charging cable and headphones together and protected.

The Sony Float Run headphones will be available in the Middle East & Africa from February 2023.

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