Funcl W1 review: Finally, decent quality in a budget pair of true wireless earbuds


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Since the introduction of Macworld’s True Wireless Earphone Hub back in 2017, I’ve maintained a mantra: If you want a decent set of true wireless earphones, you’re gonna pay through the nose—at least for a while.

Cutting-edge technologies cost bleeding-edge prices. For the past couple of years, a tolerable set of truly wireless earphones would set you back at least $150. Pay less than this and things started to get sketchy. Build quality is sacrificed in the name of keeping costs low. Too many advertised features don’t work as advertised. Perhaps worst of all, while the earbuds might look good, they would sound like hot garbage.

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Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice for Mac users


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With the internet abuzz with privacy concerns and the potential changes coming to net neutrality, you’ve likely heard about virtual private networks, better known as VPNs. When used correctly, a VPN can greatly strengthen your online privacy, assist in keeping your personal information secure, and even spoof your location in the world—allowing you to access websites or services that would otherwise be off limits due to region-locking.

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BeatsX Earphones review: These Bluetooth earbuds are an ace for bass


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It’s no wonder that Apple’s AirPods are a hit with many iOS users. They’ve got awesome battery life, a brilliantly designed charging case, and you can almost pair them with iPhones and iPads in your sleep.

But not every iOS user is a fan, thanks in part to their decidedly unsubtle design. While they produce decent-sounding audio, AirPods provide almost no passive noise cancellation, and so they allow any surrounding noise to interfere with your enjoyment of music and podcasts. Frustratingly, their rigid plastic ear caps make them uncomfortable and sometimes unwearable for people who don’t have Apple’s "ideal" ear shapes.

If any of these issues have kept you from buying AirPods, the BeatsX earphones could be the alternative you’ve been longing for. With their lower price, urbane design, and Apple’s ownership of Beats itself, the BeatsX manage to deliver many of the features that Apple’s AirPods so desirable.

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The best Bluetooth earbuds of 2018


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Bluetooth earbuds are the Goldilocks of the mobile audio world: not too fussy, not too expensive—juuuust right.

As Bluetooth earbuds don’t need to be plugged into a smartphone or tablet, you'll never have to worry about getting tangled up in the cord running between their earpieces while you're typing, working out at the gym, or grooving to music while making dinner.

Where corded earphones can only connect to one device at a time, Bluetooth devices can seamlessly switch between one audio source or another or even listen to multiple audio sources at the same time. Additionally, as the death knell sounds for audio jacks in mobile hardware, investing in a set of Bluetooth cans ensures you’ll be living a dongle-free, future-proof life for years to come.

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Audio-Technica Solid Bass wireless in-ear headphones review


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It’s possible to find surprisingly decent Bluetooth earphones for well under $100. Aukey’s EP-B40 Latitude Wireless Earphones are proof positive of this. However, for every pair of great, inexpensive earbuds you’ll run across, you’re sure to discover 50 pairs that aren’t worth their asking price.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-CKS550XBT Solid Bass Wireless In-Ear Headphones fall into this latter category. At $79, they come with far too many quirks and compromises to recommend.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless earphones. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

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Jaybird X4 wireless sports earphones review


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If you were to ask me to suggest a pair that will please most people—no matter their musical tastes or how they intend to use them—I’d recommend Jaybird’s X4 wireless sports earphones. Waterproof, lightweight, comfortable to wear, and boasting an adjustable equalizer, the X4 has enough going for them that almost everyone will enjoy owning them.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless earphones. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

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Yevo Air true wireless earphones review: Second time’s not quite the charm


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When Yevo released its first true wireless earbuds, the $249 Yevo 1, the headphones were widely criticized for offering a mediocre listening experience at such a high price. Less than a year, Yevo is back for round two with a new product, the far more reasonably priced $129 Yevo Air true wireless earphones. And it seems like the company listened to the feedback—though as you'll see, it could go further with improvements.

Design

The Yevo Air comes in two colors: white and a matte black, the latter of which I was sent for review. I loved the look of the matte black color scheme, but I did find that both the headphones and their battery case attract fingerprints.

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Quirkytoys Quirkywriter S Keyboard review: Great typing experience accompanied by whimsical features


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When typing is a large part of how you make a living, the muscle memory you develop while typing with your keyboard can be hard to shake. Before reviewing a new keyboard, I like to take some time with it to ensure that my impressions of how it performs aren’t colored by my personal preferences. Only after my typing is up to speed, which usually happens after a few weeks of using a keyboard, do I dig in.

With that in mind, the Quirkywriter S mechanical keyboard is very pretty and types beautifully. Unfortunately, its design (as its name suggests) contains a number of quirks that keep it from achieving perfection.

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Crazybaby Air Nano review: Tiny wireless earbuds with big problems


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Crazybaby’s Air Nano wireless earphones remind us that it’s pretty difficult to make a pair of true wireless headphones that can beat the pricing of Apple's AirPods. 

We're not all that surprised: The associated technology is still pretty fresh and it doesn’t come cheap. Companies who want to take Apple’s wireless darlings head-on thus often end up cutting corners in everything from build quality to audio fidelity if they want to claim similar features to what AirPods offer while still matching Apple’s pricing.

In the case of the Air Nano, the $99 price tag for ostensibly smaller, similarly equipped truly wireless buds looks attractive, but the final product comes comes with too many annoying issues for me to recommend them.

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Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice for Mac users


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With the internet abuzz with privacy concerns and the potential changes coming to net neutrality, you’ve likely heard about virtual private networks, better known as VPNs. When used correctly, a VPN can greatly strengthen your online privacy, assist in keeping your personal information secure, and even spoof your location in the world—allowing you to access websites or services that would otherwise be off limits due to region-locking.

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CyberGhost VPN review: A speedy VPN provider that’s easy to use


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First, let’s address the spooky stuff that pertains to paranoid types, journalists, and political activists. CyberGhost’s offices are located in Bucharest, Romania, a country not known for sharing online information with western intelligence concerns or law enforcement agencies. Don’t feel too cozy about it, though: The company was recently sold to Crossrider, which is based on The Isle of Man—a British Crown Dependency.

England is a member of the Five Eyes (FVEY) data intelligence sharing program. If you consider using CyberGhost, be aware any sensitive information you send or receive could fall under direct government scrutiny. On top of that, Crossrider is a digital product company, and one of the products that it offers is ad server software for targeting mobile hardware.

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NordVPN review: This VPN’s features make it hard to beat


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Launched in 2008, NordVPN is arguably one of the more popular, high-profile VPN service providers operating today. While payments for service are processed through CloudVPN—a company based in the United States—NordVPN is based in Panama (a country that doesn’t participate in the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes communications interception/sharing agreements). Accordingly, users should be safe from untargeted government data trawling.

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SaferVPN review: Good features overshadowed by privacy concerns


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SaferVPN has been around since 2013 and is located in Israel—a country with stringent privacy laws that shield companies and citizens from its many forms of government surveillance. This, combined with the company’s no-logging policy, should keep any of your online doings safely under wraps while you’re using their services.

However, Israel has been known to share information with Five Eyes (FVEY), an intelligence sharing agreement between the U.S.A, U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. That the company maintains an office in New York City compounds concerns over this point. If you live in a Five, Nine, or Fourteen Eyes country and have concerns that regional laws may not be enough to keep your online activities from being shared with your government, SaferVPN’s services may not be for you.

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TunnelBear VPN review: An option for occasional VPN users


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Unsure if you’ll use a VPN often enough to warrant paying for it, or only occasionally require the security that using one provides? TunnelBear could be the service that you’re looking for.

Based in Toronto, Canada, the company has a strict no-logging policy that pertains to user IP addresses, DNS queries, or information you accessed online while connected to its servers. However, TunnelBear is obliged by Canadian law to hand over user names, email addresses, the amount of data used while accessing their servers, and credit-card information should law enforcement or a federal agency come knocking. Also, because Canada participates in the Five Eye program, this information could be accessed by American agencies, too. That said, most people will have little to fear from these circumstances.

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TorGuard VPN review: A VPN service designed for extreme privacy


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It’s tempting to believe that VPN provider TorGuard is in cahoots with the internet privacy-oriented Tor Network. But it isn’t. If anything, the “Tor” in TorGuard likely stands for “torrenting.”

Hooking the VPN’s raison d’etre to torrenting may raise eyebrows, as the technology is often used to illegally download copyrighted media from a peer-to-peer network. But the fact remains that TorGuard offers extra layers of privacy protection for not just torrenting, but for all types of data transfers, and that’s a selling point for anyone concerned about being surveilled.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

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VyprVPN review: A VPN committed to online user security, privacy, and an open internet


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Zolo Liberty+ Truly Wireless Headphones review: Fantastic battery life but mediocre audio


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Anker has been making high quality mobile accessories and selling them at a reasonable price for years. Their audio brand, Zolo, is in on this action too: The

company’s first truly wireless headphones, the $150 Zolo Liberty+, are indeed reasonably priced. You’ll get the longest lasting battery life of any truly wireless earphones that I’ve tested so far. However, connectivity issues and mediocre sound mean you might not want to listen for too long.

Design

In-ear headphone design doesn’t vary much—the things have to be shaped to fit into a user’s ears, after all—but Zolo did well in this area. The Liberty+ comfortably fit into my ears right out of the box, and even if it hadn’t, Zolo includes three different ear tip sizes and four pairs of ‘Grip Fit’ sleeves to create a good seal and keep the earphones in place.

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Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Headphones review: These will satisfy athletes but not audiophiles


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Jabra is known for its hands-free speakers and wireless phone headsets, so last year’s release of the Elite Sport Truly Wireless Headphones ($250 MSRP) wasn’t a surprise. The company’s first stab at truly wireless earbuds is geared entirely for athletes, with features like a built-in heart-rate monitor and sensors for tracking running and other high-impact exercises.

Unfortunately, the Elite Sport doesn’t possess the same level of audio quality you’ll find in other Jabra products. It’s all the more frustrating because what could have been an amazing set of earbuds is held back from greatness by minor issues.

Design and performance

At 1.06 by 1.18 by 0.9 inches in size and weighing in at 0.23 ounces per earbud, Jabra’s Elite Sport True Wireless Headphones are amongst the beefiest truly wireless earbuds that we’ve reviewed so far. Though the earbuds’ stout dimensions make them less likely to fit Continue reading "Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Headphones review: These will satisfy athletes but not audiophiles"

Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords


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Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires—a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. You no longer have to deal with cords if you don't want to. True wireless earbuds connect to one another and your audio source via Bluetooth.

No wires mean no inline microphones or controls, but truly wireless earbuds sound just as good as traditional Bluetooth counterparts (for better or worse). They also boast all of the features we've come to expect from earbuds designed to work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Since Apple’s AirPods became a runaway hit, an endless stream of companies have rolled out their own true wireless earbuds and earphones. As you might expect, not all of them are worth your time or money—so we've got your back with buying suggestions to meet a wide variety of needs.

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