I’ll be honest, nothing about that title is even remotely predictable. In fact, it gets progressively weirder with every subsequent word. You wouldn’t expect Will.i.am to release a medical product, more so, partner with Honeywell over it… but together the rapper and the OEM conglomerate collaborated over a mask that combines the best of both parties. Titled the XUPERMASK, the $299 face-mask comes with dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, but also packs Bluetooth earphones with noise canceling audio and 7-hour battery life. I’ll be honest, the association with Will.i.am aside, the mask really looks pretty futuristic (it comes co-designed by Hollywood costume-designer Jose Fernandez, who also designed the SpaceX astronaut suits). The fact that it’s built by Honeywell lends it a good amount of credibility, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I could actually see myself wearing one of these.
The XUPERMASK attempts at turning face-masks into a bit of a pop-culture item. It surely isn’t fluff… the mask is awaiting FDA approval, and it comes fitted with replaceable HEPA filters made by Honeywell – a company that’s built itself on designing the world’s greatest HVAC systems. The pop-culture element comes from rapper and Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am, who aims to turn the XUPERMASK into a renegade pair of wireless earphones too.
As far as the face-mask part of the design is concerned, the XUPERMASK sports a universal fit, thanks to a silicone face-seal and a high-performance elastic strap that wraps around your head. The mask is outfitted with dual-fans that work at 3-speed settings to deliver purified air directly to your face as you breathe. Air is pushed through a set of pleated HEPA filters manufactured by Honeywell, and the filters are designed to be replaced every 30 days for optimal performance. The fans themselves run for an impressive 7 hours on a full charge, providing enough usage to get you through most of your day… and to seal the deal, the mask even sports glowing LED rings around each fan for that futuristic appeal.
Aside from being just a face-mask, the XUPERMASK (pronounced Supermask, if you’re still wondering) also packs a pair of wireless earphones too. The earphones emerge from the sides of the mask, and can be docked on the mask itself on designated magnetic panels. When you want to wear them, just pop the earphones off and place them in your ear. The earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0, pairing seamlessly with any smart-device. They come with active noise-canceling (pretty impressive for a face-mask), and even house an integrated noise-reduction microphone for things like answering calls or sending voice-messages. There’s no indication of where this microphone is located, but I’d be thoroughly impressed if it was within the mask’s enclosure itself. It would essentially mean you could talk while wearing the mask and not have your voice get muffled.
The XUPERMASK comes in two colors for now – one in pure black, and another in a white + orange combination. Just visually, it does look pretty impressive. The LED rings, metallic fan covers, and those magnetic earbuds, all set the XUPERMASK apart. The mask even comes with a set of controls built on either side, allowing you to toggle fan speed, the LED light, switch on/off the ANC feature, and do basic things like answer calls or play-pause music. Off the top of my head, a fan-powered face-mask with earphones does sound like a crazy idea that might just work, and with the XUPERMASK, Honeywell and Will.i.am are betting on a future where masks will still be a common outdoor face-accessory… in which case, having wireless earphones built into your face-mask just sounds a tad bit more sensible. The XUPERMASK is currently available in two sizes, and for a retail price of $299. The mask comes as a part of a XUPERKIT (I’m guessing the nomenclature was Will.i.am’s idea), which includes a carry-case, 3 months worth of replaceable HEPA filters, a USB charging cable, and replaceable earphone tips for different ear-sizes. The XUPERMASK hasn’t received FDA approval yet, but it has been granted authorization for emergency use.
Designers: will.i.am & Jose I. Fernandez in partnership with Honeywell
The product development team at Razer must be working overtime! The company, which recently revealed their reusable straw has also released a pair of eyewear, and while a stainless steel straw seems like a rather odd product for a gaming-tech company to launch, the Razer Ansu glasses fit more into their wheelhouse.
The Razer Ansu is a little more than your average pair of glasses. Styled rather fashionably (and available in wayfarer-style round and rectangular frames), these glasses are designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and perfect for wearing in front of screens or out in the sun. Armed with interchangeable lenses, the frames let you swap in and swap out eyepieces, choosing between blue-light filtering lenses (for excessive screen-time) or polarized UV-blocking lenses (for wearing outdoors)… but that isn’t all. The frames come outfitted with ope-ear audio drivers too, which lets them double as earphones when you wear them. 16mm drivers carefully located within the temple stems fire audio directly into your ears, creating a personal, earphone-like listening experience without needing to wear earphones. The Ansu pair with devices via Bluetooth 5.1, letting you listen to music or podcasts from your phone, or even wear them while gaming (instead of slipping on those thick headsets). Sure, there are microphones built into the Ansu too, and a touch-sensitive area on the spectacles let you do stuff like control playback or activate your phone’s voice assistant. The Ansu comes with 5 hours of battery (and it powers off when you ‘close’ the glasses), and is even built to be IPX4 water-resistant, so a little rain shouldn’t really deter you from wearing the specs outdoors. The Ansu come in two shapes (rounded and rectangular) across two sizes, and ship with a chic leather carrying case. Additionally, Razer has partnered with Lensabl to extend 15% off prescription lenses for Anzu buyers who require corrective lenses.
When you’re a trillion-dollar company with wildly successful products, it’s kinda difficult to keep things under wraps. With the global supply chain for Apple being spread across multiple countries and multiple continents, a leak from some rogue employee is bound to happen, and happened, it has! Images of the new AirPods 3 have been circulating on the Chinese social network Weibo, with the folks at GizmoChina even jumping on the gun to create renders that show what the third generation of the company’s consumer-grade TWS earbuds will look like.
At a first glance, the AirPods 3 look like a hybrid between the regular AirPods and the AirPods Pro. They feature the same earbud style as the AirPods, but come with a smaller, slightly angled stem, found in the pro-version. This relatively smaller design also translates to changes in the case design, which is definitely shorter and stouter, resembling the kind of case you’d get with the AirPods Pro. Apple’s slated to announce the AirPods 3 sometime this month. They officially called off their March event, but that hasn’t stopped the company from launching products along with press releases. Little is known about how the AirPods 3 will measure up in the specs/performance department, but credible leakers have mentioned that the earbuds may come with AirPods Pro-style active noise canceling.
If you’ve ever felt like the AirPods Pro case looks like a dental-floss box, you’re not the only one. The AirPods debuted in 2016, rapidly rising to occupy the #1 place when it came to TWS earphones, but the case sort of feels like an afterthought. It’s clunky and doesn’t really sit well with Apple’s design philosophy of sleekness, so designer Iván Antón decided to redesign it to make it sleeker and more memorable-looking.
Antón’s redesign turns the Apple AirPods Pro case from something that looks like a ‘box of floss’ to a really classy-looking ‘chewing-gum-stick dispenser’. The rounded-box shape gets ditched for a taller and sleeker capsule shape, with lids on both ends, allowing individual earpieces to fit into each end of the case. Sure, the redesign presents some structural issues – like where would one place the Qi charging coil, or the battery, but what Antón’s concept really provides is a sense of variety, while sticking to Apple’s design philosophy of building sleek products.
The redesigned AirPods Pro case also fundamentally changes the UX of the AirPods. The two separate openings house the left and right earphones, and while they do that, they also hint at a behavior that’s common within the AirPods user community of using just one AirPod at a time to maximize battery life. While Antón’s AirPods Pro case redesign is just a fan-made concept, it’s definitely visually interesting… primarily because it highlights that the AirPods don’t NEED to go in a boxy-looking case. Instead, the case could be a whole lot sleeker and easier on the eyes!
So far, most TWS Earphones we’ve seen have been released by tech companies… and if there’s anything we’ve learnt, is that tech companies aren’t really great when it comes to the actual audio performance. TWS earbuds can’t really stand up to well-engineered, fine-tuned audio gear from true-blue audio companies… so when Marshall steps into the TWS earbud game, you best believe that they’ll bring their 59-years worth of audio firepower into the hardware they design.
Meet the Mode II, Marshall’s first TWS earbuds, designed with the promise to deliver a “thunderous audio experience” with “growling bass, natural-sounding mids and crisp treble,” pumped out through its custom-tuned dynamic 6 mm drivers. The drivers sit within the earphones’ tiny yet ergonomic enclosure. The Mode II comes with four earbud tips to choose from for that perfect fit, and the earphones themselves are designed to be IPX4 water-resistant, which means you can descend into an incredibly sweaty moshpit with them.
Although compact, the Mode II earphones wonderfully reflect Marshall’s audio-forward DNA, from their black faux-leather texture (both on the earpieces as well as the case) designed to pay a hat-tip to their nearly 60-year legacy of building some of the best amplifiers and stage monitors, to the classic M logo emblazoned on each earphone, serving as the iconic branding detail. In fact, unlike most tech-driven TWS earbuds, Marshall’s Mode II are more focused on delivering the crisp, punchy sound that the brand’s associated with. The earbuds come with Bluetooth 5.1 for unrivaled connectivity, as well as touch-enabled surfaces that give you access to Transparency Mode (being able to listen to the world around you) and EQ settings, among other features like summoning your phone’s voice assistant.
Ultimately, that fine tuned sound is only as good as the Mode II’s battery life, which boasts of 5 hours of wireless playback on a full charge, with a further 20 hours of use with the charging case. The Marshall Mode II TWS Earbuds is available to order now for US$179, with shipping starting March 18, 2021.
With a level of aesthetics that’s comparable to seeing the Yin and Yang elements lock in to form a complete circle, the Koishi TWS Earbuds by Sjoerd Ramaker focus on visual gestalt. The headphones come with a square case that has no lid to begin with. Instead, the headphones ARE a part of the case as they snap conveniently into the sides to complete the soft, rounded square’s form.
Named Koishi, after the Japanese word for Pebble, the TWS Earphones come with a soft, pebble-inspired form that’s beautiful to look at, comfortable to store in pockets, and can even be stacked one above another as Zen Stones. They come in three stone-inspired colors, and even sport a slightly mottled stone texture. Running right through the case is a light strip that helps let you know when the earbuds are charging, or when they’re low on charge. However, it also visually guides you to instinctively know where the earphones are, so you can glance at the case and pull the earbuds out without fiddling to find them. I personally love how calming they look, and how satisfying it feels to see the earphones snap right into the case, creating a flush, complete form!
Pricing for Apple’s AirPods is constantly in flux and none more so than on Amazon, which has introduced two discounts on the wireless earbuds in the past week alone. This time round, the wired charging versions are down to $110, another $10 off from...
The holiday deals might be over, but if you’ve been looking to get Apple’s classic AirPods, there’s good news. Amazon is selling the them with a wired charging case for $120, or around $40 off the list price. They have been lower in early Black Frida...
Designed as a sleeker upgrade to Genki’s Bluetooth adapter from 2018, the Genki Audio Lite is a tiny, plug-and-play Bluetooth module that fits right into your Nintendo Switch Lite, allowing you to connect Bluetooth earphones and speakers to your gaming console.
Giving the Nintendo Switch Lite wireless Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t just upgrade the console, it makes sense. The Switch Lite was designed to provide a lighter, less unencumbered gaming experience than the Switch, so providing an aux input literally feels like being bound by a chain… or a wire, to be specific. The Genki Audio Lite’s tiny size adds a great deal of functionality to the already capable device. You can now use your TWS earphones, AirPods, or even the AirPods Max with it, allowing for a portable, private gaming session. The Genki Audio Lite comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and is equipped with aptX high fidelity low latency codecs that provide lag-free audio while you game. Although it is as much as 70% slimmer than its predecessor, it does give your Switch Lite a tiny little chin, which is why Genki even has a custom dual magnetic flip case called the Force Field that allows you to keep your Switch Lite protected while the Audio Lite is plugged in.
Have you wondered why most aliens depicted in Sci-Fi films and TV series just happen to conveniently speak English? It’s sometimes a strange coincidence, sometimes conveniently baked into the plotline, and sometimes, it’s this fictional product called a universal translator. Universal translators have appeared in pop-cult series like Dr. Who, Star Trek, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and they form the bedrock for the Timekettle WT2 Edge, a pair of in-ear ‘translator-buds’ that can perform bi-directional translation in as many as 40 languages.
While the Timekettle WT2 Edge doesn’t work with languages from alien civilizations as shown in most sci-fi depictions, it does its job of actively and instantly translating Earth-based languages rather well. Running on as many as 15 serves worldwide, the earphones provide you with real-time low-latency translation of 40 languages and 93 accents with an industry-leading 95% accuracy. 7 of the world’s most spoken languages are even stored offline on the WT2 Edge, offering translation even without an internet connection. All this is only possible because the WT2 Edge builds on the successes of technological innovations before it. The earphones are powered by 6 leading translation engines (DeepL, Google, Microsoft, iFlytek, AmiVoice, and Hoya) along with Timekettle’s own translation engine to provide translations between both languages and accents. Just pop these in-ear translators in and they can be used in 3 different modes. A “Simul Mode” lets you share one earpiece with the person you’re talking to, and both earphones work as individual translators, actively translating both input and output in realtime to ensure you have a seamless conversation. For shorter conversations, the “Speaker Mode” lets you turn your smartphone into a speaker. Just say what you want into the earpieces and the phone plays it back for the opposite person in the translated language. The phone can even display the text back in both languages, working well in noisy environments like bars and restaurants where you want to quickly communicate with someone but you don’t speak the local language. The third “Touch Mode” facilitates cross-cultural conversations, and gives you the ability to touch the earpiece to activate your mic (and mute the others), like a smart walkie-talkie that translates your speech in real-time for as many as 6 people. Beyond the “Touch Mode” function, the WT2 Edge can handle group chats of 30 people speaking thirty different languages at once, and the earphones translate everything. Pair this with Zoom and you could have a multi-lingual conference with your entire global team practically seamlessly, and with everyone on the same page.
Conversations and conference meetings can even instantly be recorded from within Timekettle’s app, and can even be instantly converted to text, letting you capture and share transcripts of discussions. On the inside, there’s a lot behind what makes the WT2 Edge work as seamlessly as it does. Dual-beamforming microphones help capture your voice clearly, while advanced vector noise-canceling algorithms isolate any excess sound, letting you have clear conversations even on busy streets by filtering out background noises. Its powerful data-handling capacity means translations are provided instantly, with ultra-low latency of 0.5 milliseconds – something that the WT2 Edge in-ear translators are specifically built to do, and that regular TWS earphones like the Google Pixel buds can’t handle. Given their unique function, the earphones are designed to provide up to 3 continuous hours of active translation. Along with their charging case, that gets bumped up to 12 hours, making them the ultimate universal translator for everything from foreign holidays (whenever those become normal again) to meetings with global teams. Muy bueno, eh?!
The WT2 Edge is the world’s first truly bi-directional simultaneous translation earbuds, translating in real-time as you speak and listen, and delivering what you said to your listener’s ear in as little as 0.5 seconds. With up to 95% accuracy in 40 languages and 93 accents, they’re the ultimate tool for breaking the language barrier.
Bi-directional Simultaneous Translation
With WT2 Edge you can speak and hear other people’s translations at the same time – the way conversations were meant to be. No more awkward pauses to wait for your long-winded partner to finish. So your conversations flow naturally, from ear to ear.
Smart Noise Reduction
The WT2 Edge earbuds know your voice is unique. That’s why they use dual beamforming microphones and directional voice recognition to focus on the sound of your voice, separating it from other voices nearby. So you’ll never mince words with whoever’s sitting next to you.
And to make translations even more accurate, the Edge earbuds use smart noise-reduction to filter out distracting background noises. Making sure your message isn’t muddied by motorcycle traffic and tapping pens. So when you do take the floor to speak your mind, your message comes across loud and clear.
Accuracy up to 95%
Powered by the world’s 6 leading translation engines (DeepL, Google, Microsoft, iFlytek, AmiVoice, Hoya) and Timekettle its own, the Edge earbuds deliver faster and more accurate translations to your meetings and conversations. Delivering up to 95 percent accuracy in some languages.
15 Servers Worldwide
WT2 Edge uses 15 servers worldwide to deliver you the fastest translations possible, no matter where you are. The Edge can deliver simultaneous, bi-directional translations in as little as 0.5 to 3 seconds. Bringing you professional-level translations to help your board meetings and client sit-downs go smoothly.
3 Translation Modes
Simul Mode – Helps you connect one on one for effortless face-to-face communication. Just share one of your WT2 Edge earbuds with your partner, and both of your words will be translated in real-time for natural, bi-directional communication without an interpreter.
Touch Mode – You don’t need to talk over each other in a multi-person meeting. Simply tap your earbud when you have something to say and you’re in control of the conversation. Other mics are muted when it’s your turn to speak, and your message will be translated and delivered to everyone listening. When you’re finished speaking and ready to listen, just tap the earbud again to let someone else have their say. It’s the perfect moderator for your cross-cultural conferences.
Speaker Mode – While you’re wearing an earbud, simply say what you need to say. The Edge will then translate and deliver your message through your phone’s speaker, so anyone in earshot can hear it. Or if you prefer to keep the volume down, the Edge app also displays your translation in both languages on the phone screen. It even powers Text-to-Speech to read your typed messages out loud. Now you can go about your day without getting lost in translation.
40 Languages Online Translation
The WT2 Edge earbuds support 40 languages and 93 dialects. So no matter where you go, you can put your best foot forward knowing there’s no situation or conversation you can’t handle.
7 Offline Translations
The Edge comes with seven languages and counting, available for offline access. So whether you’re sipping tea with your suppliers in South China or exploring a winery with your partners in Tuscany, the WT2 Edge is there to help get your order right.
30-person Group Chat
The Edge’s Group Chat supports up to thirty people speaking thirty different languages at once, making it ideal for Zoom calls and remote meetings, even when your business spans the globe. You can use Zoom at the same time to have a truly international business meeting.
Meeting Records Export
Group Chat even supports both voice-to-text and text-to-text recording through the Edge’s app. So you can leave the meeting minutes for us. They’ll be automatically saved to the cloud in your desired language, ready for you to download, copy, and share.
Ultra Lightweight Design
The Edge earbuds are 46% lighter than our last-gen translating earbuds and 33% smaller. Plus they weigh in at a sleek 5.4 grams each, so you won’t even notice them in your ear while you’re in and out of meetings all day or out exploring the city.
Long Battery Life
WT2 Edge gives you three hours of nonstop translating time on a single charge and a full 12 hours with the portable charging case. Meaning you’ll often have enough battery to power a full week of work or a short trip abroad on a single charge.