My quest to find some decent value Bluetooth headphones which actually deliver good audio continues. I rejected Samsung's new Galaxy buds after five minutes, but these lasted a full day. Ultimately, they fell short, but there's lots to say along the way in the full review, tested with both Windows 10 Mobile and Android.
Recent Reviews - Accessories - Page 2
Bizarrely, the FYE-3 featured here is actually a development of the FYE-4 reviewed previously. Perhaps Blitzwolf is working down the numbers, not up?! Regardless, it's an Apple Airpods competitor for the rest of the smartphone world - and, unlike the FYE-4, it does a lot of things right (including acting as a part time power bank), even though it too ultimately falls down when considering audio fidelity.
What would you say to a Bluetooth speaker that really delivers in 2019? 40W of music power, USB Type C fast charging, NFC Tap-to-pair, IPX7 water andand sh proofing, microSD and Aux input, all for less than £50? That sounds a lot like the Tronsmart (slightly pretentiously named) 'Element Force'. Yes, it's a Bluetooth speaker, but on steroids.
No, don't snigger at the back. Far from being a geek case, this has the potential to make you think differently about what you carry around. For example, I carry a fairly fat wallet (not all money, I should add!) and a cased smartphone around all day, every day. What if the two could be fully combined? And not just with a couple of token card slots, as with most 'folio' cases, but a full wallet complement?
Although this can apply to Windows 10 phones as well, it's less likely than for the Surface Go, which is more likely to need to hook up with USB accessories. Either way, this is an ultra lightweight, cheap way to expand a single USB Type C jack to four USB-A jacks. It only weighs 35g, costs just over £8 (including shipping), and is a no-brainer to pick up if you have a Go. Or indeed a recent Macbook or you just like having adapters and dongles in your kit bag!
Apple announced something like this a year ago, but have yet to ship it. Meanwhile, Choetech has come up trumps with a 5-coil array that can handle the most casual charging positions or, side by side, can wirelessly fast charge two smartphones/gadgets at the same time, at up to 2A each (depending on the recipient's capabilities). And it works exactly as advertised, with a theoretical 20W total output.
Apple's AirPods have proved very popular in the iPhone world, despite the high price and likelihood of losing one of the earbuds. Principally because of the sheer convenience of having no wires at all. And so we shouldn't be surprised that third parties have stepped in to copy the idea for the Android and (here) Windows phone worlds. Blitzwolf's attempt at this category succeeds on the power front but fails in actually supplying decent audio, sadly.
Bluetooth headphones have existed for years, of course, though anyone who really cared about audio quality usually stuck to the traditional wired headphones and a phone's 3.5mm jack (this being AAWP, the DAC and output in the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is exceptional). But over the years, with new codecs (e.g. aptX HD at the high end) and faster and more capable chipsets in both phone and accessory, quality has been rising, prompting me to experiment with the mass market 'state of the art', exemplified here in the Tribit XFree Color.
Following on from the first part of my main review of this relevant ultra-mobile computing device, part 2, concentrating on the Type Cover and the laptop experience, part 3, with comments on performance in daily use, and part 4, looking at imaging, here's part 5, looking at the optional Surface Pen, adding another dimension to what you can do on this tablet/laptop hybrid.
Hooking accessories up to smartphones has always been a case of finding the right adapter and then praying that it'll all work. USB Type C, used on the top end Lumias and IDOL 4 Pro, made things easier because of the plug and play protocols involved. And the need for adapters got more intense with the arrival of the Surface Go, which I've been reviewing over the last month or so. As with the phones, it only has one Type C port. Enter a variety of hubs and adapters, which I'll get to in time. First to arrive on my desk though, is this Choetech hub - and you'll be surprised at just how much it can do.