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Microsoft Surface Earbuds review: comfort at a cost

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Microsoft is late. The company’s first truly wireless earbuds, the Surface Earbuds, were latecomers when they were first announced back in October, and they are even later now that they are finally available. In 2020 alone, Google has released its second-gen Pixel Buds, Samsung made strides with the Galaxy Buds Plus, and Sennheiser debuted another set of hi-fi truly wireless earbuds. And as always, you’ve got Apple, Sony, and Jabra in the mix. This wide field of competition has already led Microsoft to launch them at a lower price ($199.99) than initially planned. So how does Microsoft differentiate?

The company says its Surface Earbuds were built with an eye toward unrivaled comfort, a standout design, rich sound quality, and integration with the Office 365 suite. They deliver on several of those fronts. But the Surface Earbuds also make trade-offs that will remind you these are Microsoft’s first pair of truly wireless earbuds. The problem is, everyone else is already on round two or three.

Fit and finish aren’t among those trade-offs, however. The Surface Earbuds are another example of Microsoft’s hardware chops, with fantastic build quality and a design that’s not afraid to stray from the competition. You’ll either love or hate the appearance of them. It can look like you’re wearing mid-2000s lobe gauges or PopSockets in your ears. Google’s second-gen Pixel Buds set a new standard for a subtle, discreet fit, but there’s nothing understated about these. The Surface Earbuds are large, bright white circles that are unabashedly present.

The Surface Buds are another showcase of Microsoft’s hardware chops.

But when you look at them up close and examine the details — the acoustic mesh grills, the foolproof way that the ear tips attach to the buds, and so forth — you’re reminded of Microsoft’s precision. The Surface Earbuds exude quality, even if you’re not sold on the style. They’re rated IPX4 water resistant, meaning they can endure splashes from any direction. Microsoft isn’t positioning these as fitness earbuds, but if they fit you well, they’ll be up to that task.

The Surface Earbuds come in a glossy, pill-shaped charging case with the Microsoft logo at the top. (The earbuds themselves lack any branding.) My case came a bit scuffed up right out of the box, which was disappointing, but the light gray color concealed those scratches well enough. There’s a USB-C port around back, a pairing button on the bottom, and that’s the extent of the case. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have wireless charging capabilities. But at under an inch tall and less than three inches wide, it’s very pocketable.

Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds pictured next to Google’s Pixel Buds.

Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds pictured next to Google’s Pixel Buds.

These earbuds have an open design — like the original AirPods — that rests in your ear instead of filling your ear canal. This approach has some downsides, but it does come with one benefit that you’ll notice immediately: terrific comfort. I could wear the Surface Earbuds for large chunks of the day without any discomfort or inner-ear pressure. Once they were in, I found giving them a slight twist helped lock the extra lump of silicone at the back of each ear tip into my ear lobe. (Microsoft provides three sizes of tips in the box.) This created a secure fit that kept hold for hours. They stay in very well for the most part, but the Surface Earbuds can come dislodged without much force, so just beware when changing your shirt or putting on a jacket.

The drawback of that openness is that you’ll hear a ton of surrounding noise when wearing the Surface Earbuds. It might not pose a problem while many of us remain at home, but you’ll need to really crank the volume to overcome a loud outdoor environment or noisy train. And once we all return to offices, you’ll have to ignore nearby conversations cutting into your music.

The Surface Earbuds pictured worn in the reviewer’s left ear.

There’s nothing subtle about the Surface Earbuds.

An open design also limits bass potential, which is always enhanced by a good in-ear seal. The Surface Earbuds don’t give you that, but they sound good regardless, with a balanced mix that felt nicely immersive as I listened through Jason Isbell’s new album Reunions. The audio is about as full as it can be considering all the air these buds let in, but the Surface Earbuds don’t match the detail and richness of pricier earbuds. And if you consider booming bass a necessity, you’ll want to look at other options that fully seal in the ear. Microsoft supports SBC and aptX Bluetooth codecs here — AAC remains absent — and I found the connection stability to be rock-solid during my fleeting time outside each day.

The Surface Earbuds can reach up to eight hours of continuous battery life before needing a recharge. If left on a table idle for 10 minutes, they’ll automatically power down to conserve battery. The case provides two additional refills for a total of 24 hours. You can monitor the remaining battery percentage for each earbud, but bizarrely, Microsoft doesn’t provide any way of checking the case’s remaining juice. You’ll know it needs a recharge when the single LED inside turns red, but that’s it. At a minimum, since nothing lights up on the earbuds when they’re dropped into place, Microsoft should’ve removed any guesswork by including separate lights to show charge level for the earbuds and case. Apple’s AirPods have the same lone LED, but Google, Sony, Jabra, and other companies have gotten this right with multiple indicator lights.

An image depicting the equalizer settings from Microsoft’s Surface Audio app.

The Surface Audio app lets you customize the EQ for the earbuds.

Considering the large, flat surface area of the Surface Earbuds, I expected their touch-sensitive controls would be a snap. Not quite. You can tap twice on either earbud to pause or play music. But Microsoft splits track controls and volume between the two sides. You swipe forward on the left earbud to skip a song or back to return to the previous one. And over on the right, you can swipe up or down to control volume. Microsoft’s gesture for bringing up Siri or Google Assistant (just tap and hold on either bud) can sometimes clash with these controls. And the swipe gestures on the left earbud proved fiddly in my experience. I had to swipe forward or back in a diagonal direction to get the track controls to register. I got the hang of it, but sadly, you can’t customize the controls; the only option Microsoft offers is disabling them altogether if you’d rather handle everything on-device.

The Surface Earbuds also completely omit features that I’ve come to expect, like an auto-pause function when you briefly remove one of them. With these, there’s no ear detection, and the music just keeps going. It’s just one of those things that’s hard to overlook at $200. On the plus side, Microsoft includes EQ customization in the Surface Audio app for Windows, Android, and iOS. The app is also what you’ll use to update the earbuds’ firmware. The charging case can only be updated when plugged into a Windows PC, though I can’t imagine you’ll need to do that with any regularity.

Microsoft has been highlighting all the ways that the Surface Earbuds can help you be more productive with Office 365 apps. You can dictate text in apps like Word and Outlook. And if your dream has always been to control PowerPoint slideshows with a swipe of your earbud, this is your moment. But in reality, these Office 365 tricks aren’t unique to the Surface Earbuds. Odds are, you can do dictation and real-time caption translations with whatever earbuds you’re already using. What’s more disappointing for work life is that the Surface Earbuds are unable to pair with two devices simultaneously, such as your phone and your laptop. This is doubly frustrating since the Surface Headphones are capable of doing exactly that, but Microsoft hasn’t brought the same multipoint functionality here.

The case is easily pocketable, but it lacks wireless charging.

The mics inside the Surface Earbuds — two on each bud — at least provide excellent clarity for those Office features, and I’d put these neck and neck with AirPods as some of the best earbuds for making calls or videoconferencing. Technically, you can use either earbud independently. But the left one still depends on the right for a connection to your phone, so you’ll always need to have that right earbud nearby (in or out of the case) even when using the left in mono.

The Surface Earbuds have enough strengths — airy comfort, long battery life, and good voice quality — to outweigh their problem spots. But even the adjusted $200 price feels high. For that money, wireless charging is a sore omission, and the lack of multipoint pairing definitely stings for earbuds that are geared toward productivity.

If you’re put off by how regular in-ear buds feel in your ears, these are worth a try. But if that’s not a factor, there’s nothing about the Surface Earbuds that puts them in must-buy territory. Microsoft is certainly onto something, but showing up late has its consequences.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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Borderlands 3 PS5 and Xbox Series X versions announced for free

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Borderlands 3 PS5

Borderlands 3 PS5 and Xbox Series X are coming with free next-gen upgrade !!

Isn’t it great? Yes, you heard right!!

Borderlands 3 is all set to take a huge jump as Gearbox Software also confirmed the news that Borderlands 3 will be available for PS5 and Xbox Series X very soon as it is under development right now.

Not only this, but there will also be an upgrade that will be freely available for all the gaming-enthusiasts who are on PS4 right now.

So there is no need to create panic PS4 gamers !!

Borderlands 3 PS5: When it Will Make Bang on Entry

  • Right now, it will be quite early to comment on its release date. But one thing that you can be stay assured about is that it will not be very late.
  • We can expect it anytime by the end of 2020 or at the beginning of the new year of which many are deliberately waiting as people have high hopes that 2021 will bring some positivity with it as 2020’s global pandemic has exhausted everyone.

What will happen to existing Borderlands 3 players?

There is a piece of good news for existing Borderlands 3 players, as existing Borderlands 3 players will be able to transfer their saves over to the enhanced PS5 and Xbox Series X versions at no extra cost.

Features of Borderlands 3 PS5 and Xbox X

Borderlands 3 PS5

  • Borderlands 3 runs at 60 frames per second and in 4K resolution on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in single-player mode.
  • Not only this but also Borderlands 3 is coming with 2 exciting features like Four-player split-screen, and the option to do vertical split-screen in two-player co-op.
  • You can divide your screen both horizontally as well as vertically in a two-player co-op.

Gearbox said Borderlands 3 PS5 players can expect more add-on content later in 2020.

These features mentioned above, especially the vertical split-screen, have been requested by the gamers for so long, It is now fulfilled by the makers of the game.

And goodies are not over yet !!

As it’s not just locked to the Borderlands PS5 and Xbox Series X versions. They will be added to current-gen versions in a patch at some point as well.

New DLC is Coming ???

Yes, there is another good news regarding Borderlands 3 PS5 and Xbox X series, New DLC is ready to come out very soon.

Borderlands 3 PS5: PAX Online presentation

The gearbox is all set to amaze its players with a complete set of new surprises. This new DLC isn’t part of the season pass but comes to a new game mode and the added bonus of a brand new skill tree for every single Vault Hunter.

  • It will be introduced with FL4K’s new skill tree.
  • Recently a teaser was released showcasing a new crowd-control based action skill called Gravity Snare, and a brand new companion- a Hyperion Loaderbot which made gamers elated to a great extent.
  • In case you don’t know then let us let you know that right now Borderlands is available for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One
  • And in the coming times, it will be available for PS5 and Xbox Series X versions as they are under the development phase right now.

 

 

 

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Only best India betting on well-tried 1xBet

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The current football season offers its fans an ongoing intrigue that continues up to now. This makes it possible to place best India betting on well-tried 1xBet.in, which generate a considerable income for football fans. Thus, fans of the English Premier League were recently shocked by the news that the disqualification of Manchester city had been cancelled, which automatically excludes those who on the 5th line of the standings from the Champions League.

Now, to qualify for the group stage of the most popular European tournament, teams have to finish the season within the TOP 4 of the standings. Unlike Liverpool and Man City that have already secured qualification for the Champions League, other challengers keep fighting actively. Even despite the fact that London Chelsea is currently ranked 3rd and Leicester 4th, the Red Devils are a potential challenger of these places. Solskjaer’s team still have plenty of time to overcome their opponents, which is strongly backed by the following factors:

  1. Acquisition of B. Fernandes. With this player, the Manchurians’ starting lineup has gained enough strength. From now on, the flank attacks have become more frequent, thus creating dangerous moments at the opponent’s goal.
  2. Decent performance of Rashford and Martial. In the second half of the season, these two strikers managed to demonstrate their skills to the maximum and score goals in almost every game.
  3. Motivation. Solskjaer has motivated the team so that they would return their name and prestige to the large arena of the Champions League.

Best betting on the upcoming games of the English Premier League is available to all residents of India on the well-tried website 1xBet.

You can make money on the game of Manchester United within the eSports direction as well due to well-tried bets on FIFA 20 cyber league on 1xBet. Only the highest coefficients are available here.

The best attested live casino from 1xBet

The well-known brand offers to give your gambling skills a try as well. In the corresponding section, you will find a wide range of casino games that are common for a real gambling parlour. The company has attested live casino from 1xBet, which is suitable for any category of players. If you want, you can place all entertainment right into your pocket using a special mobile app. Thus, you will be able to play at the live casino from attested company 1xBet almost anywhere where there is Internet access. All new players receive a welcome bonus of up to 100% of the first deposit — such a present will significantly increase your income!

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Smarty SIM only deals & Plans August 2020

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Do you use Smarty SIM? Are you planning to buy a Smarty SIM? or do you want to know Smarty SIM-only deals & Plans August 2020? If yes, go through the article below and read all about Smart SIM.

Smarty is UK’s one of the finest brands for SIM purchase brands that provides incredible offers to its customers. Get all the data you need for less. SIM-only deals are rapidly gaining popularity. One of the choicest things about Smarty is that it does not tie users into a long term contract by offering handsets or very long-term plans. Rather, it offers a good collection of  SIM-only plans, all of which bundled with unlimited texts and calls.

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Why Smart SIM only?

There are various reasons that force users to use SMART SIM only. it offers something different that you would not get on other telecommunications.

Heavy Discount on unused Data

This offer is just wow! Getting something you haven’t used! This is a “buys back” deal. Users get money at the rate of  £1 /GB of data for unused data of the previous month in the following month. So, if you have left with 5 GB of data in the month of June, you would get a discount of £5 on the billing of July.

Flexible Plans

Smarty SIM plans last for a month. So, users can change their plans every month according to their needs. Sometimes we need more data and sometimes less, so Smarty SIM provides flexibility to manage great deals for them.

Referring Scheme

Referring schemes exist with most of the apps and so does with Smarty SIM. When you signup on the website, you would be given a special link called “Refer a Freind” link. You can send invites to your friends by sharing the link. When your friend signup using the same link you would get a free month. The referred friend also gets a free month and a £10 Amazon voucher. Send as many invites as you want to. Remember, you get when your friend signup using the same link.

Data-ad ons

Run out of data sometimes? Do not worry! With Smarty SIM you can take data addons very easily at the cost of £1.25 per GB of data. moreover, Data ad-ons are for a lifetime, they do not have an expiry date.

Unlimited Calls

These days almost every firm offering unlimited call packs. but Smarty is providing unlimited texts and unlimited UK standard calls with all plans and this isn’t easy.

Use SIM on other devices

Smarty SIMs can be used in your existing phone, a new handset, tablets, dongles, laptops, wifi routers, and game consoles.

Smarty SIM only deals & Plans August 2020

1) Smarty Unlimited

  • Unlimited Data
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £20 per month

2) Smarty 30 GB

  • 30 GB data
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £10 per month

3) Smarty 1GB

  • 1 GB data
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £6 per month

4) Smarty 2 GB

  • 2 GB data
  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £7 per month

5) Smarty 3GB

  • 3 GB data
  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £8 per month

6) Smarty 4 GB

  • 1 GB data
  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £9 per month

7) Smarty 50 GB

  • 50 GB data
  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £15 per month

8) Cheap SIM plan

This is for Lebara SIM only.

  • 2GB data
  • 1000 minutes and texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £5 per month

9) 5GB + data SIM

This is for iD Mobile

  • 10GB data
  • 1000 minutes and texts
  • Time Duration: 1 month
  • Price: £8 per month

10) Cheapest SIM only deal for Unlimited data

This is for Three SIM.

  • Time: 12-month contract
  • All-you-can-eat data
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • Price: £18 per month

TRAI expresses concern over the use of Chinese equipment: No decision yet on Huawei and ZTE ban!!

Final Words

Well, readers, It’s all about Smarty SIM-only deals & Plans August 2020. I hope now you are out of confusion and can take a firm decision on which SIM to use. Time-to-time Smarty SIM offers the best deals to its users.

So, how do you like the article???

Share your feedback. Thank you!

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