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ICYMI: We listened to Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 for $ 150

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After a short break, ICYMI is back to give you a helpful overview of all the gadgets and gadgets we’ve recently tested. Billy Steele listened to Samsung’s new entry-level Galaxy Buds 2 this week to familiarize himself with their new design and features. Some time ago Terrence O’Brien created beautiful music on the Novation Circuit Rhythm sampler and struggled with controls on the SkulptSynth SE. Devindra Hardavar also experienced an immersive virtual reality experience with two professional headsets from HTC. Finally, Daniel Cooper checked out the Refurbished Laptop Framework to see how easy it was to set up and fix it.

Billy Steele / Engadget

Affordable wireless earbuds often come with compromises, but Billy Steele believes Samsung has found a winning combination with Galaxy Buds 2… The Galaxy Buds 2 have been redesigned to include wireless charging and surround sound for an entry-level $ 150 price tag, 15 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter than the Galaxy Buds +, making them comfortable to wear. Billy says the sound quality, while improved, doesn’t have the same clarity and depth, but the dynamic range is comparable. There is no punch in the low-frequency tones, and the tracks, which should sound large and pompous, are a little flat and muffled.

That being said, he was still impressed with the inclusion of Active Noise Cancellation, which Samsung says can reduce background noise by 98 percent. During testing, Billy could still hear the sound of his box fans and white noise, but this feature was definitely better than relying solely on passive isolation. He felt that Samsung also achieved better call quality through a combination of machine learning, three microphones per earpiece, and voice pickup for maximum clarity. He managed to get about seven hours of battery life from “normal” use (including some ANC), but was disappointed that the Buds 2 only had an IPX2 rating, which could cause problems during sweaty workouts.

The HTC Vive Pro 2 delivers an incredible virtual reality experience, but at a high price.

HTC Vive Pro 2
Devindra Hardavar / Engadget

Devindra Hardawar liked HTC Vive Pro 2 The VR headset is so popular that he called it “an enthusiast’s dream.” However, he quickly notes that its $ 1,399 price tag makes it difficult to sell. The Vive Pro 2 offers a 5K 120Hz display with 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye. Plus, the LCDs have RGB sub-pixels that help create the clearest desktop virtual reality it has ever seen. It also has solid ergonomics – according to Devindra, the headset is comfortable to wear during long sessions thanks to weight distribution and soft cushioning in the front and back.

But even if you’re willing to shell out the money for a headset, Devindra admits that it has some drawbacks. Firstly, the controllers are the same archaic, oversized ones found in the original 2016 Vive. He also felt the on-ear headphones generate some heat during use, just like displays. But the biggest issue is the graphics power required to experience the device at its best: Devindra says you can probably forget about getting anything really useful out of the minimum system requirements, which means you’ll need a lot of power. desktop to get the most out of the Vive Pro 2. Despite these hurdles, he quickly named the Vive Pro 2 the highest quality desktop VR available right now.

Framework Laptop Hero Image
Daniel Cooper

Laptop Framework not striking and not conspicuous. The design of the 13-inch laptop resembles the older MacBook, but with one notable difference: it is designed to be modified and repaired using the included Torx T5 screwdriver and expansion cards. While testing how easy it is to replace a keyboard, Daniel Cooper said he has full confidence that he can get a machine repaired multiple times, which is not the case with most consumer laptops.

In addition to being easy to update and fix, the Framework has a solid list of specifications: 13.5-inch display with 3: 2 aspect ratio, 2256 x 1504 pixels and 400 nits backlight brightness; many inputs via expansion cards, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack; chiclet keyboard with 1.5mm travel and impressive 1080p 60fps webcam with 80 degree field of view. In testing, the $ 1,399 Performance model did well in undemanding games and averaged 4,927 points on the PC Mark 10. The only thing Daniel didn’t like about the car was the side speakers, which produced a faint metallic sound.

HTC Vive Focus 3
Devindra Hardavar / Engadget

Like the Vive Pro 2, HTC Vive Focus 3 not intended for the general consumer. The $ 1,300 price alone puts it to the next level, probably the best for business users who should be happy with superior hardware, ergonomics, and build quality. Devindra Hardawar says the system has everything you need from a modern headset: a durable yet lightweight construction with a design that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and even has support for large glasses.

With 5K resolution, 90Hz refresh rate and 120-degree field of view, the Vive Pro 2 delivered one of the most immersive standalone VR experiences Devindra has ever seen. He had the realistic feeling of walking through meadows and beaches in a VR outdoor hiking program, and said he was consistently impressed with how great everything looked. However, he was disappointed by the limited software library, which forced him to remove the headset to buy apps and games. After working with the Focus 3, Devindra truly felt that this is the ideal setup for companies that can take advantage of business applications and equipment quality without sacrificing price.

Modal electronics SkulptSynth SE
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

As a sequel to the original Skulpt, SkulptSynth SE makes some build quality improvements but costs $ 199 for a more affordable price. Terrence O’Brien spent some time with the instrument and decided that it was still as powerful, convincing and confusing as the previous version. The SE has a total of 32 oscillators combined into four voices that produce a thick tone that Terrence called appealing. He says the SE shines when stacked oscillators have a chance to really flesh out the sound. He also approved various modulation options that give the device amazing depth.

Despite improvements in hardware (stiffer handles in particular), Terrence said the SE still looks pretty wobbly and cheap overall. And he was still disappointed with the cramped layout and navigation through the controls – he recommends keeping the included cheat sheet handy to help with the latter. Plus, the touch keyboard wasn’t always very responsive. However, using the app resolved many of his complaints, and he was delighted with the support for MPE, which is unheard of for the price of an SE.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Mini Gaming Desktop
Devindra Hardavar / Engadget

Devindra Hardavar immediately admits that the new NUC 11 Extreme, aka “Canyon of Beasts”, quite significant. However, he believes the trade-off is worth it because the design provides full GPU support – something that should draw gamers to the device. It’s also slightly cheaper than the previous model and more flexible thanks to the fast 11th Gen Intel processor (which can be purchased separately as an upgrade for NUC 9 Extreme owners).

Designed specifically for gamers, this NUC features an LED skull on a black metal body, mesh air vents, and three large fans at the top. Devindra happily reported that the case cooling on the device was excellent, with the GPU never going above 75 Celsius and the CPU staying below 80 Celsius. In addition, thanks to its well thought out modular design, it had no problem fitting into large GPUs such as the NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti or Radeon RX 6800. The system also performed well in the benchmarks, outperforming all Windows PCs in PCMark 10. that we have seen. year. However, the NUC 11 is priced between $ 1,150 and $ 1,350, especially because owners will have to pay for additional hardware and software.

Novation Circuit Rhythm
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Although physically similar to his cousin Circuit Tracks, Chain Rhythm Novation uses the popular Circuit screenless workflow with a full featured sampler and SP-303 performance effects to create a device that’s perfect for lo-fi hip-hop and house music. Terrence O’Brien especially liked this simple workflow and the selection and slicing features which are a pleasure to use.

Circuit Rhythm has 32 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 28 buttons for switching views and tracks, eight infinite encoders, and two knobs for volume and main filter. Terrence says that these eight monophonic sampler tracks are at the core of Rhythm, and he was also impressed with its portability and 3.5-hour battery life. While he would have liked to see some additional features such as more precise temperature control, overall he considered Circuit Rhythm a strong contender for the best entry-level sampler, especially for anyone interested in making hip-hop or house music.

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