This week on The Wrap, we’ll dive into the latest noise cancelling earphones from Sennheiser and Bang & Olufsen, plus ways to improve working from home and the latest upgrade to WiFi, all in five.
It’s the end of April and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while the world is beginning to return, even though covid is still clearly here, gadgets to make working from home are really making a dent in what feels like another year of this. You’ll still probably want to mask up and take precautions where you can, but if you’re working from home, your desk could benefit from the gadgets on their way out.
Take the mouse: if you’re sitting in front of your laptop day in and day out, we’d probably steer clear of the trackpad built into that and switch to something a little more wrist friendly. We like to use something with a lot of buttons, letting us map shortcuts to the extra buttons, but Logitech has something a little different coming in the Lift, a mouse that sounds like a soft drink, but is instead a vertical mouse.
Specifically, it’s a mouse with more height, allowing you to grip it and move your arm around in a way that’s a touch more ergonomic than what your regular mouse might do.
It’s one of a handful of gadgets on their way out focused on the desk, and that includes a new monitor from Samsung, the M8, which is a little more than just a monitor to do work on, but also comes with a Smart TV interface.
That’s a style of screen with a little more to it than simply viewing what’s on your computer, because you can use it for apps and streaming services, and even plug in a keyboard and mouse and use it as a computer without it actually being one in the first place. It’ll run a handful of apps without a computer, and you can use Samsung phones for a few more, or just plug in a computer and get the whole thing, handling much of this over WiFi.
In the world of WiFi, there’s also an upgrade coming to Australia shortly in the category of WiFi 6E, the next level of WiFi technology. It’s already supported by some new TVs, phones, and even a handful of laptops, and it basically works by adding an extra high-speed band for high-end devices to use.
Netgear is the first with the technology in Australia, arriving in a thousand dollar router, the Nighthawk RAXE500, and while it will work with existing tech in your home, only the latest gadgets will support that new band, the 6 gigahertz band that adds the “E” into WiFi 6E.
There will be more of these upgrades to WiFi in the future, and there’s even a follow-up coming with yet more range and speed in WiFi 7. That’s not likely until a year or two, but it is on the cards.
Upgrades aren’t just happening for WiFi, but also noise cancelling, where there seems to be quite a bit happening in that space.
A technology that makes your ears sound like it’s in a bubble of your own sound, active noise cancellation or “ANC” as it’s called is in more headphones than ever, right down to the hundred dollar mark or quite a bit higher.
Rumours started kicking off this week that Sony’s WH-1000XM5 would join that club later this year, seeing a new design and improved battery life to what is currently one of the main benchmarks in ANC headphones, the 1000XM4. Two years on, it’s still a great pair, but it has competition, and not just from Apple’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, but others, too.
We checked out two this week, both new on shelves, with one from Bang & Olufsen and the other from Sennheiser.
We’ll start with the B&O pair first, the Beoplay E X, a slightly more luxurious take on Apple’s AirPods complete with the stem, only they’re a touch more premium. Made with aluminium, slightly water resistant, and sporting a warm sound, they’re more of the solid work Bang & Olufsen typically does, though the comfort, noise cancellation, and price leave something to be desired.
Wearing the Beoplay Ex for over half an hour could be a little hard on the ears, while the noise cancellation wasn’t smash bang amazing. It does the job, but we’ve heard better, and for 650 dollars in Australia, it’s hard to recommend the Beoplay E X to many people. Basically, it’s a slightly more premium take on the AirPods.
However, for almost half the price, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is clearly a better deal, the second pair we’re checking out. Like the Ex, these come packing water resistance and noise cancellation, and they also feature a good warm sound, as well.
At a price of 399 in Australia, they’re also a hundred bucks less expensive than last year’s model, the Momentum True Wireless 2, and they not only sound good, but are comfortable, too.
The catch on these is that the app needs work, and it’s the way you get adaptive cancellation, so you can walk to the stores or somewhere else, map the location, and basically get the earphones to change the type of cancellation on you, allowing you to hear through the earphones without changing a thing.
It’s a neat addition, though one we’ve seen before. The obvious competitor in Sony’s WF-1000XM4 does this as well, though we think Sennheiser’s earphones might actually be more comfortable long term.
Basically, Sennheiser has given Sony a solid serve with these earphones, and that makes them well worth checking out.
For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found at Listener, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. For now, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.