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Plantronics BackBeat GO Wireless Earbuds Review

What we’ve got here today is a pair of earbuds that do not plug into your smartphone – they connect entirely with Bluetooth. This unit is the BackBeat GO from Plantronics, a pair of earbuds which act wirelessly in every way, containing their own rechargeable battery unit inside their nearly weightless body and connecting, again, with Bluetooth to any Bluetooth-enabled device you have on hand. Not one for frills, Plantronics has created a pair of earbuds that sound fabulous and have such a low profile that your only worry will be misplacing them because they’re so tiny!

In our modern world of awesomely tiny technology, we can expect a bit more from our earbuds than we did all those years ago when the technology to put a speaker that small into one’s ear was invented. What we’ve got here is certainly not the highest-class earbud in the industry (custom-made ear-molded buds still hold that distinction) but they’re certainly up near the top for the wireless pre-made sets.

These buds have DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and what’s known as full duplex echo cancellation so you’ll have great noise cancellation on the whole – rare for headphones that don’t cover the ear. You’ve also got great sound regardless of the fact that you’re not physically connected to the source of the audio transmission. Bluetooth technology has gone a long way since 1.0, and here with the BackBeat Go we’ve got near-perfect sound quality on par with the upper half of the wired industry for sound quality.

The unit has the ability to connect to whatever Bluetooth device you’ve got in a snap – just hold down the side-sitting button on the control unit between the buds for a moment until you hear an upward-ringing set of beeps in the phones themselves. The device will then be discoverable and will pair without a hitch. From there that same controller can do a variety of functions including volume up and down, skip tracks in most basic audio apps, and there’s a perfectly fine-sounding microphone in there too so you can take calls or talk in a conference.

The unit is charged with microUSB via one of the two buds – right there in the back of its head. Charge the unit up fully and you’ll have a straight 4+ hours of listening time easily. The cord is short enough that you’re never ever going to get it tangled up – it’s a sort of flat rubbery cord so it’s also not going to slip away from you any time soon. It’s just long enough to sit under your chin or around the back of your head as well, whatever you like.

These buds look and sound excellent, and it’s going to cost you what they’re worth, for sure: $99.99 from the Plantronics online store now. If you’re looking for wireless Bluetooth earbuds, know that these are the highest quality pair I’ve ever experienced. They’ll be in my backpack from now on.

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Tronsmart Apollo Air Earbuds Review

The Tronsmart Apollo Air Earbuds are part of a new midrange market for quality, yet cost effective, wireless listening. This upsurge of new wireless earbud headphones on the market can be a little baffling for buyers. There are so many ultra cheap headphones that it’s easy to look at the lower end of the scale and ask why you would pay extra for a pair. That’s an easy answer: for the sake of your ears. Let’s face it, you only get one pair of ears and have to look after them.

Music from the Air

The Tronsmart Apollo Air wireless headphones are Bluetooth-enabled active noise cancelling earbuds. What this means is that they contain technology which listens to the ambient noise and reverses the phase (it’s technical – don’t worry about it), effectively cancelling out any ambient noise. This means you can listen in noisy environments.

The pair of rechargeable earbuds in the kit each contain microphones for phone calls and have a charging case, which means when they are in the neat little carrying case, they are being charged. The kit includes the headphones, the charging case and a cable to charge the case. You also get three sets of soft silicone nubs to fit the buds in your ear canal, holding it in and sealing the sound into your ear.

It’s all bang up to the minute technology-wise. The buds use the industry-leading Qualcomm QCC3046 chip to deliver wireless audio and noise cancelling and Bluetooth 5.2 for robust connection, lower power needs and lower latency. That’s a pretty solid chip which is used in some very nice headphones. These buds use that respectable chip to drive a high-tech 10mm graphene driver, making them lighter, consuming less power and delivering better sound quality.

The maximum Bluetooth distance away from the source is 10m. For outdoor use it’s also good to note they have dust and moisture protection to the IP45 standard. Basically, you can wear them outside in light rain, but don’t step into the shower.

From a tech standpoint, these buds tick boxes.

Sound Investment?

With apologies to Tronsmart, I was previously unaware of their products, I’m embarrassed to say. Apparently, I’m in the minority, as the company has been around since 2013 and has caused some waves with its previous iterations of the Apollo line of earbuds and the high-end Apollo Bold, right down to the lower-end Onyx Ace.

These new Apollo Air earbuds sit firmly in the middle of their price range, which presents an expectation of a certain level of quality. The buds do not disappoint. The sound is full and clear, and in noise-cancelling mode have a warmth and presence that is quite satisfying. There are three ANC modes: ambient, off and noise cancelling. The ambient mode adds a certain amount of outside sound into the mix, improving your awareness, meaning you won’t get mown down by an ice cream truck while walking the dog and grooving to some wicked beats.

Yes, while noise cancelling provides amazing quality and immersion and cuts out all annoying external noise (say from a train carriage) it’s a double-edged sword, as you have to be extra aware about what’s happening around you. They reduce ambient noise to such a degree that you will literally not be aware of warning sounds around you, but then habitual wearers of headphones will be well used to that.

The controls are easy: tap twice on either bud to play, tap twice to stop. Noise cancelling modes are three taps. The volume is one tap: on the left to go down and on the right to go up. Very simple.

The charging case has a micro USB cable and indicator lights for charge levels, charging and Bluetooth connection. The case is study, smooth and rounded for insertion into the pocket and has a lid which closes with a satisfying snap due to a magnetic catch.

All in all, this is a product which speaks quality and attention to detail. The retail price is $69.99. They are a decent fully-featured mid-range pair of wireless buds, which deliver a little more quality than you’re expecting.

Are there any downsides? Admittedly for me, this was mostly personal preference. I dislike silicone nubs, as I hate the feeling of them filling my ear, but I understand the need for them in terms of securing the buds to your ear. I hate the sucking sensation you get in your ear canal, but most people don’t mind it.

For some reason, in my case the left one kept popping out of my ear, but I suspect that might be an accident of personal anatomy rather than manufacturing. Mostly the buds stayed firm in my ear, but they are not fully jog proof, so for sports you need something that locks more firmly in your ear. These are not headphones for extended periods of use and are designed for short bursts.

The sound is very good: there’s bass but not a lot of it, and it favors the high end a tiny bit at higher volumes. This enhances clarity but can be a bit shrill when the volume goes up. I found the controls to have a bit of a hair trigger, meaning you can easily pause when you mean to raise the volume or turn noise cancelling on and off, etc. This is why I favor mechanical switches rather than proximity sensors. Is it annoying that the controls aren’t super positive? A little, but bearing in mind the ticket price, it’s a small niggle.

Also, and this again is a very personal thing, I’m mildly suspicious of wireless tech from an electromagnetic standpoint. It’s perfectly safe and the science says that while long term risks are unknown, for wireless earbuds, anything up to two to four hours a day in 15 to 20 minute bursts should be perfectly fine. Regardless of any paranoia about EMR, earbuds like these are not good for extended use. They get uncomfortable the longer they stay wedged into your ears and over ear wired headphones are best for lengthy sessions.

Cancel the Noise

The Tronsmart Apollo Air are a good pair of earbuds, ergonomic and good sounding. There’s a lot of competition in this price range, but these would be an acceptable choice. They are priced at just $99.99 and available from a wide range of online stockists.

Phil South

Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He’s designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.

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Comparatif : Quels Earbuds Choisir ?

Ainsi, outre les intras d’Apple, on retrouve de superbes écouteurs Bluetooth proposés par Sony, Bose et Samsung, ainsi que de plus petits noms tel que RHA et Sennheiser.

Pour obtenir une paire décente, vous devrez en payer le prix, notamment en raison de l’intégration de technologies avancées comme l’ANC qui permet de réduire les effets du bruit ambiant.

Le coût moyen pour une marque renommée est d’environ 150 €. Si votre budget est plus serré, alors n’hésitez pas à jeter un coup d’œil à notre sélection des meilleurs casques et écouteurs pas chers.

Pour vous aider à choisir le modèle qui correspondra le mieux à vos attentes, nous avons comparé ceux que l’on considère être de véritables intras True Wireless, sans le moindre fil.

Les meilleurs écouteurs 100 % sans fil

1. Sony WF-1000XM4 – Les meilleurs dans tous les domaines

Les Plus

Au meilleur ANC

Un superbe son

Une autonomie exceptionnelle

Fonctions connectées

Les Moins

Écouteurs volumineux

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Si vous pouvez vous les offrir et que vos oreilles ne sont pas trop étroites, alors il n’y a vraiment rien à redire sur les WF-1000XM4. Sony a une fois de plus créé une paire exceptionnelle d’écouteurs sans fil.

En plus d’une excellente autonomie et d’un chargement rapide, ils offrent le meilleur système ANC de tous les écouteurs que nous avons testés. Non seulement ils éliminent parfaitement les sons indésirables, mais ils sont dotés d’une technologie d’intelligence artificielle inégalée qui peut changer de mode et de niveau en fonction de l’endroit où vous vous trouvez ou de ce que vous faites.

Ils intègrent également la fonction Speak-to-Chat, la technologie DSEE Extreme (elle restaure en temps réel vos fichiers compressés), et prennent en charge le codec LDAC pour le Hi-Res Audio Wireless ainsi que le son spatial 360 Reality Audio. Cerise sur le gâteau, presque tout peut être personnalisé ou désactivé si nécessaire.

2. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II – Les meilleures performances ANC

Les Plus

Superbe qualité sonore

Annulation du bruit étonnante

Mode “Aware” astucieux

Bon maintien

Les Moins

Pas de support audio Hi-Res

Pas de Bluetooth Multipoint

Pas de chargement sans fil

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Bose a vraiment amélioré son jeu avec les écouteurs QC 2, avec un design plus compact et moderne qui comporte toujours des embouts à ailettes pour davantage de sécurité, d’excellentes commandes tactiles et un étui attrayant.

La réduction de bruit active, déjà excellente, est encore meilleur avec des performances pures incroyables et un mode conscient intelligent. Associé à une qualité sonore de premier ordre, vous obtenez une paire d’écouteurs sans fil plus que décente.

3. Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch – La meilleure autonomie

Les Plus

Batterie “interminable”

Son exceptionnel

App facile d’utilisation

Confortables

Les Moins

Absence d’ANC

Changement de mode lent

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Les Melomania Touch ont une excellente qualité sonore que vous pouvez personnaliser avec le EQ (égalisateur) via l’application, la sélection du codec et le contrôle des boutons tactiles.

Enfin, son mode transparence peut s’avérer bien utile en cas d’utilisation extérieure.

Sa batterie, elle, vous promet pas moins de 50 heures d’écoute !

Lire notre

4. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro – Les meilleurs pour les utilisateurs Samsung

Les Plus

Meilleurs écouteurs de Samsung à ce jour

Confortable et léger

Résistance à l’eau IPX7

Les Moins

Commandes tactiles compliquées

Autonomie moyenne

Samsung a donné suite à ses écouteurs sans fil Pro originaux. En plus d’une qualité sonore améliorée, les Buds 2 Pro sont compacts, confortables et disponibles dans un trio de couleurs.

Ils embarquent des fonctions telles que la suppression active du bruit, la recharge sans fil et la prise en charge de l’audio 24 bits, bien que cette dernière nécessite un téléphone Samsung.

Si vous n’avez pas besoin des fonctions haut de gamme, les Galaxy Buds 2 constituent un achat plus avantageux.

5. Apple AirPods Pro – Les meilleurs pour iOS

Les Plus

Faciles d’utilisation

Solide ANC

Bon ajustement

Les Moins

Autonomie médiocre

Audio pas au niveau de la concurrence

Les AirPods Pro arborent un design oblique, avec des tiges plus courtes que celles du modèle Standard. Souples et flexibles, ils sont personnalisables avec trois tailles d’embouts proposées. 

Sur ces intras, vous pouvez contrôler certaines fonctions à l’aide d’un capteur pression situé sur une des tiges. Ainsi, vous pourrez contrôler votre musique, vos appels et basculer entre les modes de Réduction de bruit active et Transparence.

Ils ont un indice IPX4 selon la norme CEI 60529 et sont, par conséquent, classés résistants à la transpiration et à l’eau.

Lire notre

6. Google Pixel Buds Pro – Les meilleures commandes tactiles

Les Plus

Un son superbe et arrondi

Bonne tenue

ANC solide

Chargement sans fil

Les Moins

Pas d’égalisation

Pas de support Hi-Res/aptX

Pas d’application iOS Pixel Buds

Les Pixel Buds sont enfin devenus Pro et ils offrent une expérience très équilibrée à un prix bien plus intéressant que beaucoup de rivaux.

En plus de tout ce que l’on attend d’une paire d’écouteurs phare, comme une excellente qualité sonore, la suppression du bruit et une bonne autonomie, les Pixel Buds Pro ont de meilleures commandes tactiles et intègrent Google Assistant.

Toutefois, à ce prix inférieur, vous ne profiterez ni d’une bonne étanchéité ni d’un système Hi-Res Audio.

7. Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 – Les meilleurs doubles haut-parleurs

Les Plus

Double haut-parleurs de grande qualité

Performances ANC solides

Fonctions avancées

Les Moins

Configuration logicielle irritante

Autonomie décevante

Les écouteurs de Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 sont d’une qualité phénoménale.

À un prix bien inférieur à celui de certains concurrents, vous bénéficiez d’un son incroyable grâce à la configuration à deux haut-parleurs qui, de manière inhabituelle, sont planaires soit alimentés par des électro-aimants.

Ils s’adaptent également très bien à tout type de musiques et la suppression active du bruit est tout simplement excellente, bien que vous ayez besoin de passer par l’app pour sélectionner différents modes ANC. Il intègre aussi une sélection de fonctions intelligentes utiles telles que la détection de l’usure, le test d’ajustement, l’égalisation personnalisée et plus encore.

Vous profiterez de la recharge sans fil, toutefois nous aurions apprécué une meilleure autonomie…

8. NuraTrue – Le meilleur son personnalisé

Les Plus

Fonctions de personnalisation incroyables

Bon ajustement

Contrôles

Les Moins

ANC moyen

Pas de charge rapide

Même s’ils ne sont pas dotés d’un système de charge rapide ou d’un système de réduction des bruits, les écouteurs Nura se distinguent sur le marché par leur technologie audio personnalisée unique. Elle est impressionnante, mais elle est intégrée dans de minuscules écouteurs.

Il faut l’entendre pour le croire et les NuraTrue ont d’autres atouts que leur son envoûtant. Ils sont dotés de commandes tactiles et d’un ajustement compact et sûr qui vous permettent de les garder pour vos footing ou entraînements.

9. AirPods 3 – Le meilleur ajustement

Les Plus

Design confortable

Fonctionnalités améliorées

Chargement sans fil

Audio spatial

Les Moins

Pas de suppression active du bruit

Isolation phonique limitée

Best Prices Today:

Les AirPods 3 restent l’achat par défaut évident pour les utilisateurs Apple, surtout si vous n’avez pas le budget adéquat pour offrir des Pro.

Un certain nombre d’améliorations ont été apportées, notamment un design plus confortable, la prise en charge de l’audio spatial et de Localiser, sans parler de so chargement sans fil (Qi et MagSafe).

En revanche, il est dommage qu’on ne puisse pas profiter de réduction du bruit et que sa conception ouverte ne permette pas d’avoir une bonne isolation du bruit, comme c’est le cas des AirPods Pro.

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10. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 – Des fonctionnalités haut de gamme à petit prix

Les Plus

Design léger et compact

Son solide

Chargement sans fil

Les Moins

Commandes tactiles trop sensibles

Support iOS limité

Autonomie décevante

Best Prices Today:

Si votre budget est trop limité pour vous offrir les Galaxy Buds Pro, ces Buds 2 sont une excellente alternative. Polyvalents, ils offrent de nombreux avantages à un prix raisonnable.

Disponibles dans plusieurs coloris, leur design compact offre une tenue confortable. Du côté de la qualité audio, nous n’avons rien à leur reprocher bien au contraire, puisqu’ils nous font profiter d’une réduction du bruit très satisfaisante et d’un rendu clair. 

Attention cependant, si vous êtes un utilisateur Apple, nous vous conseillons de passer votre chemin. 

Les écouteurs 100 % sans fil sont peut-être petits et discrets, mais il y a beaucoup de choses à prendre en compte pour choisir la bonne paire. Si vous n’êtes pas sûr, vous trouverez ci-dessous des conseils d’achat pour vous aider à trouver les bons.

FAQ

1.

Sans fil ou 100 % sans fil : quelle est la différence ?

Commençons par clarifier une confusion courante. Les écouteurs sans fil existent depuis longtemps et signifient simplement qu’ils se connectent à un appareil sans aucun fil physique.

Il s’agit généralement de modèles intra-auriculaires ou supra-auriculaires dotés d’un bandeau, mais il peut aussi s’agir d’oreillettes reliées par un fil ou un cordon qui passe normalement autour du cou.

Les écouteurs 100 % sans fil, quant à eux, sont des intra-auriculaires distincts qui ne sont reliés ni l’un à l’autre ni à votre appareil source par des fils.

2.

Quelle est la meilleure marque d’écouteurs 100 % sans fil ?

Cela ne signifie pas qu’ils sont nécessairement les meilleurs pour vous, mais Sony établit souvent la norme en matière de véritables écouteurs sans fil avec sa gamme WF-1000XM.

Cependant, la concurrence est rude, la preuve en est avec les 10 paires de notre classement.

Au fil des années, nous avons constaté que certains grands noms se démarquent, à savoir Apple, Samsung, Cambridge Audio, Jabra, Huawei, Bose, Nura, Google et bien d’autres.

3.

Que rechercher dans de véritables écouteurs sans fil ?

D’une manière générale, les écouteurs des différents fabricants sont très similaires. Ils se connectent à votre téléphone (ou à d’autres appareils) et entre eux par Bluetooth et ont tendance à avoir des commandes, tactiles ou non, sur au moins un écouteur.

Il est également important de regarder du côté des fonctionnalités, comme le système de réduction de bruit active (ANC) qui élimine numériquement le bruit autour de vous, l’autonomie qui varie selon les écouteurs, ou encore le boîtier pour la recharge.

Nous pensons notamment à la prise en charge des assistants numériques comme Google/Alexa ou de fonctions avancées exclusives comme Speak-to-Chat de Sony.

Il se peut que vous ne puissiez pas obtenir tout ce que vous voulez dans le même appareil. Il est donc essentiel de déterminer ce qui est le plus important pour vous. 

4.

Combien dépenser pour des écouteurs sans fil ?

Côté prix, vous devrez dépenser une somme assez importante pour obtenir une paire décente. Cela s’explique par le fait que ces petits écouteurs embarquent beaucoup de technologie.

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Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank Review: Down With The Thickness

See also: The best 10,000mAh power banks you can buy

Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank (10,000mAh): $59.95

Otterbox Wireless Power Bank (10,000mAh): $39.95 / £35.99 / €39.99

Otterbox Wireless Power Bank (15,000mAh): $49.95 / £45.99 / €49.99

Learn more: Here’s how fast charging really works

As with many power banks, you can keep an eye on the remaining charge thanks to four white LEDs on the side panel. If you’re not currently charging, you’ll have to press the small button to activate the lights. The Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank is relatively large, measuring 165 x 70 x 24.7mm, and it weighs 320g.

The folding Qi charging pad hides a pair of coils for vertical and horizontal charging.

All that space allows for a USB-A port and a USB-C port, both with up to 18W charging. The Qi charging pad on top is capable of up to 10W speeds and packs two coils for vertical and horizontal charging. You won’t find too much going on in the box — Otterbox includes a small warranty packet and a USB-A to USB-C cable to get you started.

What’s good?

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

When a power bank sets you back $59, it better cover a solid set of charging standards. Luckily, the Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank does just that. It boasts USB Power Delivery 2.0 and 3.0, as well as Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0. If you have an older device, you can also tap into Apple Fast Charge and Samsung AFC.

Overall, my testing delivered solid speeds across the board. A Samsung Galaxy S21 reached 14.6W from both the USB-A and USB-C ports — pretty close to the max 15W speeds without USB PD PPS. I saw slightly better results on a iPhone 12 Pro, reaching 17.3W from the USB-C port. It was slower on the USB-A side at 11.9W, though it still ran on Apple 2.4A charging.

Otterbox’s well-built power bank pushes nearly full-speed charging to the iPhone 12 Pro and Galaxy S21 alike.

It’s not always easy to pin down the perfect wireless charging placement on power banks, but the Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank gets it right. The gold band around the Otterbox logo indicates where your phone should sit for best results, and it adds a touch of class to the otherwise black power bank.

See also: Just how fast is modern wireless charging?

The Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank is as thick as it is heavy — and it’s pretty heavy.

Although the wireless charging pad works very well for games with on-screen controls, it’s not great if you prefer racing games where your phone serves as the wheel. If that’s the case, you’ll have to limit yourself to wired charging. This is also not the power bank to rely on with a full-size laptop. I reached up to 13.8W on a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, which is a far cry from the 65W max charging speed. However, if you really need a power bank that’ll charge a laptop, you really want to look at portable chargers with a higher capacity than this.

See also: The best USB-C cables you can buy

Otterbox Folding Wireless Power Bank

Otterbox has its sights set on the gaming market with its Folding Wireless Power Bank. It packs a variety of charging standards, and the design feels built to last.

See price at Otterbox

Logitech Astro A30 Wireless Headset Review: Supreme Style, Formidable Sound

Pros

The styling is very appealing

The 40mm drivers produce a very natural sound

The cans are very soft and comfortable

Cons

Some of the moving parts feel a bit tight

Leatherette in the cups can get sweaty on hot days

Battery life is decent but not excellent

Our Verdict

The Logitech G Astro A30 Wireless looks superb and sounds just as fine. A ton of connectivity options means you can feast on a smorgasbord of games across your different devices without unnecessary fuss.

Best Prices Today: Logitech G Astro A30 Wireless

Retailer

Price

$229.50

View Deal

Logitech G

$229.99

View Deal

The A30 Wireless, however, is the complete package, with cutting-edge design and styling, formidable sound quality, and impressive multi-device connectivity that will undoubtedly prove invaluable for gamers who like to access a smorgasbord of games across their devices.

Astro A30 Wireless: Design

The A30 Wireless has a familiar look, resembling its very popular cousin the Astro A50 Wireless, which also features square earcups instead of round ones. It’s an aesthetic that doesn’t always work, but it totally does this time.

That by no means comes at the expense of comfort; the earcups also feature plush leatherette coverings over a cushy memory foam layer, so they always feel soft against your head.

The Astro A30 Wireless has square-shaped earcups.

Dominic Bayley / IDG

There’s also a Mandalorian Edition that comes with a cool silhouette of the Star Wars bounty hunter and a Beskar Steel finish—which by merely existing, speaks volumes about how Logitech is really on trend with this device.

Personally, though, I was happy with my navy unit; its brilliant multi-coloured tags glared spectacularly when light hit them, contrasting superbly against the darker band and cups.

Functionally the A30 is similarly impressive. Its metal band is both strong and flexible, and there’s an extra soft cushion on top to rest against your head. The cups, too, are very well made, and swivel 180 degrees so you can easily rest them flat between games; and they tilt up a little to give you some lateral movement too.

Not discounting those pluses, it was kind of surprising to discover some parts of the A30 were a little tight to move. That made complete sense for the adjustable headband, but the tightness in the swiveling cups did make me wonder if my head had sufficient wiggle room.

This cross-compatibility of the A30 Wireless fit into my lifestyle perfectly. It meant I could feast on a smorgasbord of games on different devices.

Astro A30 Wireless: Audio

The A30 currently costs $230, which makes it $20 cheaper than the Razer Barracuda Pro and a full $120 cheaper than the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. That’s great value considering it features multi-platform compatibility, connecting to a PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S, Mac, and a host of other devices.

This cross-compatibility of the A30 Wireless fit into my lifestyle perfectly. It meant I could feast on a smorgasbord of games on different devices, without any fussy to-ing and fro-ing.

mentioned in this article

Razer Barracuda Pro

Read our review

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One minute my ears were filled with the squawks of a dragon in the PC game Colossal Cave, and the next the subtle forest sounds of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Nintendo Switch—which simply involved changing out the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi dongle and plugging the 3.5mm cable into my console’s auxiliary port.

The Astro A30 Wireless comes with a fully detachable boom mic. 

Additionally, it’s super easy on the A30 Wireless to balance your different sound sources. By just pushing the joystick on the control either left or right, I could easily prioritize either my game audio over my voice audio or vice versa.

In the box, you also get a lengthy USB-C to USB-A charge cable which Logitech says charges the device for up to 27 hours of playtime, and a convenient slim case which takes up hardly any room in your bag.

A boom microphone is also provided as a fully detachable part that slots into place on the left-side cup. It’s made from a flexible material that allows you to position it wherever you like. This mic proved perfect for my Discord chats where it picked up the sound of my voice perfectly without any kind of distortion, so I was very happy with it.

Astro A30 Wireless: Performance

In Colossal Cave on PC, for example, the A30 immediately showed off its clean, crisp sound profile. It separated out tones extremely well through the mids and highs, culminating in very natural-sounding orchestral music and very guttural monster sounds that made creeping through the dark spaces of the cave a tense but exhilarating experience.

Switching to the FPS Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, and the A30 Wireless proved it could handle a more complex soundscape equally as well. Here, sounds like the thunking of explosions and of whizzing of bullets took on a life of their own, making me pause for a while and just admire the sound of dirt particles raining down around me and the realism of the projectiles.

The A30 was excellent at differentiating far-away sounds like the cracks of gunfire and explosions as clear and separate from closer sounds, like my footsteps. But if you really want to go one step further and make any of these sounds even more pronounced, Logitech’s G app is an excellent and very easy-to-use companion app that makes changing EQ a cinch.

Should you buy the Astro A30 Wireless?

The Astro A30 Wireless doesn’t just meet gamer needs, it far exceeds them, providing a veritable cocktail of high-fidelity audio paired with cross-platform connectivity that opens up a world of possibilities for gamers to play with their devices when and how they choose.

Corsair Mm1000 Review: A Wireless Charging Mousepad With Strings Attached

IDG / Hayden Dingman

The only light on this entire mousepad. You okay, Corsair?

Charging made (sort-of) simple

And that’s fine, because you’re buying the MM1000 for other reasons. Namely: It promises wireless charging without the need for wires. Does it deliver? Yes, absolutely—but with quite a few more caveats than Logitech’s Powerplay setup.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

Powerplay is the name of a proprietary charging system devised by Logitech. Powerplay projects a charging field across the entire 13 x 14-inch mousepad, so no matter where you place the mouse it’s always powered—and not just powered, but trickle-charging too. When the mouse isn’t in use, Powerplay charges at a rate of 7 or 8 percent per hour, but even while moving around you’ll still accrue 1 to 2 percent per hour. As long as the mouse is on the mousepad, it should never dip below 85 percent ever.

Corsair’s MM1000 is…not quite as refined. Sure, you’ll never need to worry about plugging a cord into the Corsair Dark Core mouse—but you’ll still need to think about charging it every night or two, and therein lies the difference.

See, Corsair uses the open-source Qi charging standard. You might’ve come into contact with Qi if, for instance, you’ve ever wirelessly charged your phone. It’s the same technology. The problem: Qi has a very limited range. That part should also be familiar to anyone who’s wirelessly charged their phone before. It’s not going to cover an entire mousepad, or even half a mousepad.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

Instead, Qi covers a tiny zone in the top-right corner of the MM1000. Corsair’s helpfully highlighted this zone with a circle. That’s the only place where your mouse charges, and it only charges as long as it’s sitting still.

At the end of the day you need to consciously think about charging though—taking the mouse, putting it in the top-right corner, aligning it properly, and checking to make sure the green indicator light is flashing. Qi is so slow that it basically requires an overnight charge. If you don’t remember to start it then the Dark Core mouse is liable to die on you the next day.

And if you do run out of battery? Well, your Dark Core mouse is back to the dark ages. Time to grab the included MicroUSB cable and plug the mouse into your computer, the same way you would’ve done with any number of wireless mice before. So much for your fancy mousepad.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

An adapter, for those who want to charge their phone.

There is one interesting side effect from the use of the Qi standard, which is of course that you can charge your phone from the same hotspot. Corsair also includes an adapter, so phones without built-in wireless charging can still plug in and charge that way. That’s cool I guess, if you want to leave your phone trickle-charging wirelessly while using your mouse.

Bottom line

It’s a bit frustrating. On paper, the MM1000 and Logitech’s Powerplay system sound identical. In practice though the two are anything but. Powerplay is a completely new way to think about wireless mice. The MM1000 is just a new way to charge one.

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