I’ve had the AirPods Pro for quite a while now – about a year and a half – and here are two features I think are pretty fabulous.
Customize your hearing experience by adjusting your audio accessibility settings
Connect your AirPods to your iPhone > Settings > Accessibility > AirPods > Audio Accessibility Settings > Headphone Accommodations
Here, you will be able to go through a setup process which allows you to tune your audio and set the range of your transparency mode. You can then make the necessary adjustments to allow you listen to your audio with greater clarity. Honestly a pretty neat in-build feature which I personally think more people should know about!
Use your AirPods to test how loud your surroundings are (and if it’s healthy for your years.
You can add the feature by going to Settings > Control Centre > Hearing. Once this feature has been added into your control centre, with your AirPods connected, activate it. Live listen will then be activated and you will be able to identify how loud (or soft) your surroundings are.
As a benchmark, you should try to be in an environment that’s less than 70 Db to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
Rubber Connector Accessory
In addition, I recently discovered this rubber connector which helps you easily connect your AirPods. While this seems to defeat the purpose of having a wire-free audio device, it is still useful especially for workouts or when you accidentally fall asleep and the AirPods fall out.
If you’re on the Apple ecosystem, owning a pair of AirPods is indeed a must – but how many features do we actually know exist? Let’s continue exploring them and hopefully we’ll be able to make full use of these trusty pair of earphones.
I recently needed a light for my room – a light bright enough to be used as a side table lamp yet dim enough to not disrupt me as I prepare for bed.
My parents chanced upon the Thulit LED Eye Protection Lamp on Shopee earlier last month and after reading through the reviews, they decided to purchase it for me. They shipped it over to where I’m at right now and boy, am I enjoying it!
The whole lamp is covered in white PU leather and has a very clean feel to it. The base of the lamp also has a small groove that allows one to rest your phone there. Weighing a mere 480g, this light-weight lamp is sturdy and can be tilted at different angles for optimal brightness. The fact that it can be shifted to any angle makes it very flexible and suitable for small rooms.
With three colour temperatures, this lamp provides white light, warm light and a seemingly other white colour (supposedly different but I can’t tell the difference). My go-to colour is the warm light as it makes the place look very warm and homely at night.
This light illuminates the room pretty well. The touch button function also makes it easy to turn on-and-off. One downside to this model is that the touch function is slightly below the printed ‘on-off’ button on the base of the lamp. We actually thought that we had received a malfunctioned one when we first got it.
The model I have is the USB-plugged in version without an in-built battery. However, it suits my needs as I have a power socket near my bedside. I do believe there is a model that has an in-built battery though!
If you’re looking for a flexible, small bedside lamp, you may want to give this a shot. It is pretty inexpensive, is aesthetically-pleasing and brings light to the room (literally).
My family purchased the Xiaomi MiJia Youth projector during Phase 1 of Singapore’s circuit breaker as a form of entertainment in our living room.
After a solid three months of using it, here are some of the things I like about this projector and some minor complaints.
What thrilled me
The projector is only slightly bigger than my hand. With a height of just 15cm, the projector weighs only 1.3 kg. That’s a projector and a speaker packed into one compact and mighty device.
The throw is really good. Powered by a 500 ANSI lumens light source, it trumps the average 300 lumens projectors — it can fill my 100-inch projector screen nicely and looks bright and crisp at night (the colour’s a tad faint in the daytime due to the sunlight but that’s honestly acceptable). It supports 1080p resolution and in a small living room, the resolution is superb!
The auto focusing is accurate. If the projector is shifted, the feature is triggered to re-focus the screen. Alternatively, you can also easily call the function from the remote control to deal with focus issues should you want to readjust it.
The speaker is loud. While it doesn’t give a strong bass, it is loud and can fill the entire living room without an external speaker. One can also easily use the projector as a speaker.
My MacBook Pro and iPad connects well with the in-built AirPlay. Hooked on the same WiFi network, my Apple devices connect fast and well with the Xiaomi MiJia Youth projector without any lag.
What could be better
We got the China edition, which unlike the international version, does not provide Netflix or Chromecast-related features. The in-built MIUI TV does not run in Singapore and almost all content inside is paid content which cannot be accessed. All content is in Chinese too, and while switching it to English provides some English headers, the bulk of the content is still in Chinese.
To get the throw you want, you’ve got to shift the projector manually. Unlike some other projectors on the market which allow one to shift the scale of the throw on the screen on the projector itself, the Xiaomi MiJia Youth projector needs to be manually shifted to get the exact throw you want. It works but is inconvenient.
The fact that the version I got was the China edition also rendered a lot of the remote-control features useless for us. Apart from turning the projector on, changing the input source, volume, and dealing with the auto-focus, we do not get to make use of the AI-driven audio search function that’s available on the remote control. This doesn’t affect the overall use of the projector but would have been much better if we had been able to use it.
The Xiaomi MiJia Youth projector is an incredible projector. It costs less than a TV, is highly portable and can be connected to the Internet and a plethora of devices – Nintendo Switch, AirPlay, XiaoMi devices, and basically anything with a HDMI cable (even Google Chromecast). For the convenience and its price, getting this projector is hands-down a win for my family!
If you’ve been wondering where you can get that jacket that the actress wore, look no further because help is at hand. Check out StyleCrush, which has just been rolled out in Singapore.
StyleCrush is a style discovery platform that uses AI technology to let you find clothes and fashion items, including shoes and bags, that caught your attention.
All you need to do is to upload an image or paste a link of the item that you’re looking for and the AI system will connect you to the relevant shopping malls where you can purchase the products conveniently.
You can also create a wish list of the fashion products discovered through the search and place them in an album. It’s like a curation of your tastes where you can come back to and browse at a later date.
The platform is developed by Korea’s Odd Concepts, which is collaborating with Suggesty and Sta1 of Korea, and Qoo10 of Singapore to provide you with a wide variety of fashion styles.
Suggesty is an online mall selling AI-curated Korean designer brands internationally and will share its database and apparels with StyleCrush. Sta1 has more than one million products from over 6,000 brands.
Odd Concepts will work with more fashion and apparel e-commerce partners in Singapore and ASEAN countries to provide consumers with access to a greater variety of fashion styles.
Do check out StyleCrush the next time a fashion item catches your eye.
A recent treat for myself was the purchase of an Apple Air Pods Pro to upgrade my current Air Pods. The Bluetooth headset came on the market around two months back and has received its fair share of positive and negative reviews. As an Android user, here’s my review on this product!
What I like
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and transparency
Unlike the AirPods, the AirPods Pro provides active noise cancellation which reduces the surrounding’s white noise. Such a feature plus the transparency feature turned off provides users like me with the ability to completely tune-off to the surroundings especially when traveling on public transport and cafes. Will test this feature out further when on the plane!
When the transparency feature is turned on, one can also easily eavesdrop on conversations surrounding you as the microphones on the AirPods Pro pick up surrounding sounds and amplifies it in the AirPods Pro. This feature is good in situations where you need to be constantly aware of what’s going and allows you not to be shut-off from your surroundings completely.
The AirPods Pro comes with three pairs of in-ear rubber tips (small, medium and large). The default medium size fits my ears snugly and provides a good level of comfort even when wearing for extended periods of time. I believe that the in-ear rubber became an option not only to replace the hard AirPods but also to aid in the noise cancellation feature. As a patented in-ear rubber tip, I’ve really got to make it a point not to lose these rubber tips as the conventional tips will not easily replace it.
The battery-life is considerably longer than my AirPods with each charge lasting around four hours with the ANC feature turned on. The charging case also holds around four to five charges of the AirPods Pro. A 10-minute charge in the wireless case charged the AirPods by about 40%.
While not a main feature, the haptic feedback on the tips of the AirPods Pro gives the button-like feel when clicked. Instead of a pure tap of the earpiece where I sometimes find a bit insensitive on my AirPods, the tip of the AirPods Pro has a button-life feature that is only usable when the AirPods Pro are in your ear. The feel of clicking a button to control is still pretty amazing imo.
What I dislike:
Android users do not get all the perks!
The AirPods Pro is designed to work seamlessly with complementary Apple products (i.e. MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, iWatch) and Siri can easily be called out to assist you. However, for Android users, while Siri is not available, I’d expect the microphone to be able to activate my Google Assistant – but it doesn’t! So that’s something I’m a tad disappointed with, especially if my mobile phone isn’t near enough to pick up my Google commands.
In addition, the ear tip fit test can only be done via Apple products (iPhone specifically) and therefore this feature does not apply to me. Not a big deal in my opinion, but something I’d use if I’d own an iPhone.
I’ve faced two instances of intermittent headset pairing with both my MacBook and my Android phone.
For my MacBook, it somehow only managed to pick up one side of my AirPods Pro and did not pick up the other. This resulted in an imbalance in sounds and was annoying till I placed the pair of AirPods Pro in its casing and removed it again for a refreshed connection.
For my Android phone, the AirPods Pro connection could not be picked up by my mobile phone’s Bluetooth in one instance – an issue I didn’t really have with my previous pair of AirPods. Again, a quick reset solved it.
Like any other Bluetooth headsets, there is bound to be some pairing issues, but I was just shocked to see that it happened (I had higher hopes for these expensive pair of AirPods).
I had originally considered buying the Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling True Wireless Headphones but ultimately decided on purchasing the AirPods Pro as my previous pair AirPods was pretty reliable and I wanted the seamless pairing it had with my MacBook Pro.
While there are some issues which I dislike about the AirPods Pro, I would still recommend it to anyone who is looking for a noise-cancellation earpiece with decent audio quality. The comfort level of this earpiece supersedes its predecessors and if you own complementary Apple products, the seamless pairing is definitely a perk!
MOGICS power bagel is an award-winning extension cord that is able to charge six devices at once. With two USB ports and four universal adapters placed in a circular shape, this power bagel is a nifty gadget to have, especially when traveling.
92 cm extension cord
2 USB Ports – 2A if one is used, 1A each when both are used
4 Universal Adapters – Circular shape ensures that even with chargers that have large charging heads, they still can be used simultaneously
1 Universal Plug – Embedded in the middle of the bagel, the universal plug can be used in countries that do not use the US head.
On my recent trip to Taipei, I used the power bagel which allowed me to charge multiple devices at once, and I really enjoyed the use of it.
Compared to the usual extension cord I usually bring around, this palm-size cord allows me to carry it in my carry-on bag rather than my luggage bag, allowing easy access to it even when in airports and cafes. With the four convenient universal adapters, it’s easy to charge devices that have different heads, without the need for other adapters.
It was especially handy at the end of the day when I had to charge my laptop, phone, fitbit watch, portable charger, and bluetooth earphones. All could be charged with a single power socket and the power bagel.
However, while I really enjoy the use of the power bagel, there are a few points I’m slightly unhappy about.
The universal plug provided seems to be a bit flimsy, and with poor instructions on how to use it, chances of breaking it are high, especially when trying to use the UK adapter. In addition, the head of the power bagel also seems a bit loose, and while I am able to secure it by force, I am constantly afraid brute force may ultimately cause me to break it. But as of now, the power bagel is still holding up well!
MOGICS power bagel is definitely a handy must-have travel item that I’d recommend to all travelers. While it does have a high price point, the convenience it brings definitely makes it worth-it.
The retro-inspired Mao Wang Little Prince Radio is not new to the
market but has continually been gaining popularity in China and overseas alike.
Three of the main reasons why many consumers are attracted to it (myself
included!) are as follows:
This speaker doubles up as a radio
and a speaker. The radio is controlled with a dial to give that retro feel and is
pretty accurate and clear when changing stations. The dial, while small, is easy
to turn and is convenient for tuning.
The speaker can be used via Aux-in
or Bluetooth which is easy to pair to both mobile and laptop. Indicative lights
on connectivity is also present, providing ease while pairing.
For a compact speaker, the audio is very impressive. It produces a rich bass sound and can be rather loud, with music easily surrounding a room. This radio is good for indoor usage but probably not in a loud and outdoor setting.
Design and Packaging
The main reason why this speaker
is so appealing is definitely because of the design of the radio.
With its sleek, small body, it packs
features that can be utilized on a daily basis for most consumers. This sturdy and
weighted speaker has only three dials which makes the overall user experience
friendly and intuitive. The indicative lights on showing whether your speaker
has successfully connected, pending connection, good radio connection and battery
warnings are also very useful.
The speaker is packed in a mini retro-luggage-bag
box, with little pamphlets and stickers within the box.
The retro-inspired Mao Wang Little Prince Radio has a mid-price tag to it but the overall look and feel, coupled with the quality audio makes this a worthy purchase.
You can purchase this in many colors on Tmall here.
I received the MOFT laptop stand as a gift a couple of months back and have been using it since. What seemed to be a thin, spongy-like rectangle has proven to be a very useful one – and I’ve got to say, I am truly amazed by it.
So what is a MOFT laptop stand? It essentially seems to be an origami-like structure that remains flat when not in use, well-stuck on the back of the laptop. I use a Macbook Pro 13 inch, and it rests nicely just below the hinge. This product is recommended for users of tablets/ laptops between 11.6” and 15.6” and can hold a machine of up to 8kg.
25 degrees (higher angle)
15 degrees (higher angle)
When utilised, this flat piece folds into a stand, resting comfortably on the table/surface. With two angles available, the lower angle provides just a slight tilt when utilising the keyboard while the higher angle provides a more distinct height. Do note, with the tilt comes a higher screen – a feature I appreciate a lot. The higher angle provides a raised screen for me, and allows me to rest my arms comfortably on my desk with a screen that is not too low, ensuring that I am not constantly straining my neck by looking down on to my computer screen.
Also, while this seems to be a really thin stand, it holds the weight of my laptop and even when I rest my wrists on my keyboard while typing, it has always remained firm.
So the verdict – would I recommend this to my friends and co-workers? Yes, I definitely will! It’s sleek, sits nicely on the back of my laptop, and has proven to be very trusty. The MOFT laptop stand comes in four colors, so I’m sure you’ll find one that you’ll like.
If you’d like to purchase one, you may do so here.
Having grown up on spy novels and adventure books, I’ve been a sucker for gadgets of all kinds. One of these is the ubiquitous carabiner, which can be used for a multitude of purposes — hanging stuff onto back packs, hooking things onto poles and lots more.
Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the Heroclip while searching for a gift for an event. First crowdfunded on Indiegogo two years ago, it’s a clip that comes with a 360-swivel and hook with a rubber tip.
At first glance, it doesn’t look extraordinary but upon reading further and watching the demo videos, I was hooked and ordered two online (see top).
I decided to test them out during my trip to Sydney. Usually, I put my sling bag under the seat in front of me — all my important stuff and snacks are in there so I prefer to keep the bag close to me.
During the flight, I used the Heroclip to hook my sling bag onto the back pocket of the seat it front of me. It kept my bag from touching the floor and more within reach. I don’t need to bend to pick my bag from the floor.
The next use was the clincher. While most toilets in Sydney have hooks behind the cubicle door for hanging stuff, I went to one that did not have one and there was nowhere else to put my bag and jacket except on the floor.
Tada…enter the Heroclip! I whipped it out, hooked if over the toilet door and hung my bag and jacket on it. Don’t know if you’ll feel the same way but not having to put my bag and jacket on the floor matters lots!
Back in Singapore, I always found it a challenge bringing groceries home while cycling. The Heroclip came to good use again as I hooked it on my handlebar and attached my grocery bag on it.
Five things I really like about the Heroclip:
Design — The inventor has put much thought into coming up with something that is practical, easy to use and nice to look at.
Versatility — It can be used for many purposes. Just be imaginative.
Sturdiness — Made of aluminum, it’s lightweight but feels solid and strong. The Medium-sized clip can hold up to 27kg.
Compact — It’s easy to bring around.
Variety of sizes — I bought two sizes (medium and small) and there’s a third, mini.
If there’s one thing to improve on, it’s the price. With a price tag from S$21.40 for the mini version to S$26.30 for the small version, it can feel a little pricey. Surprisingly, the medium Heroclip, which is the biggest available, is priced lower than the small model at S$24.90.
These prices from Qoo10.sg are better than many others online and come with free shipping for orders above S$40.
Overall, I highly recommend the Heroclip, which is more than a carabiner and has become another of my travelling companion.
Transcribing recordings is one of the most tedious and dreaded tasks. One minute of voice recording can take three or more minutes to transcribe and that’s not talking about recordings that are hard to make out or filled with background noise.
I’ve done this during my air traffic control days when I had to listen to taped transmissions and write down word for word what was communicated between the controller and pilot.
Later on, I had to do this when taking minutes during meetings and as a journalist when playing back interviews.
It is no wonder then that I was intrigued when I read about Otter, a smart note taking software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to transcribe conversations.
Ten months on and I feel that this app is worthy of a review.
Developed by US-based AISense, the graphics processing unit (GPU)-powered app records speech and transcribes on the fly when connected to a wireless network. Just looking at the voice-to-text makes me leap with joy.
It’s not 100 percent correct, probably around 70 percent (though the company claims that it’s 90 percent), but that itself saves lots of time. Reasons why it cannot get it fully correct may be because of sound volume or quality, slurring, mispronunciation, or accent.
Otter is free on iOS, Android and the web and comes with 600 minutes of free recording each month. If you need more, you will have to subscribe to a premium plan.
As one who does a fair bit of voice recording, Otter is utterly amazing. It’s a time saver and a dream come true.