Contact

Subscribe via Email

Subscribe via RSS/JSON

Categories

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
© Rakhesh Sasidharan

Elsewhere

The new AirPods Pro

I bought the new AirPods Pro yesterday and returned them today (I didn’t return them; see the end of the post for an update). That’s not coz I hate them or anything, just that they had one very important niggle for me and so I don’t want to pay the current full price for them. I’d rather wait for a deal or something when the price goes down (as they tend to do with the AirPods and other headphones too at least).

So let’s get the bad out of the way: it’s the ear fit.

I don’t think my ears are identical. Heck, I don’t think even my head is symmetrical (at least in terms of ear position). I know that with on-ear headphones that have notches (very useful to mark the position of the band if it’s adjustable) I typically tend to have one side on say 3 bars while the other on 2 bars so one side is slightly higher than the other. Similarly with in-ear headphones I sometimes have to use different size ear tips – usually a large for one ear and a medium for the other. With the AirPods Pro the left ear fits amazing well and I get a good seal, while the right ear is so-so. I tried all three sizes, and while the large works great with the left ear the right works ok-ish with the large and not at all with the others. In fact with the small and medium the AirPod Pro doesn’t even sit properly in the right ear.

One good thing about the AirPods Pro though is the ear tips testing they do via the Settings app. With any other pair of in ears I’d not get a good fit and think that maybe it’s just me being picky or whatever, but with the AirPods Pro even the ear tips testing app told me that the right ear didn’t have a good seal. Of the more than 15-20 times I tried to take them off and on, I managed to get a good fit twice in the right ear (the trick is to put them in as usual and then use the thumb to sort of push them further into the ear canal) but that fit only stayed for a few mins and it soon loosened. I wasn’t even munching anything for the fit to loosen – one time I was walking, the other time I was sitting, and in both cases after a while I could feel the right side loosen and while the AirPod Pro wasn’t going to fall out I can feel the outside air and slightly more noise.

That’s it really. That’s the only negative thing I found about the AirPods Pro. If that fit was perfect – heck if they had just included an XL size ear tip, I could have used that for the right ear and be very happy with these. In fact, I don’t think the L size ear tip is really large; it’s between what I’d usually consider a Medium and Large, so if the L size was actually XL, and the M size was actually L, I could have just used the L in right ear and M in the left ear (which, come to think about it, is what I usually do anyways).

One nice thing about the ear tips though – they have little markers with S, M, L on them so you know what size it is instead of having to compare with the rest of the lot. It’s a good touch. I am not a huge fan of the click on mechanism to put them on. It does the job, but is a bit scary when you have to rip the ear tip out and hope it doesn’t tear. Similarly when you push them in it doesn’t always click. I’ve had to turn it around a bit for the notches to align and it to click in. But it’s not a big deal. I get the rationale behind the design change, so power to them.

Moving on to the good parts of the AirPods Pro: everything else.

The noise cancelling is great. The first time I put them in it reduced the outside noise and I thought: “great, not bad noise cancelling”. Then I realized that the noise cancelling wasn’t even on, this was just noise isolation from the ear tips. So I turned it on and boom I could just feel it kick in and dim the outside noise. That is great! That’s an experience unlike most other noise cancelling headphones I have used. Sure they noise cancel, but I’ve never had the transition. If I put on a pair of Bose QC 35IIs and on them the outside noise goes off, but that’s more like a flick of a switch as opposed to the transition which happens with the AirPods. It’s not a big deal in the end coz what matters is the eventual noise cancellation, but it’s a nice touch. (The same way when you take a photo on the new iPhone 11s and its dark, the phone doesn’t just tell you to hold the phone still – there’s a timer on top and the photo slowly comes on the screen as it’s being captured).

I used the AirPods Pro out for a walk along with my Sony WF1000XM3s. That’s my other pair of noise cancelling in ear buds that are similarly wireless and all, so I figured I must compare like against like. I wish I could give a proper answer about which one noise cancelled but that’s difficult because I never got a good fit with the AirPods Pro. The one time that I got a great fit (and even the app said I had a great fit) the AirPods Pro were amazing – as good as if not a bit better than the Sony WF1000XM3s – but most other times it was so-so. I could hear a lot of the outside noise and feel the outside air in my right ear.

The good thing about the Sony WF1000XM3s is that they come with many tips, including a few foam ones. So I have the foam ones on and even though I am using the same size in both ears I am able to push the right ear one more deeply inside and it stays put. Because of that I get good noise isolation and cancellation and they feel better. Where the Sony sucks though is in its app, which is terrible. Or rather, where the AirPods Pro excel is in its integration with the Apple ecosystem. There’s no slowness as you can easily toggle noise cancelling or transparency via the Settings menu or Control Centre (or even via the Apple Watch – so cool!). It’s all very natural with the AirPods Pro. Even the gestures between these two devices. For the Sonys I have to tap on the little touch area, and that’s fine, but occasionally it doesn’t register well and so skips ahead when I meant to skip back for instance. The AirPods Pro though have this little squeeze gesture and while I found it awkward initially I quickly got used to it and now I’ll miss it. Apple’s done some fine stuff in there, I really wish they’d just included a larger size ear tip and I could have been so happy. :)

Another area where the AirPods Pro shine over the Sony WF1000XMs is the mic. They work great. The Sonys are fine as long as I am inside and there’s no noise to cancel, but take them out and its like they noise cancel what I am speaking. Everything gets chopped up.

A lot of reviews compared the AirPods Pro to the PowerBeats Pro. I don’t get that comparison though. They are different beasts. The PowerBeats have no noise cancellation, and come with this humongous case … so you can’t even carry it around. At least the Sony WF1000MX3s have similar features and only a slightly larger case (not as pocketable as the AirPods Pro, but still it makes an attempt). I like the PowerBeats Pro though. Interestingly their sound signature is different to the other Beats headphones. The only other Beats I used before the PowerBeats Pro is the Beats X – which I love, and I have some 2-3 pairs of coz they keep breaking – but while the latter is more bassy the PowerBeats Pro is neutral. They fit well in the ear coz of the over-ear hooks, and have a good mic and all that. So if you want an AirPods equivalent that fits well in your ears and you don’t care about portability, then by all means get them. Definitely better than AirPods a long as you don’t want something small to carry about. But if you want noise cancelling, then AirPods Pro it is … provided they fit in your ears. With the PowerBeats my left ear is the odd one. I feel like it could fall out of my ear any time, or that the fit isn’t well – neither of which is really true, just that I feel like the left side can do better some way. A good thing about the PowerBeats Pro is that you can mess with the hook to try and get a better grip or push the headphones deeper so I have been fiddling with that to make the left side feel better.

The mic on the AirPods Pro is better than the QC 35IIs too. So if that matters to you, and not that you should be comparing the AirPods to Boses, that’s a plus for the AirPods Pro (along with the fact that its more portable, integrates better with Apple, less pricey etc). The mic of the AirPods Pro is as good as, if not slightly lower, than the NC 700s. The latter have pretty good mics, and they noise cancel the surrounding noise well too when you are speaking into it. The NC 700s however are way more pricey, and less comfortable, so it’s a different thing altogether. But that said, I’d still choose the AirPods Pro over it if I could have got the fit correct (and thus the noise cancelling too). Until that happens there’s no sense in me paying the full price for something that I’d like to own coz it’s great but which I may not make full use of coz it’s primary use case for me (noise cancelling) doesn’t work well coz the fit is bad. Hopefully in a while the price drops or there’s some 3rd party ear tips that have better fit etc. – who knows!

Ok, that’s a lot of words for a product I will be returning soon. :)

Ps. Forgot to mention this earlier. Kudos to all these wireless earbuds – AirPods, AirPods Pro, Sony WF1000XM3, and PowerBeats Pro – for either offering identical controls on the left and right side or at least the option to customize the controls on either side so you can choose to have them identical or decide which side does what. As a person who tends to use both hands that’s one thing I hate about most on-ear headphones – the important controls are all mostly on thh right side. Of these only the PowerBeats Pro offer volume controls too (on both sides, wow!) as well as nice clicky physical buttons, but the lack of volume buttons for the others isn’t that big a deal for me as I can just press the volume switch on my phone through the pockets or just use the Apple Watch.

Update 1: So I wrote the blog post, packed up the AirPods Pro (as I had already filed a return request), and went about with the rest of day. After a while I had this idea to test the mics of my various headphones. I use them for a lot of calls and while I know the Bose NC 700s are the best I wanted to compare it against the others. After doing that for the various headphones (yes Bose NC 700 rocks in terms of mic and mic noise cancelling) I thought let me try with the AirPods Pro too. After all I have them at home.

As usual the right ear didn’t fit, but whatever. The test wasn’t that great either coz I could hear a lot of the background noise due to the poor noise cancelling. However, while I was taking out and putting in the right AirPod this time I didn’t push it in as I was doing before. I simply put it inside my ear, no extra twisting or anything. I don’t know why I was pushing earlier – just habit I guess from the regular AirPods or other in earbuds. When I just put in the AirPods Pro though they stayed in magically, and even better the seal was perfect. Since then I have taken it out and put back simply a dozen times, and each time the seal is great and the test app too confirms it. Nice!

So pro tip: don’t push in the AirPods Pro, or twist or anything. Just put them in. It might feel like they are going to fall down but they won’t. I pretty much jumped around after doing this to see if the AirPods Pro fall, but they didn’t. I was like Joanna Stern in this video, less good looking and less watchable. :)

Update 2: A week after the above update I finally returned the AirPods Pro. And now I miss them, but on the whole it’s probably for the better. (Haha, sounds funny saying that about a pair of headphones). I returned the PowerBeats Pro too as they too were in the return window.

So why did I return the AirPods Pro? Because as much as the seal improved after I started to just put them in, and they stayed alright even after all the moving around I’d do, I couldn’t get this thing out of my head that the right ear bud will fall out. The logical part of my brain knows it won’t fall, but the non-logical part is always tense that it may fall out and so I keep pushing it in at random to appease myself. I didn’t like that.

I returned the PowerBeats Pro too for similar issues. There it was the left ear. The right ear had a perfect fit, the left was not completely sealed and while that didn’t give me any worry about the PowerBeats Pro falling out (coz of the hooks) I was conscious of the lack of seal and hence not great sound quality. Whenever I’d push it in the music sounded better. I played a bit with the hooks to get the ear bud to go in deeper, but that started to hurt my ear coz the hook was pressing in. I guess for the PowerBeats I wanted a larger left ear bud. So complicated, my ears!

I still might get the AirPods Pro again. They are great portable headphones. I just didn’t want to spend that much money now coz it’s more of a luxury item currently than something I absolutely need.

From iPhone 7 Plus to iPhone 11 Pro Max

So I bit the bullet and upgraded from my trusty iPhone 7 Plus to the just released iPhone 11 Pro Max. I was having second thoughts about going to the Max size but I am glad I did. It suits my hand better. (I had second thoughts about the size because I had used an iPhone 8 as part of work and felt that the smaller size was better).

I had skipped the X series because I wasn’t a fan of the notch and Face ID. I understand why Apple went with a notch (at least it wasn’t just for the heck of it like most Android phones) but I didn’t like it. Felt very ugly. And then with the iPhone 11 Pro the stove/ fidget spinner/ big gun/ <insert favorite meme> camera trilogy… brr, so ugly! Why couldn’t they have just put it on a straight line horizontally or vertically. For these reasons I was against jumping to the iPhone 11 Pro series.

But then I started seeing all the YouTube reviews and hearing the iPhone 11 camera praise in podcasts. That started changing my mind. Surprisingly no one made any fun of the cameras! It wasn’t an issue at all.

I was perfectly happy with the iPhone 7 Plus cameras, but still… the iPhone 11 seemed better in low light, it had a new ultra wide camera, a lot of camera tricks, etc. Reviewers like Nilay Patel of The Verge were gushing over how much better the camera is over last years’ iPhone XS and how they recommend it as an upgrade even for iPhone XS users (if the camera mattered to them).

Then I read somewhere that next years’ iPhone is going to be a major refresh. I knew that already, but what I didn’t know what that there’s a good chance Touch ID was making a comeback – possibly in conjunction with Face ID. That’s great news, but then again do I want to buy a Gen 1 refresh? As a general rule of thumb it’s a good idea to skip the Gen 1 product with Apple – be it the first Apple Watch, or even a product line refresh such as the iPhone X or previously the non-S versions. And as much as I love Face ID, and the idea of using both as two factors of authentication, I’d rather wait one or two Gens after that for things to improve (similar to how Touch ID progressively improved, or Face ID is supposedly better in iPhone 11).

So that settled it. But what really clinched the deal was that one of the UAE online retailers started selling the Hong Kong version of the phone. The advantage of these is that they have two physical SIMs (as opposed to a physical SIM and an eSIM). I don’t know if the model has any issues because of the LTE band variations in the model – I didn’t read up too much on it. This made the iPhone 11 a good purchase coz now I can put in my second SIM too in the same phone.

I only got the device a few hours back so this is more of a first impressions from the point of view of someone who’s jumping iPhones after a long time. First off, setting up the device was a breeze as it easily migrated everything off my old iPhone, including the connection to my Apple Watch. That was so easy! Within an hour I had the new iPhone exactly as my old one – all the apps, wallpapers, settings, etc carried over. Putting in both SIMs was easy – both go into the same tray with one on top and the other below – and iOS gives you options like letting you switch between data providers automatically depending on the connection, or assigning preferred SIM for various contacts.

The phone heavier than the iPhone 7 Plus. Not too much, just a bit. I had heard about that and the battery improvements it brings, so that’s fine. I went with the Gold version (as that was the cheapest) but it’s nice how the front of the phone is identical for all colors – there’s no difference like gold borders or white in the front. Yes there’s Gold on the sides but you never see that, and the front is fully black so it goes well with the dark mode. The notch doesn’t trouble me at all like I expected it to. I have forgotten about it already, it’s just a part of the top of the phone. The phone feels larger due to the lack of bezels etc., but not too fancy as if it’s curving into the edge or anything. Overall it is very familiar to the iPhone 7 Plus but with the sort of improvements you would expect after 4 years. Familiar yet slightly better, and easy to get used to.

Speaking of getting used to, Face ID is convenient. Just look at the phone and apps unlock, nice! That is way easier than using your finger. Yup, I am going to miss the finger at night or when I can’t just unlock the phone without looking at it; but for the times when I can look it is futuristic and easy.

(Update: I wear glasses and I realized that Face ID doesn’t recognize me without them. Turns out I can add an alternate identity, so that helped).

I find it a good touch that when I unlock the phone with Face ID it doesn’t just go into the home screen. It needs a swipe up. Not sure why I like that coz it would seem that going into the home screen when I unlock is the more convenient thing to do. I think with this method I can have my notifications hidden when locked, but when I unlock I can see them; and if I want to go into the home screen I can then swipe up.

The back of the phone feels good. Glass but with a different feel. That’s the new matte finish. It’s not slippery, which is good. And doesn’t seem like a fingerprint magnet. My hands sweat when holding the phone and this back lets them sweat without feeling too icky. It’s comfortable holding the phone. (Holding the 7 Plus too was comfortable, so this is more to the fact that I was concerned maybe the 11 Pro back is more slippery or not similar – which is not the case here).

The bottom of the keyboard is better in that I now have a mic and emoji selector there itself thanks to the extra height. The phone feels snappier than the 7 Plus (which wasn’t snappy to begin with but had started showing signs of slowness or stuttering since iOS 13).

I hate the fact that the control center is now on the top rather than at the bottom. The latter was easier. But it’s no biggie I hope. I enjoy the swipe gestures that have replaced the home button – I was kind of used to them from my iPad so this was an easy thing to get used to.

That’s it for now I think. I haven’t actually taken a photo yet or even launched the camera app for that matter! Waiting for a better opportunity tomorrow outside.

I love the screen compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. This is my first OLED and I had heard how good they are and how they make the blacks stand out, now I see it. Am in love with the dark mode themes of most apps now as they look gorgeous.

This is a good post on the new home screen gestures since iPhone X. Good to know I can turn off the phone and press the side switch and any volume button to temporarily disable Face ID and force use of a passcode. That should be useful in a hostile environment I guess where someone could show the phone to your face and unlock it. (Or maybe not, they’d torture the passcode out of me anyways!)

Updates:

(4 days later)

  • No comment on the camera. I haven’t gone out much to take pics on it. The few pics I took in a park seems good (but then they always do with an iPhone). I tried some photos at home in the low lighting. Difficult to judge how good it is. First impressions are that I wasn’t too blown away, but that maybe coz I had some high expectations. Compared to the same scene in my iPhone 7 Plus I didn’t notice any huge improvement. And compared to the same scene from a Pixel 3a (which I have from work) I actually felt the Pixel 3a picture to be better. Anyways, more later. I haven’t take much low lights photos at home before anyways so that’s the best thing for me to judge currently.
  • What irritates me a lot though is the fact that I have to swipe from top for the control center. Boy, I hate that! Aargh. That’s probably my most common gesture on the iPhone, as I like to swipe up the play/ pause/ rewind. Now I have to swipe down from the top right corner so that makes it a balancing act or a two hand act wherein I hold the phone with one hand so it doesn’t fall. I tried swiping down on the home bar so it brings the screen down (the Reachability feature and I then swipe down the now reachable) top right corner, but that’s two gestures and I don’t always manage to swipe down the home bar correctly and instead end up triggering whatever app action is beneath it currently. What I am now experimenting with is the AssistiveTouch option of having the very dim circle at the bottom left of my screen which I can tap to open the control center.
  • Moving around text. Previously I could long press text and that gave a helpful magnifying circle and a pointer I can move around to select the precise word. Now it’s a mess. Got to tap a lot of times and try moving the cursor around to get the right place. Yes I know the long press on spacebar trick, so that’s what I do currently. Doesn’t feel the same though as just tapping around on the screen where the text is.

Thoughts on the Magic Mouse 2

Background: I purchased the Magic Mouse 2 today. I had been vary of purchasing it initially because I saw it with a colleagues and also the Apple Store and was concerned the flat nature of the mouse might not be very ergonomic. It probably still isn’t, but the past few months I had been using a Surface Mobile mouse (review from Windows Central here) and if my hand could get used to its flat nature I figured the Magic Mouse 2 might not be too bad. Plus with the Magic Mouse 2 I’ll get all the gestures so it’s way more useful too.

Very brief thoughts, after a few hours of use:

  • I like it so far. A nice minimal design. I thought the lack of buttons might be a problem (especially, I had read somewhere that the right click is a regular click on the right side and some people found that odd) – but not for me.
  • The mouse is heavy. Which is good. This was unexpected.
  • The two finger gestures are a tad difficult because the mouse itself moves when you do these, so you have to kind of hold the mouse and do the two finger gesture. Just a matter of practice I guess. Something like these MagicGrips might help there but I am not keen on sticking stuff to the mouse.
  • Yeah, it is funny that you have to charge the mouse by sticking a cable to the bottom. Very weird that the mouse lies on its side while you charge. Ugly. :)
  • The entirety of the mouse body is a touch surface, which is cool. You can swipe or click anywhere.

Google search for Apple Music is better than Apple Music search!

It’s annoying how good Google search is. Many a times I search for a song in Apple Music, don’t find it, and think it’s not there. But then I do a Google search for “<song name> iTunes” and bam! it returns me an iTunes link I can click to open the song in Apple Music. :) Neither Bing nor DuckDuckGo do this! It’s irritating because Apple Music should be doing this in the first place (it’s funny, right, that Google indexes Apple Music better than Apple itself) and one more reminder as to how google Google is for searching even with all its privacy concerns etc. 

Bluetooth stutters? Use wireless!

I prefer Bluetooth keyboards and mice to wireless ones because that’s one less adapter worry about. Most keyboards & mouse I used so far were wireless though as that’s popular but after switching to the Mac I invested in a Bluetooth keyboard, Apple Trackpad, and a mouse. The former two work fine but the latter (mouse) isn’t perfect. It works fine mostly but I guess I am sensitive, I can notice a lag with it at times. Initially I tried increasing the sensitivity, moving away USB 3 devices and hubs so they don’t cause any interference … but nothing helped. The mouse was fine about 80% of the time but the 20% where it would stutter began driving me crazy. The issue could be the mouse, or the Bluetooth, and so I bought a Logitech MX Master 2S mouse (saw some great reviews of it) and tried it out today. 

With Bluetooth this one too was stuttering. I guess it’s the angle of my usage. I tend to keep my wrist slanted away from the MacBook so maybe the range is getting cut off? I don’t know. Good thing about the MX Master 2S (and one of the reasons I bought it) is that it comes with a wireless receiver too so I switched to that to see if it makes a difference. And yup, HUGE difference! Now the mouse works as expected. 

On that note, the MX Master 2S is a great mouse for your Mac. It’s got 7 buttons, and you can download the Logitech Options software to customize these. I already had SteerMouse but I decided to go with the Options software as that’s more customized for Logitech. You can customize these 7 buttons to do gestures etc – show launchpad, move desktop spaces, the works! A good investment. 

When I started off with the Mac I had a keyboard, trackpad, mouse, and headphones paired via Bluetooth. I switched the headphones to wired as the audio would stutter or when playing audio the trackpad or mouse would stutter. Now I moved the mouse to wireless. Hopefully the Bluetooth can handle the trackpad and keyboard, else I’ll have to connect the trackpad via cable. Sucks that Bluetooth can’t handle the large number of devices. 

Retina Monitors

I know I touched upon this in passing in some previous post but I thought I should highlight it again. This past month I learnt that monitors resolutions aren’t the only thing that matters, the pixel density too hugely matters. 

I had two monitors – both full HD 1920×1080. They worked perfectly fine under Windows 10 and I never noticed any issues with them. They weren’t expensive monitors either – just two (an LG and a Samsung) monitors I happened to find at a relatively cheap cost, the only criteria being that they support full HD as that resolution was important to me. 

Fast forward to this past month when I purchased the Mac Mini and got this Plugable Thunderbolt Dual HDMI adapter and decided to hook these two up with the Mac Mini. Boy was it a torture working with these monitors after that! The LG one was better than the Samsung but both had such fuzzy text and it just cringed my eyes even looking at that. I Googled about this and found some forum posts that suggested changing the HDMI cable, so I did that but it didn’t improve things by much (maybe a bit, but that’s probably a placebo effect). That’s when I learnt about Pixels Per Inch (ppi) and what Apple means by Retina monitors. 

So – pixels per inch is the pixel density of the monitor. My LG monitor was a 21.5” 22MP58VQ which had a ppi of 102. The Samsung was a 23.5” with a ppi of 93 (yeah, worse than the LG, coz it was larger and so the pixel density is lower). Thing is both of these numbers are low, and I am not sure what is about the macOS but my eyes were able to discern the low ppi on both these monitors. The only way to fix this is to get a monitor with a larger ppi, but unfortunately you don’t get much high ppi monitors in the full HD resolution range. If you want better ppi you must go 4k. A quick Googling on affordable 4k monitors with good ppi (based on opinions from macOS users) pointed me to the 23.8” LG 24UD58 monitor, which has a ppi of 185.

For any one else interested, this DisplaySpecifications site is a good place to input your monitor model and find its ppi. Useful when considering what monitor to purchase. Also, I came across a blog post by Casey Liss (whose podcasts I listen to, e.g. ATP with Marco Arment) and he too recommends the LG 24UD58 as a good budget option, along with some more pricier options. 

Apart from a monitor with high ppi, it is also important to get one that supports HDMI 2 (and not just the monitor, but any adapters too that you use – such as the Plugable one I was using – and also proper cables etc). Only HDMI 2 can run a 4k display at 50 or 60 frames per second so if you are stuck with HDMI 1 then it is better to use DisplayPort. 50 or 60 fps wouldn’t have mattered in my use case (I don’t game) but it is better to be aware and get something that supports it to future proof your investment. 

Once I had all this in place I was able to drive two 4k monitors easily from my Mac Mini. Later on I ditched the Mac Mini and went back to the MacBook Pro as my primary computer (as it fit better with my workflow, while the Mac Mini was better suited to certain other tasks I had in mind) and thus I have finally have decent external monitor output when using macOS. Yay! 

Apple Watch & macOS

Useful things you can do with the Apple Watch

I was’t much of an Apple Watch fan to begin with. I owned a Pebble and was quite happy with it. It showed the time, let me control media, and when paired with an Android phone and a third party app whose name I forget I could even launch media apps from the phone and play. That was awesome, and it ticked the only need I had for a smart watch apart from showing time – let me launch media from the phone coz I don’t like taking it out just to play music. I use wireless headsets anyways (have so, for a long time) so there’s no need to take the phone out to plug a pair of headphones either. 

Pebble went out of business, and my wife gifted me a Series 3 Apple Watch last year. It was cool. I use Apple Music already, and the Music app on the Watch could browse through my Apple Music library on the phone and play music from the there so it plays via Bluetooth. Perfect! Then in a later update Apple removed this functionality and the use of the Apple Watch diminished hugely for me. Later however, they introduced it again and that was cool. 

During the course of time other music or media apps I use too launched Apple Watch apps or improved their existing ones. So now I can launch & control my podcasts from Overcast and Pocket Casts; I can launch music from Apple Music and Spotify (and even mark them as liked or add to library); and Audible has an app that lets you download books to the Watch itself but I don’t use that as it’s not something I am interested in (I am hoping they give the ability to browse through the books in your phone and launch from the app there – that would make the app very useful for me). 

Other media related things you can do with the Apple Watch is use Shazam to quickly find what song is place. It’s a bit slow to launch so I am not a huge fan of the app, but I still have it in my dock so I can launch it if I am lazy to take out the phone. :) And then there’s there the Remote app. This lets me control iTunes on all my Macs as well as my Apple TV. That’s so awesome! It is pretty cool being able to pause or rewind/ fast forward songs on your Mac iTunes from the Watch. And if the Apple TV remote is not around I can play/ pause or navigate around Apple TV from the Watch itself. 

Spotify’s recent App is useful too especially since I have an Amazon Tap and that integrates well with Spotify. So I can (say) launch Spotify from my iPhone and tell it to play via the Tap so the phone isn’t doing any Bluetooth transmitting to the Tap but the Tap streams the music directly. Then, I can use the Spotify app on the Apple Watch to control the playback of the music via the phone of the Tap. So I can increase/ decrease volume of the music being played by the Tap; rewind/ skip tracks etc. Which is nice. 

Lastly, the watch can unlock my Macs if you set it up that way (I haven’t, but it is a useful feature). And if you use the Microsoft Authenticator app it even sends sign in approval requests to the Watch – super cool! 

This is what I mainly use my Apple Watch for and for these tasks the Watch is a pretty good device. I also use it to track my daily moves and calories etc., but I don’t know, I don’t use it extensively for that. I know I used to watch my step count more closely on the Pebble than I do on the Apple Watch. I try and close the rings every day, but that’s more of a best effort than strongly trying to close all rings.

Useful macOS apps

Quick shout out to some useful macOS apps I happened to discover over the past few months of Mac usage. Nothing new here, you’d probably know them all already. 

  • SteerMouse – If you are not a fan of the Apple Mouse (I am not, it’s too small!) but love the macOS gestures and want to get them working somehow with your existing mouse this app can do it. Thus if I left&right click my mouse buttons together I get mission control; I can left&middle click to go one space left; right&middle click to gone one space right; etc. Little stuff, but useful. 
    • SensibleSideButtons – similar to above, but for side buttons. I don’t use it but came across. 
  • BetterTouchTool – I bought this app (as I did SteerMouse too) but I haven’t used it extensively yet. It can customize your Touch Bar and also mouse gestures etc., but there’s so many options and I haven’t had a use case yet. Some day ..
  • Keyboard Cleaner – Obsessed with cleaning the keyboard but don’t want to shutdown the Mac while you do this (so the keys don’t do anything)? Download this free app and launch it. It disables the keyboard until you press a special shortcut to activate it again. Neat huh!
  • Keyboard Maestro – Haven’t used this one but it has good reviews. For customizing keyboard shortcuts etc. I am more of a gestures person currently. 
  • FastScripts & MarsEdit from Red-Sweater: I use the latter for blogging. I haven’t used he former but it lets you create scripts to control & customize things. Looks to be useful; will try sometime.
  • SetApp – an App Store. Pay $10 per month and get access to a variety of apps. 
  • Reeder for Mac – For all your RSS cravings. :) Works perfectly with NewsBlur which I use and pay for. I like RSS, am old fashioned that way. 
  • Underpass: Again, an app I haven’t used but I liked the concept and the story behind it. It’s a file transfer and chat app for use between you own devices – i.e. without need to send stuff to iCloud or email them to yourself. 
  • Time Out: If you spend too much time in front of your Mac you need this app to remind you to take a break.
  • Kinesis Freestyle 2 Blue for Mac: not an app, but an ergonomic keyboard for you Mac. Works over Bluetooth but there are wired versions too if that’s your fancy. I purchased their VIP3 accessories too.
    • Not Mac related, but following the theme of ergonomic behavior and healthy habits I’d also like to point out to the SKARSTA standing desk from IKEA which I use. Let’s you adjust the height via a crank handle. 

FileVault and BlueTooth/ Wi-FI

I don’t have any other place to mention this so might as well put it here. The macOS has a good (but irritating) behavior with respect to BlueTooth and Wi-Fi when FileVault is on. If FileVault (i.e. disk encryption) is on, then macOS disables Wi-Fi and BlueTooth until someone logs in. This means you cannot remotely login to your Mac via VNC or SSH, nor can you login at the console via a BlueTooth keyboard or mouse! Irritating, but yeah I get the idea behind it (the OS does not load any drivers etc. until you login not does it allow remote access – just to keep things secure). This is not explicitly mentioned anywhere but you find mention of this behavior in various forum posts etc. Keep this in my when you use BlueTooth keyboards. 

[Aside] Mac Mini 2018 Teardown & RAM Upgrade

I could never bring myself to open up any of my Apple devices! :) This video is cool though and gives you an idea of what the Mac Mini internals look like. (via)

Happy Diwali!

Yes, I am still around. :)

Been a hectic few weeks. A lot of work. My eyes hurt, my right hand hurts. Too much screen time and typing.

In non-work news though, I am now a Mac user. Yay yippee yay! It was a sudden and unexpected shift, but one long overdue I guess. I have been a Mac wannabe ever since I saw a Mac at some computer exhibition back when I was a school kid. Could never afford a Mac ever although one time I was quite close to buying a Mac Mini but I backed out in the last minute. Anyways, a few months ago (August I think) I finally bought a MacBook Air (no, not the newly released finally updated one, but its older outdated brother).  It was the cheapest Mac-anything I could find, and my wife saw it on a deal online and that got me thinking and I finally jumped in and bought it. I could have gone for the MacBook Pro but that was too pricey. I could have gone for the MacBook but I was aware of Apple’s 2nd gen butterfly keyboard problems and didn’t want to risk ending up with a faulty keyboard. I wasn’t super pumped about the MacBook Air as I knew there was the possibility of a new one coming out in October (as it finally did!) but eventually I figured there’s no point overthinking something and it’s best to just go ahead and get it.

That was a good decision! Loved the MacBook Air and the Mac way of doing things. I had to go traveling soon after that so couldn’t play much with it, but while traveling I saw one of colleagues had a MacBook Pro (not the latest model). While on travel I had been thinking of changing laptops as my current personal laptop was about 5 or 6 years old. I wanted something with at least 32GB RAM in it and oddly none of the Windows laptops I saw in shops or online had that. (Not saying there aren’t Windows laptops with that config; just that they are custom built and not easily available where I am). Anyways, I came to know that I could connect to work too via Mac (as my colleague was doing) and so all that got me thinking about MacBook Pro’s and on a hugely on-the-spur thinking I went ahead and purchased a MacBook Pro. Yup, that was one crazy leap of faith!

The MacBook Pro arrived by the time I returned from my first set of work related travels so I took it along for the second set. Was a pleasant experience working with the macOS. I love the gestures – swiping between screens, apps, etc. So convenient and I sorely miss them when I am back on Windows. The Mac’s keyboard shortcuts aren’t that great – too many keys, I barely know any of them (just screen lock and screenshots). The keyboard shortcuts are a whole level of crazy! It’s good there are so many modifiers and all that but it’s too much for me to keep track of at least after this brief period of working with them.

Anyways, flash forward a few weeks to last week when the new MacBook Air and Mac Mini were announced on Oct 30th. I pre-ordered the Mac Mini right after the announcement and it arrived today! Yay double yippee yay! :) The MacBook Pro replaced my personal Windows laptop and the Mac Mini will replace my personal Windows desktop (which I don’t use for much except media sharing and stuff). Oh, nearly forgot, during this period I also switched to iCloud Photos (I was already on Apple Music so nothing to do there) and slowly started moving some of my stuff from Dropbox to iCloud. Yup, I am on a one-way train out of Windows world to Mac world finally! I am not a fan of one-way trains so I hope this doesn’t backfire, but let’s see … got to go with the moment for now!

I am an Apple fanboy. Have been from my first iPad Mini and all the way through my increasing Apple gadgets. I don’t think I am blindly in love or anything, but I do think Apple products have some magic about them. They make things “easy” or somehow appeal to some part of your self that makes you innately love them. That’s my stand on them at least. I have tried Android phones and Windows & Linux phones and computers; but none of them evoke a feeling of love like an Apple product does. And I have discovered that feeling again with the macOS. Not saying Apple of macOS are perfect, but I tend to love them in-spite of the imperfections.

So that’s it. Once I move the data out of my personal desktop to the Mac Mini I think it’s safe to say I don’t have any more personal devices with Windows on them. I use Windows for work, and I have Windows VMs which I use to play with; but all my primary devices are now Macs.

Happy Diwali again! :)

Sony WH-1000MX2

So, Sony’s WH-1000MX2 successor the WH-1000MX3 was released yesterday. As usual there’s plenty of reviews praising it and how it could dethrone the Bose QC-35 II and how it’s slightly better than the already good WH-1000MX2, etc etc etc.

I think I will skip the WH-1000MX3. Unless the geek in me succumbs to some crazy desire to buy it even though I dislike the WH-1000MX2 – I hope that never happens!

I am in the enviable (to me at least) position of owning the Sennheiser PXC 550, the Bose QC-35 II, and the Sony WH-1000MX2. No, I didn’t buy all of these together … I am not that rich! The purchases happened over the course of a year or two through some patient waiting for deals to come up for these headsets. I started off with the Sennheiser PXC 550 because the Bose QC-35 and the Sony MDR-1000X were both expensive and I was able to get the PXC 550 on a deal from Amazon UK during Christmas/ New Year. I love the PXC 550. They have a lot of the features I want. Excellent mic quality, the ability to simultaneously pair with 2 devices, comfortable to use, touch controls, the ability to connect a computer via USB cable (in addition to the Bluetooth pairing with other devices), a headphone cable that comes with a mic so that you can use the headset with mic too even if its power is dead and you have to connect to a computer/ phone. Plenty of good features, and the noise cancelling’s good too.

Speaking of noise cancelling, I don’t understand all these reviews that say any of these three headphones offer amazing noise cancelling … the reviewer can’t hear the city noise, airplane rumbles above, etc. I use them in the metro and bus and yes they noise cancel a lot but it’s not absolute silence. Maybe it’s because I listen to a lot of audiobooks and so am more perceptive to the noise around me, but I can easily hear announcements and people talking around me (not all the people, but at least the louder ones) even with noise cancelling turned to a max. In fact, for me the noise cancelling of these headphones is on par with a good pair of in-ear earphones as long as they fit in snugly (e.g. the Beats X in my case).

Anyways, back to the Sony WH-1000MX2. About a year and more after buying the PXC 550 I bought the WH-1000MX2 coz they too were on some deal. Initially I was very enthusiastic about these headphones. I mean pretty much every reviews praises them and raves about how awesome they are and totally dethrones the Bose QC 35 … and they don’t even mention the PXC 550 (and if they do it is in passing) because the comparison is almost always between Sony and Bose. The WH-1000MX2 doesn’t dual pair, nor does its cable come with mic nor can it connect to your computer via USB, but its app has a lot of (gimmicky?) features like customizing the noise cancelling based on the environment, and some equalizer settings etc. Like I said, initially I was very enthusiastic about these and started using the WH-1000MX2 a lot more. I even took it on some long trips because of how awesome it is supposed to be on-flight etc. Yup, it’s great and all that … and maybe (just maybe) it’s noise cancelling is a tad better than the PXC 550, but boy is it uncomfortable! I put it on my head, it’s like there’s this big block stuck on it. My head feels heavy. The band is like a clasp around my ears, on my head. The thing feels huge. Forget wearing it on a long distance flight … I must have worn mine for an hour at most before my ears began hurting and I had to take a break. And since then I have an aversion to the WH-1000MX2 so much so that I barely use it nowadays. In fact, just today I thought I’d try it again because it’s been a while … but nope, 15 mins was all I could manage wearing it! I absolutely do not like the WH-1000MX2 due to their size and heaviness. I get a headache pretty soon after wearing it (my head is still aching from the past 15 mins of wearing these).

That’s not to say the PXC 550 is all perfect in terms of wearing comfort. It’s not, but it is nowhere as bad as the WH-1000 MX2. Nowadays I get a headache after an hour maybe of wearing it in the metro (and in fact I have stopped taking it on my commute and switched to the Beats X) but I think it’s more psychological coz these headaches began after using the WH-1000MX2. I think my head somehow reacts negatively to the PXC 550 too coz of the WH-1000MX2. They are not as heavy of big, but yes they are tighter and more snug than the Bose QC 35 II.

And thus we come to the Bose QC 35 II. I got these earlier this year. I waited patiently for a deal, but surprisingly Bose headphones don’t seem to go on deals! Finally I purchased one on a 6-month installment. And am I glad I did that! Of all the three headphones, the Bose QC 35 II is the best in terms of comfort and fit. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten tired wearing it (I hope I don’t jinx it now!), and not only that I love their app and Bluetooth pairing. The QC 35 II, like the PXC 550, can pair to two devices. But unlike the PXC 550 it seems to be smarter. With the PXC 550 say I was paired to my two phones and listening to music on the first one. If I were to open the second phone now, and it was not in a vibration mode, because the phone makes a click sound when it is unlocked the PXC 550 turns its focus to the second phone. In a few seconds it realizes nothing more is happening, but that is a silly irritation to my flow. Later on if the second phone makes any sort of noise, the PXC 550 again focuses on that. In contrast the Bose doesn’t do any of these. It will continue playing music from the first one until I actually start playing some music from the second one (or I get a call on it). That said, I think the Bose is able to pull this off because it does (maybe) low energy Bluetooth pairing with the non-active device. I feel this because I have noticed that occasionally it drops the second device (I wont see the Bose connected to the second device in its status bar) until I push the button on the Bose to make it pair with all devices or until I unlock the phone and then it reconnects. It’s not a big deal and the few times this doesn’t work outweighs the convenience of it not messing things up like the PXC 550 does.

Oh, and the Bose app. Wonderful! The PXC 550 has the most useless app of the lot. (The Sony one is gimmicky like I said above). Not only does the Bose app provide regular firmware updates to the headphones it also makes pairing with more than 2 devices a breeze. I am able to disconnect a device from the app itself, thus putting the headphones into pairing mode and then connect to it from another device. So convenient! If only other headphone manufactures too would put their app to good use like this.

If the Bose QC 35 II has one thing against it, it’s the thing that it disconnects from all devices after a timeout (5 mins by default I think). So if I am listening to something and pause the music for a while, it will disconnect after 5 mins. Of course I can push a button to make it pair again, but often one tends to forget that. For now I bumped up the timeout to 20 mins so it’s not a big deal. However, I noticed that when I have the Bose paired with my laptop over Bluetooth and I am using it for calls via Lync on Citrix, even though the Bose is active it seems to think it is not being used and so after the timeout period it just disconnects. Crazy! Thankfully that is not a frequent thing I do so I don’t really care much for it.

Anyways, to conclude. Sony WH-1000MX2 sucks, and I don’t buy all these reviews that praise the WH-1000MX3 like it’s some amazing thing that will dethrone all other noise cancelling headphones. Nothing beats the Bose QC 35 II my book currently.

New MacBook Air

So I finally dipped my feet into the Mac ecosystem and bought myself a MacBook Air. Yes, I know it’s 3 years old but what the heck – it was the cheapest Mac I could buy! Went for the 8GB/ 256GB i5 version as that’s the one I found on a deal with our local online shopping provider. Might have gone with a different spec if I decided to go with the version available officially with Apple but a) that had a UK English keyboard and b) the same model there was about 33% more expensive so if I were to get a better spec’d one I’d be spending a lot lot more (bringing the costs up to the MacBook range). 

One thing about MacBook purchases though – it isn’t easy. I mean, with an iPhone. you only have to choose along the color & size, and then pick the capacity you want. But with Macs I have to worry about size, CPU (i5 or i7), RAM, and storage; and each choices ups the price by so much! And more than the price the choices just exhaust. It’s the paradox of choice concept (I’ve read the book) and the feeling is similar to Windows laptops where there’s so many choices and you just get bogged down trying to pick what you want and eventually let go of the idea itself. Which is what I had done here (let go of the idea) until my wife suggested this MacBook Air model that was on a deal and I thought what the heck and just purchased it. My focus here is to get something that will get me a toehold in the Mac ecosystem and probably settling on price as a criteria than anything else was what was needed. 

Oh, and the MacBook Air is the only one with a decent set of ports. Yikes! All the other MacBooks have just USB-C ports so there’s the additional cost of dongles and the hassle of having to carry them around. If it wasn’t for the dongles and the fact that the MacBook has a 2nd generation butterfly keyboard which is known for problems (which is fixed in the MacBook Pro’s 3rd generation keyboard) I might have gone for the MacBook. It has more colors too. 

Anyways, back to the MacBook Air. I’ve had it for less than a day now so these are just initial thoughts. 

  • I love the keyboard and size. There’s a lot of room for the hand, and the keys feel good to type on. It’s a very “lapable” laptop. 
  • I thought I’d be put off by the 1440×900 screen as I am so used to full HD nowadays and when I had recently tried using a 1440×900 external monitor I didn’t like it at all, but no I don’t mind this screen. Yes I notice the difference but I don’t mind it. 
  • I like the feel of the OS. I had various people tell me it is complicated and unintuitive etc. but I don’t see that. I love the two finger way of scrolling up and down pages and going back and forward, and the three finger way of moving across apps. That feels very intuitive and much better than having a touch screen. There’s a lot more gestures but I am yet to get the hang of that. I tried to memorize those initially but then figured I’ll pick them up as I go. I think I know the main ones that I am interested in at least. 
  • It’s a jarring experience going to the App Store and seeing all the prices! Boy. It’s like the pre-iPhone days when software used to be expensive. Pretty much everything is US$10 and above, and if something is free it is bound to have a in-add purchase. Even the same app which for iPhone & iPad is (say) US$5 would be US$50 or above here! I imagine it is because the code base is different and so there’s more effort? I don’t know. That’s something I am having trouble getting my head around. The Windows OS store apps are much cheaper (but yeah there aren’t many). Anyways, the App Store is like a trip back in time to expensive software. I don’t think I’ll be buying much apps. Or I hope I won’t be buying much apps – it is not a sustainable option. 
  • The laptop came with MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1 and I couldn’t update to the latest 10.13.6 via the App Store. I downloaded it and tried to upgrade manually, but that failed saying the volume doesn’t meet some pre-requisites. I downloaded 10.13.2 and 10.13.3 and was able to upgrade to them manually, but 10.13.4 fails with the same error. That’s when I came across the macOS Recovery options, especially the Internet Recovery option which you get to by pressing Option-Command (⌘)-R (instead of just Command (⌘)-R for regular recovery). Internet Recovery actually connects to the Internet (it prompts you for Wi-Fi details etc) and can download the latest version and do a fresh install. When I tried this it complained my disk was still being encrypted and so it cannot upgrade. Am guessing that is why the update previously failed so I’ll wait for the encryption to finish and try again. That is so cool though, being able to connect to the Internet and do a recovery! Windows recovery options are nothing compared to this. Even the Recovery screen has a good GUI etc. (of course, that’s easy for Apple to do as it controls the hardware; versus Microsoft which can’t cater for every single display where Windows might be installed on). 
    • Update: After encryption completed I was able to install 10.13.4 successfully. I tried to just to 10.13.6 directly but that failed. I realized that these updates are deltas so I’ll just have to install 10.13.5 and then 10.13.6. Tried that and now my system is finally up to date. Yay! Pity MacOS doesn’t do cumulative updates. 
  • What else? The Finder is good, the uniform way in which each app shows a menubar where you can go and find its options etc. is good. I love the UI as expected for its consistency and sleekness. I also loved how I could just click on the Apple icon and go to “About this Mac” to quickly find its OS version, free storage etc. I don’t know why I liked that, but I found it incredibly thoughtful of Apple to present this information via this option. 
  • There’s still (obviously) a lot to pick up. Keyboard shortcuts and gestures etc. 
  • Oh, forgot. Installing apps from outside the App Store is cute in the way you download the DMG file and then (in most cases) just drag and drop the application to the Applications folder. I remember reading somewhere that in the Mac each application is sandboxed to its own hierarchy or something so it’s not like Windows or Linux where everything just writes to a common place and there’s dependencies and DLL hell etc. 
  • I love how the MacOS restores all my previously open apps after a reboot/ shutdown. It’s just the other day I was wishing Windows could do something similar (my laptop crashed and I had to restore all my Windows) and it was pleasant to see the MacOS do exactly this whenever I’d reboot. Such a user friendly and useful thing to do!

More later!

New AirPods

So I finally purchased a pair of Apple AirPods. There was a deal going on and I got a good additional 20% as there was an offer on my credit card.

  • I can’t control the volume with it (except using Siri).
  • I have to choose between whether I want to be able to pause the music via double tap or go to previous or next tracks. I can customize the double tap on either side AirPod so I only have two choices really.
  • Good thing though is that I can pause by removing either of the AirPods.
  • The fit is good too. I expected it to fall out as Apple EarPods have never fit me; but no, this one stays. Good job!
  • Audio quality is ok as expected. No large sound stage. No bass (I don’t mind that). Good for podcasts and audiobooks which is my use case.
  • The lack of much controls customization irks me though. No other vendor would have been able to get away with that in my opinion.
  • Update after using it for a day: I love the fact that I can use it just one AirPod at a time. That’s super handy. That alone plus the small size and that it’s light and that it fits in my ear and I barely notice it makes it a very useful gadget.

Lovin’ iPhone portrait mode

I started using a work provided iPhone 8 recently, side by side to my personal iPhone 7 Plus. I opted for a golden iPhone 8 and I love that look on the glass back. In terms of prettiness I so much prefer the iPhone 8 to the 7 Plus. It’s a much less finger print magnet too. I think it’s my fingers – they sweat – so the back of the iPhone 7 Plus gets all sweaty after a while of use. But no such issues with the iPhone 8.

I don’t think I’ll ever buy a personal non Plus size phone though. I don’t use the portrait mode much but I miss the dual lens on the Plus when I take pics with the iPhone 8. And the size of the Plus is convenient for typing and watching movies. I notice that I tend to use the iPhone 8 more as a phone or checking work emails or browsing something which quickly, but long term I prefer the iPhone 7 Plus for the size.

Here’s a nice (personal opinion!) pic I took with the iPhone 7 Plus in portrait mode now. That’s what prompted this post.

In other news I have purchased a TORRO case for the iPhone 7 Plus. They look so good! It was an impulse purchase and I hope to get it tomorrow.

TIL: DisplayPort is cool and can support multiple monitors

I’ve always seen the DisplayPort and mini-DisplayPort ports on desktops and laptops but never paid much attention to them. I end up using the DVI or HDMI ports usually and DisplayPort was always that “inconvenient” port for which I’d need an adapter – like DisplayPort to DVI or HDMI. Today I learnt that DisplayPort has very high throughput and that DisplayPort 1.2 and above (we are currently on 1.4) supports something called Multi Stream Transport which lets you hook up more than 1 monitor to a single port using a hub like this. That is so amazing! So I no longer have to fuss about with extra graphics cards just to get an extra DVI / HDMI port. All I have to do is buy one of these hubs and I am set. Nice!

Bose SoundSport Wireless

I had got myself a pair of Beats Wireless X some weeks back. I am not a Beats fan per se, but I bought these as they come with the W1 chip and I was curious. They were decently priced too. 

I loved these for the fit and sound quality. I didn’t expect much in terms of sound but it was great (I was listening to the score of Flash vs Arrow while trying these and it was amazing). I think the sound was great also due to the fit. They went deep into my ears and were snug. Nice!

I didn’t like them for their length. It was not bad but a tad shorter would have been preferred. I wouldn’t have minded if the neckband wasn’t really a neckband but just a part of the overall cable. More flexible/ foldable etc I mean. I wasn’t a fan of the carrying pouch it came with, but I got the hang of it after reading the manuals and watching some YouTube videos. What I absolutely hated was the powering on and pairing part – it was always a hit and miss pressing the power button and waiting for it to pair. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t. (So much for the W1!)

Unfortunately these earphones broke after a week of use (maybe even less). I had worn them out for a walk and also for a visit to my daughter’s swimming classes. Both times the environment was humid and I had sweated a lot – I figure that’s what broke it. The next day I noticed they ran out of battery even though I had charged the previous day, and then when I tried charging again I saw that they weren’t charging at all. Apparently it’s a known issue, and the only fix is a replacement. I sent it back to the shop but they couldn’t replace it and thus refunded me. 

Boo. 

Using the Beats spoilt me though so I Googled for a good pair of Bluetooth in ear headphones and came across the Bose SoundSport Wireless via What Hi-Fi. Ordered online and got these today. Here’s some first impressions. 

Their fit isn’t as snug as the Beats but it is something. It’s solid. One wouldn’t think these will fit in so strongly (and these aren’t my first Bose headphones with their special Stay Hear tips) but they do. I tried pulling them out via a few tugs and they didn’t budge. Nice!

Since the fit isn’t snug though a lot of background noise comes in. That spoils the listening experience if you are outside and it’s noisy. They are less noise isolating than most of my cheaper in ear headphones. I wish it was better. 

The sound signature is amazing. That’s one area where again Bose is different but good. It’s very “clean”. Nothing extra/ punchy. Feels very pure. Not sure if such words make sense in this context but that’s what I feel like. I have noticed these with other Bose headphones too. I wouldn’t say I am always a fan of these as I prefer my Sennheiser’s over Bose for instance, but that’s just coz I prefer the Sennheiser sound signature and I know in my head that the Bose signature is unique and has its place. I don’t dislike the sound signature as I might of other brands. 

As is fashion the headphones come with an app too. And unlike the Beats and many other Bluetooth headphones you can pair two phones at the same time (note: same time – simultaneously). That’s convenient for a chap like me who has two phones.