Tech Round-Up: February 2021

Samsung
Samsung

Pandemic or otherwise, a constant in every year is the sheer speed with which February passes. Yet, for such a short month, the leaps and bounds in which the latest in tech products are released are of an impressive scale, and volume!

But given the reclusive nature of our lives this last one year, it’s no surprise that tech products have gained a greater (than usual) significance in our lives. And with the continuing pandemic, which seemingly has no real end in sight, increasing our collection of high-end toys may be the only way to continue weathering the isolation of this era. 

And true to the diversity that technology offers us, this month’s selection alone is enough to please technophiles of every persuasion. New tech releases are also catering to our new digital lifestyles. 

Audio

KEF’s Wireless Earbuds

Despite its recognition as one of the best known audio brands in the world, KEF is only now entering the wireless earbuds foray with the Mu3. 

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KEF

In addition to boasting a distinctive design achieved in collaboration with Welsh industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, the earbuds in the Mu3 feature two 8.2mm full-range dynamic drivers tuned to deliver “rich midrange, detailed bass and crisp high tones”. KEF’s technological edge also enhances battery life, allowing for a whopping 9 hours playtime on one charge, with an additional 15 hours of charge stored in the case. A fast charge of 15 minutes offers 1 hour worth of listening.

The Mu3 is retailing online at US$249 or S$329 at the time of writing.

Planet Beyond’s Fashionable Earbuds

Given the evolution of the watch from being an integral part of life as a timepiece to becoming an accessory of choice, often verging on being more fashion than functional, it was only a matter of time before the wireless earbuds of this era followed suit.

Planet Beyond

Planet Beyond’s PB01X earbuds come in a nautilus shape we’ve never seen before, complete with accessories that will adorn your ears. The head turners come in bright silver, gold, and rose gold colours, and come with four different add-ons: constellation, leaves, shooting star, and supernova. There’s little information where substance is concerned, although Planet Beyond has revealed each charge to give 5 hours of listening time, and 30 hours with the case. 

Planet Beyond’s PB01X earbuds start at $188 on their website. 

Creative’s Conference Calls Enhancing USB DAC and Headset

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Creative

Made over a pandemic-laden year and a new era of conference calls, Creative’s Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 comes packed with smart communication features. The pocket-sized USB DAC when plugged into your computer comes with features like VoiceDetect and NoiseClean, which can help automatically mute and unmute you, and provide two-way noise cancellation. Expect high-res audio up to 24-bit / 192kHz playback.

Buy the Sound Blaster PLAY! 4 online on Creative for $49. 

Audioengine’s Affordable A1 Wireless Speakers

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Audioengine

If you’ve always wanted an Audioengine product, perhaps the new A1 wireless speakers might be perfect for you. These speakers support all major codes, including aptX, AAC, and SBC, and come with Bluetooth 5.0. The wired input point available is a 3.5mm jack – the lack of a USB input point may be an issue for some. The A1 speakers are made of medium density fibreboard, and have 2.75-inch aramid fibre woofers and 0.75-inch silk dome tweeters.

Buy the Audioengine A1 on Audioengine’s flagship store on Lazada, for $369. 

Video

Fujifilm’s Most Compact Mirrorless Entry, the X-E4

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Fujifilm

An update over 2017’s X-E3, the X-E4 is a contender in today’s mirrorless camera space, boasting a new sensor, autofocus system, faster shooting, and improved video recording capability. With a significantly slimmer body and weighing in at only 364g, this is certainly a case of great things coming in small packages.

The X-E4 is S$1,499 for just the body, and S$1,599 with the XF27mm F2.8 WR lens.

The Sony ZV-1 Offers Users a Firmer Grip on Vlogging

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Sony

Sony’s already awesome ZV-1 now has a firmware update that not only enables webcam functionality when connected to your computer, but also the Sony Xperia 1 II or Xperia 5 II smartphones which will allow you to livestream while on-the-go while also using your phone’s screen as a secondary display.

The ZV-1 is available on the Sony online store for S$949. The firmware update is available for both Windows and Mac.

Computers

Go with the Flow with the Zenbook Duo 14

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Asus

Asus’ Zenbook Dup 14 goes with the likes of the Nintendo 2DS, offering a laptop with dual screens. Following up from its 2019 predecessor, the new Zenbook Duo 14 is an improvement which further enforces the functionality of dual screen laptops. The laptop packs an i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB of low-power DDR4X memory, 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD, two Thunderbolt 4 certified USB-C port, and an NVIDIA GeForce MX450 GPU, all in its 1.69cm body, and weighing in at about 1.6kg.

The Zenbook Duo 14 retails at S$2,598 exclusively on the Asus online store.

Check our Razer’s 10-port RGB USB Dock

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Razer

Razer’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is flashy, just how you’ll like it. Four of its ports are USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 devices. Three other ports are USB-A ports, and they’ve got USB 3.2 Gen 2 support, with the ability to offer 10Gbps each. To round it all off, there’s also a 3.5mm audio jack and an SD card reader, which can read cards of up to UHS-II and SD 4.0.

With all of the high-speed port features it’s packing, and the Razer Chroma RGB lighting, it’s no surprise that the dock requires a 135W power supply.

The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is retailing at S$599 on Razer’s online store!

Phones

Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Lands in Singapore

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Xiaomi

Xiaomi faces off against other phone brands with their Mi 11’s commitment to proving buyers can have their cake and eat it, too. In addition to Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset and a unique LiquidCool heat dissipation technology, the Mi 11 is almost like the missing link between phones and computers.

With an audio system by Harman Kardon and a 6.81” AMOLED DotDisplay, the Mi 11 experience promises you a theatre in the palm of your hand.

The Mi 11 retails at S$896 on Lazada.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21/S21+ Goes… Smaller?

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Samsung

As luxurious as it may be to possess 256GB of storage in your pocket, the price point may be a tad higher than what customers may be willing to pay for that extra space. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and S21+, which initially hit retail at 256GB capacities, is now releasing 128GB variants for those more conservative in storage capacity and wallet capacity.

The S21 is available in Phantom Violet and Phantom Gray colours with a retail price of S$1,178, while the S21+ is available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Violet, retailing at S$1,428.

Watches

Galaxy Watch Active 2

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Samsung

If you’re hankering for an accessory to pair with your new Samsung phone, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has now hit retail with a new Violet and Rose Gold pairing for its strap and case, respectively. Features include added automatic tracking for more exercises, advanced metrics, and a touch bezel among other things. 

Retailing at S$398 on the Samsung store, the Active 2 allows you to literally communicate from the back of your hand.

Catch’em All! Baby-G x Pokemon’s Collab Watches

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Casio

In Casio’s second time teaming up with Pokemon to bring Baby-G watches, expect baby pink watches with a simple and gentle camo pattern! The watch is made for fans who are looking to sport what is perhaps a less striking aesthetic than what the first wave presented – a black colouration with Pikachu bolt-motifs to decorate the straps. 

This watch comes perfectly packaged in a Pokeball casing, and makes a lovely nod to the number 25! That’s Pikachu’s number in the Pokedex. 

Catch the Baby-G x Pokemon watches online, or at physical G-SHOCK stores!

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