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AirPods Max alternative: The excellent Soundcore Life Q30 for $65 (save $15, but also $484) – CNET



Hey, look: These headphones come with a nonridiculous case.

David Carnoy/CNET

Even if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t spend $549 on Apple’s AirPods Max. Not when there are so many good (and even great) headphones that cost less. Way, way less.

Case in point: For a limited time, and while supplies, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is on sale for $65. That’s only $15 off the regular price, but it’s also $484 off the price of the AirPods Max. The only bummer here: Amazon currently shows an in-stock date of Dec. 21, so if you’re eyeballing this for a Christmas gift, it might not make it in time.

The Q30 is an over-the-ear set of headphones that offers multiple modes of active noise canceling: Transport promises to minimize airplane engine noise; Outdoor is for traffic and wind; and Indoor tackles “the sound of busy offices,” which I guess means voices. There’s also a transparency mode that lets the outside world in.

Like to fine-tune your listening? There’s a Soundcore app that offers a whopping 22 equalizer presets and lets you set your own as well. In addition, the Q30 offers NFC pairing, multipoint connections, a 40-hour battery (according to Soundcore) and a nonridiculous carrying case.

Read more: Apple’s AirPods Max Smart Case looks like an ‘over-the-shoulder boulder holder’

That’s a pretty impressive feature set given the price, but how does the Q30 sound? I haven’t tested it myself, but here’s what CNET’s David Carnoy had to say:

As far as sound, comfort level and build quality, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Anker’s SoundCore Life Q30 for the money. It doesn’t have quite the clarity or bass definition as some of the top premium models, but it’s less than a third of the price and gets you about 75% of the way there in terms of sound: It’s well balanced overall, with punchy bass. Noise canceling is good for the price, though not up to the level of the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Carnoy also notes that while the Q30 performs reasonably well for phone calls, it doesn’t do a great job reducing background noise.

So, are these on the same level as the AirPods Max — or, for that matter, the latest from Bose or Sony? Of course not. Are they damn good headphones for the price? No question about it.

Read more: $549 AirPods Max: All the things you could buy instead of Apple’s new headphones

Want to hear more thoughts on the AirPods Max and how they stack up to the competition? Check out this episode of the Cheapskate Show podcast!

Bonus deal roundup: $18 hand warmers, $20 Wyze Cam, $40 Immortals Fenyx Rising

A few quick-hit items you don’t want to miss today:

Enjoy your day!

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AirPods Max hands-on: New noise-canceling king


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codeseBay couponsSamsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.

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This week in SooToday+: A members-only flash auction and why you shouldn't wash your eyes out with cola – SooToday



Get ready to bid! SooToday+ is happy to bring members our first flash auction beginning Friday, January 22 at 12 noon and closing Sunday, January 24 at 8 p.m. +Members can bid on select gift cards starting at half of their value. 

Happening this week for SooToday+ members:

Got a project you have been wanting to tackle? +Members can enter for a chance to win our latest giveaway, a $300 gift card to Home Hardware! Remember to enter DAILY – which means you will have even MORE chances to WIN! 

The clock is ticking but there’s still time to enter for the chance to win a $100 gift card from Wacky Wings. Contest closes tonight at 11:59.

We’ll have a brand new contest beginning tomorrow! One lucky SooToday+ member will have the chance to win a $100 gift card to Paesano Foods.

All you need is love! Be sure to check out this month’s contest +member writing contest, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

On the editorial side Mike Purvis tells you why you shouldn’t wash your eyes out with Cola and other tidbits learned while covering conflict.

We want to know what your pandemic passion projects are in a new poll.

Our latest member-only offer from our +partners:

*members may be required to present their virtual ID card and/or a unique promo code at checkout

Get 10% off apparel from Brand Dead apparel – check your Member Dashboard for details

Get 10% off apparel from God’s Country Clothing – check your Member Dashboard for details

Get 10% off tire or oil changes from Autoworks – check your Member Dashboard for details

Get a free consultation from Law Office of J. David Manuel – check your Member Dashboard for details

Get 13% off all services at Pidges’ Car Wash – check your Member Dashboard for details

And if you missed it, here’s what else happened last week:

We had a column from editor Mike Purvis about the ongoing struggle of cold-weather journalism, and we be brought you a conversation Darren Taylor recently had with a Sault native whose passion for healthcare was recently recognized in the U.S.

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MediaTek taps TSMC 6-nanometer tech for new flagship 5G phone chips –



By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – MediaTek Inc on Wednesday said it would use Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s 6-nanometer chipmaking technology for its newest chips aimed at premium 5G smartphones.

Taiwan’s MediaTek appears to be one of the first high-volume customers for the technology and is among a handful of companies with modem technology to connect phones to mobile data networks, competing against Qualcomm Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. The new chips announced Wednesday, called Dimensity 1100 and 1200, build on MediaTek’s efforts to go after higher-priced handsets where Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips have historically had stronger market share.

Like Qualcomm and Apple, MediaTek designs chips and then contracts out production to outside firms. The newest chips will be made at TSMC, on a chipmaking technology called 6-nanometer. Qualcomm’s chips are being made by Samsung on 5-nanometer technology while Apple Inc uses TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology.

Smaller chipmaker technology is faster and more power efficient. MediaTek’s previous chips used a 7-nanometer process, and moving to newer manufacturing technology along with advances in the chip’s design make it 22% faster at computing tasks while consuming 25% less power, Finbarr Moynihan, general manager of international corporate sales, told Reuters in an interview.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Galaxy S21 Plus specs vs. S21 Ultra vs. S20 Plus vs. S20 Ultra: Samsung S phones compared – CNET




Drew Evans/CNET

Samsung’s trio of phones that make up its flagship S21 lineup have arrived — and the higher-end S21 Plus and S21 Ultra come packed with all the trappings you’d expect from a premium Android phone. All three are available to preorder now, and will ship on Jan. 29.

If you’re in the market for something fancier than the base model, it’s probably a good time to take a closer look at how Samsung’s pro phones, the S21 Plus and the S21 Ultra, compare with each other, and how they differ from their predecessors.

The standout change to the S21 is the price tag. Following lackluster sales of the S20 family, the South Korean company slashed prices by $200 across the S21 line, with the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra starting at $1,000 (£949, AU$ 1,549) and $1,200 (£1,329, AU$1,849) respectively.

The S21 Pro and S21 Ultra also have the expected incremental upgrades working in their favor: Processors are speedier, the displays have been upgraded and the cameras have been improved to take crisper photos and videos. The S21 Ultra now also supports Samsung’s stylus, the S Pen (sold separately), which blurs the line between the S series and the more professional Note series. 

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We unbox and go hands-on with the Galaxy S21 and S21…


Samsung has also packed some refinements into the S21 Ultra’s camera system, but it hasn’t updated headline features such as 8K resolution and the phone’s 108-megapixel shooter. If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll likely care that the S21 Ultra comes equipped with two telephoto lenses (as opposed to one in the S20 Ultra) that offer 3x and 10x optical zoom, instead of digital zoom. Plus the main image sensor is apparently larger, which will allow it to capture photographs with improved dynamic range.

It’s also important to highlight the features Samsung removed to allow it to start at those lower prices. Because Samsung slashed prices of all three of S21 phones, it needed to save on costs by eliminating expandable storage entirely and ditching the in-box charger and earphones. The pricier S20 Pro and Ultra meanwhile, let you add up to 1TB storage and include those bundled accessories.

For more details on the differences between the S21 Ultra, S21 Pro, S20 Ultra and S20 Pro, take a look at our specs chart below.

Galaxy S21 Pro vs. S21 Ultra vs. S20 Pro vs. S20 Ultra

Galaxy S21 Plus Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display size, resolution 6.7-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2,400×1,080 pixels) 6.8-inch Edge WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3,200×1,440 pixels), 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Pixel density 394 ppi 515 ppi 525ppi 511ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 2.97×6.35×0.30 in 2.97×6.50×0.35 in 2.9×6.37×0.30 in 2.99×6.57×0.35 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 75.6×161.5×7.8 mm 75.6×165.1×8.9 mm 73.7×161.9×7.8 mm 76.0×166.9×8.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.12 oz; 202g 8.07 oz; 229 g 6.56 oz; 186g 7.76 oz; 220g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 11 Android 10 Android 10
Camera 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 10-megapixel (telephoto), 10-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel 40-megapixel 10-megapixel 40-megapixel
Video capture 8K 8K 8K 8K
Processor Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz +1.8GHz) Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz +1.8GHz) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)
Storage 128GB/256GB 128GB/256GB, 512GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB, 16GB 12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE) 12GB, 16GB
Expandable storage None None Up to 1TB Up to 1TB
Battery 4,800 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen In-screen
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30X Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging, IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 100X Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging, 10x optical zoom 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; water resistant (IP68) 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68)
Price off-contract (USD) $1,000 (128 GB)  $1,200 (128 GB)  $1,199 (128 GB) , $1,349 (512GB) $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB)
Price (GBP) £949 £1,329 £999 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1,549 AU$1,849 AU$1,499 (4G), AU$1,649 (128GB), AU$1,899 (512GB) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB)

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