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I broke up with wireless earbuds this year — here's why – Tom's Guide

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This is the year that I finally broke up with wireless earbuds. We tried much too long to make things work, but I’ve decided it’s time to face the music, even if I’m the only one who can hear it. Earbuds and I just aren’t meant to be.

I won’t go as far as diagnosing myself with whatever  phobia pertains to placing tiny objects in your ears, but something about cramming buds so close to my brain doesn’t sit right with me anymore. And I’m not sure it ever did. 

As my bank account can attest, I tried to not avail to find the best wireless earbuds for me. Jaybird X3, Powerbeats 2, Powerbeats Pro, first-generation AirPods and, most recently, AirPods Pro are some of the models I’ve flirted with. Despite the variety, each purchase spiraled into the same old story. 

At first the design would lure me in like a moth to a flame. I especially liked the look of Powerbeats Pro, and thought they’d seem stylish looped around my ears. I’m not sure what I was thinking with AirPods — they’re still hideous, though for a moment I fell for the trend. Either way, I’d soon realize my new wireless earbuds are just a pretty face.

These trysts went one of two routes: I’d either retreat in devastating discomfort after wearing the buds for more than a few hours, or they’d fall out of my ears before reaching that threshold. In the case of the truly wireless models, we’d part on more chaotic terms. Washing machines, street drains and crowded LIRR train cars are just some of the venues where my past earbuds met their demise.

Real headphones or bust

Besides being easy to lose or misplace, most wireless earbuds failed to impress me in terms of audio performance. I found myself cheating with cans and dismissing buds to random desk drawers and backpack compartments. I’ve been using the excellent Sony WH-1000XM4 and the luxurious AirPods Max recently, and it’s almost unfair to compare both to any in-ear models.

Not only over-ear headphones significantly more comfortable and less likely to fall off, they’re actually capable of creating all-encompassing listening experience and blocking out surrounding sounds, With concerts on hiatus, great headphones are as close as I’ve come to getting my fix of live music. 

The AirPods Pro come the closest to keeping up with real headphones, but I’m turned off by the call quality and can never seem to keep them charged.

I wouldn’t feel so entangled in my fleeting earbuds affairs if nearly every consumer tech company hadn’t launched a pair or three in the last 12 months that I at least wanted to try. And that’s before considering the best fake AirPods, or AirPods look-alikes, if you will. I do my best to keep an open mind about products but for the love of god, let there be less wireless earbuds in 2021.

I’ll admit wireless earbuds probably beat ear-covering headphones when it comes to working out. But again, why do we need so many options?

Yes, I know it’s absurd to wish wireless earbuds would vanish from earth Endgame-style. I recognize they’re practical for some people, but I am not some people. My wallet and I have been tempted and scorned as if wireless earbuds are the bad boyfriend I’ve gone back to far too many times. 

If you’d like to join me on blocking out wireless earbuds, check out our guide to the best headphones. There you’ll find plenty of unobtrusive, over-ear options worth your time and money.

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

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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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Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro flagship smartphone to come with 120x zoom support – gizmochina

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After announcing its latest Mi 11 flagship smartphone a few weeks ago, Xiaomi started selling the device earlier this month. Now, the Chinese company is gearing up to launch a new variant in the lineup, dubbed Mi 11 Pro.

Now, the latest report coming from popular leaker ‘Digital Chat Station’ reveals that the upcoming Mi 11 Pro will have support for 120x zoom through its rear-facing camera setup. This seems to be pretty much in line with what has been rumored so far.

Instead of the triple-camera setup on the Mi 11, the Pro variant will come with a quad-camera configuration on the back panel. Also, the company seems to have ditched the design of the vertically-aligned sensor found on Mi 10 Pro to a 2×2 grid design.

As for the other specifications, reports indicate that the Mi 11 Pro smartphone will have the same display as the Mi 11. It will feature a 6.81-inch 2K curved display offering a 120Hz refresh rate, 515PPI pixel density, and a peak brightness of 1500nits. Additionally, the device is also expected to have support for MEMC and SDR to HDR conversion.

EDITOR’S PICK: Motorola Edge S confirmed to launch on January 26th with Snapdragon 870 inside

Mi 11 Pro
Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro Render

Given that it’s a flagship offering from Xiaomi and Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is the most advanced chipset out there in the market, the device will be powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the same as the Mi 11. We also expected to see multiple versions of the phone based on the memory configuration.

In the software department, the phone is likely to be running the latest Android 11 operating system along with the company’s own MIUI custom user interface on top. More information about the device is expected to surface online ahead of its official launch, which will take place after the Spring Festival in China, after mid-February.

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Pfizer tells Canada it will not receive any Covid-19 vaccine doses next week – CNN International

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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure Canadians that vaccine deliveries would pick up again in a few weeks and that the overall goal, to have every willing Canadian vaccinated by September, would remain on track.
But it was Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford who bluntly voiced the frustration of many provincial leaders as Pfizer continues to cut its vaccine delivery schedule to Canada.
“We got to be on these guys like a blanket, I’d be outside that guy’s house. Every time he moved, I’d be saying, ‘Where’s our vaccines?’ Other people are getting them, the European Union is getting them, why not Canada? That’s my question to Pfizer, we need your support,” said Ford during a Tuesday news conference.
Canada’s supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine comes from the European allotment and not from nearby manufacturing facilities in the US, since the Trump administration made it clear vaccines would not be exported.
“There’s a plant, a Pfizer plant, six hours in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with the Americans,” Ford said. “My American friends help us out, we need help once again as we did with the PPE. You have a new President, no more excuses we need your support, and we look forward to your support and that’s a direct message to President (Joe) Biden, ‘help out your neighbor.'”
Ford made a direct plea to President-elect Joe Biden for a million vaccines for Canada.
The incoming Biden administration is unlikely to release vaccine doses for export in the short term as Biden transition officials have stated they are uncertain of the current supply of vaccines available in the US.
Canadian government officials made it clear Tuesday that the shortfall in deliveries from Pfizer would result in a “major reduction” in vaccinations in the coming weeks.
“There will be a considerable impact across all provinces,” said Major Gen. Dany Fortin, the Canadian commander in charge of the vaccine rollout, adding, “the overall impact over the next month is in the range of a 50% decrease of expected allocation.”
The pandemic curve in Canada is beginning to show signs of bending downward after weeks of lockdowns. But hospitalizations remain high, and officials say the overall death toll during this second wave could eventually be more dire than the first.
“We’re all contributing to reducing the burden on the health system, supporting our health care workforce in the difficult task of planning and implementing mass vaccine rollout and giving vaccines a longer runway to begin to work as access expands to reach all Canadians,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer during a Tuesday news conference.
Tam added on average, about 140 virus-related deaths are reported in Canada each day.

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