If you want a pair of earbuds that justify their price tag, then the OnePlus Buds are for you. I’ve been testing out these tiny earbuds for a bit over a week, and they’re very quickly becoming one of my favourite pairs.
Right off the top, the Buds make me happy because they only cost $109 CAD in Canada, which for earbuds, is near the top of my price range. Compared to other pairs like AirPods or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+, they’re a steal.
The trend of jamming tons of features into earbuds has always been crazy to me (I’m looking at you Pixel Buds and Surface Earbuds). Sure, extra functionality is excellent, but for the average person, spending over $200 on a pair of earbuds may not be worth the cost, especially after using the OnePlus Buds.
These earbuds prove that focusing on the two most important aspects of wireless earbuds — battery and sound — is all you need to do. While the earbuds fall short in a few areas, they aren’t making me dig into my savings, so I’m more willing to forgive their few shortcomings.
Earbuds for the people
When you first get the earbuds, you’ll need to connect them to your phone. Unlike many cheap sets that pair to your smartphone via each earbud, which can lead to connecting to only one earphone often like the SkullCandy set I reviewed a month ago, the Oneplus Buds are surprisingly more versatile since they connect through their charging case.
You can still listen with one ear as well similar to other higher-end wireless earbuds. You need to take out an earphone which automatically pauses your music, and then just replay the music without putting the other earbud back in your ear. When you do decide to double up again, just put the bud back in your ear, and it seamlessly starts playing again.
The auto-pause feature is also quite handy to have, and I wish more earbud makers followed the AirPods’ and Pixel Buds’ lead and incorporated it. The OnePlus Buds pause whenever you take out one or both of the earbuds and then begin replaying when you put them back in.
In the sound department, each earphone has a 13.4mm dynamic driver, which to me, emits impressive audio. Compared to the higher-end GalaxyBuds+, I think that the OnePlus Buds sound fuller and have a wider soundscape. It’s also worth noting that the review set I have is missing the OnePlus Bass Boost and Dolby Atmos support, which OnePlus says “produces cleaner vocals, deeper bass and richer tones for a breathtaking stereo soundstage.” This update is releasing after launch and should, at least on paper, make the Buds sound even better. However, without the extra features, the headphones still offer impressive bass and equal sound quality across all of the EQs.
The OnePlus Buds’ best feature is their phenomenal battery life. With the included exceptionally small charging case, you get a total of 30-hours. Without the case, each earphone should last for around seven hours. I’ve been using the OnePlus Buds for over a week and both earbuds are still at 100 percent while the case is down to 70 percent. You can also use OnePlus’ ‘Warp Charge’ tech to charge, which can provide 10 hours of battery life after a quick 10-minute charge.
Finally, they’re also IPX4 rated, which should make them sweat proof so you can feel comfortable enough working out with them or wearing them on misty days.
There are a lot of good things packed into the OnePlus Buds, but these earbuds don’t come without some minor annoyances.
The first one is specific to me and something I encountered with the Wireless Bullet earbuds as well. The earbuds are a tad bit too large for my ears. This isn’t the end of the world, but after wearing them for a few hours, they start to get a bit uncomfortable. With a bit of shifting, I can always get them back to being comfortable enough, but if you want to wear these all day long every day, it’s something to consider. The design is the same as Apple’s basic AirPods, but slightly larger.
The other glitch that keeps happening is that because they don’t fit my ears perfectly, the right earbud will shift a bit when I’m wearing them. This sounds harmless enough, but sometimes the earbuds will think I took the right bud out and pause the music. About 85 percent of the time, if I just readjust the bud, the music will start playing again, but sometimes I need to hit play on my phone to restart the music.
I also found the microphone for calls quite low quality, so if you need to make a lot of important calls with your earbuds, then maybe look elsewhere.
Are these your next ear…buds?
When it comes down to it, I don’t think you can go wrong with the OnePlus Buds. They sound great, and you can feel confident picking them up off your desk whenever because the battery life is phenomenal.
Even with small ears, I don’t find the fit that annoying, but I’m still unsure how stable they are for most workouts.
Like most earbuds, you can double-tap on the side to skip songs or single press to pause/play. Unlike other earbuds, the gestures can also be reconfigured, but that feature isn’t coming out until July 27th, so I’ll update this review if it ends up making a huge difference.
Overall I think most of the gimmicky features don’t matter here because for $109 CAD you’re getting a slick pair of earbuds that will last for days and sound absolutely awesome. In Canada, the buds only come in ‘White’ and ‘Gray,’ not the cool ‘Nord Blue’ colour featured above.
“Overall I think most of the gimmicky features don’t matter here because for $109 CAD you’re getting a slick pair of earbuds that will last for days and sound absolutely awesome.”
Cyberattack exposes lack of required defenses on U.S. pipelines
The shutdown of the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline by a ransomware attack highlights a systemic vulnerability: Pipeline operators have no requirement to implement cyber defenses.
The U.S. government has had robust, compulsory cybersecurity protocols for most of the power grid for about 10 years to prevent debilitating hacks by criminals or state actors.
But the country’s 2.7 million miles (4.3 million km) of oil, natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines have only voluntary measures, which leaves security up to the individual operators, experts said.
“Simply encouraging pipelines to voluntarily adopt best practices is an inadequate response to the ever-increasing number and sophistication of malevolent cyber actors,” Richard Glick, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said.
Protections could include requirements for encryption, multifactor authentication, backup systems, personnel training and segmenting networks so access to the most sensitive elements can be restricted.
FERC’s authority to impose cyber standards on the electric grid came from a 2005 law but it does not extend to pipelines.
Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. oil products pipeline and source of nearly half the supply on the East Coast, has been shut since Friday after a ransomware attack the FBI attributed to DarkSide, a group cyber experts believe is based in Russia or Eastern Europe.
The outage has led to higher gasoline prices in the U.S. South and worries about wider shortages and potential price gouging ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.
Colonial did not immediately respond to a query about whether cybersecurity standards should be mandatory.
The American Petroleum Institute lobbying group said it was talking with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Energy Department and others to understand the threat and mitigate risk.
Cyber oversight of pipelines falls to the TSA, an office of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has provided voluntary security guidelines to pipeline companies.
The General Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog, said in a 2019 report that the TSA only had six full-time employees in its pipeline security branch through 2018, which limited the office’s reviews of cybersecurity practices.
The TSA said it has since expanded staff to 34 positions on pipeline and cybersecurity. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it supports mandatory protections.
When asked by reporters whether the Biden administration would put in place rules, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said it was discussing administrative and legislative options to “raise the cyber hygiene across the country.”
President Joe Biden is hoping Congress will pass a $2.3 billion infrastructure package, and pipeline requirements could be put into that legislation. But experts said there was no quick fix.
“The hard part is who do you tell what to do and what do you tell them to do,” Christi Tezak, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, said.
U.S. Representatives Fred Upton, a Republican, and Bobby Rush, a Democrat, said on Wednesday they have reintroduced legislation requiring the Department of Energy to ensure the security of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. Such legislation could get folded into a wider bill.
The power grid is regulated by FERC, and mostly organized into nonprofit regional organizations. That made it relatively easy for legislators to put forward the 2005 law that allows FERC to approve mandatory cyber measures.
A range of public and private companies own pipelines. They mostly operate independently and lack a robust federal regulator.
Their oversight falls under different laws depending on what they carry. Products include crude oil, fuels, water, hazardous liquids and – potentially – carbon dioxide for burial underground to control climate change. This diversity could make it harder for legislators to impose a unified requirement.
Tristan Abbey, a former aide to Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski who worked at the White House national security council under former President Donald Trump, said Congress is both the best and worst way to tackle the problem.
“Legislation may be necessary when jurisdiction is ambiguous and agencies lack resources,” said Abbey, now president of Comarus Analytics LLC.
But a bill should not be seen as a magic wand, he said.
“Standards may be part of the answer, but federal regulations need to mesh with state requirements without stifling innovation.”
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Marguerita Choy)
U.S. senator asks firms about sales of hard disk drives to Huawei
A senior Republican U.S. senator on Tuesday asked the chief executives of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Seagate Technology, and Western Digital Corp if the companies are improperly supplying Huawei with foreign-produced hard disk drives.
Senator Roger Wicker, the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, said a 2020 U.S. Commerce Department regulation sought to “tighten Huawei’s ability to procure items that are the direct product of specified U.S. technology or software, such as hard disk drives.”
He said he was engaged “in a fact-finding process… about whether leading global suppliers of hard disk drives are complying” with the regulation.
(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
Colonial Pipeline hackers stole data on Thursday
The hackers who caused Colonial Pipeline to shut down on Friday began their cyberattack against the top U.S. fuel pipeline operator a day earlier and stole a large amount of data, Bloomberg News reported citing people familiar with the matter.
The attackers are part of a cybercrime group called DarkSide and took nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of Colonial’s network in just two hours on Thursday, Bloomberg reported late Saturday, citing two people involved in the company’s investigation.
Colonial did not immediately reply to an email from Reuters seeking comment outside usual U.S. business hours.
Colonial Pipeline shut its entire network, the source of nearly half of the U.S. East Coast’s fuel supply, after a cyber attack that involved ransomware.
(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
Italy lifts COVID quarantine for EU, UK and Israel from Sunday
New York Rangers get OK to interview Gerard Gallant for coaching job
WHO urges rich countries to donate shots instead of vaccinating children
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
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