Category: Tech

Travel Sports Headphones That Actually Stay In Your Ears: RHA MA390 Review

The most important test of any sports headphones is whether or not they stay in your ears when running. Earphones that fall out or continuously need to be adjusted when you’re working out won’t be used very often, no matter how good the sound quality is. Manufacturers have come up with a few inventions to get around this problem, from over-ear hooks to weighted neckbands – the latter often being more trouble than its worth.

rha ma390 headphonesRHA MA390 Wireless Earbuds

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The RHA MA390 do a good job of pulling off what most competing earphones fail but lacks in other areas for more sedentary travelers. Here’s my full review of the RHA MA390 earphones in the video above or read on.

The Basic Basics

RHA’s MA390 earphones have slick packaging, marketed directly to travelers; you’ve probably seen some in an airports electronics shop. Don’t be fooled though, these are earphones that don’t sound as good as they look. Not that the RHA MA390 are bad, they’re just solidly average from audio to built-in microphone. But if you’re running or otherwise working out, premium sound quality isn’t necessarily critical (and completely irrelevant if the buds keep falling from your ears).

RHA MA390 earbuds

There’s no accompanying RHA app to adjust sound levels so they play it safe by keeping the MA390 to a generic bell curve, with a preference for mid-tones. Those of you who like strong bass in your music won’t find a good thump in the MA390.

Neck Stability

No bass thump but probably no finger-constantly-tapping-earphones thump either, even as you get sweaty. IPX4 rated means the MA390 can survive a solid splash of water or constant barrage of sweat throughout it’s roughly 8 hours of battery life. To help balance in your ears, RHA use a slightly thick, weightier band that rests around the back of your neck. The neckband, which attaches the two ear buds offsets any motion, distributing it from your body and head to the band.

rha ma390 headphones

What results are earbuds that stay in your ears when running. Unlike the NuForce BE Sport3 headphones [full review here] whose weight is unevenly distributed, RHA’s MA390 don’t start to slip when they get wet with sweat.

Portable Price Point

The neckband is inconspicuous while running – RHA has also made it flexible enough to be awkwardly stuffed into the small case they come with. Average sound quality, the MA390 aren’t going to come close to the premium Bose 20i [full review here] though to be fair, RHA aren’t trying to. Competition is more in the $50-75 range, like the previously mentioned BE Sport3.

Between the two, advantage goes to the RHA MA390 with the caveat that you’ll use them while running or working out. For travelers who, despite their best intentions, know they won’t be exercising a lot but want inexpensive, light earbuds, the BE Sport3 might be all you need. Everyone else who (like me) have struggled to find earphones that can handle a solid run outdoors or inside on a treadmill, the RHA MA390 are an affordable, reasonable purchase.

Powerstick’s Solar Chargers Hold Up Well Against The Sun, Not The Competition Over 5 Years

When I first received the PowerStick+ and its larger, solar-enabled cousin the PowerTrip, they were at the time impressive. Large capacity batteries able to charge anemic mobiles like the iPhone 5s, with 8GB of storage, and the ability to be topped off by the sun courtesy the PowerTrip’s embedded solar panel.

Two years later, in 2015, I reviewed the PowerStick+ and PowerTrip, whose standby time of 1 year (ability to hold a charge), was still resilient. Fast charging wasn’t as prominent then but 8 hours was becoming a long time to wait for a full battery. Recently I went back to do a Road Tested! review of the PowerTrip 5 years after I first opened the box. It’s held up well, along with the PowerStick, though its price and form-factor seem stuck in the past, when compared to rivals like the under $35 Anker Powercore 13000.

You can watch the full Road Tested! review of the PowerStick chargers in the video above but in short, unless you spend a lot of time in the desert or by the beach, without making use of the solar panels, time might have passed these batteries by for most travelers.

New Mavic Drone Owners: 60fps Will Ruin Your Videos

The DJI Mavic Pro drone, still in my opinion the best one of the bunch, shoots exceptionally crispy 4k video. Right out of the box the Mavic is configured in its sweet spot for video, that is 4k at 30fps. Try to mess around with those settings and well, you can see the results in the video above.

dji mavic  DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo: Foldable Propeller Quadcopter Drone

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For those of you getting a new DJI Mavic Pro soon, keep in mind 60fps is a setting you’ll want to avoid and remember to tap the screen to focus. You don’t want to come home after your first day of flying only to find you’re left with heavily pixelated, blurry videos. On the flying side, these are 12 things to know before flying your drone so you don’t crash it – compiled with experience after multiple crashes of my own.

Ultra-Portable Microphone For Traveling Vloggers Who Want Better Audio Is Just OK

People walking through airports with a phone in their face recording or live-streaming about how great airports are with a eerily exaggerated enthusiasm isn’t an uncommon sight, but no matter your particular vlogging style, audio on a phone is tricky to manage. Mobile phone mics tend to pick up much of the ambient noise so if you’re planning to upload travel videos you’re recording live, the MiracleSound Lavalier Mic might be a good fit for you. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Who The MiracleSound Is For

First off, people who have a headphone jack or are willing to deal with dongles. The MiracleSound Lavalier Mic is a corded microphone that attaches to a lapel or anywhere on your clothing about 10 inches below your mouth. There are obvious audio benefits for traveling vloggers but if you’re thinking this might be a good way to improve the audio of your FaceTime calls I’ve got bad news for you. For pretty much every phone, once you plug the MiracleSound in, you’ll be able to record with the microphone, but not hear from the speakers. It becomes a one-way conversation with this MiracleSound device.

miraclesound lavalier micMiracleSound Lavalier Mic

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Good… Sort Of

The Lavalier Mic is compact, a certain benefit for portability and the cord isn’t too obnoxious. But it’s there and for a lot of newer phones that means dongle time. A cute little miniature wind screen also does a decent job of cutting out, well, wind noise, leaving your voice with a grainy, somewhat over-condensed sound. Nothing terrible but not great either, although it’s certainly an improvement in many cases over a mobile phone’s built-in mic.

Recording On A Budget

For $20, the MiracleSound Lavalier Mic might work as a starter microphone for vloggers wanting to step up their audio game. Keep in mind this is designed for phones, if you’re carrying around a large DSLR like the Panasonic Lumix G85, you definitely need something like the Rode VideoMicro. The MiracleSound Lavalier Mic seems like it’s aging out of modern technology with improved phone microphones but for now, it still has a small place for budding travel vloggers.

FaucetSafe Shows You Where The Tap Water Isn’t Safe To Drink On Your Phone

faucetsafe app

FaucetSafe app, available for iOS and Android, is a worldwide guide on where you can and can’t drink the local tap water, that is updated in real-time. Whether or not the local water is potable is one of the most common questions travelers have but a lot of the information online is either inaccurate or out of date. I developed FaucetSafe to be a travel guide in your pocket, that can give you current information on water potability around the world.

faucetsafe    faucetsafe ios app store     faucetsafe google play android
How FaucetSafe Works

The information is compiled from multiple sources – including government and independent tests – plus FaucetSafe also has a comment system where locals and travelers alike can add further detail. Water potability often varies in small geographic areas (e.g. within cities) so FaucetSafe is designed to be a guide to where you can and can’t drink the water – both to save you costs as well as reduce the amount of plastic consumed by every traveler (in the form of water bottles). The information contained in FaucetSafe works offline and is updated with the latest water drinkability information when you have an Internet connection.

faucetsafe iphone

In some parts of the world, local municipalities will say their water is drinkable when it may not be (for political or economic/tourism purposes) so where possible, data is pulled from both official sources and based on the results of independent tests conducted on water supplies.

FaucetSafe Features

FaucetSafe is based on my map of where you can drink the tap water, with several more features and detail.

  • FaucetSafe shows where you can and can’t drink the water when traveling, from general country information to cities and down to the neighborhood level in some areas.
  • FaucetSafe is updated regularly in real-time with new information.
  • FaucetSafe has a user comment system where users can add local knowledge about water drinking habits in any given area, neighborhood, city, country or pretty much anywhere.
  • Users can also post questions in the comment section for other travelers or the administrator.
  • All comments are rated by other users, so the most useful, informative responses are highlighted on top of the others.

Available Now For iOS And Android

You can download FaucetSafe now from the Apple App Store or on Google Play for Android devices. FacuetSafe is $1.99 but if you’ve purchased any of my other travel apps, iOS users can get FaucetSafe at a discount or free as part of either the foXnoMad Water Pack or foXnoMad Air and Water Pack.

faucetsafe ios app store              faucetsafe google play android

Please let me know if you have any questions about FaucetSafe in the comments below or contact me directly. I hope that FaucetSafe can help you travel smarter by helping you avoid dirty tap water, reduce unnecessary use of plastic, save money, and give you more time to travel rather than spending it in shops purchasing bottled water.

Anker PowerCore 13000 Review: Solid Blend Of Travel Charger Power And Portability

Until a company makes a cell phone with at least a week of battery life, particularly when traveling, portable chargers will remain essential backpack accessories. The problem is the more charge capacity a portable battery has, the larger it is physically – with most people opting for capacity, despite the bulky trade-offs.

Anker’s PowerCore 13000 though sits in a sweet spot. The PowerCore can charge up most modern phones 5 times over, has dual USB ports, and is the size of a beefy pack of playing cards. You can watch my entire review of the Anker PoewrCore 13000 in the video above, or read on.

Bringing Back Basics

Numbers representing milliamp hours (mAh) might not mean much to you but most chargers this size have have half the capacity. To break it down simply, mAh is a measurement used for battery capacity, the PowerCore 13000 has, well, 13000 mAh, and your iPhone has around 2000. Do some simple division and you’ve got around 6 charges in a perfect world. Of course other (*cough* most *cough* Android) phones have larger batteries so you’ll get 4-5 charges out of a PowerCore 13000 on those devices.

powercore 13000Anker PowerCore 13000

buy from amazon

In comparison, the PowerTrip and PowerStick+ I recently took a second look at, can charge the average phone around 1-3 times – and the PowerTrip is larger than the PowerCore.

The PowerCore 13000 does have noticeable heft, weighing 255 grams (9 ounces), but generally outclasses most other chargers this (physical) size in the ways people care about most.

Features For A Friend

Having two USB ports on a charger is important, whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or family, having the option to charge multiple devices at once is a big time saver. Dual USB ports is also a space saver because you won’t need multiple chargers or risk a dead iPad. (Sorry tablet, phone wins.)

anker powercore 13000

Having two chargers on the PowerCore 13000 is particularly useful since it doesn’t support quick charging in either direction. Meaning your phone won’t charge at super speeds (though at 2 amps maximum output isn’t sluggish); plus the PowerCore 13000 itself takes a long time to charge up.

Don’t Plan To Plan

13000 mAh is a lot of charging capacity but the reverse is it takes a solid 12 hours to charge the PowerCore from dead to full.  As I mentioned, there’s no quick charging and if you forget to plug the PowerCore 13000 in one night or even two, you’ll probably be fine. But trying to quickly charge the PowerCore while you stuff clothes in your luggage and take a hygienically questionable shower to catch a flight you’re very late to, isn’t going to cut it.

You’ll want to make sure to top off the Anker every night if you’re a poor planner and aren’t too worried about battery longevity. Also, it’s worth getting the PowerCore 13000 in your hands a week or two before a trip to make sure it’s working properly. Anker’s exchanges are prompt but that won’t do you any good if you’re already flying to one world’s most remote islands.


About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More

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