Tech Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Tech

Bose Noise-Cancelling Earbuds vs. Sony: How To Choose!

Bose and Sony make two of the best over-ear noise-canceling (ANC) headphones on the consumer market. ANC is a feature that uses anti-sound waves to create a silent room between your ears and can nearly eliminate jet engine noise on a flight for example. Until now though the tech to make ANC work was bulky, limiting it to full size headphones. With the new releases of the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, ANC has made its way into portable buds with varying results.

You can see the difference between the Bose QC Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video above but here’s a hint: if you value sound quality and good ANC, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Bose QC, Clunky King

The QC are function over design… sort of. The function isn’t all that great (my full review here) except when it comes to two features you may have guessed. It’s hard to compare the Bose QC to the Sony WF-1000XM3 in terms of sound quality and ANC since Bose has brought the over-ear quality to their earbuds. Just about everything else with the physical design could be refined, the touch controls improved, and the Bose Music app enhanced. But for those of you who really care about ANC – frequent flyers especially – the Bose are a class ahead of the WF-1000XM3.

bose quietcomfort earbuds

Sony’s Slimming Down

On the other hand, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are what you wish Bose’s headphones looked like. They are earbuds are smaller and the charging case is slimmer, more pocket-able, and gives you 18 hours of additional charge (versus 12 for the Bose). You can watch my full review of the Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video below.

How To Decide

With the Sony now floating on sale to prices half that of the Bose QC (just keep watching for discounts) they’re a much more attractive option. Unless you’re looking to completely replace your over-ear headphones, fly frequently, or place a high value on premium sound quality and are willing to pay for it, the Sony WF-1000XM3 have a lot to offer. A lot to offer when they’re on sale for significantly less than the Bose QC.

The Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds Are Made For Frequent Flyers

The new QuietComfort (QC) Earbuds are the first generation of noise canceling earbuds for Bose and it shows. These are clunky earbuds with an even clunkier case but Bose is hoping you’ll overlook all of the QC’s shortcomings for its superior sound and excellent noise canceling (ANC). For most people, those two features won’t be enough for the pricey price tag but if you fly a lot, then these Bose could just be for you.

Portable But Not Comfortable

At 3.9 x 2.6 x 2.7cm (1.54 x 1.02 x 1.06 in) the Bose QC are relatively large earbuds which noticeably stick out of your ears. They’re not too heavy – 8.5 grams each – and thanks to Bose’s familiar wingtip design the QC are much more comfortable than they look. These larger earbuds though don’t come with longer battery life, hovering around 5-6 hours per bud. The beefy charging/carry case also has a disappointing 12 hours of battery life although it supports wireless charging. (I think most of us would have preferred a bigger battery rather than the space the wireless coil takes.)

A lot of these physical design drawbacks come from being a first gen product certainly but Bose is banking that you’ll appreciate what’s housed inside – not what’s missing.

Impressive Sound And True Noise Canceling

Where Bose does know a thing or two about is sound quality and noise cancellation. First, the sound quality. It is immersive, full, with vibrant tones across the spectrum from highs to mids to lows. When listening to these QC the thought of “these are huge earbuds” becomes “I can’t believe the sound coming out of buds this small.”

bose quietcomfort earbuds

That’s the same thought when activating active noise cancelling as well. As the world around you melts into silence (a close competitor to over-ear versions) even with a jet engine screaming in the background the QC show off what they’re capable of. With 10 levels of noise cancellation through the Bose Music app you can go from ambient mode all the way to quiet library.

Travel Trades

Given the powerful noise canceling frequent flyers might be tempted to get a pair of the Bose QC. Yes, the touch controls for volume, noise canceling levels, and pause/play aren’t sensitive enough to work reliably and the charging case is an odd shape that’s hard to pocket. It’s true the QC can’t connect to multiple devices and staying connected is something of an adventure you shouldn’t have to deal with at premium prices.

I’m glad Bose added IPX4 certification, meaning they can reliably survive a splash of water so you can use these in light rain. I like the auto pause when you take the earbuds out. But if it weren’t for the exceptional sound quality and ANC it would be hard to justify the price. For most people it still won’t justify the price but if you find yourself on planes or other noisy situations often, the Bose QC could just convince you.

DroneMate Puts All The World’s Drone Laws On Your Phone

dronemate drone laws

The world of drone laws and regulations is a confusing and ever changing one. Closer to home, trying to figure out what the local rules are often just as difficult, putting you in danger of fines, confiscation, or worse.

DroneMate, available for iOS and Android, shows you all of the drone laws worldwide, from where it’s free to fly, illegal, or where you need permits. The app also contains all the forms you may need to register your drone in every country it’s required.

dronemate  dronemate ios app store     dronemate google play android

In the biggest update to the app since its first release, the DroneMate Premium upgrade now includes 24/7 customer support through the app. You can now subscribe to any of the comment threads under a country, US state, or local jurisdiction, ask your drone questions and get a prompt reply from one of our drone experts. You can also connect with drone pilots worldwide to share you experiences, find out good flying spots, and discuss the latest drone news.

Automatic Location Notifications

Additionally, DroneMate will automatically notify you when you enter a new country, US state, or get near a place where there are specific drone laws (like your local park) so you always know the rules to fly by. You’ll have the complete drone laws, including links to any documents, forms, or registration materials needed will be displayed and it works completely offline!


Works Offline

As always, DroneMate works without an Internet connection, so you have all the drone rules in your pocket, even if you’re flying in remote places. Once you’re back online, the app automatically updates any rule changes, comments, and of course any threads or locations you’re subscribed.

Try It Free For 30 Days

DroneMate is now available available on the App Store and Google Play (the most recent updates are currently in development for Android). You can upgrade to DroneMate Premium within the app, which unlocks all of the features described above and try it free for one month!

I created DroneMate to help drone pilots fly and travel without breaking any of the drone local rules. I genuinely believe that the newest version of DroneMate and DroneMate Premium helps pilots do exactly that – focus on flying and save time and hassle by giving you all the regulatory resources possible on your phone.

  dronemate ios app store     dronemate google play android
Still, DroneMate will continue to involve and improve. Your feedback is important to me so please send your thoughts or feature requests for future updates. Ratings also help get the word out, so if you’re happy with DroneMate, I would appreciate your 5-star ratings!

The 4th Gen iPad Air Beefs Up To Become A Portable Workstation

The 2020 iPad Air is a major jump from previous iterations but instead of getting lighter, Apple’s slightly increased the physical specs to fit in Pro-level features. Before the iPad Air was simply a slimmed down regular iPad, for those looking for a slimmer travel tablet. Once the iPad Pro was announced, there was a massive gap in Apple’s line up between iPads you could type, draw, and actually work on.

Now with the 4th generation iPad Air that gap between the Pro is a blurred line. You can watch the full review in the video here or read on.

Refreshing iPad Air

The 2020 iPad Air sports the same boxy look as the iPhone 12 with flattened edges 6.1 millimeters thick. The bezels – 17.8 centimeter by 24.7 cm (9.74 x 7 inches) – are also smaller and even around the 10.9 inch (27.7 cm) display. The screen can get bright at a maximum 500 nits and this iPad Air works with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, a feature it shares with the iPad Pro.

The A14 Bionic chip is snappy as you’d expect but the iPad Air doesn’t have a 120 hertz (Hz) refresh as some might expect. (I did.) Still, this iPad Air creeps on iPad Pro territory while weighing only 458 grams (460g for the cellular version). Another nice touch – the iPad Air also charges over USB-C.

Working With The iPad Air

With all of these Pro-like features, the iPad Air is more of a mobile workstation than a stopgap between your phone and laptop. In other words, the iPad Air can be used as an effective working machine while you’re on the go. It’s powerful enough to handle light photo and video editing, works with the Pencil for sketching, and is compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio… just like the iPad Pro.

ipad air

Those additions – being able to type, draw, and edit mean you can use the iPad Air’s 10 hours of battery life for much more than you could with previous generations. It also means the iPad Air is pricier this time around too.

Added Costs, Gravitational Pull In The Lineup

The iPad Air starts at $599 for the 64GB variant ($749 for 256GB), a jump up in price for the line. In a way, you can look at the iPad Air as a smaller iPad Pro that’s come down in price – minus a few niche features (high refresh rate and LiDAR, most notably). Or an iPad that’s gone up in price from the regular iPad, priced at $329.

The differences here are in power and portability. Want more screen, LiDAR, and the fastest processor available in an iPad: the Pro might be for you. But you’re probably not in that category. Only use your iPad for a screen to watch stuff on or keep your kids distracted: the 8th gen iPad might be for you. But you’re probably not in that category. For a majority of you reading this, the iPad Air is the iPad that makes the most sense for the most people. Especially if you’re going to frequently be throwing it into a backpack on your way to anywhere.

Ekster’s Aluminum Cardholder Brings Minimalism To Their Slim Wallet Line

Ekster’s line of slim wallets and cardholders has elegantly retained a classic wallet look, while ditching the traditional fold. Those small steps toward a truly minimal, modern slim wallet were a good introduction for those not wanting to make a major change to the way they carry credit cards. For everyone else though, wanting a modern look with a modern design from Ekster, the Aluminum Cardholder is a solid step in the right direction.

Sleek And Slim

The Aluminum Cardholder isn’t marketed as a wallet but its three components give you everything you’d need to carry cards, some cash, and like most wallets… no coins. Slimmer than even Ekster’s other slim wallets, the Aluminum holds 4-6 cards in its 7.4 millimeter main compartment. The exterior space-grade 6061-T6 aluminum does scuff a bit from the included money clip but it’s certainly useful if you carry cash often.

ekster aluminum cardholder

Around the back of the Aluminum is a “backpocket plate” to hold even more cards (up to 6) if the 4-6 in the main compartment won’t be enough for your needs.

Minimalism In Metal

For many, this might be too minimal a design, particularly if you’re coming from a traditional wallet. Keep that in mind for your gift buying ideas as well, someone who’s more traditional will probably be happier with one of Ekster’s more classic looks. Those other cardholders have elements – leather, folds, pockets – from traditional wallets.

But the jump into minimalism here for the Aluminum will appeal to everyone wanting to travel light. The sleek aluminum is unassuming, fits (and doesn’t stick out) of most jean front pockets, and can be expanded with the additional plate if needed.

Right Steps

The Ekster Aluminum falls more inline with competing slim wallets – the metal look, thin profile – while keeping the cardholders signature switchblade card release design. (It’s definitely a strong selling point once you try it.)  On its own Ekster’s Aluminum is a nice cardholder but put into the other options Parliament, Senate, and now you’ve got a broad spectrum to choose from. From modern wallet to ultra-slim, the Aluminum is one traveler’s should take a close look at.

How Apple’s Trade In Program Works

Getting a new Apple product can be pricey but if you’ve already got one it can help take the bite out of that purchase. Apple’s Trade In program lets send back all but the oldest iPhones, Macbooks, and other devices for credit toward something new. Although it doesn’t give you the absolute best prices you might get selling on a site like eBay, Trade In has a number of advantages worth considering.

How It Works

Apple’s Trade In program gives you the option to send in an old Apple device (or select phones from other manufacturers) for credit toward a new one. You can get a quote online to see how much your device is worth in a few seconds by entering the serial number and quick condition description.

Assuming you accept the estimate, Apple will send you a box with a prepaid shipping label. Send it back within 14 days and you’ll get Apple store credit.

Buying New

Now assuming you don’t want to be left without an iPhone for example, you’ll have to buy a new Apple product. In this scenario when you’re ordering a new device you add your trade in to the cart. Once your order is complete, Apple then ships your new device and the prepaid box to send back your old iPhone.

Once Apple gets your old iPhone back, inspects it, they’ll then apply the trade in amount back to the credit card used to purchase the new iPhone. It’s essentially applying the Apple store credit back to your credit card.

Straight Store Credit

Otherwise, simply using the trade in program (without a new purchase) will apply Apple store credit to your account. This is the method you’ll have to use if you want to purchase a refurbished device. There’s one major benefit to sending your old iPhone or Macbook early (if you don’t need it immediately or have a backup) – namely, you’ll get a higher value.

Apple products depreciate slowly but they do depreciate. And if your old Apple product is too old for any store credit, Apple has a free recycling program.

Trading Alternatives

You might not be happy with Apple’s estimate, your device is too old, or you simply want to see how much you can get other places. Obviously there’s plenty of sites to sell used electronics if you’re willing to put in the effort. Otherwise, Apple’s Trade In program streamlines the process, is fast, and consistent with pricing.


About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

YouTube Twitter Instagram Facebook


Image Map


Image Map

The best of travel in your inbox!