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Electronics – Portable Sound And Vision – Headphones

Pure unveils Move T4 and Move R3 DAB+ personal radios

Pure has added two new DAB+ radios for personal listening on the move to its line-up. They’re both on sale for less than GBP100. But with so many radios on the market, are Pure’s new arrivals worth a closer look?

We round up the key features of the Move T4 and Move R3 below. Best Buy radios[1] – find out if any Pure models make the cut.

Pure Move T4, GBP99.99

The new Pure Move T4 is a pocket-sized radio designed to be used out and about. This compact DAB+ radio costs GBP100 and features a 2-inch colour screen, and there are 20 presets installed to help you quickly cycle through your favourite stations.

The added bonus of a built-in kickstand means you don’t have to lean the Pure Move T4 against a wall if you want to listen hands-free. Pure says that you’ll get up to 22 hours from the Bluetooth-enabled Move T4 if you’re listening with headphones, or 15 hours when playing music through the speaker. We’ll be putting those claims to the test in our lab when we review the Pure Move T4 for ourselves.

The Pure Move T4 will be available from March at John Lewis in black or white.

Pure Move R3, GBP89.99

The second new entry in the Pure range is the Move R3. This DAB+ radio looks more like an MP3 player than a radio, coming with a 1.6-inch display and a pair of noise-isolating headphones. Pure promises up to 15 hours from it on a single charge which, if true, should be more than enough to last you a couple of days.

Audiophiles can manually tweak the sound on offer as the Pure Move R3 includes separate bass and treble controls. There are three dedicated-station preset buttons sat underneath the screen, and you can store up to 20 of your favourite stations. This portable DAB+ radio weighs in at just 88g.

The Pure Move R3 is available now from Argos, and from John Lewis from March in black or white.

Portable Pure radios in our test lab

For every Pure radio we test, we pay close attention to sound quality, ease of use and reception. Portable radios can also offer sound wherever you are. Buyers on a budget might have their eyes on the Pure Elan E3 (below left).

This GBP60 DAB+ radio is easy to use and lightweight, and arrives with 40 station presets. There’s a mini 2.8-inch colour display, and weekday and weekend alarm settings let you choose which station you wake up to. Did this radio impress our experts? Read our full Pure Elan E3 review to find out.[2]

The stylish Pure Pop Maxi (below right) is the priciest portable radio from Pure that we’ve tested. It costs around GBP115 and is Bluetooth-enabled, which means you can stream music through it using your smartphone. A large volume dial sits on the top of the Pop Maxi.

You can make this radio portable by adding four AA batteries, or buying Pure’s own rechargeable battery pack instead. See our Pure Pop Maxi review[3] for more details.

You can also find out how the previous version of the Pure Move personal radio performed in our tests by visiting our Pure Move 2520 review[4] or read all our personal radio reviews[5].

Buying a radio in 2018

Without checking our expert reviews, you run the risk of buying a radio that is tricky to use with weak signal reception. We test the latest radios on the market to help you choose wisely, and our results prove that you don’t always have to spend big to pick up a Best Buy radio.

Take a look at some Which? expert testing facts below:

For more on picking the perfect radio for you, visit our guide to how to buy the best radio[6].

Alternatively, visit our radio reviews[7] to uncover our expert verdicts on models from big-name brands including Roberts, VQ, Sony and John Lewis.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy radios (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Pure Elan E3 review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Pure Pop Maxi review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Pure Move 2520 review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ personal radio reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ how to buy the best radio (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ radio reviews (www.which.co.uk)

How good is the Google Pixel Buds translation feature?

Google’s new Pixel Buds headphones feature real-time translation, so we decided to put it to the test to see whether learning foreign languages could become a thing of the past. Read on and watch our video to find out what happened. The Pixel Buds are Google’s new premium wireless earbuds, launching just after the Google Pixel 2 smartphone[1].

Their big selling point is real-time translation with Google Translate, exclusive to Pixel phones. We enlisted the help of three foreign-language-speaking colleagues from Italy, China and Norway, to put the Google Pixel Buds translation through its paces. See how well it performed in the video below:

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Best Buy headphones[2] – discover which models are the top scorers.

As you can see, the Pixel Buds’ translation performed surprisingly well. In most cases, you’ll be able to understand what the other person is saying, even if the translation isn’t quite perfect. It performed well in Italian with few errors, and our Italian speaker even said she thought it sounded too Italian.

The two Norwegian dialects prevented it from sounding quite right to our Norwegian speaker, and with Chinese – a more difficult test compared to the European languages – it also performed remarkably well, although it didn’t always have natural-sounding phrasing. So while it’s not going to fool anyone that it’s human, the Pixel Buds translation feature seems to work well enough in day-to-day conversation to get by, for example if you’re on holiday and the taxi driver fails to turn up at the airport.

How the translation process works

When you speak, the Pixel Buds hear your voice, and your Pixel phone’s speaker plays the translation of what you said out loud to the person you’re talking to. When they speak back, your smartphone hears it and the Google Pixel Buds play the translation of what they said directly into your ears.

It all takes place using the Google Translate app on your Pixel phone. The Pixel Buds have a touch-sensitive pad on the right earbud that you hold down to cue the Google Assistant. You then say the language you want to translate, like this: ‘Help me speak French.’

The Google Translate app then pops up, and you’re ready to go. Just hold down the Pixel Buds’ touch-sensitive pad while you’re speaking, and let go when you want it to play back the translation. And to hear the translation of the person you’re speaking to, hold down the microphone icon in the Google Translate app while they’re speaking.

At each stage, you’ll see a transcript of what’s being said on the app screen.

Other Pixel Buds headphone features

The Pixel Buds are Bluetooth wireless earphones, Google’s answer to Apple’s popular Airpods[3] and Samsung’s Gear IconX 2018[4]. All of them work with carrying cases that also charge them, allowing their batteries to last throughout the day, despite the diminutive size. To make them even smaller, Google has opted to have a cord linking them (handy if you fear losing Apple’s Airpods).

The touch-sensitive pad on the right earbud allows you to play and pause music, change volume with a swipe and activate the Google Assistant voice assistant to perform a task with a long press.

To read our first impressions when we tried them, read our full Google Pixel Buds first look review[5].

References

  1. ^ Google Pixel 2 smartphone (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Best Buy headphones (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Apple’s popular Airpods (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Samsung’s Gear IconX 2018 (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Google Pixel Buds first look review (www.which.co.uk)

Best tech Christmas gifts under £100

If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet then you probably should. There’s less than 20 sleeps until the big day and you don’t want to disappoint your friends and family with a pair of socks and a box of Celebrations you bought from a petrol station on Christmas Eve.

This is the excitement level you should be aiming for.

Whatever your nearest and dearest are into, there’s a great gift waiting to be found. We’re here to help you narrow the search and we’ve picked six pieces of must-have tech that will keep you in good graces this Christmas.

2nd generation Amazon Echo – GBP79

With so many features, the latest Echo makes an excellent gift.

It can play music, control smart tech, and act as a personal assistant by arranging taxis, setting alarms and even ordering pizza. All these features are triggered by voice-commands and there aren’t many requests that Alexa, the name of the built-in assistant, can’t respond to. Alexa’s capabilities are always expanding.

Since the launch of the original in 2014, Alexa and the Echo have learned to control certain TVs and recognise different voices to give contextual responses. Then there’s the skills, which act like apps for the Echo. By enabling them from the Alexa smartphone app, you can have Alexa tell you your fortune, add items to your Ocado basket and more.

There are thousands of skills to try and they are all free. Find out if the 2nd generation Echo has better sound quality than the GBP149 original in our 2nd generation Amazon Echo hands-on review[1]. If you already have speakers and you just want Alexa’s smarts, then you can buy the cheaper Amazon Echo Dot[2] for GBP50 and connect that to your existing system using a 3.5mm cable or Bluetooth.

Garmin Vivofit 3 – GBP55

Whether the recipient is into fitness already, or you reckon they’ll be gym-bound come the new year, a fitness tracker makes a great gift.

The Vivofit 3 isn’t the most advanced tracker out there, but it won’t cost the Earth either. It’s got a cracking battery life and it’s comfy to wear. It tracks steps, distance, how many calories you’ve burned and it’s waterproof, so you can take it swimming.

The key thing with any tracker is accuracy. To find out how good the Vivofit is at keeping tabs on your workout, head to our Garmin Vivofit 3 review[3].

Amazon Fire HD 8 – GBP80

For every GBP550 iPad Pro, there’s a low-cost tablet. While the screen resolution won’t be as high and it won’t load apps in the blink of an eye, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth picking one up.

The Fire HD looks the part and its 8-inch screen is 1,280×800, which is a crisp enough resolution for a small display. It has stereo speakers, too, so it’s a good device for watching Netflix, YouTube and, of course, Amazon Video. If want to add your own media to the HD 8, then the good news is you can expand the storage up to 256GB with a micro-SD card.

That’s more than enough space for scores of HD movies and hundreds of albums. It’s all coming up roses for the Fire HD 8, but have any concessions been made to get the tablet under GBP100? Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 review[4] to find out.

Google Chromecast Ultra – GBP69

If you’ve got that one family member who won’t stop banging on about how there’s nothing on TV, then an internet TV box – or in this case an internet TV disc – is the perfect pressie.

The Ultra connects to wi-fi and a spare HDMI port on your TV, and opens up a whole world of streaming. Apps, including YouTube, Amazon Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and most other catch-up TV apps all come pre-installed. As it’s the Ultra, the lucky recipient can also watch content in 4K, which is currently the highest resolution offered by any of the streaming apps on the device.

If they don’t have a 4K TV yet, they can still watch HD shows and movies and you get to spend less, too. Get a standard Chromecast, [5]which costs around GBP30, or a GBP40 Fire TV stick[6]. To see if the Ultra aced our tests and sits top of the heap in a competitive area, head to our Chromecast Ultra review[7].

Sennheiser Urbanite – GBP88

They may be a few years old, but that just means you can get these Sennheiser headphones for less.

These on-ear Urbanite headphones look stylish enough to hold their own in a world of glossy Beats and chunky, over-sized headphones from Skullcandy[8] and Monster[9]. While not as portable as an in-ear pair, they do fold flat and fit neatly into the supplied travel case. There’s an inline remote, too, so you can take calls and adjust the volume of your music without reaching for your phone.

There are two versions: one that works with iPhones and one that works with Android handsets. So make sure you choose the right model if you want the remote to work with the recipient’s phone. Click through to our Sennheiser Urbanite review[10] to see how these on-ear headphones sound.

Sony SRS-X11 – GBP30

At just GBP30, this little cube from Sony is one of the bargains of the century – if the sound is up to scratch.

It’s Bluetooth and portable and our tests found it to be surprisingly loud considering it’s pocket-friendly size. It has more features that belie its low price. There’s near-field communication, or NFC, which makes it easier to connect your phone to the speaker, and there’s a microphone built-in, so you don’t need to disconnect your phone to take calls.

Ultimately, it’s sound quality that will secure a Best Buy for this little speaker, does it have what it takes?

Here’s our full Sony SRS-X11 review[11].

References

  1. ^ 2nd generation Amazon Echo hands-on review (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Amazon Echo Dot (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Garmin Vivofit 3 review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Amazon Fire HD 8 review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Chromecast, (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Fire TV stick (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Chromecast Ultra review (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Skullcandy (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Monster (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ Sennheiser Urbanite review (www.which.co.uk)
  11. ^ Sony SRS-X11 review (www.which.co.uk)

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