This week was jammed packed with news. Sonos finally announced support for high-resolution streaming (but only if you're a Qobuz subscriber). Microsoft renamed Xbox Live (it's now called the Xbox network) and is reportedly in talks to buy Discord for a lot of dough. Spotify gave its Desktop and Web Player a fresh new design update. And Supreme looks set to release a 35mm film camera for hypebeasts.
And that's not even touching the new gadgets that were announced this week. Here's what you need to know.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX
B&O's newest pair of noise-canceling headphones prioritize two things: luxury and battery life. The Beoplay HX has a mostly aluminum design, with earcups that are made of lambskin and memory foam, and a cushy leather (cow hid) headband. And they have a 35-hour battery life, which is great. This are clearly aimed as competitors to Apple's AirPods Max, yet the Beoplay HX still come in at $50 cheaper.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-USB Turntable
Audio-Technica just announced a feature-packed entry-level turntable. The AT-LP60XBT-USB is a fully automatic belt-drive turntable with built-in phono preamp, so it can plug into most powered speakers with a line-in input (just like the Sonos Five). It also has its built-in Bluetooth, allowing it to stream to your wireless headphones or speakers, and a USB output, so you can digitize your records and store them on your computer. The kicker is that the AT-LP60XBT-USB is well under $200.
Master & Dynamic MW08
Master & Dynamic announced the MW08, its newest pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation — and they're actually a lot different from their predecessors, the MW07 Plus. The MW08 have bigger drivers but a smaller overall design (each earbud is roughly 15 percent smaller than each MW07 Plus earbud). And they're the company's first (and so far, only) pair of wireless earbuds that come with a companion app (M&D Connect), which lets you toggle between two different noise-cancellation modes and two different transparency modes. The MW08 still cost $299 (same as the MW07 Plus) and will be available on March 30). They'll come in four finishes: black, white, blue and brown.
Read our review of the Master & Dynamic MW08, here.
Sony SRS-RA3000 and SRS-RA5000
Sony has officially released its first wireless speakers that support the 360 Reality Audio, which is the company's immersive sound technology (similar to Dolby Atmos); previously, you had to use a different company's speaker, like a Echo Studio, to take advantage of this audio format. Both of Sony's speakers, the SRS-RA3000 and the SRS-RA5000 (pictured), the latter being the better sounding and more expensive version, support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming. And they have a built-in microphone that allows them to self-calibrate for the room so they sound best. If you're looking for a powerful and premium wireless speaker — that's not portable — that can play true 360-degree sound, consider these one of your best bets.
Price: $298 (SRS-RA3000); $698 (SRS-RA5000)
Samsung 2021 External Monitors
Samsung announced its new line of S6, S7 and S8 high-resolution monitors, with each model supporting HDR 10 technology, vivid colors and a wide 178-degree viewing angle. The S8 is the company's flagship line of USB-C monitors with its most beautiful display (99% sRGB color gamut), fastest transfer speeds (up to 10Gbps) and up to 90W charging. The S6 and S7 are Samsung's slightly more entry-level (read: affordable) lines. No pricing or availability information has yet to be announced.
Polk Audio R200 Bookshelf Speaker
Polk Audio announced the Reserve Series, its new line of high-performing loudspeakers that take many technologies from its flagship Legend Series (such as Pinnacle Ring Radiator tweeters and Turbine Cone Midrange drivers) and put them in a more affordable package. The Reserve Series is comprised of various different-sized floor-standing speakers, centre channel speakers and bookshelf speakers, as well as a height module to complete the Dolby Atmos home theater system. All speakers are available now.
(Pictured: The R200 is the larger of the two new pairs of bookshelf speakers in the Reserve Series. The R100 bookshelf speakers are smaller and $100 cheaper. )
OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus had its big keynote event this week where it announced its new flagship Android smartphones (as well as its first-ever smartwatch, see below). The OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are still more affordable alternatives to Samsung's flagship S21 line, but they're way more premium and more expensive than the company has previously been known for. Both have beautiful AMOLED displays with high (120Hz) refresh rates, powerful Qualcomm processors and solid battery lives. The biggest upgrade is that, for the first time, both smartphones have Hasselblad-powered camera systems.
Price: $730; $1,069 (Pro)
The OnePlus Watch is the company's first-ever smartwatch that's designed specifically for OnePlus smartphone owners. The smartwatch looks very similar to Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active2, but it's almost $100 cheaper. By all accounts the OnePlus Watch looks to be a pretty standard smartwatch, with the necessary sensors to track steps, distance, heart rate and blood oxygen levels; the kicker, however, is that it supposedly has a week-long battery life, which is way better than Samsung's and Apple's offerings.