We may still be waiting on the traditional spring Apple announcement, but March hasn't been hurting for big product releases in its absence. We've seen the latest drone from DJI, details on LG's most affordable OLEDs, and luxury headphones from Bang & Olufsen that have the AirPods Max in their sights. Most notable of all, though, is probably the new, portable speaker from Sonos that is going to take the fight to Bluetooth.
Here's everything you should know about from the month of March.
The Sonos Roam is the company's smallest and most portable speaker ever. It's essentially a much smaller version — about 1/6th the size — of the Move, which Sonos released in late 2019. But while the Move costs an intimidating $399, which is more than most people are willing to spend on a portable speaker, the Roam comes in at a surprisingly affordable $169. It's available for preorder now and ships April 20.
DJI FPV Drone
The DJI FPV is the company's first 'First Person View' drone that you fly using a VR-looking headset and a remote controller. It's designed for videographers and cinematographers as it has many of the same video-shooting capabilities (4K at 60fps with excellent image stabilization on a 150-degree wide-angle lens) as the recently-released Mavic Air 2, but not quite the same photo-capturing prowess as its higher-end drones. The big differences are that the DJI FPV can fly very fast — up to 87 mph and 0-62 mph in just over two seconds — and you need the goggles to fly it.
Google Nest Hub 2
The Nest Hub 2 is the second-generation version of Google's 2018-released smart display, and it looks almost identical and costs exactly the same: just $100. The big difference is that the Nest Hub 2 can track your sleep — and there's no need to wear any kind of wearable. Google added a new radar sensor that (working in tandem with the other sensors) can measure your breathing and movement while you sleep. The Nest Hub 2 also has 50% more bass, according to Google. It's available for preorder right now and will officially launch on March 30.
LG A1 Series
The A1 Series is LG’s new entry-level line of 4K OLED TVs, and it's exciting for anybody who wants to get a new 4K OLED TV and doesn't want to pay much more than $1,000. All the A1 Series support for popular HDR technologies, such as Dolby Vision and HDR10, as well as Dolby Atmos. The big tradeoff is that they don't support HDMI 2.1, meaning you should opt for one of LG's higher-end models if you plan on gaming with one of the next-generation consoles. The A1 models will be available four different sizes: 48" (available June 2021, $1,299), 55" (available April 2021, $1,599), 65" (available April 2021, $2,199), 77" (available June 2021, $3,199).
Jabra Evolve2 30
The Evolve2 30 is a new $100 headset that's designed for the new breed of mobile workers. The wired headset easily plugs into your laptop or desktop and, thanks to its mic-and-boom, will make you sound significantly better on video calls. There are some on-ear controls for playback, too.
Microsoft Intelligent Speaker
The Microsoft Intelligent Speaker is designed to take Microsoft Teams meetings to the next level. In addition to working as a traditional speakerphone that improves the overall audio experience of the video conference, it will also transcribe the interview — up to 10 speakers — so anybody can look at the notes afterward. Pricing and availability has yet to be released. BRG has the full story.
Razer has made its first pair of audio glasses, the Razer Anzu, and they're similar to the Bose Frames and Echo Frames that came before them. They're effectively a pair of glasses that also double as a pair of wireless headphones; they connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and let you listen to music and answer calls. One of the things that make the Razer Anzu stick out is that it comes with two sets of swappable lenses, one polarized and one with blue-light filtering (to protect your eyes while you stare at a computer screen). They're available in either round or square frames.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is finally available for purchase. Samsung announced the Galaxy Chromebook 2 earlier this year at CES 2021 and it garnered a lot of fanfare because of how different it was compared to its predecessor. At $549, it's almost half expensive as the original Galaxy Chromebook, but that's because Samsung made it less premium. For example, it got rid of its 4K OLED display and replaced it with a full HD QLED display. Basically, if you're cool with less fancy display, the new Galaxy Chromebook just became a lot better value.
Elgato Light Strip
The Elgato Light Strip is a new smart LED light strip that's meant to be mounted (via adhesives) behind your TV and add an ambience that complements what you're watching, be it a movie or video games. You can adjust the color of the light — there are 16 million color and hue options, according to company — via the app (compatible with iOS, Mac, Windows or Android). It's available now and the two meter light strip starts at $60, which is slightly more affordable than other options out there. (The Philips Hue Lightstrip costs $80, for example.)
Satechi USB-C On-the-Go Multiport Adapter
Satechi is well know for its line of Apple-friendly accessories and its latest addition is a high-end USB-C adapter for a MacBook Pro/Air or iPad Pro/Air. It adds nine ports including three USB-C ports (one for your host connection, which supports USB-C PD charging up to 100W), HDMI and VGA display ports, two USB-A charing ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and slots for your micro/SD card. It costs $100 but Satechi is running promo now through March 15 — get 20-percent off when using code MULTIPORT20 at checkout (works at both Amazon and Satechi's website).
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.
Focal Clear Mg
The Focal Clear Mg is the company's newest pair of reference quality open-back headphones. They're the successor to its Clear headphones ($2,000), but despite costing over $500 less, the high-end French audio company claims that the Clear Mg are actually a big upgrade, thanks primarily to a new magnesium dome that help give the headphones "greater lightness, rigidity and damping." They will be available later this month.
HyperX ChargePlay Duo (Refreshed)
HyperX ChargePlay Duo is a popular charging station for wireless Xbox One controllers. The problem was that it hasn't been compatible with the latest controllers that come with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. This week, the company released a refreshed version that fixes that as it works with both old and new controllers. It also comes with two 1400mAh rechargeable batteries. The ChargePlay Duo can wireless charge two controllers in just under three hours. It's available now.
Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+
The Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ is a new Dolby Atmos soundbar that's very much a competitor to the Sonos Arc. It costs the same ($899) and has pretty much all the same connections and abilities; Bluesound is known for its ecosystem of wireless multi-room speakers, just like Sonos, so the Pulse Soundbar+ can easily be built out into a true surround sound system. It's available in either black or white finishes, although the later costs $100 extra.
Astell&Kern USB Dual-DAC Cable
Astell&Kern is one of the biggest names in portable hi-fi and it just announced its first ever USB DAC/Headphone amplifier. It features two DACs (both Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI) which supports native DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz playback; according to the company, the dual DACs are paired with an independent analog amplifier to help the audio feel the live, warm and clear. The body of the USB DAC/Headphone amplifier is entirely metal, too, similar to the company's other portable hi-fi players. The best part? It can improve the audio of any smartphone with a USB-C jack — no headphone jack needed.
Sony PS5 VR Controllers
This week, Sony announced new VR controllers for the PS5. The look very similar to other VR controllers — having a distinct orb-like shape — but the cool thing is that Sony integrated them with same adaptive trigger technology that is also integrated in the PS5's standard DualSense controller. This means that like the DualSense controllers, the new VR controllers will also deliver haptic feedback and make you feel even more immersed in the game you're playing. Which, after all, is the main point of virtual reality. As of right now, there is no word on when these VR controllers (or the PS5's actual VR headset) will be released.
Fitbit Ace 3
Fitbit announced the Ace 3 this past week, which is the next-generation version of the Ace 2. It's a fitness tracker that's designed for kids (age 6 and up), able to track sleep and other general movement and activity, but the big upgrade with the new model is with battery life; it can last up to 8 days. It's available for preorder right now and ships next week (3/15).
Abode Cam 2
The Abode Cam 2 is a tiny smart home camera that costs just $35, putting it in direct competition with the likes of the Blink Mini ($35) and the Wyze Cam v3 ($24). It has most of the standard features you'd want in a smart home camera, including 24-hour 1080p recording, two-way talk, motion detection and night vision. It also integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. (If you preorder the Abode Cam 2 right now, you can snag it for $30 — so you can save $5.)
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+
The Melomania 1+ is the company's newest truly wireless earbuds. Like their predecessor, the Melomania 1, the Melomania 1+ promise excellent audio quality at a fairly affordable price. The two big upgrades with the Melomania 1+ is that they now work with a companion app, which allows you adjust EQ and other settings, but they also have a new "High Performance" mode that utilizes new amplification technology to make the audio sound even better. (This is the same "High Performance" mode found in Cambridge Audio's Melomania Touch.)
Insta360 Go 2
The Insta360 Go 2 is an absolutely tiny action camera — about the size of AirPods — that costs $299. It has a number of key upgrades over its predecessor, the original Insta360 Go, including an a larger sensor and improved photo-and-video capabilities (9MP stills and 1440p 50fps video), as well as an impressive case that adds extra battery and controls. Bottom line, this is a super small action camera designed for creators who want to capture that POV-look yet don't want to spend big on a GoPro.