Welcome to the latest installment of Staff Picks. Every other week, we’ll tell you about the tech we’re currently testing — everything from cameras to hi-fi headphones, extremely large desktop monitors to smart home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. To see what we’ve previously been testing, click here.
Erato Verse True Wireless Earphones
I’ve been using Erato’s Verse wireless earbuds for the past few weeks and to put it plainly, color me impressed. For a $130 earbud, the sound quality is clear and the mid and bass tones are serviceable. While Erato claims that through a single button the Verse can “power on/off, take a call, play music, skip tracks, change volume or even access Siri easily by tapping, holding, or double-tapping on the button,” I found it easier to control them from my LG V30 rather than through the earbud itself. I also found there to be some connectivity issues when I had my phone in my back pocket, which isn’t unheard of, and a quick swap to my chest or front pant pocket usually solved it. If Apple’s AirPods don’t fit in your ears, or if you’re an Android user like me who would rather pair with a non-Apple product, the Verse earbuds are a great option. — AJ Powell, Associate Editor
Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC
The Voyager 8200 UC headphones share the same design as Plantronics’s BackBeat Pro 2. Both are active noise canceling headphones, as well. The main difference is that the Voyager 8200 UC is designed specifically for the office professional. They have four built-in microphones, instead of two on the BackBeat Pro 2, so you can get a better call experience. And they have what Plantronics calls a “dual mode active noise cancellation,” which lets you adjust the amount of ANC even you’re talking on the phone. And it has smart sensors that let you answer right when you put the handphones on. Are these the ultimate workplace headphones? Check back for our review in the coming weeks. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer
JLab Audio Epic Sport
Maybe the coolest feature of JLab Audio’s new Epic Sport wireless earbuds is that you can adjust the EQ — from Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost —- directly on the headphones, whereas most other headphones require you to open an app. That aside, the Epic Sport have a few other improvements over JLab Audio’s several-year-old Epic2 headphones, including better waterproofing better connectivity and a better battery life. And, as far as sports headphones go, they’re pretty affordable. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer