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June 9, 2021
🥛 Good morning! I’m out in the countryside for the rest of this week, and out here there’s a milk stand where you can take a bottle and fill it with a liter of fresh milk for a buck. Not bad!
Sony's new WF-1000XM4 land
sony wf 1000xm4 review hero
An IPX4 rating means moisture like sweat and rain shouldn't damage your earphones.

The new Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have now launched, Sony latest top-of-the-line noise-cancelling earbuds. 

  • It’s a big deal because Sony is positioning these as the best in the business, taking on Apple AirPods Pro, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2, all of which are in the price range.

The details:

  • First of all, the new WF-1000XM4s retail for $280, which is $30 more than the Apple AirPods Pro, which means Sony is serious about what it is offering, and will give iPhone owners plenty to consider given what Apple promises.
  • Still, the XM4 earbuds pack a new Integrated Processor V1, which offers better active noise-cancelling. The new buds also have dual-noise sensor microphones, which all work to further dampen low-frequency sounds like plane noise or car engines.
  • The buds now support Sony’s own LDAC high-quality audio, while lower quality SBC and AAC are included too.
  • Sound quality is right up there and even better if you use the equalizer software included.
  • They’re smaller, but there’s better battery life, too. Our sister site SoundGuys ran some tests and found they lasted for around 7 hours and 43 minutes. That’s really solid.
  • The case is about 40% smaller overall, too.
  • Still, they’re $50 more than the previous XM3 model, making them a real premium device.

Reviews:

  • Our sister site SoundGuyshas reviewed the new buds as one of the best on the market, rating them an 8.2, and even better with a touch of equalizer adjustment.
  • The Verge awards an 8.5 and takes some marks off for a lack of Bluetooth multipoint, which only Jabra really does in the TWS market.
  • CNET (8.8) and Engadget(86/100) both worry that they might not fit smaller ears with the size.
  • My problem is the potential for losing them. I’ve only lost one earbud before, and haven’t since. But it’s such a common experience that I worry that spending $280 on these is an over-investment, especially if you use them day in, day out. 
  • I’d probably rather spend the cash on the trusty old-school-big over-ear WH-1000XM4 headphones which came out late last year.
  • For a specific use case, for example, when you travel on planes and want something sleek but with great ANC, these might make sense.
Roundup

🆕 Newest Samsung Galaxy S21 FE renders show multiple colors and all angles (Android Authority).

👉 Leaked OnePlus Nord CE promo video reveals phone’s design and specs: 4,500mAh battery, “Snapdragon 750″ SoC, and 64MP primary camera. Also, OnePlus shows off new Nord CE phone not heading to the US (Android Authority).

⛔ What broke the internet: Fast.ly took a large part of the popular web down for an hour. No detailed post-mortem on what went wrong yet but amusingly, the company’s stock price lifted 10% (Ars Technica).

🕊️ “As a green bubble, I appreciate Apple’s FaceTime olive branch(Gizmodo).

🍎 The six-year-old iPhone 6S will get iOS 15, and that rules (The Verge).

⌨ The colorful, costly world of custom keyboard enthusiasts, which is only getting bigger (Wired).

💸 Farewell, millennial lifestyle subsidy: The price for Uber, Lyft, scooters and Airbnb rentals is going up as tech companies aim for profitability. At the same time, drivers, workers, and riders might finally be getting paid more? (NY Times).

📺 Loki is out today on Disney Plus, and reviews have dropped too: Loki is “divinely weird”, and the most audacious MCU series yet (CNET).

🔋 Can a Tesla Roadster really hit a claimed 0 to 60MPH time of 1.1s, even with cold air thrusters? Actually maybe, if you carry around a 6,000 psi compressed air tank in your EV (Jalopnik).

🕹 Panic’s Playdate handheld will be available for pre-order in July, along with a stereo dock, and a weird pen holder accessory. It’s a hand-crank handheld retro gaming device, coming for $179 with 24 games (Engadget).

😎 Ring of fire eclipse 2021: When, where and how to see tomorrow’s annular solar eclipse (Space).

🤔 “What’s a free resource available to everyone that most people don’t know about or take advantage of?” (r/askreddit).

Wednesday Weirdness
elephants-sleep
CCTV/screenshot

China has a herd of elephants wandering through the countryside, raising hell on an unusual march.

  • 16 Asian elephants have been on the move through China’s south-west since March last year, on a trek of around 300 miles.
  • Wildlife authorities don’t know exactly why the elephants left their natural habitat but while on the move they’ve marched a path of impressive destruction, causing at least 6.8m yuan ($1.07m) in damages to buildings and structures.
  • In China, the journey of the elephants is followed 24 hours, with a team of eight people tracking the elephants both on the ground and by drone from the air. Millions tune in to watch them online, too.
  • This week though, things got a little hairy: “410 emergency personnel, 374 vehicles and 14 drones were deployed on Monday with more than two tonnes of elephant food, in continuing efforts to lead the elephants away from human areas, and to evacuate people in their path,” wrote The Guardian.
  • But what’s adorable is that the elephants got tired out, and took a nap, with video showing the herd taking a rest, along with a baby elephant shuffling about to find a comfy spot (CNN).

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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