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25
Nov

Valve’s Gabe Newell is backing a smart sous vide cooking tool


Valve founder Gabe Newell isn’t just interested in gaming technology, like living room computers and virtual reality — he also appreciates the science behind a well-prepared meal, too. The legendary game developer has poured money into ChefSteps to help them make Joule, a smart immersion circulator for sous vide cooking. Instead of fiddling with buttons on the wand to heat your water bath, you use a mobile app to set and monitor temperatures. It has presets for particular food types, and you can even have it change temperatures at different times — if one guest prefers rare steak while another likes it well-done, you can make that happen. The hardware is small yet powerful, too, packing a 1100W heater into an 11-inch cylinder that can fit into your kitchen drawers.

Via: Eater, IGN

Source: ChefSteps

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25
Nov

T-Mobile will give you an extra $200 to switch from Sprint


T-Mobile’s ongoing feud with Sprint continues to have some benefits for your bottom line… and this time, T-Mobile is trying to tempt you with cold, hard cash. As of November 26th, the carrier is running a month-long promo that promises an extra $200 (on top of the existing credit) for every phone line you bring over from one of Sprint’s networks, whether it’s a prepaid Boost plan or a full-fledged subscription. You don’t need to trade in your old gear, either. The move is a bit sneaky given that T-Mobile just hiked its unlimited data rates — you may well be paying more per month if you truly need unlimited access. If you’re already interested in jumping ship, though, this should make the transition that much easier.

[Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Source: T-Mobile

25
Nov

Google scours 1.2 million URLs to conform with EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’


While still fighting it in the courts, Google has been complying with the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling. In a transparency report, the search giant stated that is has evaluated 1,234,092 URLs from 348,085 requests since May 29, 2014. Of those, 42 percent of the URLs have been removed from search results. When deciding which results stay and which get disappeared from results, it says, “Google must consider the rights of the individual as well as public interest in the content.” Unsurprising, the top site to have its search results scrubbed is Facebook.

Via: WSJ

Source: Google

25
Nov

Verizon customers can gift data data this holiday season


Verizon customers can give the gift of data this holiday season with a simple message from the Verizon Messages app. The holiday season is when most people usually consume more data as they are on the road or in the air traveling to see loved ones. So send someone an extra gig so they can listen to more music or watch more movies while traveling.

For $10, you can now send 1GB to a family member or friend using the Verizon Messages app. The $10 will be directly billed to your Verizon account.

“You’ll find the data gift option in the eGift Catalogue within the Verizon Messages app and be able to personalize it with a message before you send it. Your friend will receive the gift as a text message with a link to redeem their 1GB.” – Verizon

Another option is to sign into your my Verizon account online and send it through there where you can personalize the gift before sending. The recipient will receive the gift as a text message.

This gifting option only works for Verizon customers, not that T-Mobile customers need it as there are no overage fees.

Learn more at Verizon.com.

 

The post Verizon customers can gift data data this holiday season appeared first on AndroidGuys.

25
Nov

SwiftKey announces big savings on a dozen theme packs for this weekend


FiveDaysOnly

Tons of online retailers and manufacturers have been announcing some big promotions for the holidays, and it looks like SwiftKey Keyboard is next on the list. Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, SwiftKey has announced huge markdowns on a dozen theme packs in the Android app, giving you the chance to save up to 50% off on select themes.

Here are the themes that are now being offered for 50% off:

  • Accent pack
  • Cool Punch pack
  • Gift Wrap pack
  • Pink pack
  • Minimal pack
  • Hot punch pack
  • Winter Vibe pack

SwiftKey has also announced five new theme packs that will be available at a discounted price for a limited time:

  • Everything Megapack – Every paid theme (more than 75 in all) in the SwiftKey Store
  • Material Megapack – 35 themes inspired by the sleek, modern Material Design aesthetic
  • Old School Megapack – A collection of 31 of SwiftKey’s best-selling themes since the Store was introduced in 2014
  • Top Ten pack – Our top ten best-selling themes of all time
  • Rainbow pack – Eight colorful themes that together create a beautiful


best black friday dealsDon’t miss: Black Friday 2015 – best deals31

The promotion has already started and only lasts five days, so you’ll need to hurry if you want to take advantage of these deals before Monday, November 30th. Haven’t tried SwiftKey Keyboard? It’s one of the best keyboards available on Android, so you should definitely give it a try. Head to the link below to download SwiftKey from Google Play.

Download SwiftKey from Google Play

25
Nov

10 ways to recycle your phone


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Shutterstock

Humanity is capable unbelievable things. We have gone from stone tools to amazing computers that fit in our pockets. The only issue is we are also great at trashing this planet we call home. But things are getting serious, and at some point we have to take action.

Most of us don’t really know how much of an issue e-waste really is. What happens to those old phones we hoard and throw away after years of living in a drawer? The first thought would be to dump it in the trash, but that mentality is bringing serious repercussions that affect our environment.

For starters, smartphones and other electronics have materials you wouldn’t want spreading across the world. These include PBC, lead, mercury, nickel, arsenic and much, much more. And we are not talking about some devices floating in the water here and there. According to Causes International, a report from the United Nations University claims 41.8 million metric tons of electronic waste were produced in the world… only in 2014.

recycle tech Shutterstock

Want to put that into perspective? That’s enough to fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. And it seems the USA is the main contributor, beating China by more than a million tons. To make matters even worse, our recycling rate seems to be pretty low (13.6 for the USA in 2008), something we need to change, especially considering how much the mobile industry continues to grow. We change phones faster than ever! The best solution is recycling, so we thought we would offer a list of good options for when you need to get rid of those old phones. Don’t just throw them in the trash!

Does it work? Let someone else use it!

Is the phone still usable? The best way to recycle it is to either sell it or hand it over to someone who may need it. Remember, someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure. Check with family and friends to see if that old phone could be something they need.

This is really the best way to recycle something; just keeping it alive and stop someone from buying another phone that will go straight to the landfills.

Or continue using it…

Don’t like the idea of giving out your precious devices? There are always ways to reuse your old smartphones. I have heard of people turning these into internet-connected security cameras, music players, temporary travel phones, gaming devices, remote controls and more. Your possibilities are endless if this happens to be a smartphone. And if it’s old enough, maybe that cool hipster friend will love to use it!


g1-thumbSee also: Android Flashback – T-Mobile G1 by HTC Unboxing and Initial Setup18

Call 2 Recycle

Call 2 Recycle has been around since the early 90’s, something not many other organizations can tout. They have also helped get rid of over 100 million pounds of solid waste, and this year they are nearing the 6.5 million pounds of batteries recycled.

It’s free, and though you will make no money from this, at least you know you are helping your planet. Just use their recycling locations tool to find a participating center around you. They are all over the place (in the USA), so you will have no issue finding a center.

Visit Call 2 Recycle

Cellphones for Soldiers

Life can’t be easy in the front lines, and I bet it’s not simple for our military men and women to be so far from home. Cellphones for Soldiers has been helping troops call home at no charge. Over 216 million minutes have been handed out through over 3 million calling cards. You can learn all about donating phones or funds straight from the official website. Get all the details by clicking through the button below.

Visit the Cellphones for Soldiers website

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Recycling for Charities

I don’t know about you, but when I give out anything for free I like to think that it goes towards a good cause, not just a company making more money. Recycling for Charities is a good way to give back to the community by helping great causes. They help a plethora of organizations and will always have a featured charity. And if you run a charity, you can even sign up to get help!

Visit Recycling for Charities

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HopeLine

We can call out Verizon all we want for all their rubbish practices, but if their Hope Line campaign doesn’t squeeze your heart I feel like we should go in there and look for it. Big Red’s Hope Line phone recycling campaign aims to make money through refurbishing donated phones and use profits to end domestic violence. It’s certainly a great cause, and one I know will touch the hearts of many of us.

Visit the Hope Line website

Hope Phones

We are lucky to have enough technology to even throw away. At least that is the approach Medic Mobile’s Hope Phones campaign takes. Their idea is to get money from phones that could be resold or safely dispose of the ones that can’t be saved. These funds help them aid healthcare programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They claim each donated phone provides for 10 new phones for health workers in 21 countries.

Visit the Hope Phones website

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Best Buy

Most of you probably have a Best Buy close to home, which means you also have a super easy way to safely recycle your electronics. The popular electronics retailer always has containers for recycling right next to their front gates. They have already properly disposed of over a billion pounds of electronics, which is a huge accomplishment. It sure is nice to see a company like this trying to help out, right? Not really a good cause, but it still helps the environment and will make donating your phones a breeze, since Best Buy is everywhere.

Donate it to a zoo?

According to the folks at Tree Hugger, plenty of zoos accept smartphones as donations. This is because the used and refurbished smartphone business can be lucrative, but at least you know these funds will go towards a worthy cause… at least if you are a fan of animals.

Some participating zoos seem to be Zoo Atlanta, Toronto Zoo, Oakland Zoo and others. Just go check if your local zoo has a similar campaign going on!

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Donate to Oxfam

Oxfam is a UK-based organization with the goal of fighting poverty. They will try to save used devices, fix them and sell them. These funds will then be used to buy water tanks, wells, tools, seeds school books and other basic necessities for those who are not as fortunate to have them in abundance.

Visit the Oxfam website

Wrap-up

You may have noticed a pattern in this list; none of the campaigns listed make money out of this. And if they do, they use it for a good cause. OK, that’s not actually true – Best Buy makes some money, but “just barely”. It’s not really a business they are in to make a fortune from, though. The reason I listed it is because it is a very convenient recycling location, and many of us find ourselves in these stores very often.

Aside from that, all of these are good causes. And that’s what recycling is supposed to be about, right? It’s not nice to staple a good cause to any business just to make money out of it. These are some great ways to dispose of your technology. Now, if your device is in good condition and you would rather make some cash selling it (which is really another form of recycling), we also have a guide for you.

Have any of you guys tried these recycling programs in the past? How did the process go?

25
Nov

iPhones Expected to Have OLED Displays Starting in 2018


Apple plans to switch to OLED displays for iPhones starting in 2018, according to Japanese website Nikkei. The report claims Apple has notified its suppliers about its future plans, with LG Display already planning capacity upgrades for high-volume OLED display production.

iPhone-trio

LG Display and Samsung Electronics will likely share a large portion of the OLED panel production for future iPhones, according to the report. Apple’s shift to OLED displays could have “major implications” for Apple’s current LCD display suppliers Sharp and Japan Display, the latter of which relies on Apple for 30% of its business.

Samsung Electronics is currently the only company that can reliably mass-produce OLED smartphone screens. LG Display has a track record for producing OLEDs for television screens. Given this, the two companies will likely supply a large portion of Apple’s displays. […]

Apple’s shift to OLED displays will have major implications for two Japanese suppliers — Sharp, which is scrambling to rebuild its faltering operations, and Japan Display, which relies on the computing giant for 30% of its business.

Due to the high volume of iPhones that Apple ships, and the technical challenges of producing OLED displays, the report claims the company will likely continue to sell iPhones with LCD screens alongside models with new OLED displays.

Samsung’s popular Galaxy-branded smartphones are equipped with AMOLED displays, as is the Apple Watch, but iPhones have always had LCD displays since the original model launched over eight years ago.

OLED displays can provide sharper images and brighter colors compared to LCD displays, but OLED displays generally have a shorter lifespan and higher manufacturing costs. Apple has reportedly been “consulting with display makers” about OLED technology to eliminate potential drawbacks.

OLEDs are known for offering sharper images and colors than the conventional liquid crystal displays used in cellphones since the 1990s, as well as for their power-saving capacity. The screens can also be bent and rounded to a certain degree, giving companies greater flexibility when designing devices.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently noted that Apple is unlikely to adopt AMOLED displays for iPhones for at least three years, claiming that its main supplier Foxconn is preparing to invest in advanced TFT-LCD production lines in China for mass production in 2018.

Related Roundup: iPhone 6s
Tags: Samsung, OLED, LG Display
Buyer’s Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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25
Nov

MacMall’s 60-Hour 2015 Black Friday Sale Kicks Off With Solid Deals on Macs


MacMall’s annual 60-hour Black Friday sale [PDF] on a variety of Apple products starts today, November 25, at 12:01 p.m. Pacific Time and lasts through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, November 28.

As it does every year, MacMall is offering significant discounts on a huge selection of Apple Macs and iPads. The Retina MacBook Pro is available at up to $250 off, while the MacBook Air is available for up to $101 off. The 27-inch iMac is available at up to $201 off, and the Mac mini is available at $100 off.

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MacMall sells a range of stock Apple Macs and custom build-to-order models. We’ve listed a selection of the more popular discounted models below, but the full range of discounts are available on the MacMall website.

2015 Retina MacBook

– 1.1GHz/8GB/256GB Gold, Silver, Space Gray – $1,197, $102 off

– 1.2GHz/8GB/512GB Gold, Silver, Space Gray – $1,497, $102 off

– 1.3GHz/8GB/256GB Gold, Silver, Space Gray – $1,447, $102 off

– 1.3GHz/8GB/512GB Gold, Silver, Space Gray – $1,647, $102 off

2015 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro

2.7GHz/8GB/128GB – $1,197, $102 off

2.7GHz/8GB/256GB – $1,397, $102 off

2.9GHz/8GB/512GB – $1,697, $102 off

2.7GHz/16GB/256GB – $1,597, $102 off

2.9GHz/16GB/256GB – $1,697, $102 off

2.9GHz/16GB/512GB – $1,897, $102 off

3.1GHz/16GB/256GB – $1,897, $102 off

3.1GHz/16GB/512GB – $2,097, $102 off

3.1GHz/16GB/1TB – $2,597, $102 off

2015 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro

15-inch 2015 Retina MacBook Pro models are available for up to $250 off. Models marked Iris AMD include a separate AMD graphics card while models marked Iris Pro do not.

2.2GHz/16GB/256GB/Iris Pro – $1,799, $200 off

2.2GHz/16GB/512GB/Iris Pro – $2,148, $151 off

2.5GHz/16GB/256GB/Iris Pro – $1,948, $151 off

2.5GHz/16GB/512GB/Iris Pro – $2,248, $151 off

2.5GHz/16GB/512GB/Iris AMD – $2,249, $250 off

2.5GHz/16GB/1TB/Iris AMD – $2,839, $160 off

2.8GHz/16GB/256GB/Iris Pro – $2,148, $151 off

2.8GHz/16GB/512GB/Iris Pro – $2,448, $151 off

2.8GHz/16GB/512GB/Iris AMD – $2,548, $151 off

2.8GHz/16GB/1TB/Iris AMD – $2,949, $250 off

2015 MacBook Air

MacMall’s selection of MacBook Air models are available at an $80 to $101 discount.

11-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB – $799, $99 off

11-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/256GB – $1,018, $81 off

11-inch 1.6GHz/8GB/256GB – $1,118, $81 off

11-inch 2.2GHz/8GB/256GB – $1,268, $81 off

11-inch 2.2GHz/8GB/512GB – $1,568, $81 off

13-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB – $899, $99 off

13-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/256GB – $1,098, $100 off

13-inch 1.6GHz/8GB/256GB – $1,218, $81 off

13-inch 1.6GHz/8GB/512GB – $1,518, $81 off

13-inch 2.2GHz/8GB/256GB – $1,368, $81 off

13-inch 2.2GHz/8GB/512GB – $1,668, $81 off

2015 21.5-inch iMac

1.4GHz/8GB/1TB – $998, $101 off

2.8GHz/8GB/1TB – $1,198, $101 off

2.8GHz/8GB/1TB Fusion – $1,318, $81 off

2.8GHz/16GB/1TB Fusion – $1,518, $81 off

4K 3.1GHz/8GB/1TB – $1,389, $110 off

4K 3.1GHz/16GB/1TB – $1,589, $101 off

4K 3.3GHz/8GB/1TB Fusion – $1,698, $101 off

2015 27-inch iMac

5K 3.2GHz/8GB/1TB/M380 – $1,669, $130 off

5K 3.2GHz/8GB/1TB Fusion/M390 – $1,848, $151 off

5K 3.2GHz/8GB/2TB Fusion/M380 – $1,998, $101 off

5K 3.2GHz/16GB/1TB Fusion/M390 – $2,098, $101 off

5K 3.3GHz/8GB/2TB Fusion/M395 – $2,148, $151 off

5K 3.3GHz/16GB/2TB Fusion/M395 – $2,398, $101 off

5K 4.0GHz/8GB/2TB Fusion/M395 – $2,448, $101 off

5K 4.0GHz/16GB/2TB Fusion/M395 – $2,648, $101 off

5K 4.0GHz/16GB/3TB Fusion/M395 – $2,748, $101 off

5K 4.0/32GB/2TB Fusion/M395X – $3,248, $151 off

5K 4.0/32GB/3TB Fusion/M395X – $3,348, $151 off

5K 4.0/32GB/1TB Flash/M395X – $3898, $201 off

2013 Mac Pro

4-Core 3.7GHz/12GB/256GB – $2,699, $300 off

6-Core 3.5GHz/16GB/256GB – $3,649, $350 off

8-Core 3.0GHz/12GB/1TB – $6,349, $450 off

12-Core 2.7GHz/64GB/1TB – $8,799, $800 off

2014 Mac mini

1.4GHz/4GB/500GB – $464.99, $34 off

2.6GHz/8GB/1TB Sata – $658, $41 off

2.8GHz/8GB/1TB Fusion – $938, $61 off

MacMall is offering iPad Air 2 models at $40 to $50 off 16, 64, and 128GB Wi-Fi only models and up to $75 off the more expensive high-capacity cellular models. The original iPad Air is also available for up to $40 off, and the iPad mini 4 is available for up to $30 off.

The site is also selling a wide range of Apple-related accessories, cases, and other products at small discounts, including the BlueLounge Design Sanctuary 4 Charging Station, which is available for $65 (down from $135) and the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 6s, available for $45 (down from $72).

As one of the only sites that sells Apple’s build-to-order Mac models at a discount, MacMall is a popular choice for customers looking for a non-standard Mac at a lower price. Because MacMall operates in a limited number of states, most orders can will not require sale tax to be paid.

For more upcoming Black Friday deals, make sure to check out our dedicated Black Friday roundup. There are some excellent discounts this year on a range of products from iPads and Macs to iPhones and Apple Watches, not to mention hundreds of Apple-related accessories.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with MacMall.

Related Roundup: Black Friday
Tag: MacMall

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25
Nov

AT&T, Verizon and Sprint add gold platinum colored Galaxy Note 5


Galaxy-Note5_back-with-spen_Gold-PlatinumNearly two weeks ago, T-Mobile added a gold color option Galaxy Note 5. Now, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have done the same.

If you’re on any of the four major U.S. carriers and want to buy a Galaxy Note 5 in gold, you can now do so. The gold colored Galaxy Note 5 adds to the white and black color options already available. With it, you’re getting the same 5.7-inch Super AMOLED Quad-HD display, octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 16MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, and 3000mAh battery. The device’s price will vary on your choice of carrier and storage capacity, however all color variants cost the same.

Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are all offering deals for the upcoming holiday weekend, all in which include discounts on the Galaxy Note 5. Be sure to check those out before buying.

Source: Sprint, Verizon, AT&T

Come comment on this article: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint add gold platinum colored Galaxy Note 5

25
Nov

V-Moda Zn in-ear headphones review: Zinc metal shows its beauty inside and out


If you’re an on-the-go music lover and haven’t heard of V-MODA, you really should. It is a relatively new company (compared to the likes of renowned brands like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, or Shure), but has climbed up the ranks very quickly as a result of stellar headphone sound and design. The team at V-MODA knows how to tune the audio presentation to really connect with listeners and get our hearts pumping. The engineers also put a large focus on quality, building the hardware like a tank and ready for your abuse.

On top of that, V-MODA’s leader, Val Kolton, consistently puts a large influence on a compelling design. He thinks headphones make a statement, like a fashion accessory, and they better look good on your head.

Up until now, most of V-MODA’s success has been attributed to on-the-head products. It’s been several years since we’ve seen attention given to fans of in-ear headphones. Well, now that has changed. Allow me to introduce the V-MODA Zn.

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This isn’t just another earbud. V-MODA has taken its development experience over the years and shrunk it down to something that can stand with the rest of its lineup. These little guys were given special attention, down to the unique use of liquid Zinc metal in their construction. Let’s check out if the Zn lives up to the anticipation.

Design

The experience with each V-MODA product begins at the unboxing. There’s always a red strip on the on the box that you have to cut (Val Kolton describes this as a ribbon cutting ceremony). Pushing up from a slit on the bottom reveals the product presentation.

DSC04490

Remember how I said that the company sees headphones as fashion accessories? It feels like you’re opening the box to a piece of jewelry. The layout shows the earpieces on top, the 3-button remote, the metal y-splitter, and the other sizes of eartips.

Being a V-MODA product, there’s a lot of interesting things to talk about in the Zn’s design. The cool and striking look that the company typically devotes to its headphones wasn’t abandoned just because this is a small product.

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At the same time, the Zn gets its own design signature. You won’t necessarily be able to tell at first glance that it’s made by V-MODA, but it won’t surprise you to find that out either.

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Just as impressive as the edgy design is the clever use of material. The Zn’s construction is mostly plastic. And it’s not an expensive-feeling plastic either. But the design draws your attention two ways: with the use of depth and a unconventional metal – Zinc (hence the product’s name, “Zn” is the element’s abbreviation).

V-MODA advertises the exotic housing as “liquid Zinc metal”. It’s so unique in fact that the product is labeled “Limited Edition” because the alloy isn’t so easy to come by.

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And it isn’t just for looks. The Zinc metal mold is the acoustic chamber for the driver. Therefore, the sound you get out of these is like no other.

Although the plastic surround isn’t at all interesting itself, V-MODA uses it cleverly for a striking presentation. The contrast of the plastic against the shiny metal alloy portrays an elegant roughness. The metal is a gem that must live encapsulated in a guardian’s clasp. Yet, despite that fate, the beauty is still able to mightily shine through and let the world know that something special lies within. Why I call it clever is because V-MODA does this to tell a story while countering the cost of the unique material.

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The attention to detail continues down through the cord. There’s a reinforcing fabric weave (Kevlar) that wraps around the length of the cable. Dubbed DiamondBack, the cable is claimed to be 20x stronger than the industry standard and can withstand frequent bending like a champ.

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If you’ve known V-MODA, you know durability is a big priority in its design. The Zn is no exception, the build carries a military-level MIL-STD-105 robustness standard.

And not forgetting that this is in-ear model (which moves in and out of your pocket), V-MODA also thought about the cord’s shrink-wrapping material. It has a particular substance/finish that inhibits tangles. If I haven’t been clear about it yet, V-MODA engineers the heck out of its devices.

The Zn’s sound is produced by a 8mm dynamic driver, which follows conventional speaker driver technology. A lot of high-end in-ears have moved on to balanced armature (BA) drivers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re superior. There are pros and cons to both methods. Sennheiser was another manufacturer not convinced with BA drivers for superior acoustics and stuck with a dynamic driver in its flagship in-ear, the IE 800.

Regardless, V-MODA has made sure that the sound performance is up to its high standards. Therefore, the meticulous tuning is supplemented with “limited” (made in Italy) custom-made filters between the driver and housing. V-MODA refers to the special filters as the “gatekeepers of golden acoustics”.

Generously, the Zn’s packaging also includes a leather carrying case. The flap secures via a magnetic connection.

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Inside the case, you’ll find another set of eartips (clear) and ear hooks.

The eartips are easy to remove and replace. On the stem of the earpiece, there’s a notch that secures the tip in place and a metal mesh that protects the sound tube from earwax.

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Usability

So V-MODA greatly thinks about design, how about functionality and comfort?

In-ear headphones are largely dependent on eartips. Not just in regard to fit, but also sound quality. If they don’t create a seal within your ear canal, you’ll miss out on detail. Eartip material also effects sound quality. Silicone tips generally promote bass more than foam, but foam tips isolate much better.

V-MODA believes it found a good compromise, with a custom silicone eartip. Dubbed BLISS (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) 3.0 Fittings, it claims the best from both worlds – isolation and strong bass.

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Sound-wise, I’m totally on board with this eartip. In the accessory kit, V-MODA includes a different set of eartips (clear) with thinner silicone and less impactful response. Use the black tips, they do wonders. The passive isolation isn’t as good as foam, but once you get music going, everything else is drowned out.

The small size of the earpieces means the entire housings will go into your ears. My only complaint is that to remove them, it’s easiest to pull from the cord. This isn’t ideal; cord attachments are generally a vulnerability (the Zn’s earpieces are not removable from the cable). But I’m confident in V-MODA’s construction.

My only other concern was that the largest included eartip was just barely enough for me to get an appropriate seal. But this is a “your milage may vary” thing. My ear canal’s aren’t the smallest. However, I know that other manufacturers include a wider variety of sizes, so I would recommend V-MODA to follow suit.

In addition to my previous praise about the Zn’s cord, I also want to gladly mention that the length is considerable. Skimped length is often a complaint with headphones, but that isn’t a problem whatsoever here. The total length from earpiece to plug is 46″ (13″ from earpiece to y-splitter, and then 33″ to plug).

Zinc metal on the y-splitter is a very nice touch (subtly flashy). Having had a pair of Sennheiser CX985 before, I was initially worried. The weight of the metal on the CX985 gave my earpieces an annoying downward pull. Fortunately, the metal V-MODA chose is really light, feels like it’s not even there.

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From the split, on the right cord, there’s a 3-button remote with a microphone on the back. The Zn is offered in two different models, solely because of the separation between Android and Apple. Unfortunately, Apple wins out here. Full functionality of the 3-button remote only works for Apple devices. Rather than prepare a separate 3-button remote for Android, V-MODA only removed the buttons that didn’t work (volume up and down) and made a one-button variant of the Zn. You can still use the 3-button model on an Android phone (that is the review unit I was given in fact), but the volume buttons won’t work. In other words, V-MODA only made a separate one-button remote variant purely for aesthetics. Being a writer for an Android site, I predictably recommend V-MODA to give Android devices equal attention in the future :)

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Pressing the center button play/pauses music, while holding it activates the open mic feature of the device it’s connected to (i.e. Siri or Google Now). You can of course also use it to pick up incoming calls.

Val Kolton is a big proponent of using headphones when you exercise. Therefore, an included accessory is an attachable earhook for cord stability when moving around a lot. This also helps a ton with cable microphonics if that’s a common concern in your lifestyle.

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Sound

*For my sound trials, I used the LG V10 (HiFi SABRE 9018 DAC setting) and Tidal HiFi music samples.

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Let’s get to the real testimony of this review – the sound. I’m going to start at the best aspect and then descend downward.

I cannot praise the low-end reproduction of these earphones enough. The bass detail and depth is simply amazing. It is a staggering feat for earphones to reproduce such a weighty bass response. It actually bests many full headphones I’ve heard. The moment you don the Zn and turn the tunes on, the impact of the entire low-end range strikes you. It’s emotional, expansive, and game-changingThe awe leaves me searching for an explanation to its magicThe acoustic walls of the Zinc housing are probably part of the answer, but I think the eartips are also complicit to the audio genius.

But the superb bass is not the only feat. The soundstage presentation is right behind it. Here, I look to the custom tuning filters for the explanation, which are said to control the airflow mechanics. The ambient reach of the acoustics feels physics-defying. I hear the placement and distance of instruments like no other earphone has allowed before. It is incredible.

The treble to me is an interesting animal. Detail is certainly captured, and the Zn can definitely reach far to surface the little nuances. But it’s not the cleanest reproduction I’ve heard, and sometimes I get little peaks of sibilance in higher-pitched instruments. Also, the transition between mid and high frequencies isn’t seamless – which leads to the next part of the discussion.

V-MODA’s front-runner headphone has long been the Crossfade M-100 over-ears, which follows a V-shaped sound signature. “V-shaped” means that the midrange frequencies are recessed to an extent in favor for a prominence of bass and treble. The Zn follows suit but I find the dynamic difference a bit more disruptive than with the M-100.

It may have to do with a compromise to get the favored frequencies shining, but the presence of the mids is average to me. Vocals sound like they’re at the dead center of your head and don’t exhibit the airy-ness that is adored from other sounds. The laid-back nature also makes vocals less intimate. Also, any melodies in that region (i.e. guitar riffs) are not as impactful and full as I feel they should be.

That doesn’t mean that the mids are bad whatsoever. They are detailed, clear, and accurate. It’s a relative comparison. V-MODA set the bar very high with other elements of the sound, I’m just saying that the mids don’t reach that voluminous level.

Part of that criticism stems from having owned V-MODA’s XS on-ears (which proceeded the M-100). The XS have a neutral sound signature and more lush mids. I would’ve liked to see this progression continue.

Final Thoughts

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Through everything that’s been said, I ultimately hope you’ve captured my excitement. The attention to detail in every regard to an in-ear headphone is impeccable with the Zn. After going years without a strong in-ear offering, I am not only glad that V-MODA finally delivered, but love that it is one of the best earphones that money can now buy.

Even in spite of owning considerably higher costing earphones, the Zn’s bass reproduction blows me away. The impact is tremendous. If you’re any kind of bass-head but also value detail and other nuances in your music, you will fall in love these earphones.

Are they perfect? No. Would I recommend them to an analytical, reference-sound seeker? No. But that is not V-MODA’s goal. The goal is to extract details out of the sound that induce heart-pumping emotion.

The fact of the matter is that when I sit to listen to music, I keep wanting to reach for the Zn out of my set of earphones, and I don’t want to take them off. That enjoyment exemplifies what personal music listening is all about. I sincerely hope that the Zn can resonate loudly enough into the awareness of general audio lovers. You need to hear this.

V-MODA Zn product page

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