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RHA T20 Wireless review: 12 hour battery with option for wired or wireless connectivity

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WWDC 2019: Finally, Apple frees the iPad and Watch from iPhone’s shadow
Can the iPad now become a serious business tool? Are the iPad and Mac platforms headed toward unification? Will developers take the time to get it right? TechRepublic’s Karen Roby gets some answers from Jason Perlow and Jason Cipriani. Read more: https://zd.net/2Wlin3A

RHA Audio released the original T20 wired model in 2015 and the headset was universally lauded by reviewers. People have been asking for a wireless version and this month RHA delivered with the T20 Wireless, available now for $249.95.

In order to provide buyers with the ultimate audio experience, RHA lets you use the T20 Wireless headphones in either a wireless or wired mode so you get the best of both worlds in one. The T20 Wireless is priced at $249.95, which is a rather high price for headphones when OnePlus offers something similar at $99. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 don’t have a wired mode though and wired mode on the T20 Wireless is pretty stunning.

Retail package

RHA Audio includes everything you need in the retail package with the following contents:

  • T20 Wireless housings with DualCoil driver – MMCX
  • SecureFlex Bluetooth neckband – MMCX
  • Oxygen-free copper cable with 3.5mm – MMCX
  • Tuning filters and holder (bass, reference and treble)
  • Neoprene carry pouch
  • Stainless steel ear tip holder
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • Dual density silicone ear tips: 2xS, 2xM, 2xL
  • Double flange silicone ear tips: 1xS, 1xL
  • Comply Foam Tsx400 ear tips: 2xM
  • Sports clip
  • Clothing clip

The housing for each earbud is constructed of injection-moulded stainless steel, colored in black to add a sleek element to the design of this model. RHA’s DualCoil driver system provide fantastic sound quality that I have yet to find replicated on other headsets.

Kyle Hutchison – Head of Product Design, RHA, stated:

When designing the T20 Wireless, we wanted to retain as much as possible, integrating the new elements with the aesthetic of the existing T series. We enhanced the striking look of the T20i using beautiful black finishes for the cabling, housings, and our silicone tips. Our headphones are known for their engineered, metal components and the neckband and remote are made of stunning, brushed stainless-steel. Combining these premium materials with clever design features like magnetic housings has created a beautiful, high-performance headphone.

Hardware and design

The RHA T20 Wireless is an over-the-neck design with a flexible cable connecting two large ends that house the battery and wireless radio. The earbuds are at the end of a cable, about nine inches long, coming out of each end. The cables do not retract, but there is a magnet between the two earbuds so they connect when you are not wearing them and keep things from tangling up. This is one of my favorite features of RHA headphones and lets you wear them throughout the day in comfort.

The right cable has a universal three button remote to control playback and also initiate voice assistants. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri are all compatible with the center activation button. Where the flexible thicker cable transitions into the earbud cable, there is a cylindrical part that houses the power button, indicator light, and USB-C port for charging. There is nothing found in the left side cylinder or along the earbud cable, making it easy to know which side is the right side when you place the headphones around your neck. The left side has a NFC radio inside to make pairing easy too.

Specifications of the RHA MA390 include:

  • Driver: 10mm DualCoil Dynamic
  • Bluetooth codecs: MP3, aptX, SBC
  • Frequency range (wired): 16-40,000 Hz
  • Frequency range (wireless): 16-20,000 Hz
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0 with 10m range
  • Water resistance: IPX4 rating
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Remote: 3-button for wireless connection
  • Weight (wired): 39 grams
  • Weight (wireless): 49 grams
  • Warranty: 3 years

The last couple of inches of cable near the earbud are a bit thicker and can be molded to fit around your ear for better security in your ear. A tight pull on each earbud removes the stainless steel earbud module from the wireless cable system. Snapping each earbud module into the other assembly converts the RHA T20 Wireless into a wired headset with a very long cable. A high quality 3.5mm headset jack is at the end of the cable with a metal central piece connecting the right and left earbud cables. There is no inline remote on the wired assembly.

Daily usage experiences

Most of my testing was performed on an iPhone XS and iPad Mini 2019 with music, movies, and podcast audio playback. With the iPhone and iPad I did not hear a significant difference between wireless and wired modes. For my daily commute, wireless mode was fantastic for long playback, comfort, and tangle-free usage.

I also tested out the LG G8 ThinQ since it has an integrated Quad DAC system with audio a focus of the device. In wireless mode, audio was too quiet for daily usage, which I noted as a problem when I tested the LG G8. I then switched to wired mode with the Quad DAC turned on and almost cried from how amazing the audio sounded coming from the G8 through the T20 Wireless and into my head. Wired mode is stunning with some phones, but wireless is very convenient too.

RHA advertises 12 hours of battery life and through a week of commuting and working in the office I measured about 10 hours of battery life on a consistent basis. Charging was pretty fast though with USB-C taking the headset at nearly empty to full in about an hour and a half.

While I started with the reference tuning filters, I tried the other two and settled on the bass filters since I like a bit more bass in my music and it seems most headphones perform in the treble range. The DualCoil driver system helps music playback sound great and I’m starting to use the RHA more than any other headset in my arsenal.

While there are a large number of eartips available, my favorite was the double-flange silicone ones that sealed things up and held the headset firmly in my ears. The Comply foam ones are also great for noise isolation, but the double-flange ones are easier to insert and are more comfortable for my ears.

While there isn’t much rain in the summer here in Washington State, I can rest assured that the T20 Wireless will work in inclement conditions thanks to its IPx4 water resistant rating. The cable length worked well for me and did not pull on my ears or get wrapped up when I turned my head left and right.

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Cymulate snaps up $70M to help cybersecurity teams stress test their networks with attack simulations – TechCrunch

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The cost of cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate of 15% per year, projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. To cope with the challenges that this poses, organizations are turning to a growing range of AI-powered tools to supplement their existing security software and the work of their security teams. Today, a startup called Cymulate — which has built a platform to help those teams automatically and continuously stress test their networks against potential attacks with simulations, and provide guidance on how to improve their systems to ward off real attacks — is announcing a significant round of growth funding after seeing strong demand for its tools.

The startup — founded in Tel Aviv, with a second base in New York — has raised $70 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue expanding globally and investing in expanding its technology (both organically and potentially through acquisitions).

Today, Cymulate’s platform covers both on-premise and cloud networks, providing breach and attack simulations for endpoints, email and web gateways and more; automated “red teaming”; and a “purple teaming” facility to create and launch different security breach scenarios for organizations that lack the resources to dedicate people to a live red team — in all, a “holistic” solution for companies looking to make sure they are getting the most out of the network security architecture that they already have in place, in the worlds of Eyal Wachsman, Cymulate’s CEO.

“We are providing our customers with a different approach for how to do cybersecurity and get insights [on]  all the products already implemented in a network,” he said in an interview. The resulting platform has found particular traction in the current market climate. Although companies continue to invest in their security architecture, security teams are also feeling the market squeeze, which is impacting IT budgets, and sometimes headcount in an industry that was already facing a shortage of expertise. (Cymulate cites figures from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology that estimate a shortfall of 2.72 million security professionals in the workforce globally.)

The idea with Cymulate is that it’s built something that helps organizations get the most out of what they already have. “And at the end, we provide our customers the ability to prioritize where they need to invest, in terms of closing gaps in their environment,” Wachsman said.

The round is being led by One Peak, with Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and strategic backer Dell Technologies Capital also participating. (All five also backed Cymulate in its $45 million Series C last year.) Relatively speaking, this is a big round for Cymulate, doubling its total raised to $141 million, and while the startup is not disclosing its valuation, I understand from sources that it is around the $500 million mark.

Wachsman noted that the funding is coming on the heels of a big year for the startup (the irony being that the constantly escalating issue of cybersecurity and growing threat landscape spells good news for companies built to combat that). Revenues have doubled, although it’s not disclosing any numbers today, and the company is now at over 200 employees and works with some 500 paying customers across the enterprise and mid-market, including NTT, Telit, and Euronext, up from 300 customers a year ago.

Wachsman, who co-founded the company with Avihai Ben-Yossef and Eyal Gruner, said he first thought of the idea of building a platform to continuously test an organization’s threat posture in 2016, after years of working in cybersecurity consulting for other companies. He found that no matter how much effort his customers and outside consultants put into architecting security solutions annually or semi-annually, those gains were potentially lost each time a malicious hacker made an unexpected move.

“If the bad guys decided to penetrate the organization, they could, so we needed to find a different approach,” he said. He looked to AI and machine learning for the solution, a complement to everything already in the organization, to build “a machine that allows you to test your security controls and security posture, continuously and on demand, and to get the results immediately… one step before the hackers.”

Last year, Wachsman described Cymulate’s approach to me as “the largest cybersecurity consulting firm without consultants,” but in reality the company does have its own large in-house team of cybersecurity researchers, white-hat hackers who are trying to find new holes — new bugs, zero days and other vulnerabilities — to develop the intelligence that powers Cymulate’s platform.

These insights are then combined with other assets, for example the MITRE ATT&CK framework, a knowledge base of threats, tactics and techniques used by a number of other cybersecurity services, including others building continuous validation services that compete with Cymulate. (Competitors include the likes of FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Randori, AttackIQ and many more.)

Cymulate’s work comes in the form of network maps that detail a company’s threat profile, with technical recommendations for remediation and mitigations, as well as an executive summary that can be presented to financial teams and management who might be auditing security spend. It also has built tools for running security checks when integrating any services or IT with third parties, for instance in the event of an M&A process or when working in a supply chain.

Today the company focuses on network security, which is big enough in itself but also leaves the door open for Cymulate to acquire companies in other areas like application security — or to build that for itself. “This is something on our roadmap,” said Wachsman.

If potential M&A leads to more fundraising for Cymulate, it helps that the startup is in one of the handful of categories that are going to continue to see a lot of attention from investors.

“Cybersecurity is clearly an area that we think will benefit from the current macroeconomic environment, versus maybe some of the more capital-intensive businesses like consumer internet or food delivery,” said David Klein, a managing partner at One Peak. Within that, he added, “The best companies [are those] that are mission critical for their customers… Those will continue to attract very good multiples.”

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Open-source password manager Bitwarden raises $100M – TechCrunch

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Bitwarden, an open-source password manager for enterprises and consumers, has raised $100 million in a round of funding led by PSG, with participation form Battery Ventures.

Founded initially back in 2015, Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden operates in a space that includes well-known incumbents including 1Password, which recently hit a $6.8 billion valuation off the back of a $620 million fundraise, and Lastpass, which was recently spun out as an independent company again two years after landing in the hands of private equity firms.

In a nutshell, Bitwarden and its ilk make it easier for people to generate secure passwords automatically, and store all their unique passwords and sensitive information such as credit card data in a secure digital vault, saving them from reusing the same insecure password across all their online accounts.

Bitwarden’s big differentiator, of course, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open-source codebase, which for super security-conscious individuals and businesses is a good thing — they can fully inspect the inner-workings of the platform. Moreover, people can contribute back to the codebase and expedite development of new features.

On top of a basic free service, Bitwarden ships a bunch of paid-for premium features and services, including advanced enterprise features like single sign-on (SSO) integrations and identity management.

Bitwarden

It’s worth noting that today’s “minority growth investment” represents Bitwarden’s first substantial external funding in its seven year history, though we’re told that it did raise a small undisclosed series A round back in 2019. Its latest cash injection is indicative of how the world has changed in the intervening years. The rise of remote work, with people increasingly meshing personal and work accounts on the same devices, means the same password is used across different services. And such poor password and credential hygiene puts businesses at great risk.

Additionally, growing competition and investments in the management space means that Bitwarden can’t rest on its laurels — it needs to expand, and that is what its funds will be used for. Indeed, Bitwarden has confirmed plans to extend its offering into several aligned security and privacy verticals, including secrets management — something that 1Password expanded into last year via its SecretHub acquisition.

“The timing of the investment is ideal, as we expand into opportunities in developer secrets, passwordless technologies, and authentication,” Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell noted in a press release. “Most importantly, we aim to continue to serve all Bitwarden users for the long haul.”

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downgrade the ‘middle-men’ resellers – TechCrunch

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As well as the traditional carbon offset resellers and exchanges such as Climate Partner or Climate Impact X the tech space has also produced a few, including Patch (US-based, raised $26.5M) and Lune (UK-based, raised $4M).

Now, Ceezer, a B2B marketplace for carbon credits, has closed a €4.2M round, led by Carbon Removal Partners with participation of impact-VC Norrsken VC and with existing investor Picus Capital. 

Ceezer ’s pitch is that companies have to deal with a lot of complexity when considering how they address carbon removal and reduction associated with their businesses. Whie they can buy offsetting credits, the market remains pretty ‘wild-west’, and has multiple competing standards running in parallel. For instance, the price range of $5 to $500 per ton is clearly all over the place, and sometimes carbon offset resellers make buyers pay high prices for low-quality carbon credits, pulling in extra revenues from a very opaque market.

The startup’s offering is for corporates to integrate both carbon removal and avoidance credits in one package. It does this by mining the offsetting market for lots of data points, enabling carbon offset sellers to reach buyers without having to use these middle-men resellers.

The startup claims that sellers no longer waste time and money on bespoke contracts with corporates but instead use Ceezer’s legal framework for all transactions. Simultaneously, buyers can access credits at a primary market level, maximizing the effect of the dollars they spend on carbon offsets.

Ceezer says it now has over 50 corporate customers and has 200,000 tons of carbon credits to sell across a variety of categories.
 and will use the funds to expand its impact and sourcing team, the idea being to make carbon removal technologies more accessible to corporate buyers, plus widen the product offering for credit sellers and buyers.

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