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RHA TrueConnect earbuds review: High quality, stylish wireless earbuds for your commute or workout

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Image: RHA

After testing out the Jabra Elite Active 65t in June 2018, my AirPods have been sitting idle. RHA’s new TrueConnect earbuds compete directly with products like this Jabra headset with long battery life, water resistance, and better fit than the generic AirPods.

The AirPods let me down with no water/dust resistant rating, one-size-fits all fit (or unfit as it may be), and limited support for Android smartphones. Thankfully, there are options today and the RHA TrueConnect is a great option for iOS and Android phone and tablet users. The sound quality is great, the earbuds are sweat/splash/weather resistant, digital assistants on iOS and Android are supported, and a wide variety of tips to fit your ears are provided.

Also RHA MA390 Wireless earbuds hands-on: 8 hour battery, assistant button, and reasonable price

I’ve been commuting, running, and traveling with these earbuds for the last few weeks and am very impressed with their performance. There is one aspect I would like to see improved, but overall the RHA TrueConnect is a headset to consider.

Specifications

  • Driver: 6mm dynamic
  • Frequency range: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Water resistance: IPX5 rating
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours of play with charging case providing another 20 hours. 15 minutes of charging in the case give you 50 percent charge on the earbuds.
  • Earbud weight: 13 grams total
  • Warranty: Industry-leading three year manufacturer’s warranty

Hardware

The retail package includes the two wireless earbuds, a charging case with integrated battery, a USB-C cable, and an array of earbud tips. It is awesome to finally see accessory providers using USB-C to charge up devices since most phones use this cable and it is getting harder and harder to find older microUSB cables.

RHA is known for providing a massive selection of earbud tips and with the TrueConnect package you will find two sets of silicone tips for your ears in sizes small, medium, and large. You will also find one set of small, medium, and large Comply foam tips that are more effective for sound isolation if you want to block the outside world and enjoy your media content.

The RHA TrueConnect has a different form factor than we have seen from Jabra, Samsung, and others. It is similar to an AirPod with a stem that extends downwards, but not as long as the AirPods. The extension fits in nicely with the groove in your ear to help lock it securely into place.

The earbuds have a matte black finish with a soft touch covering. They are easy to grasp and stay securely in your ears.

The buttons on the earbuds do not offer much tactile feedback and is the one aspect of the TrueConnect that keep me from calling them perfect. It is hard for me to tell when I double or triple tap the earbud and I often end up pushing the earbud further into my ear canal as a result. A more pronounced button or a touch interface might be a better approach here.

Also Jabra Elite Active 65t review: Better than the AirPods and designed for active users

There are buttons on both the right and left side. A single press activates play/pause on both sides with a 1.5 second press and hold activating the voice assistant from either side. A double press on the left side skips ahead while a triple press on the left side skips back. A double press on the right side increases volume while a triple press on the right side lowers volume.

Both sides have the same functionality for calls with answer, reject, volume up, and volume down options through single, double, and triple presses.

A high quality metal and soft touch material charging/carrying case is provided. There is a small red dot to indicate the right earbud on the earbud and on the case next to the compartment the earbud is inserted into. The metal spine of the carrying case is held in an upwards position and then you flip out the soft touch compartment. It opens like a roll out drawer and then you grab each earbud to insert it into your ear. It can be a bit tough to get the earbuds out of the charging case too.

There are four white LED indicator lights on the lower left front of the charging case that gives you the charging status of the case, it gives you 20 hours of capacity (four full charges), and charging status of the earbuds when they are inserted into the case for charging.

It is great to see USB-C as the standard charging port and a USB-A to USB-C cable is provided in the retail package.

Price and competition

There is quite a bit of competition in the fully wireless earbud market today, but not all of them are designed for active exercise routines. The Apple AirPods are priced at $159, but do not have tips for the best fit of your ear and there is no level of dust/water resistance.

The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds have a MSRP of $189.99, the Samsung Gear Icon X is priced at $129.99 ($50 off MSRP), the Jaybird Run is $179.99, and the Bose SoundSport Free is $169.95.

As you can see, the $169.95 RHA TrueConnect is priced about the same as most of these other water resistant truly wireless earbuds. When you compare all of these, the TrueConnect stands our with a long warranty, excellent battery life, and great quality phone calls.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

Headphone jacks are no longer the default on smartphones so most of us are making the move to wireless headsets. While Apple may have been one of the first to offer a compelling truly wireless experience, others quickly surpassed them with better options for those who are active and for those looking for more than a very basic experience.

RHA has always impressed me with its committment to quality, demonstrated by its long three-year warranty period. The RHA TrueConnect has worked very well for me over the past few weeks, with only the limited tactile feel of its buttons my only concern.

The TrueConnect earbuds also do not support the aptX profile and at this price I would think it would support this common stack. I did notice a bit of broken audio from time-to-time when I had my phone in my pocket, but most of the time playback was flawless.

The stem design helps bring the mic down closer to your mouth and may be a major reason that callers confirmed the call quality with the headset was excellent. Many of these truly wireless headsets are good for music, but don’t perform as well for phone calls.

RHA headsets have impressed me in the past and I had high expectations for its first truly wireless headset. The design is impressive, the battery life is above average, you can control playback and volume right from the headset, and they fit well even when running in the rain. I’m not a fan of the buttons and the lack of aptX is an oversight.

The RHA TrueConnect earbuds are very comfortable for long time wear, making them perfect for commuters, people who like to workout with music, and those looking for something better than the AirPods.

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Fortnite’s mystery ‘superstar’ virtual music tour kicks off next week – TechCrunch

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Epic Games is teasing the biggest in-game event since Travis Scott psychedelically stomped through Fortnite’s virtual meadows.

The mysterious new event, which Fortnite-maker Epic is calling the “Rift Tour,” will kick off on Friday, August 6 and run through Sunday, August 8. In the teaser announcement, Epic invites players to “take a musical journey into magical new realities where Fortnite and a record-breaking superstar collide.”

In-game events building up to the mystery show series will run from July 29 through August 8, so players can hop into Fortnite to check out new Rift Tour-themed quests and rewards now. The cotton-candy-colored event will offer a custom loading screen and a fluffy cloud kitty emoticon, among other digital prizes.

The Rift Tour isn’t a one-and-done event. Like the Travis Scott event, Fortnite will host five different show times across three days to make it easier for players to catch. Epic says they’ll have more details to share on Monday, August 2, so Fortnite players will have to wait for more hints or an official announcement about who’s performing.

So … who’s performing? So far, all signs point to Ariana Grande. Leakers have been saying as much for more than a week, and the documents revealed through Epic’s court battle with Apple also detailed plans for in-game events with both Grande and Lady Gaga.

Image Credits: Epic Games

At Forbes, Paul Tassi also connected the dots on how recent leaks point to Grande, including some visual themes from her music videos and a reference to her pet pig Piggy Smalls.

Since Epic is calling its latest virtual event a tour, that suggests Grande won’t be alone, if she is indeed the mystery superstar. A Lady Gaga appearance could also be in the cards, since Epic apparently had plans for Gaga to appear in a December 2020 concert that never materialized. Kanye West is also releasing his newest album on August 6, but it seems less likely that Epic would be willing to partner with West given his myriad recent controversies. And “Donda,” West’s latest album, was originally scheduled for a different date before being delayed.

Whoever it winds up being, we’ll likely know more on Monday. Even if you’re not a Grande fan or a regular gamer, Fortnite’s in-game concerts are some of the most creative and visually exciting virtual events to date.

Everyone should fall through the metaverse with their friends while a skyscraper-sized virtual rapper shoots neon lightning bolts at least once.

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Why companies and brands need to tune in – TechCrunch

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What comes to mind when you think of livestreaming? In the U.S., most people would name their favorite celebrity leading a Q&A on Instagram or a gamer doing a speedrun on Twitch.

In China, it’s shopping, streamed live.

Livestream e-commerce has taken off in China in the last few years and is expected to yield more than $60 billion this year. In 2019, 37% of online shoppers in China (a cool 265 million people) made purchases on livestreams — and that was well before quarantine. In 2020, it’s estimated to have reached around 560 million people.

During Taobao’s annual Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival in 2020 (China’s Black Friday), livestreams accounted for $6 billion in sales — nearly doubled from a year earlier.

Starting to see a trend? The big U.S. companies have noticed, and they’re jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can say, “Swipe up to buy now!”

Last December, Walmart livestreamed shopping events on TikTok. Amazon released a live platform where influencers promote items and chat with customers. Instagram launched a Shop feature that encourages users to browse and buy within the app. Facebook also kicked off Live Shopping Fridays for the beauty and fashion categories.

“It’s an entertaining way for shops to tell the story behind their products. It brings buyers closer than ever to their favorite creators and allows them to have a voice in the conversation.”

Startups are growing fast to keep up with the heavy hitters — PopShop.Live raised $20 million to let people buy everything from books and toys to jewelry from sellers who livestream their offerings, and Whatnot raised a $50 million Series B, largely to expand its livestream commerce infrastructure. There’s also a burgeoning category of SaaS tools such as Bambuser, which is working with brands like Klarna to test native livestream shopping directly within branded apps.

At this pace, retailers will all welcome livestream commerce teams like they have influencer partnerships in recent years. It’ll just be part of the digital equation to stay competitive and relevant in the future of marketplaces and e-commerce.

From B.C. to 5G: The evolution of shopping

What is old is new again. Your grandparents spent years watching QVC because it balanced the experience of speaking with an associate with the convenience of their retirement community’s TV room. Livestream is today’s version of “shoptainment,” where hosts showcase products dynamically, interact with their audiences and build urgency with short-term offers, giveaways and limited-edition items.

Now, with livestream commerce, hosts can form deeper customer connections and answer questions in real time. It’s a new standard of communication that holds a longstanding truth from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to smartphones: People shop to kill time and are more likely to buy when they feel connected with a salesperson.

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Twitter shuttering NY, SF offices in response to new CDC guidelines – TechCrunch

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Just two weeks after reopening its New York and San Francisco offices, social media giant Twitter said Wednesday that it will be closing those offices “immediately.”

The decision came “after careful consideration of the CDC’s updated guidelines, and in light of current conditions,” a spokesperson said.

“Twitter has made the decision to close our opened offices in New York and San Francisco as well as pause future office reopenings, effective immediately. We’re continuing to closely monitor local conditions and make necessary changes that prioritize the health and safety of our Tweeps,” the spokesperson added.

The company initially just reopened those offices on July 12. It declined to reveal headcount per office.

The CDC this week recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid transmission rates amid concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.

Earlier today, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater reported that Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will require employees to be vaccinated before returning to work on-site. It was part of a larger letter sent to Google/Alphabet staff that also noted the company will be extending its work-from-home policy through October 18, as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to sweep through the global population.

In a message to TechCrunch, Facebook’s VP of People, Lori Goler, confirmed a similar policy for the social media behemoth.

Amazon also responded to TechCrunch’s inquiry on the matter, noting, “We strongly encourage Amazon employees and contractors to be vaccinated as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are available to them.”

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