Headphones: Fad or Functional

Over the past year I have really been wanting to get a new pair of headphones. While I don’t mind earbuds, they can be tedious to wear after a while and always seem to get tangled together. While I had never owned a pair of really good headphones before, I was excited to get a nice pair that I can wear while travelling that muffles the noise of planes and people and allows me to enjoy the wonderful sound of whatever I’m listening to. My first thought was that I would get a pair of Beats solo headphones. Everyone seemed to have them and if that many people are buying them they must be good right? This train of thought got me a well earned lesson from my brother-in-law.

Since he knows way more about sound quality and music than I do, I let him teach me the ways of finding really good headphones. The one major thing I learned was you should go to a music store. We went to a Long and McQuade where we pretty much spent an hour trying on their different headphones and listening to music. Though it seems like a really simple thing to do, I never thought about actually going to a store and trying out the headphones before buying them. While the headphones weren’t the most stylish out there (most of them just being plain black) I got to really hear the difference in quality between the different brands and models. I could also pick a pair of headphones that sat well and didn’t force my piercings in my ears into my head. I ended up picking a pair of white audio-technica headphones that looked great and just had this really amazing sound quality. And the kicker: they ended up being cheaper than the Beats headphones I was looking at!

headphones

A day or two later we were in the Apple Store and I decided to try out the Beats solo headphones since they were out on display with the iPods. I was honestly surprised when I put them on. Not only did they not fit as well as some of the headphones I had tried on at the music store, but the sound quality wasn’t very impressive. I’m not saying they were horrible, but the sound quality was equivalent to what I could get out of my earbuds. I just really didn’t feel like they were worth their high price. While my headphones didn’t come in a large variety of colours, I really am happy my brother-in-law stopped me from following the fad and showed me that good quality functional headphones are just better (and cheaper).

Apple Watch: Review

Everyone probably knows that wearable technology has been popping up everywhere over the past year. Whether it’s a smart watch or a fitness tracker, I’m sure the majority of people have at least seen one before. I’ve had my Apple Watch for about 6 months and while my first thought was to give a review about it right away, I decided to wait and really get to know the watch and its little bugs and quirks. Now I can give you my honest review after using the watch daily for about half a year.

apple watch 1

Pros:

For me the pros were noticeable right away. I am the kind of person who does not have my phone with me most of the time. I don’t have pockets and I just don’t feel the need to carry my phone around with me when I’m around my house or in my home. This means I usually missed phone calls and wouldn’t see messages until much later. The watch is really helpful to check messages as they come in and take calls without having to run around and find my phone. I also don’t have to pull my phone out of my pocket to see why it buzzed.

I also enjoyed the “ping phone” feature on my watch. Like I said I don’t carry my phone with me. I also will just absentmindedly put my phone down and just walk away. This makes the rush out the door oh-so-much-fun when you can’t find your phone in the house. At least now I can ping my phone even if it’s on silent (which it usually is) and I can find it in a matter of seconds. Now if only I could have that feature on all my things…

Finally I really enjoyed using Siri and some of the apps on my watch. Siri on my watch works great when I want to change songs in the car or if I need to start a timer for dinner. The alarm and timer app on the watch are constantly used as well as my weather app. I even customized my watch face so I always know what the temperature is outside when I’m heading out the door. I also enjoyed the ability to draw little pictures and send them to other users (aka my husband). Not only is it fun, but if you’re babysitting it keeps some kids entertained for quite some time.

Cons:

Now for the downsides. To start, this watch has been marketed as a way to use apps on your phone without getting out your phone. However, I’ve found a lot of the apps that developers make for the watch to be quite useless. Things like the twitter and instagram app seem good in theory, but in actual practice they are tedious and have no functionality. Many of the third party apps for the watch are, at most, very stripped down versions of their phone app. It’s just more effective to use your phone rather than the watch.

Another issue I had with the watch was with the Activities app. Apple really hyped this feature because it has rings that will fill up as you are active, standing, and exercising. However, I’ve had problems with the watch not always recognizing when I’m standing or moving around. I’ve had my watch tell me I should stand up and walk around for a minute when I had been up and about for the past hour. While it’s not a major bug, it is a slight annoyance to be chastised by your watch when it isn’t reading your movements correctly.

My final issue I ran into was with using Siri. Now I usually use my watch as a hands-free way to change my music or set a timer when my hands are full. This becomes more challenging when Siri decides not to respond to you. I’ve found that sometimes Siri will just be unresponsive and not pick up on my talking even when I’m yelling at it. While I’ve found just quickly pressing the dial on the side will sort of re-set this and get Siri to start working again, it is still a bit aggravating when your technology won’t listen to you in your moment of need.

apple watch 2

Final Opinions:

Overall I’ve really been enjoying my Apple Watch. While it isn’t without its flaws, and no technology is flawless, a few little bugs here and there have not tarnished my feelings about this watch. It is functional for my needs and has made my life just a little bit easier. While it may not be for everyone, I’ve really grown attached to my watch and I know I’ll be using it for the foreseeable future.