Kiruna Forever ? Exhibition Catalogue


The catalogue of Kiruna Forever, an exhibition at ArkDes, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. Kiruna Forever is looking at the ongoing relocation of Kiruna, a city in the northernmost part of Sweden which is being moved by three kilometres due to the expansion of the mine around which Kiruna was built.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review: Affordable battery behemoth

Wireless earphones are so commonplace we hardly give them a second thought. Now that headphone jacks are a rare bird, smartphone manufacturers across the board want a branded pair in their portfolios. OnePlus first launched the Wireless Bullets back in 2018 and updated them in the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 in 2019. This year, OnePlus is getting into the affordable headphones game with the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z.

When we reviewed last year’s OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, we found the sound quality to be excellent and the quick-charging function to be particularly useful.

Can the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z set a similar benchmark in the affordable headset segment? Let’s find out in the Android Authority OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review.

About this review: I wrote this OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review after spending a week with the earphones. OnePlus India supplied us with the earphones.
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OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review: How’s the design?

What you make of the design of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z really comes down to your opinion on neckband-style earphones. I’m not the biggest fan, but there are certain advantages to being able to hang your earphones around your neck when you are not using them. And hey, you don’t have to worry about losing an earbud either.

The design is, for the most part, identical to the second-generation OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 with a few compromises on materials. The Wireless Z exchanges all the metal bits from the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 for plastic. This isn’t a huge compromise given the difference in pricing.

The design accents from last year’s model have been toned down a bit, though it can still be difficult to tell the two apart from a distance. This goes doubly so if you’re sporting the black variant. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z also come in a blue and oatmeal colorway.

The construction of the Bullets Wireless Z is fairly straightforward. A rubber band wraps around the back of your neck and two plastic stalks form the ends. The right side includes a power button that doubles up for pairing and switching between two paired devices. The USB-C charging port is also located here.

The buttons on the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z are a bit fiddly, but the construction and quality of the cables is excellent.

An in-line remote is included in on the left. I found the buttons a bit too fiddly to use, just like on the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. This is one area where the company would have done well to make improvements.

OnePlus did an excellent job with the earbuds themselves. The earphones fit perfectly in my ear canals. The selection of included silicone tips is top notch, as is the quality of the cabling.

Additionally, the earphones are magnetic and the headset automatically switches off when you snap the pair together. Very convenient.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z are IP55 rated, so you can take them for a run without worrying about sweat or rain.

Finally, the earphones are water resistant. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z are IP55 rated, so you can take them out for a run without worrying about sweat or a bit of rain.

Unlike last year’s model, OnePlus is not including a carrying case with the Wireless Z.

How do they sound?

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z might look like the higher-end Bullets Wireless 2, but there are substantial differences in the audio stack. The Bullets Wireless Z employs a single 9.2mm driver, compared to the two drivers of the Wireless 2. This has an obvious impact on sound reproduction.

The overall sound signature of the Bullets Wireless Z can be defined as laid-back, by which I mean warm, unexciting and non-fatiguing. These are the type of earphones you’d keep in all day long for listening to music as you work or do chores around the house.

Guitar heavy tracks lack bite as the reduced highs take the edge of the treble response.

The reduced highs are perceptible in instrument-driven tracks. Listening to guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi’s Adrenalinethe lack of bite on the guitar section was obvious. It lacked impact and was just a bit too far back in the sound stage.

Mids are a bit recessed too, as is often the case with earphones. Vocals come across clear enough, and it was a pleasure listening to Leon Bridges crooning on the stellar Texas Sun. Unfortunately, the lack of treble emphasis really held back the guitar work from shining through.

Finally, the lows have a low-end rumble but lack punch. Now, I’m not a fan of bloated bass, but listening to the latest album by Run The Jewels, the music simply lacked the visceral slam that the group’s hip-hop beats are known for. The unfocused bass of the Wireless Z can get fatiguing in the absence of overall volume and slam.

The soundstage isn’t particularly expansive. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z make it sound like you’ve got speakers placed right next to your ears. This is a departure from the Bullets Wireless 2, which managed a reasonably expansive soundstage with a sense of depth. That said, the Wireless Z weren’t too bad and things like panning audio were fluid. You could easily pinpoint instruments within the limited soundscape.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z skip high-fidelity codecs such as aptX and aptX HD. Instead, you will have to make do with SBC and AAC. I don’t think that’s a huge loss. If all you do is listen to streaming music, you’ll be fine here.

I went in expecting a consumer-friendly, warm, and relaxed sound signature, but OnePlus appears to have dialed back things a bit too much. The Wireless Z are not bad-sounding earphones, but they don’t leave a memorable impression.

Is the microphone any good?

I tested voice calls both on my phone and with my MacBook. The microphone quality was perfectly adequate with both. Volume was on the quieter side when calling via Zoom and Google Meet, but the clarity was great. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z should suffice for anyone planning to make a lot of calls.

How’s battery life?

The OnePlus Bullets Z takes a big step forward with battery life. The earphones promise to deliver 20 hours on a single charge. In my experience they matched, and even exceeded, the rated battery life at times.

20 hours of battery life is fantastic and a 10-minute topoff delivers 10 hours of playback.

These wouldn’t be OnePlus products if they didn’t support Warp Charge. The fact that the Bullets Wireless Z can ingest 10 hours of playback time in a quick 10-minute charge is incredible. This came in very handy. It takes just under an hour to fully charge the earphones.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review: Should you buy them?

If audio quality is your primary criterion for buying a new pair of earphones, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z wouldn’t be my first choice. In fact, I’d recommend sticking to wired options for that. What the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offer is a consistent, reliable experience.

Rs1999 .00
OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z

Buy it Now

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z Buy it Now
Rs1999 .00

The audio quality is good enough to satisfy undemanding users with its bass-boost and dialed-back highs. Battery life is exemplary and build quality is rock solid. Additional niceties, such as support for quick switching between paired devices and water resistance, make the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z quite a value proposition. I’d have no qualms in recommending these to anyone looking for a reliable and affordable pair of Bluetooth earphones.

More posts about audio

Getting started with the Motion Editor in Android Studio 4.0

Android Studio 4.0 represents a rather large update for the IDE and offers a lot for devs to get stuck into. Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the “Motion Editor.” This feature is designed to help developers create more attractive, animated layouts. This can significantly improve the UI of any app, and now it’s considerably less fiddly to do!

Also read: An introduction to Jetpack Compose for quick Android UI designs

The basics

Previously, in order to animate a layout, you had to manually modify XML. This new editor makes the process a lot easier by generating that code for you and letting you handle the actual design using a visual editor. In theory at least!

This being Google, the implementation isn’t quite intuitive

Essentially, you will be creating different versions of your layouts by simply dragging and dropping elements that you have defined in a “base” layout. You’ll then create transitions that will move those versions from the first arrangement to the second, and so on.

Also read: All the latest Android developer news and feature you need to know about!

This certainly makes life easier and is a welcome addition. But this being Google, the implementation isn’t quite intuitive out-of-the-box and some key features are currently missing. This guide will hopefully get you started and help you to make sense of the new tool.

Setting up

To get started, you first need to ensure that you have Android Studio 4.0, which is now available on the stable channel. You also need to ensure that you are using the following ConstraintLayout dependency, as MotionLayout is part of the constraint layout beta.

implementation 'com.android.support.constraint:constraint-layout:2.0.0-beta1'

Or:

com.android.support.constraint:constraint-layout:2.0.0-beta1

Next, you’ll need to set up a new Layout Resource File. Make sure that the Root element is set to: androidx.constraintlayout.motion.widget.MotionLayout.

Also read: Android Studio tutorial for beginners

Once that’s built, you’ll be taken straight to the shiny new Motion Editor!

At the moment, you’ll see a message telling you that the Motion Editor cannot be used and that you have a MotionScene Syntax error. Great start!

Creating your first MotionScene

First then, we need to create a motion scene.

The MotionScene object describes how elements are going to be animated in the MotionLayout. To define this object, we need to create another XML file in the XML folder. This will then list layout states that can be used and how to move between them.

On a side note, some other IDEs would have done this automatically when you first created the new MotionLayout. But I digress!

Fortunately, Android Studio does make this a little easier for us. Just click the red exclamation next to where it says “MotionLayout” in the component tree, and you will be prompted to create a new MotionScene file. Click “Fix” and it will generate that on your behalf and put it in the right place!

The automatically generated file will be given the name of your layout file with “_scene.xml” affixed. My layout file is called “motionlayoutexample” and my scene is called “motionlayoutexample_scene.xml.”

Your scene should contain the following XML:

<MotionScene xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">

<ConstraintSet android:id="@+id/start">
<Constraint android:id="@+id/widget" />
</ConstraintSet>

<ConstraintSet android:id="@+id/end">
<Constraint android:id="@id/widget" />
</ConstraintSet>

<Transition
app:constraintSetEnd="@id/end"
app:constraintSetStart="@+id/start" />
</MotionScene>

At the moment, the widget that this refers to does not exist, but we’ll remedy that next.

Switch back to the motion layout, and then choose code view. I’m going to drop Google’s own example in here:

<android.support.constraint.motion.MotionLayout
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
android:id="@+id/motionLayout"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent"
app:layoutDescription="@xml/motionlayoutexample_scene"
tools:showPaths="true">

<View
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_width="64dp"
android:layout_height="64dp"
android:background="@color/colorAccent"
android:text="Button" />

</android.support.constraint.motion.MotionLayout>

Note that I changed the MotionScene file to my own motionlayoutexample_scene. This layout simply shows a button on the screen with the ID “button”.

Annoyingly, I needed to restart Android Studio before it would acknowledge that I had added the layoutDescription correctly. Try that if you have problems!

Once that’s done, you should be able to switch to the design view and see a bunch of new controls for you to play around with. You’ll also notice that there is a button in the top left of the screen!

How to animate

The controls on the right allow you to see two states that the layout can adopt: a “start” state and an “end” state. You’ll also see the “base state” which is what you’re looking at now, just the way it is defined in your layout folder.

Android Studio actually refers to these as “ConstraintSets.” The icon in the top left of this window (that looks like two nodes with a small green plus underneath) will allow you to create a new state. The next tool along (the arrow) defines a new transition between those states. The third finger icon allows you to define the actions that trigger the transitions and state changes. This is called a click or swipe handler.

Check the motionlayoutexample_scene XML and you’ll see the “Start” and “End” constraint tags that define these two layouts. You’ll also find the transition tag that tells Android there is some kind of transition between the two.

You can choose any of the states in order to view them in the editor to the left.

Let’s try switching to the “end” state. With that selected, you’re going to edit the constraints to place it at the bottom of the screen.

Switch back and the button should magically reappear at the top! Again, it took a little bit of time before Android Studio would play ball for me. But you can also achieve the same effect by editing the XML in your scene with the starting position set in the first constraint and the ending position in the second.

This is how Google did it:

<ConstraintSet android:id="@+id/start">
<Constraint
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_width="64dp"
android:layout_height="64dp"
android:layout_marginStart="8dp"
motion:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
motion:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
motion:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />
</ConstraintSet>

<ConstraintSet android:id="@+id/end">
<Constraint
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_width="64dp"
android:layout_height="64dp"
android:layout_marginEnd="8dp"
motion:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
motion:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
motion:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />
</ConstraintSet>

To view the animation in action, simply click on the transition itself (the arrow above the two states) then click play. You should now see the button repeatedly slide down the screen! You can also set keyframes this way for more advanced animations.

Finally, decide what you want to trigger this animation by using the click or swipe handler. Simply choose the transition to deploy from the first drop-down box, and then the view that you want to register the action.

Where to go from here

While the tool is a little fiddly and buggy right now, it definitely has a lot of potential. And there’s more you can do with it too!

Of course, you can add new views just as you normally would via the editor (make sure the default Motion Layout is selected). You can also add new states and transitions between them. If you want to add custom elements to your animations (like color changes), you can do so by using Custom Attributes. Hopefully, this will be built into the editor proper in future.

Check out the official documentation from Google for more details. Hopefully,  this introduction has filled you in on the basics and you now have a good idea of what can be done with the new Motion Editor and how to get started. Let us know how you get on in the comments below!

Happy animating!

Logic Pro X 10.5: Getting started with the new one-click Quick Sampler

Logic Pro X 10.5’s new Quick Sampler completely changes the way users interact with the audio and creative resources around them. It perfectly accommodates a popular instant sampling workflow where producers pull sounds from anywhere — recorded off a phone, stolen off the internet, clipped from an Apple’s library, etc — and then loop, chop, pitch, and program them into interesting musical ideas. Software sampling certainly isn’t new by any means, nor is it to Logic Pro X, but this technique of quick and immediate sound recycling has now been laced throughout the LPX 10.5 production environment and has a dedicated home with Quick Sampler. Apple’s new instant sampling plug-in reinvents the best of what’s already on offer in the marketplace, makes intelligent use of its world-class audio pitch/timing manipulation technology, and wraps it all up in an incredibly intuitive package. more…

The post Logic Pro X 10.5: Getting started with the new one-click Quick Sampler appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Staff picks: Here are 11 things Jimmy uses every day

Here at Android Authority, we have a diverse staff. We come from all over the world and we use all kinds of technology. This staff picks series shows you what tech we use for work, play, and health.


Hello! Jimmy Westenberg here, AA’s resident Star Wars and fitness nerd. Most of the time, you can find me in the background editing just about anything you see on Android Authority, from news to reviews.

I’m not really your average technology user. I like what I like, and by no means do I need the best on the market. Though, I’m happy to spend more money than I’m comfortable with if it means I’m getting a product that will last me years. I’ll spend over $100 on a keyboard that I’ll use for hours a day, but save money by building my own standing desk. I also refuse to upgrade my technology just because something is new and improved — you’ll find hints of this throughout the article.

Here are some of the things I use on a daily basis.

Google Pixel 4 XL

I upgraded to the Pixel 4 XL after my Pixel 2 XL started feeling a little long in the tooth. I don’t totally regret my decision — there’s a lot to like about the 4 XL — but I don’t think the upgrade was entirely necessary.

The main things keeping me on the Pixel 4 XL are the fantastic 90Hz display, the smooth and simple software, and the easy-to-use camera. Those are three of the most important aspects of a phone to me, so I’m overall happy with it.

We all know this phone isn’t perfect. I hate that the battery can’t last me an entire day. And while I like the design overall, I know it’s glass under that smooth matte finish so I’m not totally comfortable using it without a case. The design, oddly enough, is the thing I miss most about my 2 XL.

Jaybird Vista

I run a lot, so I need comfortable earbuds that can last hours on a single charge. My favorites are the Jaybird Vistas.

These are by no means the best true wireless earbuds out there, but they do score highly on SoundGuys‘ best running earbuds list. The Jaybird smartphone app lets you completely customize the sound of the Vistas, which not many other earbuds offer. They’re also sweat-resistant and come with a nice case. I’ve worn these for over two hours at a time and haven’t experienced any ear pain.

Also read: The best running gear | The best true wireless earbuds

The North Face Lumbar Pack

I like big phones, but even the smallest phones you can buy nowadays are too big for pockets. Between my wallet, my phone, and my bulky car keys, I said “Enough!” and bought a fanny pack. I literally never leave the house without it.

My pack of choice is The North Face Lumbar Pack. It’s cheap compared to some others you can buy, and it has plenty of room inside. I carry my phone, wallet, keys, earbuds, and some hand sanitizer (because, you know, COVID-19).

Go ahead and call me a dork for wearing a fanny pack. While you’re doing so, just know that my pants are probably more comfortable than yours.

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

Since reviewing the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music in May 2019, I have yet to take it off my wrist. The battery life is awesome and it has just enough smart features to keep me happy. It’s a really powerful little GPS running watch.

The 245 helped me run my very first half marathon in August 2019, and I’m on track to do another one (but faster!) in July of this year.

You should definitely check out the Forerunner 245 Music if you need a relatively inexpensive running watch.

Casio W-218H digital watch

When I’m not keeping track of my activity, I’m usually wearing the Casio W-218H. I love this thing. It’s just the right size for my wrist, it’s durable, and most importantly it doesn’t give me smartphone notifications. I don’t like my wrist constantly buzzing throughout the day, especially when I’m at my desk (I get all my notifications sent to my computer anyway). So, a simple Casio watch is my favorite smartwatch alternative.

Google Nest Hub

The Google Nest Hub (formerly Google Home Hub) might be the best smart photo frame you can buy. I keep it on my desk, right next to my main monitor, and ask it questions (mostly about the weather) and stare at old pictures cycling through throughout the day. It gets pretty loud too, so it acts as a decent music player in a pinch.

Especially at a discounted price, the Nest Hub is basically an insta-buy.

More posts about smart displays

The North Face Borealis backpack

I think I’m one of the only people on the AA staff that doesn’t carry a Peak Design Everyday Backpack. For me, a good outdoor backpack does the trick, and the North Face Borealis Backpack is one of the best I’ve used.

It’s comfortable to wear around during trade shows and longer hikes, and there are plenty of big pockets to store battery packs, computers, and the like. It’s also inexpensive at under $100.

Note: Wookiee of the Year button not included

Logitech Easy-Switch K811 keyboard

When my old Apple keyboard stopped working, it was the excuse I needed to justify buying the Logitech Easy-Switch Keyboard. It offers exactly what I need in a keyboard.

It’s compact, has a backlight, and can connect to three different Bluetooth devices like a laptop, tablet, and smartphone. I wish this version had a number pad, but oh well. It’s not really officially available anymore, and you shouldn’t buy it from Amazon for $300 (I think I paid ~$90 or so for mine). 

The Logitech K780 is probably the best alternative to the K811. It’s a similar price and it has a number pad!

Homemade standing desk

Jimmy’s standing desk — please excuse the poor cable management!

This one’s a little out there. I built myself a standing desk a few years ago and absolutely love it.

Why not just buy one? Because that costs money. If you’ve never looked them up, standing desks aren’t cheap. The models that are cheap still aren’t very cheap (~$250 from Ikea) and are made with cheap particleboard. Screw that. I needed something inexpensive that would last me for years on end.

So, I got to work.

I ended up following Taylor Martin’s instructions from his MOD YouTube channel. I used different measurements because my desktop was a different size, but that tutorial helped me get 90 percent of the way there. I spent about $70 on my desk and I couldn’t be happier.

A few of my desk essentials:

Topo by Ergodriven standing desk mat

This standing desk mat is a bit on the pricey side, but to me it’s totally worth it. When you’re spending over nine hours a day at a standing desk, you need something to keep your legs from wearing out.

Many of the inexpensive standing desk mats on Amazon just offer a flat sheet of foam, but the Topo by Ergodriven mat gives you different terrain levels to keep you moving throughout the day.

I couldn’t work without this thing. It’s well worth the $100 price tag.

 

Google Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook is a fantastic machine. I love Chrome OS, and I love the design of this laptop. I don’t necessarily love the price tag, though you can pick up a refurbished model for around $699 nowadays.

I’m still not at the point where I can use Chrome OS as my daily laptop OS, but I’m close. Photoshop and Lightroom are just too powerful on macOS for me to be able to switch.

The original Pixelbook is getting a little old at this point, and I think it’s still a worthy computer. However, the Pixelbook Go might be your best bet for buying a Google-made Chrome OS device in 2020.


More in our Staff Picks series: