Have you finished all your holiday shopping? If you’re like me — you haven’t even started.
Don’t worry though, we are living in an age that’s more convenient than ever. Not only can we do all our shopping with just a few swipes and taps on the phone, the product can usually be shipped to your door in just a few days (or if you live in Hong Kong like me, in a few hours, because almost everything is made an hour across the border in Shenzhen these days).
And since consumer electronics is that unique industry in which products are getting cheaper and better at the same time, gadgets are increasingly becoming the gift of choice. So here’s a short gift guide for those in need of ideas. I have personally tested every one of these gadgets in the last few weeks.
For those who want to listen music with no strings attached: Zolo Liberty truly wireless earbuds
Don’t think Zolo is another small obscure OEM from Shenzhen just because you haven’t heard of them. Zolo is actually a sub-brand of Anker, the highly popular and trusted smartphone accessory maker. I wrote about the company’s goals to launch a new line of gadgets and smart home product a few months ago, and the Zolo Liberty is its true wireless earbuds. I tested a demo version back in July and reported that the earphones have superb connectivity, and I’m happy to report that’s still true for the final retail version. I own a pair myself and have used them around Hong Kong, and the connectivity of the Liberty are noticeably more stable than the Bragi Dash or Crazybaby. I experience virtually zero dropouts indoors, and even when walking around Hong Kong streets the connection rate is still higher than anything I’ve tried other than the Apple AirPods (and of course, Apple’s buds have superior connectivity because they have those weird elongated legs).
There are two versions of the Liberty, with the standard selling for $80 and the Plus version to be sold at $150. The more expensive version has double the battery life (from 24 to 48 hours, but that’s only in the charging case, not the actual earphones, which last about three hours in both versions) and the newer Bluetooth 5.0 for even better connection, as well as sound isolation (aka noise-cancelling). I’ve tested both, and to be honest I think the standard version is a better deal — unless you really need noise-cancelling. Even with the “inferior” Bluetooth 4.2, the connection on my standard Liberty is still really good.