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Lifehack Product Review: Sonomax sculpted eers Headphones

Lifehack Product Review: Sonomax sculpted eers Headphones
    That's not ear wax, folks. Just some "fitting lubricant".

    Music and sound are very important to me. And since I had the chance to review the new Sonomax sculpted eers custom headphones that recently won the CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Best of Innovations, I had to give them a try. The eers headphones are unique in the fact that they use an expansion technology that allows them to mold to the shape of your ears. The best part about the custom fit feature is that you can have them fitted and ready to go in about 5 minutes.

    While the custom fitting aspect of the eers headphones is truly unique and impressive, I have to say that the overall sound quality leaves more to be desired, especially with the eers hefty price tag starting at $199.99 (I’m actually reviewing the $299.99 model). But, first, let’s take a look at what Sonomax got right with the new eers headphones.

    What I Liked

    There were a few things that I really enjoyed about the eers headphones. The first is that Sonomax did a fantastic job making a take home system that you can use to create custom fit earpieces that are molded specifically for your ears. At first, I was extremely hesitant to have some silicon injected into my ears to create molded headphones, but after going through the instructions a few times I knew what I was doing and became more comfortable.

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      Sonomax provides the user with a Fit System, which basically looks an over-the-head-headset that is used to inject the silicon into your ears. You lube up the tips of the Fit System with the included lubricant, put them into your ears, and follow the directions to inject the silicon. If it sounds weird to you that’s because it is; but to be honest it really is kind of cool that you can create these headphones by yourself. You are supposed to have a “animator” (basically someone else to ensure that the Fit System is in place), but if you are careful and follow the instructions you can most likely do it yourself. Once the headset is in place and activated it takes 4 minutes for the silicon to mold to the inside of your ears. If you have ever used earplugs, the kind that you roll, insert into your ears, and let them expand, then you know exactly how this process will feel.

      After the four minutes you can slowly take them out of your ears, wipe off the lubricant, and then take them off of the Fit System. You then put the provided end caps on the left and right earphones and you are done. It’s simple process but you can run into some issues if you are careful (more in a minute on that).

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      I also think that the build quality of the eers headphones is pretty great. The cable for the headphones is made of some sturdy material, not at all like the feel of the standard issue Apple Headphones. The material is definitely made to last. Also, the Ear Loops that go over your ears feel good and are comfortable.

      One last thing that is great is that the eers fit very well and for doing anything active (running, biking, whatever) they stay in the entire time without much adjustment at all. This is something that most “active” headphones can’t even do well, so it’s nice to see that Sonomax created something that could stay in your ears.

      What I Didn’t Like

      It’s hard for me to not be critical about sound quality in any headphones. I have played music for about 18 years and there is a certain quality that I expect a product to be in order for me to recommend it or use it. Sadly, the eers headphones fall below that quality of sound.

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      The sound is tinny, lacks a full depth, and sounds completely different than any other headphone that I compared it to (not in a good way). I compared the sound to the Apple In-Ear Headphones, the Klipsch Image S4, and Ulitmate Ears 700. I consider the Apple In-Ear Headphones to be the lowest acceptable sound range that I have heard, while the Klipsh and the Ultimate Ears are both excellent for their price. The eers headphones can’t hold a candle to any of these headphones. It’s a shame too, considering that the price is so high for even the “most basic” pair ($199.99), as these other headphones are around half or less than half of the price. What’s even more alarming is that the headphones that I was sent are the PCS–200 with the “Premium dual drivers with crossover” that retail at $299.99.

      I would say that for some people the sound quality may be passable, but many consumers now a days are looking for more “bass” in their headphones and make that equivalent with quality. If they looked at the eers in this regard, they would be extremely disappointed.

      Another thing that I noticed is that if you change the position of your jaw to anything other than the position that it was in when creating the headphones you will start to lose the sound isolation seal that they headphones give to your ears. I noticed that my jaw had to be slightly opened to keep the seal of the headphones. Sonomax recommends lubricating the earbuds before putting them in with the provided lubricant for a “perfect seal”. I tried this multiple times and still had the issue of the seal being broken with jaw movement. Also, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to lube-up their headphones every time they want to listen to music.

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      Final Thoughts

      I think that the idea of creating custom fit headphones on-the-fly without having to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars is a good one. But, I also think that if you are going to spend over $100 on headphones, they should have at least a bare minimum of sound quality.

      While the Sonomax eers may be innovative and are made of high quality materials (the case, the headphone cable, and the Ear Loops), I can’t recommend them for someone who wants quality sound as there are better and more affordable options. If the sound quality of the eers was on par with the more affordable options out there then I may change my tune as they would be a great way to get a nice fitting pair of custom headphones.

      Full disclosure: The contributor received no monetary compensation from the product manufacturer/company in return for this review. Should you wish to submit a product/service for review consideration, please submit via this contact form.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Published on September 25, 2020

      10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

      10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

      When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

      VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

      How to Choose a VPN

      • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
      • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
      • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
      • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
      • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

      Why You Should Trust Us

      Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

      Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

      1. NordVPN

      The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

      Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

      NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

      In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

      NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

      Buy this VPN.

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      2. ExpressVPN

      ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

      Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

      Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

      Buy this VPN.

      3. Surf Shark

      With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

      Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

      The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

      Buy this VPN.

      4. CyberGhost

      Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

      The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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      What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

      Buy this VPN.

      5. IPVanish

      IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

      IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

      Buy this VPN.

      6. Private Internet Access

      Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

      One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

      In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

      These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

      Buy this VPN.

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      7. Hotspot Shield

      Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

      Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

      Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

      Buy this VPN.

      8. TunnelBear

      As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

      The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

      Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

      Buy this VPN.

      9. Norton

      Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

      As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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      Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

      Buy this VPN.

      10. StrongVPN

      The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

      StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

      As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

      Buy this VPN.

      Bottom Line

      Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

      With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

      We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

      Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

      Reference

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