The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are a pleasant surprise

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are possibly the best on-ear active noise cancellation headphones you’ve never heard of.

 

 

They went completely under my radar while looking for wireless headphones. Some years ago, it wasn’t that hard to find decent on-ear headphones. This, however, seems to have changed recently. So when my AKG N60 NC gave up on me (due to poor construction of the ear cup hinges), it seemed like an impossible task to replace them with something similar and on-ear.

I want on-ear headphones for general music listening and audio interactions with my smartphone. I know most high-end over-ear headphones outperform on-ear equipment, but I like the on-ear experience. Unfortunately for me, in-ear seems to be out of the question as most of the ones I’ve tried simply fall out of my ears.

I ran across the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones by accident and dismissed them at first, mainly based on brand reputation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the high-end Lenovo laptops, and the X and T series truly bring joy to my everyday work, but just because someone knows how to make a great laptop doesn’t automatically mean they do audio well.

To make a long story short: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones are really worth looking into if you are looking for a pair of on-ear, wireless, active noise cancellation headphones.

They don’t stand out very much physically. There’s a small “Lenovo” text on the side of the headband, and there’s a subtle “X1” on the actual cup. Looking at the box, and the included carrying case, there’s no doubt it’s a “ThinkPad” device, if you know your Lenovo laptops.

This is not a What Hi*Fi review, so I’ll spare you some of the details, but here’s my “short” list:

  • Great sound, listening to these songs didn’t disappoint me:
    • Fortunate Son (Clutch)
    • Welcome to the jungle (Guns ‘n’ Roses)
    • Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
    • The 1968 Comeback Special (Elvis Presley)
    • What’s up (Four none blondes)
    • Hello (both Adele and Martin Almgren versions)
    • No sleep till Brooklyn (Beastie Boys)
  • Good physical controls and buttons that do what you expect them to do
  • Comfortable fit on head and ears
  • Nice and quiet design
  • Foldable (90 degree collapsible)
  • Supports USB-C quick charging and wired USB-C connection
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Appearance of great build quality
  • 40mm neodymium drivers
  • 8-12 hours playback on battery with ANC off
  • aptX support
  • Boomless microphone
  • On-ear 🙂
  • Active, hybrid, and no noise cancellation modes

You can read more about them here: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC Headphones

The headphones also exist as “Yoga ANC Headphones” with identical specs as far as I can tell, but with some different color options.

(I am not affiliated with Lenovo in any way, other than being a long time user of their premium laptop segment.)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC Headphones

Why are smartphone makers ignoring human anatomy?

If you consider human anatomy (link may contain nudity #LOL), and the amount of money smartphone makers are investing in research, design, and production of their ever revolutionary new gadgets, it’s quite fascinating to see that all smartphone manufacturers seem to agree that we will have the hands of giants in the not too distant future.

This post is not about smartphone brand religion, and your mileage may vary, but I consider the size of the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone to be pretty close to optimal (for me). It can be operated with one hand by most adults and it doesn’t look or feel like an undersized tablet. There are many things that can be improved with this smartphone, as other smartphone models clearly show, but I’m not talking about smartphone functionality or features here.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone has a 5.1 inch screen, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 smartphones have a 5.8 inch screen, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 is 6.1 inches! There are variants of these (the budget models, and the “plus” models), but in general terms, the screen sizes seem to be ever increasing. Why? If I want a tablet, I’ll get a tablet. If I want a laptop, I’ll get a laptop. And I don’t want to have to get a “compact” edition (which often means bad performance specs) of a smartphone either.

Last time I checked, my hands haven’t grown in the past few years, nor has the size of the pockets of my clothing, so why on earth would smartphone manufacturers keep making bigger phones? Why don’t they focus on battery life, more sharp and more “crisp” displays, cell and wifi signal management, and tolerance to people dropping their phones onto hard surfaces instead of constantly increasing the physical size of the phone?!

Tele2 i ett nötskal, Sveriges sämsta kundtjänst

Vi har använt oss av Tele2 ganska länge. Vi har inga större issues med täckning och/eller själva nättjänsterna (GSM/3G/4G/osv). När det kommer till Kundtjänst så är vår erfarenhet att Tele2 lätt skulle kunna placera sig i topp på listan över företag med sämst kundtjänst. Vad som är värre är att Tele2 aldrig gör fel. OM de, mot förmodan, gör fel så kan “de inget göra.” Med andra ord, redan från början har man inställningen att man inte har något ansvar, alls.

Så nu hade vi beställt ännu ett abonnemag. Vi fick SIM-kortet, som skulle vara aktiverat 2012-11-14. När vi två dagar senare försökte använda kortet så gick det inte. Vi ringde till Tele2:s kundtjänst och frågade vad problemet var. Vi fick då besked att en “Josefin Andersson” hade ringt in och sagt att hon fått SIM-kortet men att det måste ha skickats fel. Hon hade uppgivit det telefonnummer som var kopplat till det nya abonnemanget vi beställt. Tele2 avaktiverade då omedelbart det nya kortet och skickade ut ännu ett till oss.

Ingen återkoppling gjordes till oss. “Josefin Andersson” finns inte med bland våra kontakter på företaget (och arbetar inte heller här). Den enda referens som “Josefin” uppgav var enligt Tele2 det mobilnummer som tillhör det nya abonnemanget. Man frågade alltså inte ens om det långa SIM-kortsnummer som finns tryckt på plastkortet man får.

Sannolikheten att “Josefin” fått vårat kort känns begränsad för att a) det skickades till den Boxadress som finns registrerad på vårat företag hos Tele2, b) Det är ett helt nytt nummer som “Josefin” förmodligen inte alls uppgav och c) Försändelsen var obruten när vi hämtade posten från vår box.

Jag frågade Tele2 om jag kunde ringa in som vem som helst och be dem skicka ett nytt SIM-kort för godtyckligt nummer, bara för att jävlas (iom att de stå stänger av det gamla SIM-kortet). Till svar fick jag att “Nej, det går inte, vi har rutiner för att hantera detta så att det blir säkert och tryggt för våra kunder.”

Tidigare har Tele2 lyckats få telefonnummer att försvinna när vi aktiverat hemligt nummer på något abonnemang, få SMS/MMS att sluta fungera vid andra förändringar samt kopplat samtal till ett nummer till en helt annan mobiltelefon. Det är inte raketforskning vi pratar om, men tydligen så är det lätt att hamna fel i Tele2:s Excel-blad med kund- och abonnemangslistor.

Is Instagram for Android really worth all the hype?

So now that Instagram has “finally” launched for the Android platform, can we start breathing again? Put syrup on our pancakes again? Uninstall all of the other Android camera apps? Did we just see a puff of smoke dissipate over the glorious Instagram community?

For many (most?) iPhone and iPod touch owners, Instagram is old news by now. Apparently some 30 million users have signed up for it and/or downloaded the free app. For Android users, it was supposed to be a breath of fresh air. Or something. Apparently, some argue that Instagram for Android is better than Instagram for iPhone/iPod. If that is indeed the case, then I’m really wondering what the hype is all about.

Instagram for Android does very few things that Android users didn’t have before. With apps like Camera360 and Pixlr-O-Matic (and many many more), the available effects, frames, and other photo options surpass that of Instagram by far. The Instagram app for Android looks and behaves like a quick “conversion hack”. It behaves almost like an iPhone app. It doesn’t seem to hook into the regular camera photo shoot process (which allows, for example, Dropbox to push recently uploaded images to the “Camera Uploads” folder). It has very few effects, and the camera controls are very limited.

Granted, if the Instagram photo sharing community is what you’ve been waiting for, this is for you. If you typically share your photos on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. then Instagram won’t do much for you.

What’s also odd is that given all the time they’ve had to prepare for the launch, one could argue that they would at least have had the time to correct the URL:s on the actual web pages that showcase your photos. If I upload an Instagram photo, the page on which it is displayed links to iTunes; where of course, I cannot download the Android Instagram app…

How to improve Facebook-security with a few clicks

Many social platforms have been accused of a lax approach to security. They either make it very hard for their users to enable simple security measures (why?), or they simply don’t have any enhanced levels of security (why?). Facebook does have some of these features available, and they’re not that hard to enable. Go to Account settings > Security and check them out. It’ll take you three minutes, tops, to enable some basic security features.

Of course, if you leave your Mobile Phone unprotected, or are using a phone from a manufacturer that doesn’t allow application PIN-code protection, your Facebook App in your Mobile Phone will be your weakest link. If you’re using an Android device, the awesome Perfect AppLock app will let you protect your Facebook App, and anything else you want protected with a PIN-code or unlock pattern; including Gallery, Camera, Address Book, etc.

HTC Incredible S gets Android 2.3.3 and fails ActiveSync

Having recently moved over to an HTC Incredible S from my previous HTC Wildfire, I was eagerly awaiting the Android 2.3.3 OTA upgrade from HTC. Once installed, things were looking good and the phone continued to prove itself as a very nice piece of equipment. Until the ActiveSync functionality began acting up. Synchronizing Calendars and Contacts works fine, but e-mail is a no-go after the upgrade. No detailed error messages are displayed, other than that the sync failed.

One can only imagine how something as big as ActiveSync is in the corporate world cannot be tested by HTC before publishing a release for one of its most recent Android Mobile Phone products. Unusually sloppy for being HTC, I’d say.

The phone? Oh, it’s grand. A little less “framed” than some other HTC phones where I feel the actual case is too wide around the edges. The S-LCD screen is very crisp and allows me to shrink the font size where it’s possible to do so in Android. One could only wish there was a general font size control in Android. It’s weird that the higher the resolution is, the bigger the icons and text becomes. Using HTC Sense, I can fit as many icons on a home screen as I could with my old HTC Wildfire; not exactly what I’d call an improvement. Fortunately, there are things like LauncherPro which works great!

Performance is good. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s spectacular, but it’s more than adequate. Games and Video run smoothly. But you can obviously get Android phones with more punch than the HTC Incredible S. The camera is actually usable, but I wouldn’t call it “HD” or anything. Most cheap compact digital cameras do a much better job.

As for ActiveSync failing for e-mail sync with the Android 2.3.3 update from HTC, a workaround is to use IMAP over SSL and then disable syncing of e-mail via ActiveSync. This is a good compromise for now, and something I can live with; but it’d be nice if HTC got their act together and tested their releases before distributing them to their customers.

This is not necessarily a HTC problem; there are a lot of reports about other phones running Android 2.3.3 not being able to synchronize e-mail via ActiveSync; nonetheless, I feel HTC should test these vital functions in their phones before releasing updates.

Did Skype just make a boo-boo, only supporting “hi-res” Android devices?

Instant Messaging, or IM, has been something mainly used between computer users; “computer” being a workstation, desktop, or laptop. Sure, there have been IM clients around for some mobile phones and other gadgets, but until recently, many users have opted out on the use-your-cell-to-chat for a number of reasons. One reason is that it’s been considered something “geeks” do. Another reason has been that most mobile phones sold until recently haven’t been so-called smartphones.

Slowly but surely, with the arrival of iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, and too many Android-based phones to keep track of, the smartphone market is set to explode (brace for impact). With more smartphones being sold, so is also the number of data subscriptions; in other words a mobile phone carrier plan that allows for a certain amount of data to be transmitted through the mobile data network. Many people choose a flat-fee data plan that allows “unlimited” data.

Two manufactures of Android-based smartphones have also seen a different kind of light; SonyEricsson with their X10 Mini (and X10 Mini Pro) and HTC with their Tattoo and Wildfire products. These phones stand out in the way that they are aimed at users that don’t necessarily want to look like they’re conducting the Vienna Philharmonics, in other words, they’re small 🙂 The SonyEricsson X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro are really small (too small some would say). But they have one thing in common, they are fairly affordable while sporting a lot of the smartphone functionality.

So what does this have to do with Skype? Quite a bit, if you ask me.

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How MyPhoneExplorer helps Android / HTC / Droid / X10 owners

Last week I was faced with the not-so-simple task of moving a lot of stuff from my old SonyEricsson C905 mobile phone (Symbian) to my brand new, shining, and spiffy HTC Wildfire. As reported previously, this task isn’t as simple as it sounds. Parting with the C905 is hard. It is the one phone I’ve owned over the years that has never let me down, and its camera still beats most cell phone cameras, past and present. Parting with something you’ve gotten used to and come to like is always hard, and when the conversion process to another piece of equipment presents you with a massive mountain to climb, things don’t get any easier 🙂

Moving from a Symbian based cell phone to a “smart” Android phone is not a straight forward process.

MyPhoneExplorer to the rescue. Oh do read on .. 🙂

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You don’t have to install SonyEricsson’s PC Suite!

Are you the owner of a SonyEricsson phone and tired of the bloated PC Suite set of applications? Don’t want to use Outlook to synchronize with? Want to synchronize your SonyEricsson with Google’s Calendar or Thunderbird? If any of the above is you, you may want to give MyPhoneExplorer from FJ Software Development a go.

Synchronizing, editing, backup and restore, batch modification to entries, and holiday calendar entries are just some of its features.

MyPhoneExplorer is a relatively lightweight Windows application that will knock you off your feet. For Vista users, it includes a Sidebar-Gadget that can handle calls and write SMS. Since version 1.7, it’s also fully compatible with UIQ3-phones (P990i, P1i, M600i, W950i, W960i, G700, G900), apart from other SE phones like the fairly recent C905.

In the FJ Software Support forum, you will also find an FAQ on how to get MyPhoneExplorer to work under Linux using Wine.