September 2018 Tech Trends Product Reviews

True wireless headphones get a test alongside Skullcandy’s latest offering, Swiss engineering wins the day and liquid meals go down the hatch.

Skullcandy Venue Wireless BT Headphones

Not yet available to purchase, these new Venue Bluetooth headphones from Skullcandy launched the other day with a Skate Creative event on Windmill Street in Soho, London. Tech Trends handpainted our own skateboard and got a sneak peek at these new headphones. Our previous review of the Skullcandy Crusher BT headphones was very positive and after hooking up these new Venue cans we can report they are very good indeed. The active noise cancellation was effective on the train and the really welcome ‘Monitor Mode’ means that you can click a button to engage in conversation or order a coffee without removing your cans, then click again to be reabsorbed into the music. They also come with fast charging and a mic so you can use your voice assistant on the move.

The Crushers were aimed at bass lovers so were naturally more solid sounding but these new Venues give a clear and detailed presentation that is very pleasing. If you prefer a crisp sound to your tunes these Venue headphones are for you. Connectivity was faultless and the physical buttons are much nicer in look and feel than the Crushers. As a bonus, the Venues also come with at free Tile support so you can keep track of them if left behind the sofa or under the dog. They are also super comfortable, I listened for an hour and a half with no discomfort at all so am happy to recommend these. A good quality set of wireless cans for the price!

Available to pre-order now for £149.99 online here.

Honor 10 + GPU Turbo

The term Flagship Killer takes on new meaning with the Honor 10 + GPU Turbo. After using the brand new Honor 10 for a couple of months I can say with total confidence it really is a Flagship Killer. Producing phones that exceed expectations and challenge the stupidly high prices of new class-leading handsets from Apple and Samsung has raised Huawei, the parent company of Honor to be the second largest global smartphone maker. With Samsung still in top spot but Apple languishing in third. Most impressively Huawei has achieved this without access to the huge US market where the government and regulators have restricted their access due to security concerns. Being a Chinese company and China phobia in the US as it is, Huawei has suffered in North America but still excelled globally. Read the full review here.

SKROSS Travel Adapters

I first found out about the Swiss company SKROSS at IFA this year and boy am I glad I did! Everyone at Tech Trends knows the misery of international travel when you have phones, laptops, headphones and god knows how many other devices to charge. I seem to have been buying a new adapter almost every trip but not anymore. SKROSS make super flexible international power adapters meaning one is all most travellers will need, no matter where you go. They don’t quite have a single universal adapter but sent me two of their flagship units, between which I can go anywhere and power anything. This makes me very happy!

The Pro Light USB combined with the World to EU connector gives me amazing connection options, often in both directions, covering the Euro, Australia / China, Italy, Switzerland, UK, USA, Brasil, China and Japan, oh and USB of course, see below for more details.

Pro Light USB — Technical Specifications

  • Suitable for equipment with 2- & 3-pole plugs
  • Adapter input for Europe (Schuko & 2-pole Euro)
  • Retractable plugs (3-pole): USA, UK, Australia/China
  • Input voltage: 100 V — 250 V
  • Max. load: 6.3 A
  • Power rating: e.g. 100 V — 630 W / 250 V — 1575 W
  • Integrated fuse: T6.3 A
  • USB output: 5 V / 2400 mA shared
  • The adapter does not convert voltage

World to EU — Technical Specifications

  • Suitable for equipment with earthed & unearthed plugs (2- & 3-pole)
  • Receptacles for: Switzerland, Italy, Australia/China, UK, USA/Japan
  • Output plug: Europe (Schuko)
  • Input voltage: 100 V — 250 V
  • Max. load: 16 A
  • Power rating: e.g. 100 V — 1600 W / 250 V — 4000 W
  • Does not convert voltage

SKROSS also sent me the World Adapter MUV USB which I passed to our US-based Editor and provides Euro, USA / Japan, Australia / China and UK connections as well as USB. More info below.

World Adapter MUV USB — Technical Specifications

  • Suitable for all 2-pole (unearthed) devices
  • Dual USB port for charging USB devices
  • Receptacles for: Euro, USA/Japan, Australia/China, UK (UK not in the Swiss version)
  • Retractable plugs: Euro, USA/Japan, Australia/China, UK
  • Input voltage: 100 V — 250 V
  • Max. load: 2.5 A
  • Power rating: e.g. 100 V — 250 W / 250 V — 625 W
  • Replaceable fuse: T2.5 A
  • USB output: 5 V / 2400 mA
  • Does not convert voltage

Tech Trends has also tested out their sturdy UK 4 Port USB Adapter and their thin and delicious Wireless Charger 10 which is easily the best looking and least bulky wireless charger I have seen yet. Above the sheer convenience, these adapters offer it is their tough construction that recommends them. They are simple to use but made of seriously strong plastic and the metal elements have none of that flimsy, second-rate feel your average airport bought adapter presents. If you aren’t impressed so far you should go and get really geeky on the SKROSS website where you can use their configuration tool to work out which product works best for you and your regular trips! Swiss engineering at its best, these incredible adapters from SKROSS are highly recommended!

Soylent — Meal Replacement

If you’ve ever skipped a meal, made a compromised nutritional choice, or forgotten your lunch at home, you’ve been in a food void. “Food Void” is Soylent’s way of describing the place where you’re stuck eating something you’ll likely regret or when you don’t eat at all. Soylent is the easy, delicious solution to help you avoid food voids. Soylent also claims to be better for the planet. Unlike other meal replacement drinks, Soylent offers a comprehensive nutritional makeup and their protein is plant-based! Meaning it takes fewer resources to produce than drinks with animal-based proteins like whey or casein.

I have tried a few protein/meal replacement drinks over the years, but often with that kind of thing they either aren’t as healthy as they seem or quite frankly taste like crap. I also have no patience for the messy business of mixing powders myself, as it seems to defeat the whole point of a convenient meal alternative. Soylent has just released 3 flavours of its ready-to-drink meal replacements in the UK (Original, Cocao and Café Mocha) and I tried them all over the course of a few days. I don’t mind the taste of soy, so I really liked the flavours, especially the coffee, which made me feel like I was getting an extra energy kick and really came in handy during a long road trip.

Each bottle has 400 calories, so definitely a meal replacement rather than an extra if you’re watching your intake, but it actually does take care of those hunger pains, and contains about 20% of your daily nutrition requirements. As an added bonus for the environmentally conscious, the fact that the bottles don’t need to be kept refrigerated until opened and have a year-long shelf life is kinder on the planet.

Now in the UK, Soylent will be sold in ready-to-drink form via Amazon, retailing at £39.00 ($52) for 12 bottles.

xFyro xS2 Waterproof True Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

These nifty xFyro xS2 earbuds deliver a completely wireless experience for listening to music and making calls in a stylish and waterproof package. The xS2s offer cutting edge v4.2 CSR Bluetooth technology for seamless connection and after testing them out in the street, on planes and trains I can say they work flawlessly. Not something that can be said for more expensive true wireless BT headphones such as the Crazybaby Air.

These earbuds are housed in a sleek and compact carrying tube that acts as a power bank that protects and charges your buds when stored and can even charge your phone or tablet while on the go. Now that’s a nice touch! The case is not really to my taste with the gold rims but is very solid and does what it says on the tin, it charges well and is comfortable in a pocket. I didn’t test the waterproofing but in this category of headphones that is a rare feat, so if you need music underwater these might be the answer.

The earbuds themselves have an aluminium alloy shell that xFyro claim helps block out external sounds and come with three sizes of silicon bud allowing for a better seal no matter the size of your lugs. For me, the right earbud never fitted well. I tried all the silicone bud options but must conclude that my right ear is unnaturally shaped! This inconvenience was made up for by the excellent sound. Clear crisp but also weighty the xS2s gave a great performance with all types of music so come recommended.


– Materials: Aluminum Alloy, Silicone
— Measurements: 6.25″L x 1″W x .75″H
— Warranty: Manufacturer’s 1 Year Limited
— 2-in-1 Wireless Earbuds And Charging Tube
— IP67 Certified Dust-proof And Waterproof Technology
— V4.2 + EDR Bluetooth Technology With 10 Meter Wireless Range
— CVC 6.0 Noise Cancellation
— Aluminum Alloy Shell
— Lightweight and Portable
— Answer, Reject, and Redial Calls
— Pause And Play Music
— Built-In Microphone
— Dual-Port Charging Tube With USB And Micro USB Ports
— Rechargeable 850 MAh Capacity Power Bank
— Patented Aluminum Polishing
— Music / Talk Time: 5 Hours
— Charging Time: 2 Hours
— Standby Time: 300 Hours

The xFyros are available now for £95 here.

Tom Atkinson is a Digital Producer & Photographer at R3Digital and Reviews & Dept. Editor at Tech Trends. Connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @R3Digital

Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications

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