All posts in “Sony”

Kiss distractions goodbye with these noise-canceling headphones

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Noise-canceling headphones from your favorite brands are up to $72 off.
Noise-canceling headphones from your favorite brands are up to $72 off.

Image: bose

Bose 700 noise-canceling headphones are on sale for the first time ever since their release earlier in 2019. Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry gave these headphones a 4.5-star rating (out of five), with one of the only drawbacks being the price.

If price was the only thing holding you back from these powerful noise-canceling headphones, now is the time to buy them — they’re on sale for $50 off, dropping the price to $349.

These bad boys have 11 levels of noise cancellation, allowing you to completely block out distractions or let ambient noise in if you want. You get up to 20 hours of wireless battery life for all-day listening. Built-in Alexa features allow you to use your voice to access music, navigation, weather, and more.

If $349 is still too much to dish out, there are some other noise-canceling headphones on sale right now from brands like Bose, Sony, Beats, and Sennheiser.

These mighty headphones have three levels of noise cancellation to give you an excellent listening experience no matter the environment. Built-in Alexa allows for voice access to music, information, and more. Your voice is picked up clearly for Alexa and phone calls through a noise-rejecting dual-microphone system. These headphones can handle up to 20 hours of listening on one charge. Normally $349, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones are on sale for $279, saving you $70.

Digital active noise cancellation creates a virtually soundproof experience, but quick attention mode and smart listening give you quick access to the noise around you. Just cover the right ear cup to instantly turn down your music for easy conversation. No more tearing off your headphones and saying, “huh?” when someone tried to talk to you. A single charge on these headphones provides up to 30 hours of playback for legitimate all-day listening. Score these Sony noise-canceling headphones for $278, a savings of $71.99.

Equipped with Apple’s W1 chip, the Beats Studio3 headphones have stellar Bluetooth connectivity and battery efficiency while actively blocking external noise. A quick 10-minute charge sets these headphones up with three hours of playback time, while a full battery allows for up to 22 hours. Normally $349.95, the Beats Studio3s are on sale for $279.95, saving you $70.

These headphones deliver exceptional wireless sound quality and efficient Bluetooth pairing while active noise cancellation reduces ambient noise levels. The ear cups feature mounted controls for intuitive track changing and phone call making. Usually these headphones cost $199.95, but right now they are on sale for $129.95, a savings of $70.

Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack Zip and Everyday Backpack V2 are top-notch photo and travel bags

Peak Design has evolved from a crowdfunded upstart into a trusted accessory brand for photographers everywhere, and this week it introduced updates to its ‘Everyday’ line of backpacks and bags. These new and improved designs offer stuff that impresses anyone who was previously a fan of Peak’s work, and should also win the company brand new fans, based on my testing of the all-new Everyday Backpack Zip 20L and the updated Everyday Backpack V2 30L.

Everyday Backpack Zip 20L

The Everyday Backpack Zip is a brand new product for Peak, taking a lot of inspiration from the Everyday backpack but opting for a full zip closure in place of the MagLatch that it created and introduced on the Everyday line. Opting to go with a zipper instead of the MagLatch means that the Zip backpack doesn’t have the same capacity expandability to allow you to stuff more… stuff… in the top compartment, but it also offers its own benefits depending on your needs.

First, there’s price: The Backpack Zip 20L I reviewed will cost you $219.95, which is $40 less than the equivalent Everyday Backpack with the magnetic closure. It’s not a huge gap, but if you’re looking to save a few dollars it’s a good value for what you get. The Zip also comes in a smaller 15L capacity, the smallest size for any of the Everyday Backpacks, and that’s a nice compact bag for anyone with a smaller frame or looking to carry less gear.

The zipper enclosure is also interesting in its own right, allowing you to fully open the back of the bag if you want. By default, there are rigid dividers in the backpack to effectively give it shelves, but should you want to remove these, this makes this the most easily packable Peak backpack in this daypack size range. It’s therefore a great choice for those looking for a backpack to use for purposes other than as a camera bag.

The Everyday Zip also still packs a ton of connection points for you to hook gear to, as well as improved zippers vs. Peak’s original packs. There’s a dedicated laptop sleeve with a tablet pocket that can fit 15″ laptops on the 20L and 13″ laptops on the 15L. The 20L also features the all-new adjustable laptop pocket design that Peak introduced on this generation, which includes an adjustable shelf that lets it more easily hold smaller laptops without them falling all the way to the bottom. It’s also on the standard Backpack V2, and it’s an awesome and easy-to-use quality of life improvement.

Like the Everyday Backpack, the Zip also features a pass-through luggage strap for putting it on a roller while you’re making your way through an airport, and interlocking zipper pulls that can help prevent anyone from quickly tugging open the bag to try to manage a quick pass-by theft. The durable, ripstop fabric exterior is also great for lifetime sustainability.

In terms of capacity, this is a smaller bag but it can still fit a lot of gear – I was able to pack my Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM, Sony 100-400 f/2.8 GM and my Sony A7R IV with the 24-70 f/2.8 GM attached for instance, though fitting all that in with the requisite accessories is probably too tight a fit and merits moving up to the bigger sizes of the V2.

Everyday Backpack V2 30L

The improved Everyday Backpack V2 brings back the MagLatch, with a new design that Peak says is “more ergonomic and sleek.” It definitely stands out less than before, and does seem to be more intuitive to use, which is good news. The sides are again accessible via two zippered compartments (all the zippers are improved and designed for more durability) and the interior is divided by three included velcro, flexible dividers.

The overall look of the Everyday Backpack V2 has been tweaked – and for the better. It was already one of the better looking photo backpacks you could buy, but Peak has made it more rounded this generation, and improved the look of all the seams for a look that just generally projects more quality and attention to detail.

Peak sent the 30L version for me to review, and the capacity difference between it and the 20L Zip allows for packing in way more stuff, including all the various accessories like extra batteries and chargers, mics and more you’re likely to want with you on a dedicated photo or video shoot. I could easily pack the same lens+body combo mentioned above, plus a Mavic Mini and a second Sony A7III body in the 30L.

That height-adjustable laptop sleeve is again present, and makes an even bigger difference on the 30L, since the pocket is deeper to begin with. On my existing V1 Everyday, chasing down the company-issue 13″ MacBook Pro in that cavernous pocket was always a bit like diving deep to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but here it’s really easy and far less likely to give your fingers rug burn.

The shoulder straps on the Everyday V2 are also improved, and they do feel more comfortable based on initial testing. They also now have embedded magnets that connect to the back of the bag when you’re not wearing it, which is actually wonderful for when you’re stowing the bag in an airplane overhead compartment, or putting it through the scanner at the airport security checkpoint. It’s a small detail, but then again Peak’s whole rep is built on it including small details, like the various stowable straps, that remain out of the way until needed and then really deliver awesome convenience.

Bottom Line

Just like the originals, Peak has delivered what are likely the most thoughtful, carefully designed photography backpacks available on the market with their V2 range. The fact that Peak as a company is now also focused on ensuring they can build and deliver their products in a way that has a neutral impact on the climate is just an added benefit of its ability to engineer and deliver high-quality, functional gear.

Peak’s stuff is not for everyone – you can definitely get totally fine photo gear for less money. But it’s a category-leading choice for anyone with the means and a great value if you’re looking for a long-term, modular solution that you can go everywhere with.

Android’s Ambient Mode will soon come to ‘select devices’

You’ve probably heard murmurs about Google’s forthcoming Ambient Mode for Android . The company first announced this feature, which essentially turns an Android device into a smart display while it’s charging, in September. Now, in a Twitter post, Google confirmed that it will launch soon, starting with a number of select devices that run Android 8.0 or later.

At the time, Google said Ambient Mode was coming to the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 HD and Smart Tab tablets, as well as the Nokia 7.2 and 6.2 phones. According to the Verge, it’ll also come to Sony, Nokia, Transsion and Xiaomi phones, though Google’s own Pixels aren’t on the company’s list yet.

“The ultimate goal for proactive Assistant is to help you get things done faster, anticipate your needs and accomplish your tasks as quickly and as easily as possible,” said Google Assistant product manager Arvind Chandrababu in the announcement. “It’s fundamentally about moving from an app-based way of doing things to an intent-based way of doing things. Right now, users can do most things with their smartphones, but it requires quite a bit of mental bandwidth to figure out, hey, I need to accomplish this task, so let me backtrack and figure out all the steps that I need to do in order to get there.”

Those are pretty lofty goals. In practice, what this means, for now, is that you will be able to set an alarm with just a few taps from the ambient screen, see your upcoming appointments, turn off your connected lights and see a slideshow of your images in the background. I don’t think that any of those tasks really consumed a lot of mental bandwidth in the first place, but Google says it has more proactive experiences planned for the future.

VTEX, an e-commerce platform used by Walmart, raises $140M led by SoftBank’s LatAm fund

E-commerce now accounts for 14% of all retail sales, and its growth has led to a rise in the fortunes of startups that build tools to enable businesses to sell online. In the latest development, a company called VTEX — which originally got its start in Latin America helping companies like Walmart expand their business to new markets with an end-to-end e-commerce service covering things like order and inventory management, front-end customer experience and customer service — has raised $140 million in funding, money it will be using to continue taking its business deeper into more international markets.

The investment is being led by SoftBank, specifically via its Latin American fund, with participation also from Gávea Investimentos and Constellation Asset Management. Previous investors include Riverwood and Naspers; Riverwood continues to be a backer, the company said.

Mariano Gomide, the CEO who co-founded VTEX with Geraldo Thomaz, said the valuation is not being disclosed, but he confirmed that the founders and founding team continue to hold more than 50% of the company. In addition to Walmart, VTEX customers include Levi’s, Sony, L’Oréal and Motorola . Annually, it processes some $2.4 billion in gross merchandise value across some 2,500 stores, growing 43% per year in the last five years.

VTEX is in that category of tech businesses that has been around for some time — it was founded in 1999 — but has largely been able to operate and grow off its own balance sheet. Before now, it had raised less than $13 million, according to PitchBook data.

This is one of the big rounds to come out of the relatively new SoftBank Innovation Fund, an effort dedicated to investing in tech companies focused on Latin America. The fund was announced earlier this year at $2 billion and has since expanded to $5 billion. Other Latin American companies that SoftBank has backed include online delivery business Rappi, lending platform Creditas and property tech startup QuintoAndar.

The common theme among many SoftBank investments is a focus on e-commerce in its many forms (whether that’s transactions for loans or to get a pizza delivered), and VTEX is positioned as a platform player that enables a lot of that to happen in the wider marketplace, providing not just the tools to build a front end, but to manage the inventory, ordering and customer relations at the back end.

“VTEX has three attributes that we believe will fuel the company’s success: a strong team culture, a best-in-class product and entrepreneurs with profitability mindset,” said Paulo Passoni, managing investment partner at SoftBank’s Latin America fund, in a statement. “Brands and retailers want reliability and the ability to test their own innovations. VTEX offers both, filling a gap in the market. With VTEX, companies get access to a proven, cloud-native platform with the flexibility to test add-ons in the same data layer.”

Although VTEX has been expanding into markets like the U.S. (where it acquired UniteU earlier this year), the company still makes some 80% of its revenues annually in Latin America, Gomide said in an interview.

There, it has been a key partner to retailers and brands interested in expanding into the region, providing integrations to localise storefronts, a platform to help brands manage customer and marketplace relations, and analytics, competing against the likes of SAP, Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce (but not, he said in answer to my question, Commercetools, which builds Shopify -style API tools for mid and large-sized enterprises and itself raised $145 million last month).

E-commerce, as we’ve pointed out, is a business of economies of scale. Case in point: While VTEX processes some $2.5 billion in transactions annually, it makes a relatively small return on that — $69 million, to be exact. This, plus the benefit of analytics on a wider set of big data (another economy of scale play), are two of the big reasons VTEX is now doubling down on growth in newer markets like Europe and North America. The company now has 122 integrations with localised payment methods.

“At the end of the day, e-commerce software is a combination of knowledge. If you don’t have access to thousands of global cases you can’t imbue the software with knowledge,” Gomide said. “Companies that have been focused on one specific region are now realising that trade is a global thing. China has proven that, so a lot of companies are now coming to us because their existing providers of e-commerce tools can’t ‘do international.’ ” There are very few companies that can serve that global approach and that is why we are betting on being a global commerce platform, not just one focused on Latin America.”

Don’t wait for Black Friday: This OLED TV is cheap right now

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Sony's A9G TV uses Acoustic Surface Audio+ to turn the entire TV panel into a two-subwoofer speaker.
Sony’s A9G TV uses Acoustic Surface Audio+ to turn the entire TV panel into a two-subwoofer speaker.

Image: sony/canva

TL;DR: The award-winning Sony Bravia AG9 4K OLED TV (65-inch) is on sale in the PCMag Shop for $3,099 — a total savings of $900 after code SAVE400.


Black Friday ain’t just Friday anymore.

Unfortunately, the deals pause for no one. As pissed as you are that consumerism is interrupting your annual tradition of stuffing yourself with stuffing, you’re pretty much forced to participate in the Thursday sales to avoid the big ticket items selling out.

If you’re in the market for a high-end 65-inch TV, PCMag has a deal that’ll let you skip that mess all together. Sony’s OLED Master Series line nabbed double awards at CES, and you can snag the 65-inch model for $3,099 when you use code SAVE400. To put it in perspective, that’s $400 lower than its lowest price ever at Amazon. (Editor’s note: PCMag is owned by Mashable’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)

A close relative to the popular Sony A9F (named by Mashable as one of the best 4K TVs you can get right now), this Bravia A9G model will do wonders for your 4K streaming and gaming. Sony’s Picture Processor X1 Ultimate upscales images to give all content the 4K treatment while blocking out on-screen noise. But the thing you’ll notice most may be Sony’s Triluminos Display, and for the exact reason that the Game of Thrones cinematographer said it was your TV’s fault that you couldn’t see the dark battle scenes. Now, you’ll experience everything with a vivid color palette and deepened blacks thanks to the Pixel Contrast Booster. (That’s the short version of why paying for OLED isn’t a farce.)

But what are millions of pixels without clear sound to match? The A9G sets itself apart with Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology, which turns the entire TV panel into a speaker with two subwoofers. That way, your audio is coming right from the image source.

Use code SAVE400 to grab the 65-inch A9G model for $3,099 — $400 lower than Amazon’s price and $900 off Sony’s original price.