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Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022

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Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve reviewed quite a few active noise-canceling wireless earbuds for Cult of Mac, including the magnificent new second-gen AirPods Pro. And while the high quality and excellent features of Apple’s updated ANC buds make them a favorite as well as a benchmark, there are great alternative earbuds that do a nice job for a much lower cost.

What follows isn’t a “top 5 in the world” list, which would be an assortment of mostly super-pricey earbuds. It’s my favorite earbuds among those I’ve reviewed in the past year or so, mostly focused on high-value products, considering the quality you get for the cost.

Ugreen 3-in-1 MagSafe charger is perfect for the nightstand [Review] ★★★★☆

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Charge three devices at once.★★★★☆
Ugreen's MFi-certified charger tops off three devices at once.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

There’s something especially convenient about having a multi-device charging station on your nightstand. Or you could place at the edge of your desk or on a table by the front door. It’s a place you can charge your iPhone, AirPods charging case and Apple Watch all at once if need be.

Ugreen sent me its version to test out, the 3-in-1 MagSafe Wireless Charging Station. It’s a good charger for most people — especially because it’s MFi-certified for MagSafe. That means you get a full 15 watts for MagSafe iPhones and 5W apiece for an AirPods charging case and Apple Watch.

But the device isn’t without minor drawbacks.

Connect everything to your MacBook with new dock’s 13 ports

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With a whopping 13 ports, Ugreen's new dock has you covered for charging.
With a whopping 13 ports, Ugreen's new dock has you covered for charging.
Photo: Ugreen

Ugreen expanded its product range Thursday with the launch of its new 13-in-1 USB-C Docking Station, designed for M1 MacBooks and other laptop computers.

Taking advantage of the dock’s whopping baker’s dozen of ports, you can use it to connect a wide range of external devices to your laptop.

Ugreen’s powerful 200W GaN charger is perfect for desktop or traveling [Review] ★★★★☆

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Four USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, all at your disposal.★★★★☆
Four USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, all at your disposal.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Before you say it, I know – this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about gallium nitride (GaN) chargers. But the super-small, super-fast chargers are, frankly, worth getting excited about. I recently had the pleasure of taking Ugreen’s Nexode 200W desktop GaN charger for a spin, and let me tell you: this really is the puck-sized charger you want on your desk.

Ugreen Nexode 140W Charger is a compact, multiport powerhouse [Review] ★★★★☆

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The 5-foot braided cable that comes with the charger is one of its highlights.★★★★☆
The 5-foot braided cable that comes with the charger is one of its highlights.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

In the fast-growing world of increasingly compact-yet-powerful gallium nitride (GaN) chargers, Ugreen is a player. The company has expanded its line of multiport chargers and recently sent me its Nexode 140W model to try out.

I found it potent, reasonably compact and a fine purchase for most people who need to charge laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices — especially if they can get it at the discount below, which makes it an exceptional value.

Powerful new Ugreen Nexode Charger juices 3 devices fast

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Ugreen's new charger can pump 140W of power to up to three devices.
Ugreen's new charger can pump 140W of power to up to three devices.
Photo: Ugreen

Ugreen rolled out its new Nexode 140W Charger Tuesday, saying it “can charge as fast as any charger currently on the market, while also being able to fast charge three devices at once.”

The compact charger has three ports to charge MacBooks, iPads, iPhones and other devices. I plan to review it soon.

Apple car gets a Lambo injection [The CultCast]

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The CultCast: Spoiler alert: The Apple car probably won't look like a Lamborghini.
Spoiler alert: The Apple car probably won't look like a Lamborghini.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Apple’s electric self-driving car project apparently just landed a bigwig from Lamborghini. Does this mean the hiding-in-plain-sight Apple car is back on track?

Also on The CultCast:

  • Why we didn’t see an M1 Mac Pro — and why we never will.
  • Saudi Arabia’s crazy glass building sounds unbelievable.
  • Anker makes GaN charging even faster and more efficient.
  • The EU’s new Digital Markets Act could bring big changes for Apple and the App Store.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video livestream, embedded below.

Our sponsor: CultCloth

Get the only cleaning cloth you need: CultCloth!

Enter to win a 3-in-1 MagSafe charging station and 200W GaN charger bundle [Cult of Mac giveaway]

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Ugreen 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station giveaway: Declutter your space, while charging all devices simultaneously.
Declutter your space, while charging three devices simultaneously.
Photo: Ugreen

Anyone with multiple devices knows the chore of tangled wires. Maybe it’s time to change that. This week we are teaming up with Ugreen to give two lucky winners a shot at winning a sleek 3-in-1 MagSafe Wireless Charging Station, retailing at $159.99, plus a six-port Nexode 200W USB-C Desktop Charger priced at $199.99.

Enter below for your chance to win one of these powerful bundles.

Ugreen T3 ANC wireless earbuds: OK bang for the buck [Review] ★★★☆☆

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The Ugreen T3 HiTune earbuds will get the job done for many folks on a budget.★★★☆☆
The Ugreen T3 HiTune earbuds will get the job done for many folks on a budget.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

In a world awash in earbuds, it’s not easy for lower-end products to keep their heads above water. But some manage to do it through solid overall quality and a good feature spread, like the new Ugreen T3 HiTune ANC Wireless Earbuds.

They’re not going to compete with many products at mid-to-high price points, like AirPods Pro and competitors. But the T3s offer bass to burn, an OK fit and a range of solid features at $40.

What you don’t get is top-notch sound across all frequencies, stellar ANC or a sense of tremendous build quality.

Price is right for potent, 3-port Ugreen GaN Fast Charger [Review] ★★★★☆

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UGreen's 65W GaN charger can top off three devices at once.★★★★☆
UGreen's 65W GaN charger can top off three devices at once.
Photo: DAVID SNOW/Cult of Mac

Strange to think that until quite recently, people carried around separate chargers for each device. And some people still do. But if you’re on the go for work or leisure, wouldn’t it be much better to bring one compact charging device and a few cables?

With compact and potent gallium nitride (GaN) chargers, you can — if yours has the requisite power and ports.

The Ugreen 65W GaN Fast Charger seems like a Goldilocks type, in that regard. At 65W of power output, it’s strong, but not as big as even more-potent chargers. And it has three ports to cover your basic charging needs.