Review: Sound connected with the Motorola VerveOnes+
Earlier this week, WearableTech headed along to Motorola's launch event for their VerveLife range of sports-orientated wearables. Today we've got the flagship VerveOnes+ in the office to put through its paces and see - or rather hear - this latest hearable's capabilities.
We've come to expect superb design from Motorola, ever since the iconic Razr mobile phone that was all the rage in early 2000. The company hasn't disappointed with the design of the earbuds or their case (which doubles as the VerveOnes' charger.)
Available in all-black, or a brighter combination of a biohazard orange colour and black, the VerveOnes can either be subtle or make a statement. One large circular button is found on the outside of each bud allowing for the wearer to play/pause music, accept calls, and, dependent on your mobile platform of choice, activate Siri or Google Now to get quick answers on-the-move.
The case matches the colour scheme of your chosen earbuds and offers sturdy protection for your new gadget. Once the earbuds are placed in the case the bottom rotates to hide them like a hidden door in your favourite childhood shows. Frustratingly, the earbuds will sometimes protrude out just a little too much and get caught on the case, but it's easily rectified by just wiggling them in a little more.
Removing the earbuds from the case is also fiddly, which can be frustrating when you just want to pull them out the case and get on with your activity. However, apart from the aforementioned little issues, Motorola has done a superb job with the VerveOnes' design.
Customising the functions of the VerveOnes is performed within the 'Hubble for VerveLife' app on the Play Store or App Store. Unfortunately, the earbuds have to be in their storage case to make changes which make it frustrating if you want to choose a different equaliser to match the currently playing song or make other quick changes whilst on-the-move.
Aside from changing the equaliser, in the application, you'll also find options for switching on/off the "ear detect" function, pass-through, change the voice prompt language, and even see the location on a map of where the earbuds were last connected so no more forgetting the last place you used them.
Getting the negatives out the way first, the earbuds will last for around three hours before needing a charge in their case. This is more than enough for most activities – for which they're designed – but if you want to use a VerveLife device for music listening at work, for example, then you'll want to consider others in the range such as the VerveLoop or VerveRider.
For some reason, we also have an issue whereby the music will dip in the right earbud. This only happens briefly and returns almost straight away, but it does affect the otherwise superb listening experience. On a similar issue with the right earbud, music will sometimes fail to play again when resuming from being auto-paused.
Pass-through should enable you to disable the noise cancellation and hear what's going on around you, but we'd like this function to work more effectively whilst playing music to make things a little safer whilst performing your activities.
To watch videos, most people will use over the ear headphones or device speakers as they're more comfortable than even the best earbuds. However, we have to note the sound from the VerveOnes lags considerably on watching videos to put the sound noticeably out of sync. All the aforementioned issues can be fixed with a software update, but they're frustrating problems which stain an otherwise brilliant experience.
There's something repeatedly magical about removing the VerveOnes from their case and having them automatically ready to go when placed in your ear if you have the 'Ear Detect' function enabled in the app. Furthermore, popping the second earbud in and you'll hear an audible "VerveOnes paired" notification.
Receiving a call with the VerveOnes offers the next moment(s) of magic. You'll hear a prompt asking whether you wish to accept or reject the call, which can be done with your voice without even having to press a button and distract yourself from whatever activity you're doing. If you choose to accept, the next bit of magic is how well the dual mics will pick up your voice and how audible the other person is to you due to noise-cancelling functionality.
Holding the button on the VerveOnes for a couple of seconds will activate either Siri or Google Now dependent on whether your mobile platform is iOS or Android. We had no problems with the functionality whatsoever and the dual mics again seemed to aid in ensuring our voice was picked up well.
It's easy to imagine the VerveOnes+ becoming a part of your daily routine like any good wearable, even if there are some current software-based issues which we hope will be ironed out after launch. We feel most people will choose to only use one earbud so they'll continue hearing what's going on around them – and have a second earbud charged for when the battery dies if using for periods longer than three hours – but it's great to have both for a full music experience.
With an RRP of £199.99 the VerveOnes+ aren't cheap, but of the hearables released so far, they offer the most for your cash. If you want a longer battery life and don't mind having a wire connecting the earbuds; the much cheaper VerveRider could be for you. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with the VerveOnes if you want a truly wireless and connected experience.
Our full video review of the VerveOnes+ is available below:
An interview with Binatone CCO Neil Scanlon discussing the various VerveLife products is available below:
01/09/16 Update: Motorola has released a firmware update for the VerveOnes.
David Harris, Vice President of Global Product Development, commented on the enhanced listening experience: “This major update has enabled us to significantly reduce sound dropouts for more continuous streaming of music, phone call clarity, and voice command performance. The connectivity update is the next step in providing consumers with the best listening experience within the new groundbreaking True Wireless audio category.”
For more information and to pre-order the VerveOnes, head this way.
Are you impressed with the VerveOnes+ hearable from Moto? Let us know in the comments.