Review: Motorola Buds Wireless Headphones from Verizon Wireless
Motorola is no stranger to Bluetooth stereo headphones. They have made dozens of different models, in many different sizes and shapes over the years. But their latest model, the Motorola Buds, is unlike anything they’ve previously attempted. Instead of being worn over the ear, clipped to your collar or like a normal set of cans, this pair of wireless headphones is worn around the neck.
Verizon Wireless is selling the Motorola Buds for $79.99 and they were kind enough to send over a pair for me to use. Let’s see if this unique pair of wireless headphones is worth the asking price.
Motorola Buds Unboxing
We’ll start with what comes included with the Motorola Buds wireless headphones. Besides the device itself, you’ll get a owner’s manual, a micro USB wall charger, a drawstring storage bag for when the headphones aren’t in use and three pairs of different size ear cushions.
My ears must be the most common size as the pre-installed ear cushions fit them perfectly, leaving me with no reason to fiddle with the others, but it is nice to see that two additional sizes were included for users with either larger or smaller ears. The included drawstring bag seems fairly well-built and is large enough to allow the Motorola Buds to fit comfortably inside.
Motorola Buds: Hardware & Design
At first glance, the design of the Motorola Buds may look a bit strange. Unlike most Bluetooth headsets, which are worn over-the hear, the Buds is worn around the neck and the actual earbuds are tethered to the band with wire and brought up to the ears for use. When not in use, the earbuds are held in place to the end of each arm by strong magnets.
This design offers a few advantages over other headphone styles, but the most significant one in my opinion is that all of the weight of the device is carried around the neck and shoulders instead of your ears. That allows the headphones to by worn comfortably for longer periods.
Another advantage with this style of headphones is that you can leave them paired with your phone and wear them around your neck all day and only put the earbuds in when you actually need to answer or place a call. That is how I used the Motorola Buds during most of my time with them, and I got to the point where I could reach for and insert the earbuds into my ears within a couple of seconds.
Going around the Motorola Buds, you’ll find the Power/Paring button, a indicator LED and the micro USB charge port on the underside of the thickest part of the band. This particular area of the Motorola Buds rides against the rear of the neck while in use and contains the bulk of the internal electronic bits, including the rechargeable battery, Bluetooth antenna and circuitry.
Dual, forward-pointing arms bring the Motorola Buds’ media and call controls, as well as the earbuds up to the front, making them easy to access when needed. While being worn, the volume up and down button will be on the right-side arm, leaving the Play/Pause and Track buttons for the left side.
To make up for a lack of dedicated keys, each of the included buttons serve more than one function. The Play button will answer an incoming call, holding down a volume button will reject a call, holding down both volume buttons will turn call muting on or off and a single press of the Track button will skip to the next song while a double press of the same button will move the music backwards. It can get a bit confusing, but with a bit of practice, I figured out how to use the Motorola Buds and I didn’t have any problems remember what button did what.
Motorola Buds: Performance, Battery Life & Sound Quality
Overall, the Motorola Buds are great performing wireless headphones. They pair with all of my Bluetooth devices easily and quickly and remain paired without any random disconnects. Motorola claims that the usable range is up to 150 feet on this unit and after my own tests, I believe them. I had no problems leaving my phone plugged in at my desk and walking around my entire home without interruptions to the audio stream. In fact, these headphones haven’t disconnected on their own the entire time I’ve had. Not once.
Motorola has stated that the Buds should last for 10 hours of use and I don’t think they’re kidding. These headphones have been around my neck the majority of each day since I got them a couple of weeks ago and I have been plugging them in once every few days.
Sound quality from the Motorola Buds is in-line with what I was expecting. Not the best sounding pair of headphones I’ve ever experienced, but not bad either. Motorola equipped the Buds with premium HD speakers and AptX audio coding technology in an attempt to offer audio quality that is indistinguishable from a normal pair of wired earbuds. They also included a three setting equalizer for adjusting the audio to your liking. I think they’ve done an excellent job with it. Listening to music on these headphones is an enjoyable experience. The sound is crisp and clear, bass comes through nicely without being too overpowering and those little speakers offer an impressive dynamic range.
Using the Motorola Buds for phone calls is also a good experience. Voices sounded like they should and no one had any problems hearing me while I was using the Buds. As far as I can tell, none of my contacts even realized I was using them while we were talking on the phone.
There is one piece of bad news however and depending on how you plan on using these headphones, it might be a deal-breaker. For whatever reason, the Motorola Buds can only be paired with one device at a time. Other stereo Bluetooth headphones on the market, such as the LG Tone, can be paired with multiple devices at once. It is a feature I’ve grown accustomed to having and I’m disappointed that Motorola didn’t include it with the Buds.
For the most part, these headphones do everything that a good pair of wireless headphones should do. They’re convenient to use, comfortable to wear for even long periods, offer long battery life, sound great for what they are and do a very impressive job of staying connected.
It is a bit of a letdown that they can’t be paired with more than one device at a time, but as long as you don’t require that feature, the Motorola Buds will more than likely exceed your expectations. At the reasonable price point of just $79.99, they’re a good choice.