Wireless earbuds — truly wireless earbuds — are essentially the holy grail of the wireless headphone world. We’ve seen a few crop up on crowdfunding sites before, including the impressive Hearin buds — but up to now, they’ve been pretty hard to come by. That’s why we were excited to check out Motorola’s new Vervelife Verve Ones and Verve Ones+, which made their official debut this week here at Mobile World Congress 2016.
“But wait,” you say, “wasn’t Motorola purchased by Lenovo?” Right you are. The name was simply licensed by a company called Binatone, though the rep at the show’s exhibition booth tells us that the company also brought on staff from Motorola’s audio department in the transition. That would make sense, since the new buds are somewhat reminiscent of the singular Motorola Hint wireless earbud — only in stereo.
The Verve Ones also offer a pretty familiar design when compared to other fully wireless earbud pairs we’ve seen, with a few cool extra features heaped on. The buds themselves autopair when removed from their portable charging case, and the single button on the side of each bud acts as a pause/play button by default, but it can be programmed to control other functions via a dedicated app, allowing you to control volume, song skip, and other features.
The brightly colored Verve Ones+ are meant for sportier types, and offer water and sweat resistance. Both sets of earphones offer 3.5 hours of playback, and the charging case provides up to 12 hours of playback in total. Binatone isn’t offering any other specs to speak of as of yet, keeping with the general theme of secrecy here at MWC.
As for performance, we weren’t blown away by any means, though some of that is due to the fact that the buds seemed to be having some trouble with Bluetooth connection in the frequency-saturated exhibition hall. It took several tries to pair the buds to our phone, and once they did it was easy to disrupt the connection, both between the buds and the source device, and from each other — putting a hand up over one ear was enough to make the opposing bud cut out. Still, we won’t hold that against the Verve Ones under the trying conditions of a humongous trade show.
Other than that, sound was relatively clear up top — if not a bit flat in the detail department — and bass was full and punchy, without becoming overbearing — always a nice surprise in today’s bass-heavy headphone market. We’ll have to wait for better conditions to give the Verve Ones a full analysis.
While the official worldwide launch is in August, we’re told there’s a soft launch coming that will see the Verve Ones available from a single partner in April. Again, the partner is a secret left to tantalize us for now.
The price will be approximately $250 for the regular Verve Ones, and $300 for the Verve Ones+. We’ll be keeping an eye on the latest buds to fully cut the cord, and we hope to get a review set to try out when they get closer to launch, so stay tuned.