Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Moto Buds+ Review: Compact, Comfortable, Competent

Moto Buds+ were introduced in India in May this year after they were initially unveiled globally in April alongside the Moto Buds. As the moniker suggests, the Moto Buds+ are the premium variant of true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones among the newly launched lineup. They offer a battery life of up to 38 hours, support Dolby Head Tracking technology alongside Hi-Res Audio certification and an enhanced music experience with ‘Sound by Bose.’ I have spent the past few days using the Moto Buds+, so let’s discuss the plusses and the noughts.

Moto Buds+ Review: Design and features

The Moto Buds+ come with a curved in-ear design with rounded stems and silicone ear tips. The ear tips are available in three sizes – S, M, and L, out of which the medium (M) size fit me the best. The additional ear tips, alongside a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable and an information/instruction leaflet, are packed with the earphones and the charging case inside the box.

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The sleek charging case of the Moto Buds+ is both light and compact

 

The overall fit of the Moto Buds+ spells out comfort. Although the charging pins of the earphones are placed on the inner side of the earphones, which lie in direct contact with the skin, it did not pose any functional problems for me. For long stretches of time, it was easy to forget that I had an accessory on. The balanced Dolby Atmos-supported sound also ensured that there was no abrupt sound experience to make us painfully aware of the wearable. We will talk more about the sound later in this review.

The earphones of the Moto Buds+ come with a matte finish with a single glossy ring-like design element on the earbuds. The sleek charging case is also seen with a matte finish with the company’s stylised ‘M’ branding on top, followed by a ‘Sound by Bose’ tag. The USB Type-C charging port is located on the top side of the charging case, while the bottom holds the indication LED light that tells us about the battery/charging status of the earphones.

The charging case of the Moto Buds+ measures 59.87 x 48.97 x 24.84mm in size, and together with the earphones, it weighs 42.8g, which is conveniently compact and light. It is easy to slip into your jeans/ trousers pockets or within the phone/keychain slots of your handbags. They are available in the country in two colour options – Beach Sand and Forest Grey.

Moto Buds+ Review: App and specifications

The Moto Buds+ support customisable equalisation (EQ) settings alongside other personalisations through the Moto Buds companion app. Currently, the application is only available for Android smartphones but the company has confirmed that they are working on an iOS version of the app, so that should be available soon.

The Moto Buds app has an easy-to-navigate layout

 

The application is elementary, making it simple to understand and easy to navigate. Once the Moto Buds+ are connected to a smartphone, a window pops up with the option to download the Moto Buds application. Once downloaded and opened, you can see the battery levels of both earphones, as well as noise control presets, i.e. – off, transparency, adaptive, and active. Further, you have the option to explore ‘sound’ which allows you to customise equaliser settings and/or change latency modes.

You can also go to ‘gestures’ and choose, assign and edit the functions of the touch-controlled gestures on each earphone. You can assign three gestures on both right and left earphones – double tap, triple tap and tap and hold. For my ease, I mirrored the settings for both the earphones. The app also offers the option to activate or deactivate the dual connectivity as well as in-ear detection features of the earphones with simple toggles.

The customisable equaliser of the Moto Buds app includes a few self-explanatory preset modes – Treble Boost, Bass Boost, Vocal Boost and Flat. Another setting offered on the application is a completely manual customisable option, which allows users to completely personalise the equaliser settings as per their wish, outside the bounds of presets.

The Moto Buds+ feature dual dynamic drivers which include a 11mm woofer and a 6mm tweeter. They support up to 46dB of active noise cancellation (ANC) and come with three preset modes – Transparency, Adaptive, and Noise Cancellation. The earphones also support Dolby Head Tracking technology which adjusts audio based on head movements. Apart from the ‘Sound by Bose’ tag, they are also equipped with Hi-Res Audio certification. They carry triple mic systems with integrated environmental noise cancellation (ENC) feature which helps make clear calls.

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The Moto Buds+ offer a comfortable fit

 

The earbuds of the Moto Buds+ come with an IP54 rating for dust and splash resistance and each sport a 42mAh battery. The charging case, on the other hand, gets an IPX4-rated build and is equipped with a 510mAh battery. Connectivity options include dual-device connection as well as Bluetooth 5.3 which comprises support for SBC, AAC and LHDC codecs.

Moto Buds+ Review: Performance and battery life

As discussed previously, the Moto Buds app allows Moto Bud+ users to customise the equalisers manually but it also comes with basic presets. The manual settings permit listeners to experiment with the sound that they experience more and leave room for a lot of trials, and therefore, an indefinite amount of personalisation.

For the purpose of this review, we will talk about the presets offered within the Moto Buds app. First on the list is the Brilliant Treble mode. As the name suggests, this adjusts the playback in a manner that boosts the treble or the higher notes in a song or composition. While listening to The Ballad Of Mona Lisa by Panic! At The Disco on this setting, the prominence of the tunes of the xylophone, marimba and similar metallophones used in the arrangement, stands out but not in a shrill, piercing way. Rather it is more pleasant, an almost beaming sound.

With the Bass boost preset, a track like Pictures of Home by Deep Purple, for instance, was an absolutely delightful experience. You could take any number of bass-heavy classic rock songs and the results (given you play a decent mix of the track) would be similar. You get a considerable amount of boom without muddying the sound. And if you could excuse the use of a coincidental pun, I would like to talk about testing the Vocal boost preset with several Muddy Waters tracks. Well, I did it. Arguably, the best thing I did all week. The soulful voice of the American blues singer is sure to lift your spirits regardless, but the preset helps highlight the brightness and clarity of his voice, without compromising on the sound quality in any way.

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The noise cancellation the Moto Buds+ offer covers most indoor ambient noises

 

We should also address the clarity of calls using these earphones, which in one word, is good. The voice received with the Moto Buds+ was crisp with minimal distortions. Because of the environmental noise cancellation feature, even the voice heard on the other end was verifiably clear and with a stable network, without any disturbance.

The noise cancellation feature on the Moto Buds+ also offer decent coverage. The ANC feature drowns out almost all common indoor disturbances like the whirring of the fan/AC, TV/chatter from an adjacent room and even annoying door creaks. The adaptive mode also drowns out occasional environmental disturbances decently, just not as thoroughly as the ANC mode. 

Even the dual device connection with the Moto Buds+ worked quite seamlessly for me. For most of the time on a given day, they were paired with my smartphone and laptop. The LHDC support of the earphones also translates into the audio experience they offer. The gaming mode with lower latency also offers an almost lag-free experience, even with heavier games like Call of Duty: Mobile.

Without any noise cancellation features turned on, the Moto Buds+ (when used with the LHDC codec) offer a total battery life of up to 38 hours. At 60 percent volume, the total battery life of the earphones alongside the charging case falls to up to 30 hours with adaptive or active noise cancellation turned on. Just the earphones, with ANC off, are claimed to offer a playback time of up to eight hours on a single complete charge or up to three hours with 10 minutes of charge. With adaptive or active noise cancellation support, the earphones offer a playback time of up to six hours on a single charge, and a little over an hour and a half with 10 minutes of charge.

The charging case of the Moto Buds+ supports both wired and wireless charging. With a USB Type-C cable, the case charged from zero to 100 percent in just about an hour, as claimed by the company. Throughout the review period, I could wirelessly charge the case only once. With a Qi-certified 15W wireless charger pad, the case charged from zero to 100 percent in 113 minutes.

Verdict

There is very little that is not working for the Moto Buds+. They are a good investment if you want TWS earphones around Rs. 10,000. These are retailing in India at Rs. 9,999 at the moment and are offering some of the best features in the segment. From the design, down to the sound experience and connectivity – there are more things to cheer for than you are left wanting. The product lives up to the hype of the ‘Sound by Bose’ tag.

There is no companion app support for iOS users yet but if you can forego and forgive that, the Moto Buds+ should serve you well. You could also explore the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 (Review) at Rs. 11,999, especially if you have a OnePlus or Oppo smartphone. You can also check out the Nothing Ear (Review) TWS earphones, which were launched earlier this year with up to 40.5 hours of battery life and ChatGPT integrations, at Rs. 11,999.


Will the Nothing Phone 2 serve as the successor to the Phone 1, or will the two co-exist? We discuss the company’s recently launched handset and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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