Review: Syllable D900S Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

In recent times, there has been a surge in the number of Bluetooth earbuds, earphones and headphones that have become available and across the price spectrum. However, in spite of these earphones being Bluetooth-enabled they are still earphones which make use of a cable. While this cable does not connect to a smartphone (or other Bluetooth streaming device) it does connect between the two earbuds. However, very recently a smaller number of true wireless earphones have come to the market. Ones which do not rely on any cables at all. Here we are taking a closer look at one of those options, the Syllable D900S Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds which are currently priced at $79 in the US and £69.99 in the UK.

Specs

In terms of the specs, the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds come equipped with 8 mm drivers and make use of Bluetooth v4.1 to establish a connection. Which according to the paperwork is able to maintain a connection of up to 10 meters away from a target streaming device. As these are Bluetooth-enabled earbuds, they do come with a battery inside and one which is rated at 65 mAh and is listed to offer between four and five hours of continuous playback between charges. While recharge time is listed as 2.5 hours from empty to full. In terms of their more physical dimensions, the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds measure 0.79 inches by 0.79 inches by 1.06 inches and weigh in at 0.01 kg.

In the box

The unboxing of the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds is a rather generic affair. The earbuds come packed in a nicely presented and highly Syllable-branded box. Inside and as well as the Syllable D900S Bluetooth Earbuds, you will also find the intelligent charging box, a 1m USB charging cable (microUSB to USB Type-A), a small carry pouch, the user manual and additional ear tips. Interestingly, while these are fully wire-free earphones, Syllable does also provide a wire which when attached to the ear plugs can provide more of a normal Bluetooth earphones level of use.

Hardware & Design

The obvious and major selling point with these earphones is their design. As these are true wire-free earphones, they do not make use of the standard and wired inter-connection between the left and right ear bud. Which also does change a number of the additional design elements with these earphones in general.

The biggest of those changes is their actual size. On first impressions, the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds appear to be quite big ear buds. They are certainly bigger than you will find on typical wired and other (non-true) Bluetooth earphones as all of the tech inside is housed within the ear bud backing(s). That said, these particular ear buds are much more compact than some of the other true wireless options. So while they do look big on initial impressions, they do not necessarily feel big or impede in comfort in any notable way. One of the reasons as to why their comfort is not impeded is that these earphones come with a very large ear tip cushioning in place. Again, on initial impressions the ear tip cushioning looks as those it is unlikely to fit into the ear. However, the design means that as you place the ear buds into the ear, the cushioning collapses in on itself. As a result, the ear tips fit neatly in the ear while also managing to maintain a very good level of comfort, due to the additional cushioning in use.

Moving on to the actual ear bud design and these are slightly oval shaped ear buds. In fact, taking the bulk oval aspect away and there really is not much to comment on. These are very unassuming earphones. Along the bottom of each earbud is a small contact plate which is used to charge the battery, while on the front the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds come equipped with a triangular button which sports the Syllable logo branding. Each of the earbuds come equipped with this button which acts as a click button and is essentially the only onboard control. Pressing the button acts as the power on/off button, while long pressing the button will also kickstart the Bluetooth pairing feature. Likewise, pressing the button while the music is playing acts as the play/pause (and call answer/end) controls.

Overall, the design of the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds is one which is very much based on simplicity. There is nothing too detailed about the design and due to the style, purpose and ease of use of these earphones, they nicely showcase advanced technology in a very compact and neat presentation.

Sound Quality & Performance

When talking about sound quality, there is always nearly a give somewhere with earphones and earbuds. Generally speaking, they are just so small that it is physically difficult to generate the range and intensity of frequencies needed to rival a headphone output. As a result, these products more often that not make use of various software enhancements to push a lacking in the frequency range. On the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds, the lacking comes mostly in the bass end. These are not the most bass-focused set of earphones and as a result the overall output is much more top and mid-relevant. So depending on what particular style of music you listen to, will likely determine how much of an issue this is for you. The bass response is adequate and there are no major issues with playback of bass-oriented tracks (for instance, no cracking, distortion or otherwise), but it is not in any shape comparable to options which specifically push for added bass. On the flip side however, if you're more of a mid or top frequency listener than these will certainly prove to offer a nice level of playback. Dance music especially seemed to respond well to the earbuds and overall pushed out a nice and clear sound.

Moving on the general performance and there is very little to complain about with the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds. There was a slight issue noted with the connection between the two ear buds (discussed in the next section) but overall the experience was largely a good one. The sound output is clear and nice and there were no immediate issues noted with the connection between the earbuds and a connected device and overall, the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds performed extremely reliable during the testing period. One comment which can be made (which is probably more relevant to their design than their performance) is that due to the singular button nature of these earphones, they do not offer an increased level of functionality. For instance, you cannot skip through songs or adjust the volume setting at all from the actual ear buds. The only functionality is the use of the play/stop button which does mean they are a little limited in their performance in general. All associated actions do have to be made using the connected device, beit a smartphone or otherwise.

Battery Life, Connectivity & Performance

The Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds are wire-free earphones and as already mentioned, this affects their design in more ways than just the lack of a wire. Charging the earphones being a prime example. Most Bluetooth-enabled headsets of any kind typically come with a microUSB port located somewhere. This includes even the smaller Bluetooth earphones. However, one of the ways in which the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds differs in their design is through omitting of an onboard microUSB port altogether. Instead, these earphones make use of a more traditional contact method of charging. Each ear bud comes equipped with a contact plate on its lower portion and the actual housing box which the earbuds come in acts as their charging station. Much like you will find with many of the smartwatches that are now available. The clear benefit of this means that you can simply store your headphones when not in use in the case and also have them charging at the same time. Each ear bud's resting place has the contact ports and once the ear buds are in position, they automatically start to charge.

The box itself is where you will find the microUSB port and this is located on the right side of the box. From here you can essentially charge the box and then the box can be used to charge the earphones - including when the box is not connected to a mains socket or additional power supply. Which means you can physically take the box with you and still ensure the earphones remained charged for as long as you need. According to the paperwork, the box is able to hold enough charge to recharge the earphones up to six times before the box needs further charging. Although this particular claim was never verified due to typically having the box connected to the wall, in line with how most consumers will likely use this product. Although it is certainly beneficial to know that if you need to charge the earphones when away from a power source, as long as you have the box with you.

In addition, the box also comes equipped with a small LED row which provides information on the charging of the ear buds. This is a typical four band LED light which goes up in accordance with the held charge. So the user is provided with a visual reference of how long the ear buds need to be charged. Likewise, when the box is not plugged in, this can also act as a reference point for how much battery each ear bud still has. A much more effective and informative method than simply plugging your earphones in to charge and waiting for the red dot to go green (or blue).

In terms of battery life, Syllable claim that these earphones are able to maintain a charge for up to four-to-five hours during periods of continuous playback. In testing, that proved to be a fairly reliable benchmark and the earphones were able to easily maintain a connection for up to and just beyond the four hour marker. As such, the four hour mark should be taken as a good indication of what you can expect without needing to be recharged again. Although, it is always worth keeping in mind that due to the portability of the charging box that comes with these earphones, it is extremely easy to keep the earphones battery topped out even when away from home. If you use the box as your transportation storage in your bag or car, they will continually be kept charged and ready to go for a further four hours.

Moving on to the connectivity and overall the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds performed pretty well. It does need to be made clear here that the connectivity with this sort of Bluetooth earphones is a little different than most of the non-true wireless options. As these are completely wireless earphones, there is two connections which always and simultaneously need to be established and this is where one compromise on connectivity was noted with this set of earphones. The Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds do not both connect to the streaming device. Instead, the right earbud is the primary connection point and the only one which directly connects to the Bluetooth target device. In contrast, the left ear bud wirelessly connects to the right ear bud. So for instance, you cannot pair the earphones to a smartphone if trying to pair using the left ear bud. All main connections have to go through the right ear bud.

As a result, the connection which feeds to the left earbud is not as stable as the one received by the right ear bud from the Bluetooth streaming device. This at times did result in the left earbud occasionally losing its connection (reduced audio playback, not fully cutting out) compared to the right earbud. This was not a prolific problem, but one which was noted occasionally and usually could be rectified by simply rotating the earbud slightly. In terms of the right ear bud though (the one that actually establishes the main connection), there were no issues noted with the consistency of the connections made. This proved to be a very reliable connection in terms of earphones-to-device, which should always be the main concern.

Overall, the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds are solid performing earphones. There was the slight issue noted with the inter-connection between the two ear buds, but other than this, the general experience was largely very positive. These were able to establish a very reliable connection with a smartphone and maintained that connection well and to the suggested 10 meter distance. Making them a very good true wire-free listening experience.

Wrap up

The true wireless market is one which is fairly new in its development. As such, there are only a few options to actually chose from if you want a completely wire-free listening experience. The Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds are one of those options and will provide the consumer with a way to really go wire-free whether at the gym, out running or just at home. That said, while there are clear and obvious benefits to this type of earphones, there is also one or two issues which plague this particular market in general. But removing those industry-wide issues from the equation and the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds offer a true wire-free audio experience at a price close to what is asked for earphones (Bluetooth or not) which make use of a cable in one form or another.

Should you buy the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds?

If you are a regular gym-goer or runner then these are likely to be of specific interest to you. With a true wire-free set of earphones, gone are the issues of dangling or bouncing wires, whether to wear around the front or the back, and the other related issues which occur from inter-connected Bluetooth earphones. For those users and at the price asked for the Syllable Bluetooth Earbuds, these are definitely worth checking out.

http://amzn.to/1YoxHKx

 

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