Moto Buds Plus review: Impressive, but works best with Motorola phones only | Tech Reviews

Motorola recently launched the Moto Buds Plus in India, offering a blend of advanced audio technology leveraging its partnership with the premium audio brand Bose. Priced at Rs 9,999, these wireless earbuds boast features such as Dolby head tracking, support for premium audio codecs including LHDC, adaptive active noise-cancelling mode, and seamless integration with Motorola smartphones. With promises of rich audio quality, impressive battery life, and a user-friendly companion app, the Moto Buds Plus appears to be a compelling option in the crowded market of wireless earbuds.

Design and Fit

The Moto Buds Plus wireless earbuds come housed in a standard boxy case that has the Motorola “M” logo embedded on the top cover alongside the “Sound by Bose” branding, highlighting the collaboration between the two companies. The case features a compact, lightweight design with a matte texture that effectively repels fingerprints.

Upon opening the case, you are greeted by earbuds reminiscent of the AirPods Pro design. Featuring a dual-texture design, the earbuds themselves share the same matte finish as the case, complemented by a glossy ring around the lobes. The earbuds are lightweight and feel comfortable in the ear, especially once you find the correctly fitting tips from the three available sizes included in the box. The combination of their lightweight construction and non-slippery texture makes the Moto Buds Plus ideal for extended use, providing comfort and stability during prolonged listening sessions.

Connectivity

The Moto Buds Plus offers Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity and features premium codecs such as Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec (LHDC) for lossless audio streaming with minimal latency. This is in addition to advanced audio codec (AAC) and Low Complexity Communication Code (LC3).

During my testing, I paired the Moto Buds Plus with several smartphones from different brands. For iPhone users, it is important to note that Motorola does not offer support for the Moto Buds companion app, which prevents switching codecs. Consequently, the earbuds can only stream via the AAC codec when paired with an iPhone.

On Android, the Moto Buds app is available, but the availability of the lossless audio codec varies depending on the smartphone. I tested the earbuds with Motorola, Xiaomi, and Samsung smartphones. The hi-res audio option through the LHDC 5.0 codec was available on Motorola and Xiaomi devices, but the Samsung smartphone only allowed switching between AAC and LC3 codecs.

Additionally, the Moto Buds Plus supports multi-point connectivity, allowing the earbuds to connect to up to two devices simultaneously. This functionality worked seamlessly during my tests, enabling smooth transitions between playing music on a laptop and answering phone calls on a smartphone.

Audio and calling

The audio quality is undoubtedly a highlight of the Moto Buds Plus wireless earbuds. The sound is rich and textured, maintaining clarity at all volume levels, even when the earbuds reach their impressively high maximum volume. Equipped with dual audio drivers, an 11mm dynamic and 6mm tweeter, the Moto Buds Plus delivers a well-balanced audio output that slightly leans towards a bass-heavy sound. Despite the emphasis on bass, the low-frequency punch does not overpower other elements like treble and vocals during music playback. Even in the bass boost equaliser mode, the earbuds maintain their clarity, distinguishing each sound profile while producing adequate bass.

However, it is crucial to pay attention to the equaliser settings, as some devices may come preset to Bass Boost mode, which can adversely affect the listening experience on certain tracks. Users can easily switch back to the standard “Flat” preset and then choose between other modes or customise their own settings based on personal preferences and the type of music. Personally, I found myself alternating between the “Flat” and “Bass Boost” presets, with the former being more suitable for instrumental tracks and the latter for hip-hop, pop, and similar genres.

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On select Motorola smartphones, such as the newly launched Edge 50 Fusion, users get access to additional features like Spatial Audio Mode. This mode, utilising Dolby Head Tracking and Dolby Atmos surround sound, makes audio from compatible media feel more immersive. During testing, I found this feature to make an apparent difference as it enhances the sense of proximity and made separate sound profiles more distinguishable and directional. However, this feature only works with select audio tracks. For example, when enabling the spatial audio option on Apple Music for every track, only certain tracks adapt accurately to the mode, while those that don’t may lose quality.

Another exclusive feature for Motorola smartphones is the Smart Audio option, which identifies the content playing on the device and adjusts the audio accordingly. While testing this mode with the game Genshin Impact, the difference from the standard setting was negligible.

During phone and video calls, the audio remains crisp and clear. However, the microphone is somewhat disappointing, as it struggles to capture the user’s voice effectively, even in a closed environment. Users may need to speak slightly louder than usual for optimal results during calls.

Noise cancelling

Motorola offers four different Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) modes: ANC On, ANC Off, Transparency, and Adaptive. With ANC enabled, the Moto Buds Plus can clear out noise up to 46dB.

In ANC mode, the Moto Buds Plus impressively blocks out unwanted noise, making it suitable for listening while travelling in a car or on the metro. The Transparency mode is equally impressive, providing a natural listening experience that makes it feel like you’re not even wearing the earbuds. However, the Adaptive mode can be hit or miss. It occasionally misjudges the environment, blocking out noises from one of the buds for no apparent reason, which can degrade the overall experience. As a result, I preferred switching between the other three modes to manually adjust the level of noise cancellation.

Battery

Throughout my usage, primarily with ANC and Hi-Res mode activated, the Moto Buds Plus consistently offered around seven hours of playback time. With moderate to heavy use and regular charging with the case, the Moto Buds Plus lasted nearly two and a half days without needing a recharge. When recharging was necessary, the quick charging support for the case proved invaluable. A quick 10-minute recharge powered up the buds for approximately 2.5 hours of playback time.

Companion app

Beyond the equaliser modes, noise-cancelling modes, and exclusive features for Motorola smartphones that we discussed earlier, the Moto Buds companion app is quite basic.

On the home page, it offers noise control options, a button leading to sound mode and equaliser settings, and access to the gesture control page. There is also a toggle for enabling or disabling multi-point connectivity and a “more” button that leads to additional options. These include a toggle to enable the in-ear detection feature, firmware update options, Find My Earbuds functionality, and an Ear Fit Test.

Disappointingly, within the gesture control page, the app only allows enabling or disabling preset gestures, which include just three options: Double-Tap for playing and pausing tracks, Triple-Tap to go to the previous track, and Tap-and-Hold for switching noise control modes. It does not even allow switching between these three presets for different settings, limiting customization.

Verdict

The Moto Buds Plus makes a compelling case for itself as a premium-sounding pair of earbuds under Rs 10,000. However, limited support for the companion app and lossless audio codecs, along with subpar microphone performance, hold it back slightly. If you prioritise top-notch audio quality, the Moto Buds Plus is a solid option in its price segment.

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz

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