In-ear, truly wireless headphones are one of the hottest tech gadgets on the market right now and today I’m looking at the IMGadgets WavePods Pro!
As an 80’s kid, I have very clear memories of my first Sony Walkman and the joy of being able to enjoy my own music anytime, anywhere. My brother had a slightly older version with over-ear, bright orange headphones, whereas mine were the latest in-ear type. I was a young man on the bleeding edge of technology.
Choosing Bluetooth headphones
There has never been a moment in my life since then that I haven’t owned a pair of headphones, although the devices into which they were plugged has changed frequently—any other MiniDisc aficionados out there? These days I use my headphones mostly to listen to podcasts (I am so middle-aged), and last year I was in the market for my first set of bluetooth headphones, having finally worn out my last set of wired headphones. I like to do a lot of research before I make any purchase, and in the end I went with the JVC HA-EC30BT in-ear wireless headphones. The problem with choosing in-ear headphones is that you can’t try before you buy, and as I was reading reviews from other purchasers, it’s likely that they didn’t have a tonne of experience with other headphones either.
I’ve been generally happy with my JVC headphones, although I’ve not been impressed with the sound when playing music (like I said—I mostly use them for podcasts). I presumed that they were unable to create a good bass sound because of their small size. I learned this was not true when I tried out the IMGadget WavePods Pro—they sound awesome. Whether music, podcasts or audiobooks, the sound reproduction of these tiny earbuds is absolutely excellent, and I think this is the key point that I would want readers to take away from this review. There are other areas where they fall down a bit, and I will get into those, but there are no serious deal breakers.
How do the WavePods Pro fit?
My biggest concern when I was looking for bluetooth headphones was actually whether they would fit in my ear. I’ve had difficulties before with earbuds which don’t seem to fit my ears well. I tried my wife’s Apple AirPods earlier this year, and while I was able to use them, they weren’t exactly snug, and did tend to fall out every now and then. The WavePods Pro on the other hand fit my ears beautifully. They’ve come loose on a few occasions but I usually notice before they actually fall out and I’m able to press them back in before they do.
Features of the WavePods Pro
The WavePods Pro aren’t exactly what you describe as ‘feature-filled’, but that’s hardly surprising as they are really about simplicity—you want them to perform one job very well. And as I mentioned before they deliver excellent sound. There is a small flat part of the arm where you can tap to perform a limited number of operations: tap once to stop/start whatever you’re listening to, or answer/end a call. Tap twice to skip to the next song or three times to skip back to the previous song. I found that this all worked reasonably well, although it takes a little bit of time to get it down pat. For example, I learned that the best way to press the earbud back in, should it come loose, is by using the tip of the finger against the back of the main body of the ear bud. If you try to use two fingers, or too much of one finger, it’s easy to accidentally stop what you’re listening to, or worse hang up on a call!
Automatic ear detection
The WavPods Pro come with automatic ear detection, a pretty self explanatory feature which is activated whenever you insert or remove one or other of the ear buds. If you are listening to music or a podcast, it will stop when you remove an earbud. If you are on a call however it doesn’t do anything (except play a sound) which is as you would hope. I didn’t find this the most useful feature however because it was easy for the ear buds to get confused so that the music would start when you took one out and stop when you put it back in. In the end I disabled this feature, preferring instead to stop/start as required using the single tap.
Additional features of the WavePods Pro
The WavePods Pro also have a Noise Cancellation mode and a Transparency mode, the latter of which theoretically improves your ability to hear sounds around you. I honestly wasn’t able to detect any difference when moving between these modes though. You can also customize what happens when you press and hold either the left or right ear bud arm. There are two options: activate Siri, or cycle through the noise control modes (Noise Cancellation or Transparency). One of the things I regretted about the WavePods Pro is the lack of a control volume, but because you have access to Siri, you can ask it to set the volume to the level you want (for example, ‘Turn the volume to 50%’). The final feature I want to mention is the Ear Tip Fit Test. The WavePods Pro come with three different tip sizes and this feature can help you to choose the right one for you, although I have to admit I was happy with the ones that were pre-mounted, so I stuck with those. I did try out the Ear Tip Fit Test, and it concurred with my choice.
One of the downsides of using the WavePods Pro was trying to gauge the battery life. Unfortunately it was very hard to get a consistent reading, so I was never quite sure where the levels were at. When you take an ear bud out of the charge case a pop-up screen will appear on your phone telling you the battery level of the left bud, the right bud, and the case itself (the buds can recharge in the case). The problem I noticed is that the levels changed the moment I took the second bud out, so I never knew which reading to trust. In the end I defaulted to charging the case regularly, which was no inconvenience at all, and I had very few battery issues. You can either charge the case by plugging it in, or by placing it on a Qi certified charger. Note that the ear buds must be inside the case for the case to charge. According to the specs, music time is 3.5 hours, and talk time is 3 hours.
All in all, I have to say that I was very happy with the WavePods Pro. Some of the functionality was a little iffy, and operating them wasn’t always a doddle, but the sound was great and they were very comfortable to wear, and with good battery life, I would be more than happy to recommend them.