I’ve lost count of how many sets of headphones I’ve reviewed in my lifetime as a tech blogger. It’s a lot; everything from wired to wireless, to in-ear, on-ear and over-ear models. Cheapies and ultra premium headphones too. I actually like reviewing headphones because they’re so very different, and one person’s top pick are likely to be someone else’s least favourite.
I recently had a chance to test out a new pair of truly wireless headphones from Canadian company IMGadgets. The company is probably best known for making hover boards and scooters, but now has a small line of audio gear too. I got a pair of the IMGadgets Wave wireless ear buds to test out for a few weeks. Here’s what I found.
How to set up and pair the IMGadgets wave earbuds
Getting these paired was ultra easy, I’m happy to say. As soon as I took them out of the charging case and put them in my ears, I got a voice that said, “pairing mode”. I went to the Bluetooth settings on my phone, and saw the Wave buds there, tapped to connect and I was ready to rock. If you need to re-enter pairing mode at any time, you can just touch and hold the right ear bud for about 5 seconds. You may need to power the buds off first to goose pairing mode.
I will say that, right away, the robot voice of these buds is weird. It has the oddest accent and a very strange way of speaking, almost like robot baby talk with a foreign accent. Even so, the voice does its job just fine.
The earbuds power on automatically when they detect they’re getting put in your ears, which I really like.
Looks, Feel & Fit of IMGadgets wave earbuds
The first thing I noticed about these headphones is the lightweight, hollow feel of the charging case. Whereas something like the Apple AirPods feels weighty and like a stone in your hand, this feels like a piece of balsa wood. I hope that’s not a harbinger of its durability. Even so, the oval case is still decently compact, and it’s easy to open. It has three status lights on the front which seem to glow constantly. It makes me worry about the battery life.
The buds themselves feel light like the case. They’re very similar in style to other wireless ear buds, with a wide base and narrow ear tip that you can adjust and customize for a proper fit. They’re just fine when it comes to comfort. I upgraded the ear tips to the largest size and noticed much noise isolation and comfort improved.
I’d like to see these in some more cool colours, but so far they’re only available in basic black.
Sound quality: IMGadgets wave earbuds
I listened to a variety of music on the IMGadgets Wave buds. (See what I listened to by following my Test Playlist for Headphones for Best Buy by Erin Lawrence on Spotify here.)
I was actually pleasantly surprised at the sound quality. While it’s not what I’d dub high fidelity, it’s definitely very good. The bass is quite vibrant and resonant, voices sound clear and they don’t lean too much to either the high end or the low. If I noticed anything it’s that the overall sound is a bit flat. You definitely don’t get a lot of subtlety, delicacy or multi-layered sound. Overall, especially given the sale price I’ve seen these at, these sound great for the money.
Phone call quality
The Wave ear buds have a dual microphone configuration, so calls and talking should sound great. I found my callers sounded pretty good to me. On the other end, my callers said I sounded alternately “just fine” and like I was far away or in a small echoey room. Since I didn’t get any major protests, I’ll dub these just fine for phone calls.
Bluetooth 5.0 & Connectivity
IMGadgets says these buds have Enhanced Bluetooth, thanks to Bluetooth 5.0. I’ve got to say, I didn’t notice this, but I’ll take the company at its word that it’s there. Bluetooth 5.0 helps save energy and reduce power usage to preserve battery life, but is also supposed to improve speed and allow a greater operating range.
When it comes to connectivity, I was able to wander all over my home’s main floor without any dropouts.
Additional Features of IMGadgets wave earbuds
Long lasting battery
Cruddy battery life has long plagued truly wireless headphones. 4-5 hours has been kind of the average available battery life for a long time, with charging cases which offer a few additional charges.
The battery promise in the IMGadgets Wave earbuds is 25 hours of power supply, on a full charge using the stereo call and music feature.
I used these buds on and off for about a week and never needed to recharge them, but I didn’t try to drain them completely.
I do find it a bit of a pain to figure out how much battery life is left. I wasn’t clear whether the three lights on the front of the case foretold the battery life of the case or the buds or both somehow. And sometimes the middle light would go out, which was perplexing.
The IMGadgets Wave buds have touch controls so you can play/pause your music by tapping either bud quickly. A double tap will skip tracks. The how-to on touch controls is printed on the back of the box and on a small paper manual in the box but I couldn’t find it online, so if you toss out the package or paper, you’ll lose your instruction manual.
The touch controls work great and don’t feel too sensitive; I was able to adjust the earbud in my ear without accidentally pausing my music.
Overall review: IMGadgets Wave truly wireless earbuds
I was pleasantly surprised by these earbuds. They have a good fit and feel, they have all the controls and features you need and they sound good too. My cons for them would be that the overall sound quality isn’t great, and anyone who demands high fidelity audio would likely be disappointed, but if you’re looking to get into the truly wireless headphones game, these are a great gateway pair.