Celebrities creating devices in the technology industry is nothing new, but when a big name like Will.i.am creates a new product, its definitely worth a look. Given his famous for his music as part of Black Eyed Peas, you’d expect his own set of headphones to be good, but its the style and fashion that sets them apart from anything else on the market.
Buttons are inspired by the shape of vinyl records and as such don’t try and hide, instead sitting proudly and demanding the attention of others. The unique design will undoubtedly have others around, stop you and ask about them, surely an integrated piece of marketing in the design. While I went for the more subtle black, the Buttons are available in a slew of colours, allowing those fashion-forward music lovers to accessories with Buttons like jewellerry rather than technology.
Engineered from machined metal and a woven fabric cord, i.am+ Buttons are really well built and have a high quality feel to them, just be prepared to pay for that, along with a portion for the celebrity name.
When it comes to audio, our ears are very different and one size certainly doesn’t fit all. When you open the box, you’ll be met with a vast array of mounting options to ensure you land on the perfect fit. Having comfortable headphones is critical to not only achieving the best possible audio, but also the length of time and frequency that you’ll want to use them.
If you’re prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on headphones, you’ll definitely want to make sure that they’re comfortable and I’m happy to report that Buttons are comfortable even for long listening sessions. I’ve worn them for 3-4 hours straight and despite the Button on the exterior of the earbud, the extra weight doesn’t impact the comfort.
I’ve spent a lot of time with the Buttons and listened to a lot of audio, Podcasts, Spotify, TuneInRadio and even local files. I waited for a ‘wow’ moment where the audio quality blew me away, but sadly that never arrived. They’re good, they’re just not great. If I was buying a premium set of headphones in this price range, I’d expect great.
The other element to the Buttons is their ability to make and receive phone calls. For this, I found the audio on-par with any other pair of earbuds / headphones I’ve used.
Even in 2017, the wired vs wireless debate rages on and there’s certainly many people in both camps. The reality is there’s pros and cons for each side, but something you can’t ignore is battery life on headphones like this, that are wireless. The buttons are good for around 6 hours of battery life which is far longer than most singly sessions you’ll use them for. This does mean if you’ve got a long daily commute or are a regular walker, then it’ll likely mean a daily or every other day recharge.
Color: Black, Grey, Rose, Gold
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR
Features: Magnetic Discs, Microphone, Nylon Cable, Siri Activation
Size: Small/Medium/Large interchangeable earpads
Connection: Micro USB cable for charging
Power Source: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
Active Battery Life: 6+ Hours
Talk Time: 6+ Hours
Stand By Time: 120+ Hours
Price & Availability
i.am+ BUTTONS, premium Bluetooth earphones. BUTTONS are available from iamplus.com, Apple Stores, apple.com, and JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores around the country. That premium price we mentioned earlier is A$289.95 which is the recommended retail price, but at least a couple of the Australian retailers have them for $299.00.
At the end of the day, the headphone market is a flooded one. Getting consumers to buy your product over the competition is increasingly hard and to win that battle you have to nail it on every front, design, sound quality, battery life, comfort etc.
Unfortunately the uniqueness of the design and great array of mounting options, don’t make up for the lack of noise cancelling and overall sound quality. Like I said earlier, they’re not bad, they’re just not great and at this premium price, they need to be great.
All the style icons (Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner) in the world beat a great sound quality from an audio product like headphones. This all adds up to a difficult product to recommend, particularly when there’s so many better products for less money.
For more information, head to iamplus.com for additional details.