It is always nice when a company reaches out to you for a product review but I probably don’t need to explain what went through my mind when I was asked to look at a headset called Diva from a Chinese rock artist. They told me that their intended audience wasn’t just audiophiles, looking at just about anyone who listens to music. Ok I have heard this pitch before, Dr Dre made sure of that. But keeping open minded I read further and while rockstar Wang Feng is the main name behind them, their team includes past employees of Plantronics, Huawei, Lenovo, BMW and more, maybe there is potential after all. While they released their initial range of products last year, we are currently amidst the launching of two new products, the Diva and its Pro iteration. Like a lot of things in this day and age they have sort out the help of Kickstarter to fund this product but from wearing this headphone I am pretty sure it is a finished product and Kickstarter is just a marketing stunt. Can I blame them? Not at all. Is it a band thing? Well, everyone is getting these headphones at a discounted rate so who cares if they need to be crowdfunded or not!
They have also just launched their Amazon stores in EU so can be purchased here!
I received through both the Diva and Diva Pro model for review although today we will focus on just the Diva. I will go over the Pro a little later but the app for that is not quite polished. They are announcing this as a “smart headphone” and to be fair I can see why. In black and white it is a wireless and active noise cancelling headphone but in reality it is so much more! Also while these are still active on Kickstarter take advantage of the price of $149, there is so much value there. Eventually the RRP will likely be $199!
The start up procedure was unlike any other headphone for me. I have had my fair share of bluetooth headphone before but these don’t even pair up in the traditional way. Instead of going to settings on my phone I went to the Play store and downloaded the FIIL+ app. After selecting my product type I was prompted to sign up for warranty by scanning the QR code on my Diva’s box. Et Voila, warranty commenced! The headphones then connect to the app and consequently the phone and from then on you never have to pair the headphones, it is all automatic. Less traditional users may frown at this. Why is an app needed for my headphones? I just want to pair up and play music! Well, it is actually rather handy. Not only does it act as a hub for the headphones telling you how much battery time (these last forever I get about 32 hours listening and they reckon 1055 hours standby) they have left and some instructions, but it also lets you control some of their features. While the standby time is huge I wish this had a traditional on/off as after a week in my bag I need to charge (via USB) whatever my usage. It also handles some simpler features like EQ and their 3d Audio technology supposedly expanding the soundstage. Then next option the app controls is their audio filter tech for noise cancelling.
Personally I just like to run it with full active noise cancelling on. It gets rid of all ambient noises, apparently 28dB worth which seems about right as that would be on par with an over the ear worn IEM and lets you listen to just the music. I use these in the gym and along with the lack of wires, these serve that job just perfectly! However if you are in a setting such as the office and want to just remove the general noise but still be able to hear surrounding voices you can try monitor mode which emphasises human voices but blocks the rest. There is also open mode which is quite self explanatory and a wind mode that I look forward to trying on my flight to India over christmas! These really do work as advertised as well! While I don’t recommend it, if you are a purist you can just have ANC off all together. The app will also allow over the air upgrades for the headphones (voice control coming soon) and can change some more basic settings like if the headphones FIIL logo illuminates.
Now if you don’t want to use the app then fortunately you can control a lot of things from on the headphone. There is a toggle for choosing the ANC mode as well as a button that can pause/play as well as answer/reject calls. What you may not be expecting is that the front plate of the right channel is actually a touch screen as well! These headphones are without doubt full to the brim of tech and VERY cool. Swiping up and down can be used for volume adjustment and right/left for picking a track. They even auto pause when you put them round my neck, they really do cover everything you could want in a headphone (and more). Coming soon is even a feature where you can pick a song with voice commands (this is already on the pro version)!
Through and through these headphones are polished, intuitive and a joy to use. I have had many friends back the kickstarter because I just don’t think you will find a headphones that is more of a talking point than these. These are a headphone that will make people care moving forward and also set a benchmark of the sort of features that will likely become standard in years to come. FIIL will always be able to say they done it first!
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