When a brand markets a product on appearance rather than functionality, it’s a product I’ll generally steer clear of. When i.am+ contacted us to review their new i.am+ BUTTONS Bluetooth Earphones I opted to disregard the A-List backers (including Founder will.i.am as well as Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner) and take them for what they were – handsome Bluetooth Earphones that cost $289.95.
I’m told the design-conscious and fashion forward BUTTONS fill a gap in the Bluetooth earphone market, offering a product that allows for high design without the loss of high technology. But as men, we’re rarely drawn to products marketed like the i.am+ BUTTONS are. We’re far more concerned with how the product performs and the value derived from the outlay. Fortunately for yelling will.i.am, his i.am+ BUTTONS are worthy of their price tag.
The record shaped BUTTONS are rather good in fact. They’re light, comfortable and a breeze to connect, and they clip together via magnets when hanging around your neck. They’re also a great solution for runners once paired with one of the many additional sized earpads in the box. Running without a cord is lifechanging might I add! The sound quality from the 11mm drivers is commendable across a variety of genres, delivering crisp notes of Miles Davis and lively thuds of Drake. And, they are good looking, even if I think the ‘haute fashion’ angle devalues their credibility a touch.
I did, however, find the Bluetooth connection to be a little crackly at times and the battery life could be better. The company claims six hours of playback but following a couple of weeks of daily listening (and lots of charging), I think that number is generous. You also don’t get a lot of warning as to when the battery will be exhausted, and sometimes no warning at all, as I found out at the airport the other day when they simply switched off. Fortunately, charge time isn’t a concern.
Once you look past Kendall Jenner you’ll find a solid piece of kit in the i.am+ BUTTONS. The price point won’t be for everyone but the combination of sound quality, functionality and daily usability make for a compelling package.
i.am+ BUTTONS Bluetooth Earphones are compatible with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android and are available from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Apple and iamplus.com for $289.95