Vinci Smarthearable Headset review - changing how you listen to music
Tags :product review vinci headset
Vinci Smarthearables has set a bar in designing not only a listening experience, but also perfect packaging. The box announces that you are about to open something you have never experienced and follows through with the product. The box is clean, adds a bit of mystery and showcases the headphones and accessories cleanly.
Of course I wanted to tear them out of the box and start using them, there is setup, a brief learning curve and the initial charging. I went ahead and placed them on the micro USB port charger (thank goodness for no custom fit chargers) for a few hours anxious to run through the setup.
When you wear these out in public they certainly get noticed. As you see in the video and pictures I was sent the red pair. All the colors offered (I have seen five colors so far in pictures and demos) are vibrant and stand out. Plus the sizing of the earpieces and the screen draws attention. I am glad they have an array of colors to choose from.
Let us focus on the headset layout for a brief moment. While the stickers attached come in Chinese, I know that will be updated for all markets when released. The right side is full touch panel in black with no digitizer screen. This quickly allows you to quickly swipe up/down for volume, swipe forward/back for moving through tracks and taps to the middle to pause and mark as a favorite song. A hold of your finger on this side also enables the voice control that we will discuss later. There is a slot for a SIM card, the power button and a microphone hole. No other controls are needed.
The other (left) side is the digitizer type screen with a cool screen saver that can also show the song playing. This is also where you access the finer points of the menu after initial setup. Like adding more wifi access points, connecting to another streaming service and basics like brightness.
One of the setup steps is connecting yourself to one of two streaming services. Soundcloud is free for all to consume but is a high amount of independent artists. Not your normal Top 40 catalog. I love Soundcloud and have quite a few artists favorited so once connected it was easy to find what I liked and build from there. The other option is Spotify. This requires a paid account with them as their free one is limited and would not allow you to connect this third party device for free streaming.
The headphones provide 32GB of stage as it is stated. When not connected to wifi or a cellular network, like on a plane, the headphones are smart enough to cache songs locally. Or you can load your own songs via a USB drag and drop. The downside is that the operating system these need eat up most of the available space. Mine came loaded with a bunch of music in an English folder which was nice to give me an instant start. I cleared it out to see what space was left and just a few GB is not the touted 32GB on the specs of the website.
Music seemed to start with the same, yet awesome, song every time I turned them on. I am not sure what caused that as I know I did not leave off the last time listening with that song. Maybe I played it over and over? Maybe I double tapped it? There is not clear answer to this simple problem. Maybe I started listening at the same geo place each day (possible) and it thought that was my kickoff the day song.
There is a 2050mAh battery to give you hours of playback. I did easily get six hours and tons of standby from a single charge. The Vinci Smarthearables know when you have them on your ear and start and pause music accordingly with no interaction by you. A quick voice lets you know the track was paused and resumed. I enjoyed that.
Digging into how it learned not only my favorites but also my mood and tempo was a test I took longer for and delayed my review. I felt I was being unfair if only using it once or twice. I made sure to use Vinci while laying down in the evening, while working, walking to lunch, doing some exercise and pondering while writing. I will state that it changed tempo of music for activity and movement and slowed it down when resting or relaxed. I also presume it was using wifi signal (and likely GPS with a SIM) to know and store where you were and the normal tempo. This would allow it to know what to play at night for bed, during the day at work, in the gym and when you take a walk in the park.
I tried using a US based SIM card but never got connected. I imagine some updates will be needed for that to work. Luckily I have a China Telecom prepaid SIM and it recognized it but I had no cellular signal here from that (of course). So if you had a great amount of data to use and stream, this would add to your unlimited music access.
Voice control that is available should allow you to speak what song or artist you wish to hear much like Siri and Amazon Echo. While I got this to work sometimes, the odds were far greater when it did not. I can see this getting many enhancements before the product is released everywhere with software updates. I am not sure how it handled knowing to look at an online service versus what I loaded locally. It also never prompted me it did not understand me as the voice control in my car does. That would be helpful to have feedback of what it thinks you meant or if it did not understand.
I also question how I can see all songs I have favorited and remove those marks. Tastes change or maybe a sng reminds you of an ex suddenly. I would hate for it to pop up in my stream because I liked it long ago and couldn't remove the like. I would also be curious if it truly reads my favorites in SoundCloud or Spotify. I imagine they will soon connect to Google Music, Amazon On Demand catalogs and more.
The Vinci Smarthearable changed how I look forward to listening to music. The simple and eerie feeling of not being tethered to a device of some kind via Bluetooth is one of the first things I had to make myself be aware of. I say that because I am so used to having to remember my phone be close I always felt like reaching for it as I walked away. Another change is how the headphones become aware of your mood, location and needs. As it learned more about me and built some algorithm it knows you better than yourself. I wonder if they will build profiles so you can share the headphones and maintain it as a student for each of you independently.
All I can say once again about the Vinci Smarthearables is wow. My look toward what was a simple technological thing like headphones has now changed. I hope updates bring even more capabilities to my ears. Current pricing says it will be $199-299 USD range from varying sites.