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Motorola Buds review: Lightweight and comfortable Bluetooth earbuds to use with your iPhone or iPad

Bluetooth headphones aren't for everyone. There are some of us out there – myself included – that prefer the reliability and quality that comes from using a cable. That goes for broadband too – Ethernet is generally better than WiFi. But that doesn't mean there isn't a decent selection of good quality Bluetooth headphones out there, like these buds we've picked up from Motorola.

Simply known as "Buds," what we've got is a neckband ensemble with a pair of micro-adjustable earbuds at the end. But are they any good?

The hardware

At first glance, the hardware may look a little unusual. You wear the main band around your neck, while the earbuds are attached to this via a flex cable. The bonus to this type of arrangement over just a set of cans is that you're presented with music controls such as play/pause, volume and skip track without needing to go reaching into your pocket.

In addition you can also use these headphones as a Bluetooth hands-free kit. Sound quality is good, and the range is excellent. Motorola claims it's good for up to 150 feet, and I have had no problems wearing these around the house and leaving my iPhone in my office. And, with the tips of the neckband being magnetized, when you're not wearing the earbuds they stick to this rather than be left dangling around your neck.

Pairing with your iPhone

The Motorola buds are incredibly easy to pair with your iPhone. Once paired, every time you turn on the headphones you'll be greeted first by a welcome message, then buy another message confirming your device has been paired.

The headphones provide a good, solid connection to your iPhone, not disconnecting randomly at any point during this review period. While streaming music to the headphones occasionally things get a little choppy, but it does soon pass and generally things are pretty good.

Sound quality

By no means is the sound quality the greatest you will ever hear from pair of headphones. But that said, everything is pretty good. The audio technology as described by Motorola:

Premium HD speakers. AptX® audio coding technology offers audio quality indistinguishable from wired with impressive dynamic range.

Bass is good without being overpowering, the sound is crisp and clear and generally listening to music is a pleasurable experience. The Buds come with 3 equalizer presets built in so to some extent you can tinker with the sound to your own liking.

Everyone has their own ideas on what sounds good when it comes to headphones, but if you're looking for a good quality pair of Bluetooth earbuds then the Motorola buds do deliver a pretty good experience.

Battery life

Motorola claims 10 hours of battery life from these headphones, and I have absolutely no reason to doubt their claims. I've been using these pretty consistently for the past couple of weeks, and on average I'm charging them up about once every 2 to 3 days. Charging is done by way of a standard micro-USB cable which is included in the box, along with a power adapter.

The good

  • Lightweight, comfortable to wear.
  • Pretty good sound quality
  • Volume and playback controls on the neckband
  • Good battery life

The bad

  • Neckband can get caught in clothing quite easily which can pull earbuds from your ears
  • Cable connecting earbuds to neckband could do with being a little longer

The bottom line

I was sceptical about moving into using a pair of Bluetooth earphones. But I'm quite taken with these, and they have quickly become my main daily set of earphones. They're incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear, offer a good compromise a battery life, convenience, and sound quality. I genuinely like these a lot more than I expected to when I opened the box. There might just be something to this wire free thing after all.

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Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

16 Comments
  • Nice review. I find the unique form-factor quite intriguing. And I like the fact that you wear it around the neck so it prevents those accidental drops that happens oh so frequent with other Bluetooth earpieces. Sent from the iMore App
  • Definitely a weird design, but weird in a good way. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great review Richard! I've been curious about these headphones for a few months. I was interesting in these for my morning run. I think I may have to give it a try. Thanks again! Sent from the iMore App
  • LG has a very similar Bluetooth headset that I've had for about a year now. They're great for listening to podcasts while I'm working around the house. Sent from the iMore App
  • Verizon stores in the US have had something in this style that a friend of mine has and he tells me it works well. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nice write-up.
    This wireless issue is so similar to musician's using cabled or wireless packs with their instruments... Wireless isn't trusted until people realize they can get along with it just fine.
    I've been looking for a good pair of wireless headphone / earbuds. These would be more appealing to me if they utilized induction charging.
    Thank you for the review, Mr Devine. Sent from the iMore App
  • I went through a Motorola stage with Bluetooth headsets and they all died from sweat exposure, even though they were advertised as "sweat proof." The thing I am most interested in is whether Moto has gotten it act together and created a truly sweat-proof version. For now I trust Jaybirds, which have really held up to my torrential sweating, but their BlueBuds are twice the price of these Motos (and their cheaper ones look weird) and it would be great to have another option.
  • Concise review, thorough yet simple. Well said! The design is what interests me for sure. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nice review! I was skeptical at first of your use of the word sceptical, then I found that's how it's spelled in England. Guess I learned something new and got a useful review to boot.
  • ... I'm glad I'm not the only one to whom was confused be that. I had to look it up too. Sent from the iMore App
  • Sorry guys...I do try to write in American, occasionally one slips through ;-)
  • Where's the microphone located? Does it have noise cancellation? I have "issues" with people being able to hear me when I use a BT headset because of the microphone location, and I'm currently using a Plantronics Voyager, with the boom mic. If I'm going to replace it with another BT headset, it must be able to handle phone calls as well, and provide decent phone audio quality as well, both inbound and out.
  • I went back from having Bose headphones to using the EarPods that Apple provides. I quite like them, but a Bluetooth solution would be preferable. Richard, do you think they would be good for sport?
  • I love this form factor. As soon as my current BT headphones go, I'm going with this one. Sent from the iMore App
  • I currently use and love the LG version of this type of headset, yet, the design of the Motorola Buds (top heavy vs. LG's bottom heavy) is very attractive to me. My only concern, and the only thing not mentioned in this review, is Siri. My LG headset works perfectly with Siri, making calls, sending and reading texts, etc. Do the Motorola Buds work with Siri?
  • I believe my wife ordered these for me as a Christmas gift. One thing in particular that I was wondering is if these can pair with more than one device and switch between them easily. I'd love to use these with both my iPad and iPhone but pairing over and over becomes cumbersome. Richard, have you tested this? Great review BTW.