ONVOCAL (OV) Alexa Enabled Stereo Bluetooth Headphones are simply put “Smart Headphones”. They are high end, multi-purpose, wireless Bluetooth headphones, the first loaded with Amazon Alexa Voice functionality and Music Services.
In my call with ON VOCAL CEO Stuart Nixdorff, I mentioned how “headphones” dosen’t capture how much this device does or how seamlessly the functionality is. It’s more of a “wearable assistant”. I literally don’t have to touch my phone at all to do everything Alexa and in my case, iOS SIRI can offer.
I’ve used my editorial pair about two weeks straight. I’ve done everything in the video above and more the interface works like a charm! Right out of the box, once you’ve downloaded the free OV app for either iOS or Android and connect the ear bud kit to the flexible neckband you are ready to rock & roll!
I’ve broken my review down into SOUND QUALITY, BATTERY LIFE, CONNECTIVITY, CUSTOMIZATION, FIT & VALUE.
Clearly, when shopping for new headphones, the sound is paramount. OV uses the aptX® audio codec to enable wide-band Bluetooth wireless stereo music playback rivals sound quality of wired connections. Using the foam insert earpieces that mold and create a seal insure the highest quality sound. The lows are appreciably low and the highs offer a dynamic range of sound that rivals any high end Bluetooth and moderate wired headsets I’ve tried. The OV app allows you to adjust and “mix” Audio, Ambient, and Voice levels for music and phone calls, and save your favorite settings as presets. More on that later. There is zero latency while playing back audio from video sources and the range is standard for a Bluetooth device. (Around 35 ft.)
I’m a HEAVY user. 12 hours daily between calls, streaming music, videos, note taking etc. I was impressed the OV kept pace for most of my work day. It lasted 8+ hours on one charge under heavy use. 12 hours in stand-by. The OV’s go into a power conserving mode when not in use. The handy OV app lets you know your battery status at a glance. You can get a full charge in about two hours.
I am not a fan of the twinkling of indicators on wearable tech. Gladly the handy LED indicator is on the skin side of the neckband. The indicator lets you know if you are charging (red) linked (intermittent white) full charge (solid white) or in need of charge ( intermittent red w/ beep alert)
I kept a rechargeable stick battery for extended use with no extra trouble. The headphones are fully functional while charging.
OV’s come with a standard wired audio input port for air travel where Bluetooth may be prohibited. A line input cord is included but you can use any standard line input cord. The voice command was it’s most impressive feature, intuitive and elegant in its simplicity. Tap the earbud button to answer and end calls, activate Siri for iPhone or Google for Android. Tap the Alexa button and use your voice to play music, shop, get information, and any skills Alexa knows. I rarely took out my phone. I love that they remind me I’ve walked out of range. OV says “Paired” when you return. For someone who loses their phone constantly, it’s a handy feature!
The free OV app is a slam dunk! I’ve never been able to mold the sound of my headphones the way I have with OV’s. I have tweaked personalzed presets that I can scroll through and use on the fly depending upon if I’m walking down the street, indoors, commuting or want to be enveloped in my own personal music bubble. You can actually have a conversation while taking a call or still listen to music without shouting because you can hear yourself clearly! The boom mic is unobtrusive and picks up your conversational voice level easily.
In order to fit the Bluetooth radio and battery, typically in-ear Bluetooth headphones either have physically larger earpieces, or are normal-sized but have a thick, rigid neckband to house the electronics. OV’s don’t suffer from either limitations. The in-ear buds are small and the neckband is lightweight. Flex zones’ located in the arms of the neckband and at the base of the voice microphone boom allow you to shape OV to your body. Choose from a selection of included earbud tips, to find the most comfortable, secure fit.
OV is next level comfortable. I wear my OV’s all day to the point I forget I have them on. One night I fell asleep while listening to an audiobook with my OV’s in and awoke in the morning no worse for wear. I’ve dropped them and accidentally stepped on them at the gym. They are built to last! They are comfortable to leave in or just unplug and let them dangle. I workout not worrying about sweat or moisture with the rubberized flexible band, The advantage over the small Apple ear buds is clear. They never pop out and you can’t lose them. I can’t go back to cords, I’m spoiled rotten by this experience. They come in a small storage case to protect them in a bag or briefcase.
OV headphones aren’t cheap. With a price point of $399 one would expect high performance, durability, functionality and exceptional user experience and top notch customer service. For this reviewer, OV delivers all these in spades. ON VOCAL CEO Stuart Nixdorff related to me the level of technical expertise and engineering that went into the development of OV headphones from folks like him and others at the top of the consumer electronics field. Using developer and engineering experience accrued from years at cutting edge companies like GOOGLE GLASS & BOSE and it shows.
Accessibility of controls is something you should always test when buying new headphones. In the OV, button design and layout is practical, the controls you can find by touch alone while you’re in the gym or riding a bike. Every aspect of the OV from the layout of the buttons to the shape of the earpieces was clearly thought out to be intuitively user friendly.
The stellar customer service is what you’d expect from an innovative consumer electronics company that is constantly asking customers for feedback. There is a standard 1-year warranty. You can opt to purchase an extended warranty from Amazon, which might be a smart idea to protect your investment.
All considered, in my opinion, you simply can’t find a combination of seamless user interface, sound quality, customization & multiple functions in high end wireless headphones like OV.
As a matter of fact, I predict “OV’s” will become the catch-all name synonymous for this type of consumer electronic device as “Windex” is for window cleaner or “Zip Locks” are for plastic storage bags. You can quote me on that.
Once you give a pair of OV’s a try I think you will agree. I’m excited to see what comes next! Check out OV’s website and blog for more information.
To purchase OV at thier website or use the handy Amazon Prime link below.
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All Art – OV