Noise may not be a very well-known company yet but the gadget lover would not have missed its latest offering: a truly wireless pair of earphones, dubbed the Noise Shots XO.
Priced at Rs 5,499, it comes in stylish packaging and has all the modern features that one expects in 2020 – wireless charging, competitive battery life, comfortable fit, ENC (environmental noise cancellation), IPX7 rating, and USB Type-C charging.
It’s already available for purchase in three colours – Space Grey, Rose Gold, and Metallic White (which we have been testing for a couple of weeks now)
Here’s what we think about the wireless earbuds.
While the colours of the earbuds are pretty standard, what immediately becomes noticeable on unboxing is the design, which stands out among the current crop of truly wireless earphones by taking a new approach.
The charging case is circular in nature, resembling a drum, and fits into a drawstring cloth pouch that is provided in the box. But the earbuds are bulky as the company has tried to contain the size.
Besides the charging case, you get a USB Type-C charging cable, a user manual plus warranty card, and two extra pairs of silicone tips.
The case is prone to catching fingerprints; its top has a metallic finish while the bottom is matte
Once you get past the design and get to pairing the earbuds with your device – usually your smartphone – you’ll immediately start getting frustrated. It may have to do with the particular unit that I had on me but I couldn’t pair the earbuds for a good 45 minutes. I tried pairing it with a couple of different smartphones to no avail.
Here’s how it should ideally work: You open the case and remove the earbuds. The LED lights then start to blink white and red. If this happens, it means that the earbuds are on pairing mode.
The next step is to go to your smartphone’s Bluetooth settings and click to pair ‘Shots XO-L’ and‘ Shots XO-R’.
The phones weren’t able to recognise both most times, and even if one showed up, it wouldn’t connect. The ‘Getting Started’ portion of Noise Shots XO’s product page held no answers or solutions to the problem.
After fiddling with the earbuds for a bit longer, I did a reset, which enabled the buds to finally pair with my smartphone.
Fit: Snug and compact
The earbuds fit quite snugly within the charging case and do not move even on shaking the case vigorously.
They fit well but tend to protrude just a bit. While that’s not a bad thing per se, it is something to be aware of. However, one never gets the feeling that they’d fall out of the ears, even while moving about a lot or running.
I had them on for hours without feeling the need to give my ears a break.
Audio and call quality: bass-boosted sound
Unfortunately, the audio quality didn’t match up. The sound quality was muddy, at best, and got worse as I increased the volume, to a point where the distortion was immense.
Just like the realme Buds Air, and unlike the TicPods Free, the Noise Shots XO provides for a bass-first sound output. While it works great for songs that tend to overstate the bass, it doesn’t work for music featuring multiple instruments.
While watching the Australian Open, the ball sounded farther and farther away. Ideally, with the earbuds on, it should have sounded like one is in that stadium.
Lastly, because of the exaggerated lows, the vocals are a major disappointment.
Just like the TicPods Free, one shouldn’t use the Noise Shots XO to make a call. Though it comes with ENC, which is ideal for making calls, people on the other end often complained about the traffic sounds around me.
The one victory for the Noise Shots XO is the passive isolation. There’s close to no sound leakage, and even without any active noise cancellation, one gets a pretty good blockage of the surrounding sounds.
Great battery life
The Noise Shots XO earbuds have an excellent battery life, lasting typically 5.5 hours before having to charge them. With the case, I didn’t need to charge the buds for a whole week. The case itself can charge the buds an additional five times. That’s good for about 30-35 hours of playback, which is really impressive.
A bonus is the wireless charging capabilities that Noise Shots XO comes with.
Another advantage is you can use the Noise Shot XO earbuds on mono mode: simply pick up one earbud and connect it to your smartphone and use it.
The earbuds have touch controls that are accessible on the rear surface of each bud. While I was able to find and tap them, many times I had to tap a few times before getting the correct response.
Additionally, there are no volume controls present. This means that each time you want to adjust the volume, you would have to pull out your smartphone and do so. If you’re a fan of playing different genres of songs within a single playlist, then this feature (or the lack of it) will get your goat.
Should you buy the Noise Shot XO earbuds at Rs 5,499? The answer is no. While the earbuds have some great features—wireless charging, an impressive battery life, and a good premium design—its poor audio quality is not worth the money.
For around this price, you should instead go for the 1MORE Stylish True Wireless earbuds. You would be happier in the long run.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)