Aipower is the company behind the first-generation Wearbuds crowdfunding campaign in 2019. This year, they are launching an updated model, Wearbuds Pro (AI-W20P). I am privileged to receive a pre-production sample to review before they go live on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo on 4 Aug. At time of publish, the app and firmware are still working in progress as the team work towards the final production rollout in end-October.
To describe in a sentence, the Wearbuds Pro is a true wireless earbuds wrist band with activity tracking. The first generation of Wearbuds Pro achieved an impressive result of US$944,850 funding by 8,586 backers in Indiegogo. This upcoming release, by and large, have similar design, with mostly hardware improvements.
The Wearbuds Pro earbuds use Graphene dynamic driver, Qualcomm aptX codec, Bluetooth 5.0 and IPX6 water resistant. The screen is fitted with scratchproof Corning glass and 262K colour TFT touch display which displays time, step count, calorie burn, floors, distance, sets countdown timer, and battery level of each earbud. The wristband captures heart rate, training stats, and controls music playback.
As chunky as it appears, the Wearbuds Pro doesn’t feel bulky or heavy on my wrist. The silicone strap feels comfortable to wear and the display wake-up gesture is reliable. The earbuds are lightweight and small, and do not protrude out, so you could actually wear them to sleep. While the official way to wear the earbuds is to align it with the logo upright, I find it more comfortable inverting it and pushing the earbuds to rest within the concha.
I enjoy the convenience of popping the earbuds out from the wristband whenever I needed to use them. And after I’m done, I just pop it back into the wristband. No need to look for the charging case in my pocket or bag. No need to carry the case while jogging either.
The audio quality is sparkling, airy, with wide sound staging. The midrange is detailed and disciplined, not bloated. In quiet environment, the bass is neutral-weighted without too overwhelming, which allows me to get a more balanced listening enjoyment, though I think most people would prefer to have a little more power. In noisy environment, the bass might lack the intensity due also to the relatively weak isolation from the ear tips. Fortunately, the upper frequencies got sibilance well-controlled so music doesn’t sound too pushy and harsh. The earbuds do very well with Classical and instrumentals, bringing out the transparency in strings, brass, percussion. With pop tracks like Billie Eilish “Bad Boy”, you get clear vocals with balanced boomy sub-bass. Keep the earbuds tight and sealed in the ear canals for best results.
The earbuds can control playback, tracks and volume by touch: tap right to skip track, tap-hold right to increase volume, and vice versa on the left earbud. Double-tap either earbud to play-pause. Due to the tight construction of the earbud slot, it is not possible to fit larger ear tips. The makers claimed a battery life of up to 10 days, though my prototype currently only manages for 2 days. The team shared that there are ongoing improvements to optimise the power performance to extend up to 7 days. Nevertheless, if you frequently use the earbuds, the recharging will drain the wristband battery faster. I think as long as the wristband can last at least 24 hours (including charging the earbuds), I can accept that.
At this moment, many functions remain unavailable for testing, like sleep tracking, fitness data syncing, remote music control. The vibration motor is very mild, I could barely feel it. I will update this article once the functions are available to test upon firmware updates.
With the Wearbuds Pro on my wrist, I don’t have to remember to pack earbuds in my bag or worry about having room in my pocket to carry them. They primarily benefit earbuds owners, with a secondary function as a fitness tracker. I find the audio features are better compared to the activity tracking features, but as it gets closer to the final production, the various activity tracking features should work properly to make the Wearbuds Pro a very useful 2-in-1 wearable product.
The Wearbuds Pro is now available for pre-order on Indiegogo.