Published on September 16th, 2017 | by Greg0
i.am+ Buttons: Glitzy Bluetooth Earbuds (That Sound Great)
Celebrity endorsements are the old standby for boosting a product’s profile- get a famous person to talk about something, and fans will hopefully grab one off the shelves when faced with other, similar options. But that’s the classic model, one that has been a bit outmoded by the more modern version- having a celebrity consult, design, and brand their own gear. It’s worked for basketball shoes and more recently, it’s become a pretty common tactic in audio circles as musicians follow Dr. Dre and Lady Gaga and many others into the business of headphones.
We’ve seen plenty of options out there, but none quite like Will.i.am’s i.am+ Buttons Bluetooth earbuds. The company’s mission statement is certainly ambitious: “to create technology hits that create a ripple effect across pop culture” and they even mention their intent to”usher in a powerful new era built on AI”. These models were said to be “inspired by the shape of vinyl records” and we couldn’t avoid including one other set of quotes as each earbud is tagged so you can identify which ear they go in- one says “right and wrong” while the other is engraved “left and gone”. Plus the package includes a Limited Edition Lifestyle Publication.
So, the i.am+s are clever, and though it’s perhaps odd to anthropomorphize, they seem pretty confident too. And as you can probably tell, they look great- as stylish as any other pair of earbuds we’ve seen. Six hours of battery life is decent, the Bluetooth version utilized allows for lossless music and simple, quick pairing. The best and most unique feature are the magnets that can keep the earbuds nicely together when not in use- you may have seen or tried similar functionality before but it’s perfected here. The nylon no-tangle cables are sturdy, the several sizes of included tips should fit just about everyone comfortably, and this type of corded wireless bud has easy-to-access controls, a decent microphone for making calls, and can easily sit and loop around your neck. They aren’t waterproof or technically made for exercise, but are perfectly capable for most other uses, portable and flexible.
The Buttons sounded excellent, enough to recommend them even against a crowded field, boating crisp mids, balanced lows, and considerable bass. They’re large enough to offer some distinct low-end rumbles that smaller buds can’t reproduce, and a wide soundstage that didn’t distort even at higher volumes. Available in a few different metallic color schemes like black, grey, rose, gold, though some are exclusive to various retailers. With an MSRP of around $199, the i.am+ Buttons are a pretty impressive set of wireless earbuds, worthy of attention even apart from the celebrity connection.