GadgetsLab: Motorola VerveRider

Specs

  • Color: Black
  • Style: In-ear
  • Weight: 40g
  • Input: Bluetooth 4.1
  • Output: AptX® Stereo HD; Integrated microphone
  • Wireless range: Up to 150ft
  • Power: Micro USB rechargeable
  • Play time up to 12 hours

What’s hot:

  • Great isolation
  • Good build quality
  • Lightweight
  • Long play time

What’s not:

  • Audio has too much bass
  • App has very little functionality

Aimed at outgoing lifestyles, the VerveRider Bluetooth headset is on the low end of Motorola Mobility’s VerveLife line of products. Does the lower price tag equate to a more modestly functioning headset?

Design (Three and a half stars)

The VerveRider is designed to eliminate wire-tangling. The controls are located at the ends of the neckband and the earbuds protrude from the back of the band. The magnets on each end of the band make taking off and storing the headphones (or just taking the buds off) an even neater and tidier business.

The only problem that I have with the headset is the way the earbuds protrude at awkward angles; with the wires bending outward, it makes the wearer really stand out when using the headset. Style choices aside the build quality is pretty solid especially for its price. It is very light at just 40 grams, but it does not feel cheap at all. The texturized rubber lining around the neckband is a really nice touch. The buttons and the charging port are built seamlessly into the ends of the band as well, making them easier to locate without making them stick out too much.

Hardware (Four stars)

The headphones makes use of the AptX® Bluetooth stereo codec, and the audio quality that comes out from the earbuds are quite good. However, the bass end stands out above the midrange and the treble. It sounds awesome when listening to more upbeat electronic-driven songs, but for more organic music, a lot of the depth gets drowned out by too much bass.

And because of the AptX® codec, minute details in the audio, like for example in Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago which I used to test the headset, the fainter sounds in the background can still be heard surprisingly clearly.

The noise-isolation on the VerveRider is amazing. Hardly any sound outside of the earbuds comes through, even in a particularly loud room. The microphone’s quality is pretty decent too: in phone calls, the output quality is pretty similar to that of a smartphone’s built-in microphone’s output.

The buttons on the neckband are pretty basic: the standard Play/Pause, volume control, and a talk button. The volume controls can also be used as fast-forward and rewind controls with a long press of either button.

User Experience (Three and a half stars)

The headset as a whole is really quite good, as had been described in the rest of the review. In terms of connectivity, the wireless range of up to 150ft is not a joke. I was able to listen to music from my phone from quite a distance in an open space. It is really useful when mowing the lawn or doing chores around the house where you don’t have to check back on your phone every so often.

The playtime is also great. At a single charge the headset can play music for up to 12 hours which is great for those legendary commutes through EDSA traffic.

The problem lies with the Hubble app. Motorola had marketed it as a Hubble connected accessory that can be synchronized with the rest of Binatone and Motorola Mobility’s products with quite a few features. It does sync into the app, but there is very little functionality. There is a location tracker to check where the device was last synced with the accessory, and a few toggles for vibration, voice, and other tiny functions. It would have been nice to see more audio settings like equalizer modes and the like.

Value (Four stars)

Priced at PHP 2,950, the Motorola VerveRider is a nice Bluetooth headset for lower price ranges. The sound is pretty nice, the microphone is not bad either, and that is ultimately what most people look for in these types of accessories. If perhaps the lack of value-adding functionality is an issue, then perhaps it maybe best to look elsewhere (The VerveRider+, its IP57 waterproof sibling, costs only a thousand pesos more).

Bottomline: The Motorola VerveRider offers good quality audio output with excellent isolation, and is worth the relatively cheap price tag. However, if you have the extra grand to shell out, and you don’t mind orange as a color, you could opt for the waterproof VerveRider+.

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