True Wireless Noise IntelliBuds review: ‘Smarter’ listening
Noise has rapidly risen to become one of the major volume drivers for affordable gadgets in India, with a strong focus on smartwatches and true wireless headphones. Most of the company’s products are priced competitively, but Noise’s most recent launch into the TWS space takes a significantly different approach – one that shows intent and ambition to push the price up. means of its products. The Noise IntelliBuds are among the company’s most advanced and promising true wireless headphones to date.
Priced at Rs. 4,999, the Noise IntelliBuds have been developed in conjunction with Bragi, famous for being the first brand (as far as we know) to release true wireless earbuds in 2015. The headphones are touted as a “smart “, with head-gesture controls, dynamic voice commands and extensive customization options via a specially developed app. Are these the smartest true wireless headphones under Rs. 5,000 you can buy now? Find out in this review.
Noise IntelliBuds design and features
Although the IntelliBuds are the most expensive true wireless headphones in the Noise line of products, they are still quite affordable compared to most competitors at Rs. 4,999. This is a fairly ordinary-looking pair of headphones without any standout design cues or even the tendency to pack more into a smaller form factor. The Noise IntelliBuds’ earbuds and charging case are large and somewhat bulky, but not unpleasantly so.
The Noise IntelliBuds have a snug in-channel fit, long, downward-extending stems, and a flat touch surface with the brand logo etched on it. The headphones are available in two colors, black and white; Although I have no complaints with the white review unit sent to me, the black is a bit better in my opinion.
The headphones are rated IPX5 for water resistance and weigh 5.4g each, while the charging case weighs 45g. It’s not a particularly small charging case, but you should still be able to slip it into your pocket when not in use without too much trouble.
Unlike most options priced around Rs. 5,000, the Noise IntelliBuds do not have active noise cancellation. It might be an eyebrow for many, but the brand pitches the IntelliBuds as a ‘smart’ option and wants you to look past the lack of obvious features like ANC. That said, the secure and comfortable in-channel fit offers decent passive noise isolation, and there is a transparency mode.
The “intelligent” experience offered on the Noise IntelliBuds is certainly interesting for a number of reasons. The headset has features designed to make the user experience easier and more intuitive, such as voice commands and head tracking gestures, as well as detailed app-based functionality. If you prefer a more predictable and classic approach to how you use the headphones, standard touch controls are also present.
Noise IntelliBuds App and Specs
Much of what the Noise IntelliBuds offering has to do with working with Bragi. The headphones are powered by “Bragi OS”, but it is important to clarify here that it is not an “operating system” in the same way as devices such as smartphones, media streamers or even smartwatches have them. Instead, Bragi OS enables some additional “smart” features on the Noise IntelliBuds, such as on-device voice commands and head gesture tracking.
This all works through the Noise IntelliBuds (NoiseFit smart) app, which is only available for Android at the time of this review. The app allows you to configure and calibrate some of these features, which then work natively on the headphones themselves, instead of relying on the connection with the smartphone and the internet to work.
You can also use the app to view headphone battery levels, configure and customize touch controls, and adjust equalizer settings. The app’s interface is well-designed and easy to use, although I found the touch controls a little tricky to set up. Connectivity with the app was also sometimes buggy, with battery indicators sometimes not showing levels correctly and on a few occasions not charging the interface at all despite connecting headphones.
The Noise IntelliBuds true wireless headphones feature 6mm dynamic drivers, with Bluetooth 5 for connectivity and support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The sales package includes three pairs of silicone earbud tips and a short charging cable.
Noise IntelliBuds performance and battery life
Although Noise has seen phenomenal sales growth in recent months, the brand is still widely regarded as a specialist in the affordable space. This places significant expectations on the Noise IntelliBuds, given the Rs. 4,999 price tag and the promise of premium capabilities. Indeed, the overall experience for me was largely enjoyable, though some features felt forced and unpolished, and the sound didn’t seem to fully match competing options in this price segment.
To start, I tried the special features that are part of the collaboration with Bragi – hot voice commands and head gestures. The former worked well enough for me, with the headphones registering the wake command most of the time and generally understanding any specific voice commands I gave right after.
I was able to control playback, volume, turn transparency mode on or off, and accept calls using voice commands. Interestingly, it doesn’t need an internet connection to work, as is the case when using voice assistants such as Google Assistant or Siri; it all works natively on the IntelliBuds headset itself, once set up. Of course, this only covers hardware features, but you have the option of using your smartphone’s default voice assistant for the more comprehensive features it offers.
Head tracking gestures, on the other hand, didn’t work very well. Despite repeating the calibration process a few times, even the slightest head movements tended to inadvertently cause something to happen to the Noise IntelliBuds. Holding my head a certain way would cause the volume to increase or decrease unexpectedly, among other unwanted effects. I found it best to keep this feature disabled.
Although the feature set and specs seem decent for headphones in this price range, the sound quality of the Noise IntelliBuds is rather disappointing overall. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the sound unpleasant, but there was certainly nothing special about it. The headphones felt restrained and restrained even at high volumes, with the setting feeling a little lazy and unrefined.
Listening to New To You by Calvin Harris, the sound was comfortable and quite bearable even over long periods of time, but the delivery lacked any real dynamism or feel. The violin riff at the start of the track and the accompanying electronic beat sounded dull, with the Noise IntelliBuds providing no boost to any part of the frequency range. While the highs seemed a little more pronounced further into the house-pop track, the bass was a bit boring and uninspiring.
Even with more vibrant and naturally lively tracks such as The Midnight’s Tokyo Night Train (Claes Rosen Remix), the Noise IntelliBuds felt restrained and somewhat lacking in character. The somewhat dull sound signature could have been forgiven, if there was a reasonable amount of detail to hear, but there wasn’t too much either. That said, you’re unlikely to be put off by the sound in any way; your favorite tunes shouldn’t really be affected, but the purpose of enhancing the listening experience is somewhat lost with the Noise IntelliBuds.
Transparency mode does a decent job of improving your ambient awareness without interfering with audio playback, but it sounded a bit too artificially boosted for my tastes. Call quality is acceptable indoors, but the lack of active noise cancellation affected my ability to focus on calls, even in relatively quiet outdoor environments. Connection stability was not an issue for me, with the Noise IntelliBuds working well at distances of up to 3m from the paired smartphone.
Battery life is quite good on the Noise IntelliBuds, with the earphones operating for around seven hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels. The charging case added three full charges, for a total run time of around 28 hours per charge cycle. Fast charging is present and the earbuds can fully charge in the case in up to 30 minutes, but fully charging the case and earbuds took me about two hours.
The Noise has generally found success in the budget segment of true wireless headphones, but the IntelliBuds are a refreshing sign of intent from the Indian company. It’s a tech-driven approach, but focused on the user experience rather than the often meaningless specs and features. It’s also incredibly spunky, given the lack of ANC despite being the company’s most expensive true wireless headphones to date.
Unfortunately, the Noise IntelliBuds are let down by what comes across as an unpolished and seemingly unfinished overall experience. The gesture controls didn’t work too well for me, and the sound was uninspired and lackluster overall. While I’m looking forward to what comes next from Noise, for now the IntelliBuds aren’t really worth a recommendation at this price, and you’ll be better served by the OnePlus Buds Z2 or Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro in this budget. .