Fiil Carat Review

So here we have a set of smart earbuds from Fiil, but how good are they and can they live up the the impressive Diva that I have already reviewed.

In the box

First up, whats in the box and they do come with a fair few accessories. Also the presentation of the packaging is top notch, there are three separate areas for the accessories and earphones, so organisation is great. The overall packaging is quality and well thought out. So you’ll be in for a treat if you do get them.

In the box you get

  • XS/S/M/L silicone ear tips
  • S/M/L ear stays
  • 1 x around ear for exercise (even more secure)
  • Cable management accessory
  • 1 very nice soft touch pouch
  • 2 x USB covers
  • 1 x USB cable
  • 1 x manual – my version is in Chinese, but retail will be English

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Design

Now that’s covered lets talk about the design and I have to say, I’m not a fan. Yes they’re fairly unique, but I’m not keen. The Hexagonal shape is different, which I appreciate, but I by no means like it. The earphones are on the bulky side too, not necessarily heavy, just big. This means that they do look a little awkward when wearing them. But that might be different for you. I’m also not too keen on the colour of this unit. The Yellow isn’t to my taste at all. Luckily they have a Black option too, which I do prefer. They look nicer in my opinion.

I do however like the subtle branding on the sides, which sits above the notification light, this does quite a few things. It lets you know

  • When the Carat are in pairing mode
  • When they’re paired
  • Battery level
  • Charging level
  • Changes and adapts to your speed
  • Help you be seen in lower light situations with uniform mode (this is controlled via the app, which I’ll cover later on)

For just simple LED lights, the array of things that it can do is impressive.

Also on the left housing you have a dedicated button, this allows you to check a few things. 1 press = read your step count. 2 = start or complete a workout and 3= LED light on/off. On the right you have a USB input for charging, this is a little fiddly. The port comes with a small cover and its tricky to remove with larger fingers. Luckily I could manage to remove it. Also to note that the cover is removable so be sure to keep it in a safe place, luckily you get two, but still they are very easy to misplace.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Onto the cable next and its good quality. I like the grey finish, what can I say it’s a nice cable. The built in remote is good too, the buttons are easy to press, have a nice tactile feel and they work well. On the remote there are three buttons, the top is for volume up and to skip tracks, the middle acts as a play/pause, answer calls, power and pairing and the final is the volume down button.

controller

Build quality

Build is good, the main housing is made from a robust plastic and they feel solid. The plastic is good grade and deson’t feel cheap. Also it has a coating that allows it to have an IP rating. The fit and finish is good too, the housing is well sealed and there are no noticeable gaps. The button on the side feels decent, again made from plastic but of good quality. Its not the most tactile of buttons but its works well. The cable now is finished smooth touch rubber and again feels robust, its plenty thick enough and doesn’t feel frail at all. The strain relief is a mixed bag. There is some up top, but none around the remote. Speaking of the remote, this is finished in the same material as the cable and again feels well put togther. The buttons on here again aren’t the most tact but they are easy enough to press and don’t feel too mushy.

Comfort

Next up is comfort and with the wide of selection of tips you have a great selection to find whats perfect for you. The comfort though is impressive, the earphones are lightweight and the angled nozzles do help. They sit nicely in your ears and fatigue is kept to a minium thanks to the nice quality tips and the fact that these fit me well. Usually I find that stock tips don’t fit well but these are good. Also I know earlier complained about them being bulky, but that didn’t effect comfort at all, which I surprised at as they are big. Even though large for earbuds they aren’t heavy at all and they don’t weigh down your ears.

Also they stay really securely in your ears, even during exercise. Thats thanks to the included ear stays and hooks. I personally preffered the stays as they fit me better and were more comfortable. The hooks I found to be too hard and they hurt my ears a little during use.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Features

Firstly they have an

  • IP6X rating, which protects from dust ingress. Which is impressive, they also have an IP5X rating which is protection from low pressure water jets. Meaning that they’ll be okay in rain, possibly in the shower too. Just make sure to keep the charging port cover in, as water will damage them if it does get in.

ipx-rating

  • Also have something called SDS technology, which is an acronym for Speed Dependent Sound. This changes the sound profile depending on what your doing. Tranquil state gives you a chill balanced sound, excited state enhances the bass to get you pumped up.
  • Voice search function allows you to search for your favourite tracks without having to get out your phone.
  • Magnetic design, this is cool. You simply place the earphones in necklace mode and the earphones will clip together, not only keeping them more secure, but it also pauses your music, your workout and puts them into a sleep state to preserve battery. Then when you want to listen again, simply pull them apart and place them back in.  So simple but really cool and works great.

necklace-mode

  • The app. Here you can see the battery level of your earphones when in use and during charging. You also have a built in EQ. Its not amazing but it works well. You Bass, balanced (my choice) and Treble. Also in the app you can access your pedometer and see how far you’ve walked. This works extremely well and does almost live counting. Then you have options for 3D, a bit gimmicky in my opinion and I don’t use it all. Then if you press the person icon you can see a few more options. Here you can set a work out. You’ll see the duration, steps, pace and calories burnt. Then finally you have the settings. Here you can turn the LED light off, change the light colour, change voice settings, toggle APT-x and HD voice on/off, set an auto shut down and finally update the firmware.

I really do like the app, its intuitive, nicely designed and works well. Well… almost. On occasion I found that the app and earphones will disconnect at random, I then have to close down the app to re-pair them. Maybe this is a unique problem to me but I thought I’d share it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Battery life

Battery life now and charge time takes an impressive 1hr 15 minutes to fully charge. With that I got 5 hours 14 minutes at 65%. Not overly impressive, but it can be forgiven because of the huge array of tech these have. Also to note, keeping it paired to the app and having the lights on does effect the life, so keep that in mind.

Sound quality

Finally lets talk sound and for Bluetooth earphones, I’m impressed. This will be in the original profile.

  • Bass: has a lovely kick, its punchy, lively, weighty and pretty much all you’d need to keep you pumped. Its not overly detailed and it can get a touch murky but overall its exciting.
  • Mids: and these usually suffer, but not so much here. Yes they won’t compare to wired earphones but they still are good. The detail isn’t massive, but its not lacking. Some finer details are glossed over, if I’m being picky. Its nicely clear and separation is decent too. Soundstage suffers a little because their earphones and Bluetooth, but its not terrible.
  • Vocals: are crisp have a great tone, does stand apart and become prominent at times. It never creates an in cohesion in the sound though. Theres plenty of warmth and vibrancy and they have nice reach too.
  • Highs: can be a touch sharp and brittle on occasion, but nothing overwhelming. Most of the time, they’re kept under control.

Sound overall is great, they suit most genres. From Rock to RnB and everything in between. They get very loud, so you volume lovers wont be disappointed and I’m just impressed.

Summary

I know that been a lot but lets wrap up. These are easily the most feature rich earphones I’ve ever tested. There are some downsides, like the design and app connection issues, but they’re comfortable, well built, have decent battery life, sound great and offer things I’ve never seen before. So should you get some, well that depends. If you’re really into fitness I’d opt for the pro, they offer much more in terms of features and promise better sound too. As for these, yes they do have some fitness chops and they are impressive and for around $99 I have no trouble recommending them.

Score 7.5/10

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. education says:

    Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s