The Motorola VerveOnes+ ($249) represent the latest in wireless headphone technology. These cool-looking earbuds don't have a wire connecting them to each other, which is incredibly freeing, even for people who have used Bluetooth earbuds. However, a very poor wireless connection makes these buds a pair to avoid.
Editor's Note (9/13/16): We erroneously gave this review a rating of 6 stars initially, when in fact it should have been 3 stars. We have changed the rating to reflect this.
Design and Fit
Each VerveOnes+ bud is black with orange accents. They're just large and showy enough to be visible but not too obnoxious. Each has a button on its face that's used to turn them on and off, make phone calls, and play/pause music.
The earbuds come in an equally cool-looking cylindrical case that also doubles as a charger. The case itself has a small battery that can provide up to 9 hours of additional juice.
Included with the buds are two extra silicone tips; I found the medium size to be the best fit for my ears, and the VerveOnes+ fit snugly and comfortably.
Because the VerveOnes+ are sweat-resistant and designed for physical activity, I initially planned to test them in two scenarios: paired with an iPhone while I walked, and paired with a Samsung Gear Fit2 while I ran. However, the headphones failed the first test so horribly that I didn't bother with the second.
With my iPhone 6s in my left pants pocket — as Motorola recommended — I walked while streaming music to the headphones. Even in this simple task, the VerveOnes+ struggled. Not only did they constantly drop their connection to my phone, but they often lost contact with each other. Even when I was sitting at my desk, the two earbuds would occasionally disconnect from each other. No other pair of Bluetooth headphones I've tested has cut out with such regularity.
It was incredibly frustrating. A Motorola representative said an upcoming update would improve connectivity; we'll revisit this review after we've had a chance to evaluate it.
One feature I like about the VerveOnes+ is that a pleasant female voice tells you how much battery life remains in each bud when you put them on.
When the buds worked, I was pleased with the audio quality. When I listened to the music from "Wicked," "Defying Gravity" sounded a bit underwater in both Rhythm and Balanced modes; I had to switch to Brilliant for Idina Menzel's and Kristin Chenoweth's voices to truly soar. The same thing happened with Rihanna's vocals in "We Found Love" — the audio shined only in those modes.
After trying all of the EQ settings, I found that Rhythm and Balanced were the best; all of the others, such as Bass and Moto Sound, just made everything sound muddy, rather than boosting lower tones. Annoyingly, you can't change the equalizer settings if the buds aren't in the case.
The Verve app shows the battery life of each earbud, the equalizer setting (which can be changed to one of six presets) and even the location of the buds, which relies on your phone's GPS. They're handy features, but nothing revolutionary.
Like Pinocchio, the Motorola VerveOnes+ can boast that they've "got no strings" on them, but just like the marionette, these earbuds are far from the real thing. If they worked properly, then these $249 buds might be worth the investment, but if you can't even hear what you're trying to listen to, then they're worthless.