Over the last couple of years we've seen wireless earbuds move truly into the mainstream. Many of the early technical frustrations, such as inconsistent pairing, have been resolved and now there are a multitude of decent truly wireless options on the market. Hong Kong startup Jabees has now launched its first Kickstarter campaign taking orders for its new wireless earbuds called Firefly.
Firefly isn't Jabees first attempt at wireless earbuds. In 2016 the company launched BTwins, a cheap Bluetooth earbud system that seemed to be an early iteration of what's been cleverly refined with the Firefly. There is nothing explicitly revolutionary about the Firefly earbuds. They have most of the fancy features one would want from wireless earbuds in 2018.
An intuitive tap control system allows you to adjust volume, answer phone calls, and even switch tracks at the push of a button. The earbuds are also comparable with both Siri and Google Assistant, so a single tap can allow you to chat with your favorite voice assistant.
A big feature highlighted by Jabees is what's called situational awareness. This essentially is a pretty straightforward mode, activated again by a simple tap, allowing external sounds to filter in over whatever music you may be listening to. This makes using the earbuds much safer for cyclists or commuters who have to navigate busy urban environments.
Perhaps the strongest feature of Firefly is its battery. A single charge will reportedly deliver four hours of play time, not especially exceptional in and of itself, but the accompanying charging case can apparently deliver an additional 16 hours of play time. After just ten minutes in the charging case it's claimed the earbuds will be back up to 60 percent power and deliver another two hours of play time. A full charge, offering four hours playback, can be achieved in just 30 minutes.
Alongside the impressive battery stats is a deployment of Bluetooth 5.0, offering more stable connectivity, and an IPX5 waterproof rating, meaning you may not be able to swim with them on but you don't have to worry about being caught in the rain.
Then there's the Firefly's remarkable price point. The current early bird cost for a pair on Kickstarter is US$64 or you can grab two sets for $113. This is significantly cheaper than any other comparable product on the market.
Something this inexpensive inevitably raises red flags around the quality of build and components, but as with all crowdfunding campaigns the risk is up to the consumer. Jabees suggests the earbuds are fully realized, tested and ready to go into production. The promised July 2018 date for commencement of shipping does feel a little ambitious, even though the company has a proven record manufacturing and selling electronics.
The Firefly wireless earbuds are available to preorder now.
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