It seems like wire-free headphones are all the rage these days. There were definitely some that were available prior to Apple’s AirPods, and more have been announced or released since the iPhone 7/7 Plus was released. The Syllable D900 Mini wire-free earbuds are another to add to the growing list of available options. I’ll talk about what you can expect from these wire free earbuds in this full review.
The Syllable D900 Mini wire-free earbuds have the following features and specifications:
- Bluetooth version: V4.1+EDR
- Talk/Listening time: Up to 120 minutes talk and music
- Standby time: 11 hours
- Charge time: 40 minutes (3.2V-4.2V)
- Operating distance (range): Up to 30 feet/10m
- Driver: 8mm speaker
- Bluetooth profiles: A2DP/AVRCP/HFP/HSP
- Weight: 0.16 ounces
What’s in the Box
- 1 pair Syllable D900MINI Bluetooth Stereo Earphones
- 4x Extra Ear tips
- Charging Station
- Micro-USB charge cable
- User Manual
As a point of reference, since some have not yet grasped the appropriate nomenclature for these newer varieties of headphones. Wireless earphones refer to any type of headphone/earbud that does not connect to the source device but usually attach to one another. Wire-free earbuds do not connect to the source device, but there are also no wires connecting the individual earbuds. With that small bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s get on with the review!
The D900 Mini earbuds are slightly larger than most normal earbuds, but each earbud needs to hold all appropriate hardware including a battery inside of each bud. Each earbud has a rounded triangular button with the Syllable logo. The outer shell is a slightly larger rounded enclosure with close to a teardrop shape. Each earbud has two small metal pins that allow for wireless charging in their included case. There is also a small R/L indicator on each earbud.
You’ll receive three sets of ear tips/hooks, one of which has a completely different design from the other two. Two of the tips are rather wide, narrowing to an oval tip with a curved ear hook while the last is closer to what I would consider a normal ear tip, though with a sharply angled ear hook.
It’ll take a bit of trial and error to find the appropriate ear tip for you. I’ll talk more about the sound in the appropriate section a bit farther down, but the ear tip will significantly help or hinder your experience. I found I had the best experience with the sharply angled ear hook ear tips. With the wider ear tips I could not get the earbud to stay in my ear very well. The larger ear tip was just too big, while the smaller one didn’t stay in my ear. I still couldn’t get quite the right seal with the ear tips I was using, but it was significantly better than the other two.
The earbuds come with a small plastic case that can be used for both storage and charging. The case has a black plastic bottom with the Syllable name mark on the front and the MicroUSB charging input on the right. On top is a tinted clear plastic lid with two small columns with magnets near the front. The inside of the case features cradles for the two earbuds and four LEDs on the front that indicate when the earbuds are charging. Even after multiple charges, all four LEDs continue to light, which leads me to believe it is not an indication of the case’s battery level.
Ease of Use
Pairing these wire-free earbuds is very much the same as pairing any other peripheral via Bluetooth. In this case, the left earbud is the “main” bud” and is the one you will pair to your smartphone. The right earbud comes paired to the left already, though if you have problems, you can easily re-sync the two earbuds to one another.
You’ll first pair the left earbud to your phone in the standard manner. Once you’re paired for the first time, turn on the right earbud and it will pair to the left. Once you’ve paired, you can turn on both earbuds at the same time and they’ll all pair as necessary to get you going.
I had a few issues with the right earbud dropping out occasionally, but usually just for a second or two before it figured itself out and kept going. For the most part though, the connection was solid.
The sound quality is a bit of a mixed bag and will depend largely on how well the ear tips fit into your ears. When I first tried out the default ear tips the sound just really wasn’t good. That had everything to do with the bad seal between the earbuds and my ears. Even using the tips that fit me better, there’s still just a bit too little of a seal to really allow the earbuds to shine.
When I was able to hold the earbuds in just a bit more — in one case when wearing a knit hat that pushed the buds in just a bit — or even when just holding the earbuds in just a bit more the D900 Minis do actually have pretty good sound. The highs and mids are clear, and there’s some bass, though not a ton. Syllable suggests that these earbuds are noise cancelling, though I believe what they really mean is noise isolating. When properly sealed you will have the noise isolation effect, though when not properly sealed you will definitely lose that effect.
If the ear tips work better for you than they work for me you’ll get some good sound out of these earbuds. In some ways it’s frustrating that I know what these can sound like, but can’t get the eartips to fit properly. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Considering there’s no microphone close to your mouth, conversations using the D900 Minis are really pretty good. Callers could hear me clearly with some occasional static that was likely due more to my cellular connection. When on a call, the right earbud turns off, and you’ll only hear the caller through the left earbud.
Since the batteries need to fit inside each earbud, you’re not going to get crazy long battery life, but you’ll still get a few hours per charge. Higher volumes will, of course, deplete the battery more quickly, but at a moderate volume you can consistently get between two to three hours per charge. The earbuds will start to beep once the battery is starting to die, giving you an opportunity to turn off whatever you’re listening to.
The earbuds charge in the included charging case, that allows you to recharge the earbuds up to six times per charge for the case. The buds will recharge in about 30 minutes, allowing for another two to three hours of use. As is the case with the sound, charging will also depend on which eartips you have on the earbuds. My preferred eartips did not seem to allow for the pins in the case to hit the metal contacts on the earbuds. You can easily take the eartips off though, allowing for a quick charge when needed. The case will recharge in about two hours, giving you enough juice for roughly six more recharges.
Priced at $49.99USD, the Syllable D900 Mini Earphones are priced aggressively against other available wire free earbuds. They provide good sound, they just take a bit of time to get properly seated in your ear.
If you’re looking to get in on the wire-free craze, the Syllable D900 Mini earbuds are a reasonably priced point of entry. While I had a few issues with the fit, others may not have the same issues, and when seated properly these really are a good sounding pair of truly wire-free earbuds.