Syllable D9X review: Wire-free earbuds with an interesting battery solution

Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews

The Syllable D9X is an absolute improvement over the D900 Mini that I reviewed previously, sound good, and have an innovative battery solution.

Syllable has taken a run at wire-free earbuds before. We took a look at their D900 Mini earbuds just over a year ago and were fairly impressed by the effort. A few issues kept them from being great, though the low price and stable performance helped make them a solid offering. Syllable is back with the Syllable D9X wire-free earbuds. Keep reading this review to see if the D9X have improved on the wire-free experience.

Specifications

  • Replaceable Batteries: 4 replaceable magnetic batteries and 400mAh smart charging case. Each battery can work more than 90 minutes and the earbuds can be fully charged 4 times. “Freely cycle charging make sure never power off.”
  • Bluetooth quick connection: Intelligently automatic connect your Bluetooth devices in 2s after you replace batteries, which can avoid manual starting up troubles to guarantee listening experience.
  • DSP Technology: To enhance the electricity of low-frequency band automatically, when the volume is very low, you also can hear the powerful shocking bass.
  • Stylish ultra-light & small design: Lightweight only 4g for each earbud and the max length of earbuds side is just 30mm. The small and light body design is more comfortable and portable.
  • Universal compatibility: Compatible with just about any device.
    • iPhone X/8/8 Plus/7/7 Plus/6s/6s Plus/6/6 Plus/SE/5s/5/4s
    • iPod
    • iPad/iPad Mini/iPad Pro
    • Macbook/Macbook Air/Macbook Pro
    • iMac/Mac Pro/Mac Mini
    • Samsung Galaxy S8/S7/S6/S5/S4/S6 Edge/Edge+/7/6/5/4/3/Edge
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Windows
    • Tablets
    • Laptops

What’s in the Box

  • SYLLABLE D9X Bluetooth headset (two earpieces)
  • 4 x Magnetic battery
  • Battery case
  • USB charging cable
  • 6x Silicone earbud
  • 6x Silicone ear clip
  • User Manual
  • Zipper bag

What’s in the box?

Design

The Syllable D9X earbuds have an interesting design that they hope will help with one of the major issues facing most wire-free earbuds: battery life. The D9X features a removable battery system that I’ll detail far more in this, as well as other sections of this review, but let’s first get started with the overall design.

The earbuds themselves have roughly an upside-down teardrop shape, though the bottom is flattened where the battery is attached. The Syllable logo is adorned on the large button that sits in the rounded part of each earbud. The back side of the earbud angles slightly into where the eartip and in-ear stabilizer are attached. Syllable has once again included several sizes of eartips and stabilizers and I’m happy to say that I had far greater success here with fit than with the D900 Mini. The D9X include what I’d consider more standard eartip and stabilizer shapes, providing a much better immediate fit than their predecessors.

The batteries connect magnetically to the bottom of each earbud.

The bottom of the earbud is where the detachable batteries attach. The batteries are long and slim, with a slightly rounded bottom and the Syllable name mark running up one of the sides. The batteries attach via magnets. When attached, the earbuds do have a slight resemblance to an all black Airpod, though slightly larger overall, and obviously different looking enough to not be easily confused with Apple’s product.

The removable batteries offer an interesting solution to the issue of battery life on wire-free earbuds, though I couldn’t help feeling just a touch nervous. While the magnets do hold the batteries pretty securely, a good enough bump can absolutely knock them loose. I didn’t have any problems while sitting at my desk, or otherwise not moving around too much, but even something like yard work would make me horribly nervous since the batteries are small and could easily be lost if knocked off inadvertently. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the battery solution they’ve implemented here, I’d just maybe like something slightly more robust to hold the batteries in place.

Syllable has included everything that you’ll need along with the D9X earbuds. The battery case, as well as the earbuds, fit nicely into the included hard-shell carrying case, which also holds the included small MicroUSB charging cable and extra eartips. A small drawstring bag is included, and it will hold the battery case or the earbuds nicely, but not both at the same time.

Ease of Use

Since the batteries aren’t permanently attached to the earbuds, you’re able to power on or power off the earbuds by simply attaching or removing the batteries. During initial setup, the left earbud is what actually connects to your phone, so it’s best to power that one up first while hopping into your phone’s Bluetooth settings. Connect to “SYLLABLE D9X” and you should be ready to go.

Connecting the battery will turn the earbud on almost immediately.

After the initial connection, once the batteries are attached, the earbuds will connect to each other before connecting to your device. A series of tones will play in each earbud to signify their connection to each other, followed by tones signifying the connection to your phone.

While you’re listening to music, you can tap the multi-function button on either earbud to play or pause the music you’re currently listening to. A tap on the left earbud will also answer an incoming call or disconnect from a connected call. A double tap on the left earbud will redial the last number in your phone. The right earbud controls tracks, with two taps moving forward, and three taps moving back one track. There are no volume controls on the earbuds themselves, that will need to be handled via your device.

Sound

Last time around, I was pleased by the sound produced by the D900 Mini, it was just difficult to get to that proper sound due to the awkward fit. With a better fit on the Syllable D9X, the sound is able to come through better and as a result, you’re still getting a pretty decent sound here too.

Overall, you’re going to get pretty solid mids, good highs, and acceptable lows. You’re not going to rattle the earbuds out of your ears with bass, but there’s enough to hold up the mids and highs on most music. EDM, Dubstep, and the like aren’t going to hit as hard as you probably want them to, but you’ll still definitely get some decent bass here. There are very few earbuds — wired or wireless — that will really do justice to these types of music though. Overall though, these earbuds handled most everything nicely. As long as you’re not going in with unrealistic expectations you should be pleasantly surprised with their performance here.

Reception/Call Quality

Wire-free earbuds have come a long way as far as reception and connection issues are concerned. Earlier products often had a hard time staying connected to one another, and dropping connection to your audio. Improvements have been made, however, and things have definitely gotten better. I didn’t get by completely without any drops or disconnections with the D9X, though at least a few of those could have been chalked up to jostling the battery. Overall, I was impressed with the stability of connection here, as it’s gotten much better than some of the first available wire-free earbuds.

The earbuds stay connected to each other quite well. I experienced the occasional drop, but they reconnect very quickly.

Wire-free earbuds continue to offer the ability to answer calls, and they also continue to struggle with the same issues here which really is inherent in their design. I could hear callers without issue since the audio is obviously getting pumped directly into my ear, but in anything other than almost completely silent surroundings, callers often had a hard time hearing me considering the microphone is also located right next to my ear. It’ll work in a pinch, but callers will likely still have some trouble hearing you under all but the most perfect conditions.

Battery Life

Syllable expects that you’ll see about 2 hours of playtime out of the batteries on the D9X, but the detachable batteries mean you should be able to get around 8 straight hours of playtime with a few simple battery swaps.

The battery case includes two slots for charging as well as two storage slots for the extra pair of batteries included. This lets you use one pair of batteries for 2 hours and quickly switch out with a fresh pair when they die. Just put the spent batteries in the charging ports and forty minutes later they should be charged up and ready to go when the replacement pair dies. Rinse and repeat and your tunes can keep going far longer than most wire-free earbuds.

The charging case can charge two batteries while storing the other two when not in use.

The battery case is good for 3 full recharges of a pair of batteries before it needs to be plugged in and recharged itself. At worst, you’ll just need to hit “play” on your music again after the battery swap. The system works pretty well, and the batteries can be removed and replaced easily while you’re wearing the headphones, so no need to pull them out of your ears.

Price/Value

You can buy your very own Syllable D9X wire-free earbuds on Amazon for just under $80 USD ($79.98). This is definitely a good price for what you’re getting here.

Wrap Up

It’s nice to see companies make improvements on their previous products, and the Syllable D9X is an absolute improvement over the D900 Mini that I reviewed previously. They sound good and have an innovative battery solution to keep your tunes going. My minor quibbles about the battery stability may not be an issue depending on how you’re using the headphones, and their other positive qualities make them an attractive option for wire-free earbuds.

*We were sent a review sample of the Syllable D9X for the purposes of this review.

Syllable D9X

$79.98 USD
Syllable D9X
9

Design

9.0 /10

Ease of Use

9.5 /10

Sound

8.5 /10

Reception/Call Quality

8.5 /10

Battery Life

9.5 /10

Price

9.0 /10

Nailed it

  • Innovative battery solution
  • Good sound
  • Earbuds stay connected to one another very well
  • Earbuds connect very quickly after inserting the batteries
  • Nice extras including a hard shell case

Needs work

  • Batteries made me a bit nervous with the way they're connected
  • Most all wire-free earbuds have problems with callers hearing your voice
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