If that title alone didn’t grab your interest, maybe you’re not that into earbuds. I’d forgotten all about these and this morning opened the shipping packaging (Amazon) not having a clue what I was looking at, other than thinking to myself “this looks industrial”.
My second fleeting thought was “what does this have to do with “Quake” as the box in the photo gives nothing away initially other than reminding me of some heavy duty alien-type game I’ve played in the past (lots of them). The catch-phrase on the company website (link below) is “When hi-fi meets sci-fi”. I like it.
The title does not mean “looks like zinc alloy” – it means “zinc alloy”. Whatever was inside I was convinced would be rock-solid and I wasn’t disappointed. By now I’d read the label on the outside: Product name: Gravastar Sirius Pro earbuds – now it was all coming back to me.
So by now I was past the initial shock and it became clear that on one side of the impressive outer container (which LOOKS like zinc allow but which is in reality some kind of plastic – though well done) was a black card container for parts – and the other side – an actual zinc alloy container for earbuds which look like they might be some kind of plastic as despite the impressive visuals feel a bit light for metal (just as well, really). The card box contained no less than six spare replacement ear inserts, a USB-C lead and an impressive chain, the purpose of which I’ve still to determine – looks pretty, mind you.
Next – the VERY impressive metal case/charger for the buds with a push-to-open circular latch/button. What look like a pair of miniature nuclear containment vessels of some kind are actually the earbuds themselves – surprisingly a normal and good fit for my ears. Not sure what I was expecting. The case has 6 RGB LEDS cleverly used in a continuous bar to show the case battery state – GREEN when mine arrived. I cannot believe they actually made the case double up as a bottle-opener but they did!!
The Gravastar buds themselves showed no coloured light and I soon realised that this was down to a protective packaging film. I quickly removed that and put the buds on charge for a few minutes in the now closed case – their LEDs were and are glowing red – a clear English voice announced “Not enough energy”. It seems a full charge will take 1.5-2 hours – the case (which can charge the buds 13 times before itself needing recharging) takes 3 hours to charge but I don’t have to worry about that right now.
Ok, enough with the aesthetics – I let the buds charge a while, popped them into my ears and put on my favourite Alicia Keys YouTube video (I always use that for testing). Result? The BT 5.2 connection worked perfectly – decent sound, steady bass, no discernable audio delay.
The buds each have a touch area on the back – single press is play/pause/accept call. Dual press, depending on which bud, is previous or next song and in both cases – end call. 3 clicks selects music, movie or gaming mode. Press and hold for 1.5 seconds gives volume up and down depending on the bud. 4 clicks gives “Active Siri” whatever that means. The buds have noise-cancelling and are not suitable for use in the shower. The charging lead is type-C.
And that’s it for now – I’m still impressed by the look and feel of these unique and interesting devices. at some point I’ll settle down and start thinking critically about sound quality. No mention anywhere on the box or manual about frequency response but they sound OK.
As I write this, the green bar on the case is flashing on and off (I have it hooked to USB-C) – At first I was not sure if that means charging or fully charged – probably the latter. I later discovered that the button on the bottom of the charging case allows you to select a colour – more to impress than any practical use – but that’s fine.
I’m busy right now trying to get answers as to whether these low latency BT buds are “aptX Low Latency certified”… (I know, just icing on the cake but handy for use with this device if my BT sound bar is also compatible – I only just found out and am stunned to realise that Android generally cannot yet handle two SIMULTANEOUS BT outputs – so having the TV louder for me than the wife is a non-starter with any two BT devices without something like this – what have Google been DOING all these years?).
One TINY imperfection.. see the photo above right – you can JUST see the red LED on one of the buds – a support bar on the metal case is partly obscuring the LED on the other bud… just a slight positional adjustment and it would be perfect – also the charging contact stability could be slightly better (a minor point but these are designed in LA and are $150 (US dollars) so I’m looking for perfection). Next iteration I suggest moving the two red LEDs slightly. Also – removing the buds from the case could be easier. I’ve owned several sets of earbuds from different companies where gripping the buds to get them out of the case is also a bit IFFY. You’d think designers would take this minor irritation into account. Overall though, I like these buds.