Du Smart Buds Pro : test / reviewCategory: Connected objects
[b]I' ve been testing several wireless bluetooth headphones over the past few months and although there were sometimes differences between some of the models, their basic function remains basically the same. When I was asked to test the Du Smart Buds Pro, I thought I had already tested them but I was wrong as this is the pro version. How is this version different from the normal version? The noise reduction is more effective but these headphones can translate a large number of languages live. The headphones pick up the conversation and are able to offer both written and spoken translation. Interesting but does it work properly?[b][b]
Launch offer[b]On the occasion of the launch of these Du Smart Buds Pro headphones, I received 3 promo codes:[b]DUVIP45 with 45€ off[b]DUVIP35 with 35€ off[b]DUVIP15 with 15€ discount[b]Limited quantity, first come, first served.[b][b]Launch price (before applying the promo code): 64.99€.[b]Link to take advantage of this offer: Du Smart Buds Pro / Aliexpress[b][b]
Xiaodu? Baidu?[b]Du Smart Buds headphones are produced by Baidu, the name may not tell you much but know that Baidu is the closest thing to Google in China. So it's not a small Chinese company that starts up, it's a tech giant in China. So this kind of company is able to finance the design of innovative products and these headphones are a great example.[b][b]
Unpacking[b][b]The Du Buds Pro earphones come in a long box that doesn't contain much but I guess the size of the box is also meant to give a signal about the positioning of the product, these earphones are not low end earphones like you find a lot of them on Aliexpress. The box contains the charging station for the headphones, two wireless headphones, a separate box with different sized ear tips, a USB cable and also a manual. I had already had the opportunity to test headphones from this brand but here I see a desire to give the product a more premium look. The charging station is produced in a glossy lacquered plastic where the standard version used a white matte plastic. The headphones follow a bit of the same trend. [b][b][b][b]
Overview[b][b]The charging station is larger than in the normal version, it offers a 35-hour battery life for the headphones and can be recharged quite quickly. According to the manufacturer's data, ten minutes is enough to provide two hours of listening. I would see in use if the autonomy is as good.[b][b][b]The pro version of these headphones is quite different from the standard version. The pro version uses soft ear tips that fit into the ear canal where the standard version just had an opening in the plastic but most of the sound was sent out the side. The Du Smart Buds Pro is equipped with three microphones that provide very effective ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) and above average sound clarity. It is possible to control the music stream directly from the earphones and unlike most earphones you have to pinch the earphones rather than touch them to play/stop the music, turn on/off the noise cancelling or activate a custom function. The Xiaodu app allows you to configure the headphones the way you want.[b][b]The ear tips supplied in the box will allow you to fit the headphones to your ear, all sizes are available. [b][b][b]
Application[b][b]To fully enjoy theDu Smart Buds Pro you need to download the Xiaodo app available in the Play Store. This app is not yet properly translated into all languages but it is easy enough to use for anyone to get by.[b][b]With the application you can do the following things:[b]- configure the behaviour of the headphones (play/pause/...)[b]- enable/disable noise cancellation[b]- choose a language for the headphones, choose another language for the microphone and this way the microphone will pick up the language to be translated and play back the translation in the language of your choice directly into the headphones[b]- record voice notes[b]- record calls[b]- translate a conversation[b][b]The application is quite easy to use and I did not encounter any problems in use. However, I wonder why this application needs location because location does not affect the use of the earphones and it is not possible to use the application without location. I have nothing to be ashamed of but I don't really like it when an application asks me for this kind of thing when it's not useful. After accepting localisation on the first launch, I deactivated it in my phone's settings and the application no longer seems to need localisation[b][b]I will test the quality of the translations in one of the following paragraphs.[b][b]The headset configuration allows you to change the following features:[b] [b]I quite like the idea of being able to associate a function with the touch part of the earphone but in practice the pinch system doesn't react very well, you have to insist several times for it to be triggered. The volume control by swiping, on the other hand, works better.[b][b]
Noise reduction / ANC[b]I've tested many headphones offering active ambient noise cancellation (ANC) and sometimes it works well, sometimes not at all. I was really impressed with the noise cancellation of these headphones, it is by far the most effective I have tested so far. My computer has a fan that generates about 45dB of noise and with the noise cancellation, I just can't hear anything! Ambient noise is also greatly reduced. I find that it is especially the low-pitched sounds that are effectively attenuated by the noise cancellation. It was raining heavily outside when I first tested the headphones and although I could no longer hear my fan, I could still hear the high pitched sound of the rain falling outside but this sound was obviously also reduced.[b][b]
Translations[b]To test the translations, I did two types of tests. A first test using Google Translate and its text to speech feature and then a tv show about Stonehenge in French broadcasted on YouTube[b][b][b]Google Translate[b][b]I used the following basic text in French: "Bonjour, comment allez-vous? Je cherche la route pour l'aéroport, pouvez-vous m'aider?"[b]And I translated it into several languages to see if the Xiado app would understand the speech synthesis and if the translation would be correct.[b][b]Here are the few screens of translations I took from the app testing Norwegian, Chinese, Dutch, German and Italian.[b][b][b]Overall, the microphone captured the essence of the message with some latency at times, losing a few words, but when the volume and speed are right, the translation is quite good. The translator sometimes takes liberties because some parts of the sentence are ignored without changing the nature of the message. It is therefore not a literal translation.[b][b][b]YouTube / Arte[b][b]I used the following show to test the translation: [b][b]I took the first 30 seconds and asked for the translation in Spanish, Dutch and English. I chose these languages because they are languages I understand, so I can check if the translation is correct. Here too I noticed some latency which caused the translation to lose words, especially in Spanish where the loss of context was the greatest. English gave the best result as I have a much more accurate translation and a minimal level of loss. Dutch also gave good results, even if the loss is the most important compared to English. With Spanish, on the other hand, the loss is quite high and the translation is therefore based on the wrong context.[b][b][b][b]This translation feature is really interesting but it will not guarantee a good understanding in all cases and if this understanding is not sufficient, the translation will not be very good. Fortunately, if you are a tourist lost in a foreign country, you will be able to ask your interlocutor to repeat more slowly so that the Xiaodu application can make a correct translation. If you want to translate a movie or a soundtrack, the risk of loss is higher because you can't ask your interlocutor to adapt his speed.[b][b]I should also mention something rather obvious but it is an important element. The Xiaodu application needs to connect to the internet to do the translations, so you need to be able to connect to a mobile or wifi network to get the translations. This may sound obvious but if you are lost in the jungle, this kind of app will be of no use to you.[b][b]
Integration with the ear[b]The earphones fit very well in the crook of the ear, the natural closure of the ear holds them in place so you can shake your head without the risk of dropping them. These headphones are very light, which is also an advantage as more weight would probably have caused them to be ejected more quickly if you moved. So you can go for a jog without the risk of losing the headphones. The only problem I had was with jaw movement, because if I yawned very hard, I felt the earphones come out of the slot slightly. The fit of the headphones in the ear will also depend on the ear I suppose but for mine, these headphones fit quite well.[b][b]
Audio quality[b]I don't have a measuring device to objectively measure audio quality, so my judgement is purely subjective. I use 320 kbps sound clips on YouTube to get an idea of the audio quality. The sound quality is good, the highs are well present as are the lows but I didn't notice any fundamental differences between these headphones and other quality headphones I've tested?[b][b]
Autonomy[b]Currently testing, I need a few weeks of use to form an opinion.[b][b]
Conclusion[b]I mainly use headphones to listen to music when I'm playing sports or when I need to cut through the surrounding noise with something that limits the chances of distraction. So sound quality is important but generally the sound quality of the headphones I test is good, I have never tested a headphone that sounded bad. The sound produced by these headphones is fairly well balanced, the highs and lows are fairly well represented but I don't notice a dramatic difference from other headphones. The noise reduction is where these headphones stand out, they are simply the best headphones I've tested. As soon as you put on the second earphone, the noise reduction is activated and all surrounding noise disappears or is strongly attenuated. It was this feature that motivated me to use these headphones as my main headphones.[b][b]The other special feature of these headphones is the association with the Xiaodu application which allows you to listen to and translate conversations. For the translations to work you need to use your smartphone and you need a connection to fetch the translations. These translations work correctly when your interlocutor speaks calmly and articulates correctly. The tests I have done in many languages have led to interesting results. The translations are not perfect, the translation is not literal, but when the conditions are right (good volume, good articulation, not too fast tempo), the translations are of sufficient quality to understand your interlocutor. However, the translation system is not fast enough to keep up with the pace of a dynamic conversation and, depending on the language used, words may be lost. Instant / simultaneous translation of conversations is still a bit of a science fiction, but these headsets are slowly getting closer.[b][b]Strengths:[b]Noise reduction[b]Sound quality[b]Stability in the ear[b]Ability to translate, record calls and voice notes[b][b]Weaknesses:[b]Latency for translations [b]Pinch controls not always effective[b][b][b]
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