FIIL Carat: Kickstarter Success Story?

I’ve reviewed in-ear headphones before, but this was my first time reviewing a pair or wireless in-ear headphones. It’s great to freely move around wherever you’re going, so running with these headphones is just great. How does everything stack up? Should you be running to the stores to get the FIIL Carat headphones, or are there better options out there you should be checking out? Be sure to read on to find your answer…

OnePlus and FIIL provided me with the FIIL Carat headphones for this review. Though this doesn’t mean they had any input on the editorial output of this review.

Specifications-Header-FIIL

– Bluetooth 4.2
– Supported codecs: AptX/SBC/AAC
– Rechargeable Li-on battery (input 0,5A)
– IPX65 Rating

Build-quality-Header-FIIL

When I took the headphones out of its amazing looking box, I immediately felt that I wouldn’t have any issues with the build quality. While the headphone is fully made of plastic, it’s plastic done right. It looks and feels like it could last forever. However, there’s a definite downside to all the plastic, it’s not a matte kind of plastic. Instead it’s the shiny plastic, that also loves to scratch when it’s laying around. I haven’t noticed any big scratches yet, but there are definitely a few smaller scratches on the headphones.

FIIL-Carat-Review-1

The wire between the headphones is made of a nice and sturdy feeling rubber. There’s no way that you’ll be able to really damage the cable, unless you’re just grabbing your knife to demolish it. One last thing I need to mention is the button on the headphone on the right, it feels really mushy. It’s not a really big issue, but it doesn’t give me the feeling it’s there to last you a lifetime.

Design-Header-FIIL

It’s really difficult to really speak about the design, as some may hate it while others love it. Just like I mentioned in the build quality part, these headphones are made of a shiny plastic. While it may look good without you ever touching it, once you touch it the fingerprint madness will start. I mean, I wouldn’t mind seeing shiny plastic on a cheaper pair of headphones, and to be more exact, up to $30. But this one is yours for about $99…

FIIL-Carat-Review-2

“Ignoring” that part, together with the red accents sticking right out of them it does make for a special looking pair of headphones. All in all, it makes for a good-looking pair of headphones of which you shouldn’t be worried about wearing them.

Sound-quality-Header-FIIL

I’m in no way an audiophile, so if that’s what you expected, I’m sorry to disappoint you. In the past about 1,5 weeks I’ve been listening to all kinds of music. This list of music is preset for all my audio reviews to set make sure I can consistently judge the headphones on their sound quality. This list also includes music genres which I normally wouldn’t be listening to. The headphones were connected to the OnePlus 3 and 3T during the review period. Furthermore, the EQ in the FIIL+ app was set to original and the 3D sound setting was off during the entire review period.

So, after hours of listening to music I can say that the sound signature is more than what I expected from the start on out. It feels really balanced and if I’m switching between this and some of my cheaper headphones I don’t need to even carefully listen to hear the difference. No, it won’t wow you as an audiophile. But if you’re looking in the $99 range as an audiophile I’m getting a tad bit worried…

Functionality-Header-FIIL

The sound quality is for me the most important thing about headphones in general, but if the functionality of the device sucks then I’m gone rather soon. And I need to complement FIIL on their job with the FIIL Carat’s, from their app to the easy handling of the buttons. They’ve done a fantastic job on that.

The first time I booted up the Carat’s I decided to immediately install the FIIL+ app from the Google Play store, and a few minutes later I was fully up and running. One of the options the app gives is the option to check your serial number, and do software updates OTA on your Carat’s. The latter is one that I hadn’t seen or heard about before. The app also gives you an EQ, 3D sound option and an option to “burn in” your headphones; Whether you believe this really works is up to you.

FIIL-Carat-Review-3

FIIL markets the Carat headphones as IPX65 certified headphones, meaning that they should be water-resistant up to 1M for up to 30M. And while I believe this is true, I’ve just once had it on while under the shower and it was perfectly fine. Why would you ever keep them under water with a consistent pressure for more than a few minutes.

At last I need to talk about the battery life, and it’s just bad to say the least. Listening music for 4 hours before charging it again was what I got every day. And this makes me less than happy, especially when FIIL notes that you should be able to get 9hrs of listening time with these headphones (do note that I’m not even constantly listening to music in those 4hrs).

Conclusion-Header-FIIL

I really didn’t know what to expect at first, but after 1.5 week of regularly using the headphones I can say that I’m more than happy with the outcome of my testing. And for $99 you’re getting a good-looking, IPX65 certified, and a good sounding pair of headphones.

FIIL-Carat-Review-4

There are two downsides though, and those are the shiny plastic that is scratching quite easily and is attracting fingerprints like no other material could. And the battery is far from lasting as long as I had expected.

FIIL Carat in-ear headphones

$99
6.4

Build quality

7.8/10

Design

8.5/10

Audio quality

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Value


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0.0/10

Pros

  • Looks
  • Feels durable
  • Sound quality

Cons

  • Mushy button
  • Pricing

About Jeffrey van de Velde

Just another Android lover here, although its only a small part of my life, I love it when I am with friends and family. Enjoy life!!

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