Fiil makes a lot of bold claims about its Diva headphones: they're the first to have 3D audio, voice search and noise cancelling all in the one package.
The feature list and styling are certainly attractive, but do these headphones make for a product that's nice to listen to on a daily basis?
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Fiil Diva review: Design
There's a lot to like about the Fiil Diva's industrial design. From whichever angle you, this pair of headphones look modern and minimalist.
The clean, uninterrupted glossy white covering on the headband is clean and stylish, and matched by the covering on the outside of the earcups. These earcups are the only place you'll find the company's brand name stamped.
While the logo may look like a perfectly ordinary, but stylish, brand stamped in silver on to the plastic, they're hiding a fun feature: they light up. And not in a hideous, tacky bright colour either - but an understated white light (which pulses when trying to connect to a device).
The underside of the Fiil headband is well padded and covered in a soft leather-like material which sits comfortably on the head. This soft padding is matched - even bettered - by the thick ring of padding around both of the earcups.
To stow them away, the Diva come with a hard case, and the cups have a folding hinge in their adjustable arms to completely collapse them in to the headband.
Vitally, the adjusting arms are made from a sturdy metal and slide smoothly in and out of the headband to ensure a perfect fit. In testing, when adjusted correctly, the earphones fit comfortably without being too snug. Although they sometimes feel like they would slip off, they never did during our testing.
Fiil Diva review: Features
First off on the features list: the Fiil headphones are Bluetooth wireless. So no having to worry about whether there is or isn't a 3.5mm headphone jack in your phone. However, it does still ship with a regular 3.5mm jack cable, just in case you run out of battery power.
Once connected wirelessly, you'll be prompted to download the Fiil app which you can use to manually adjust the EQ, check the battery life, as well as adjust the level of active noise-cancelling and ambience pass-through.
There's also a 3D sound effect feature which essentially boosts reverb to make the sound feel like it's in a more open space than just in a pair of cans glued to your eardrums.
Perhaps one of the most useful features is the built-in motion sensor. This automatically pauses the music you're listening to when you remove the headphones and place them around your neck. In our testing over a few days, only once did the music continue playing after the headphones were moved. Our testing included repeated removal, deliberately testing this function. To have it only fail to pause once was pretty impressive.
Like a number of other headphones out there, the Fiil Diva has an embedded touch-sensitive panel which responds to single-digit gestures. Swipe up or down on the right outer earcup to turn the volume up or down, swipe forwards or backwards to skip to the next or previous track, or simply tap on the side to play and pause. For the most part it works well enough, although there was more than one occasion when we brushed too lightly on the surface and it didn't pick up the gesture at all.
Touch-sensitivity isn't your only choice for controls. Around the rim of the right cup is a selection of ports. There's a multifunction button used to switch the earphones on, put them in pairing mode, check the battery level or activate Siri (or voice commands) on your device.
Next to it is a small pill-shaped button which slides up and down to adjust the amount of background noise the earphones let through while listening.
Longevity from the built-in battery is respectable too. After multiple sessions listening to music, at least two to three hours in total, there was still 80 percent left of the charge, with the app indicating that the Fiil would last at least another 15-more hours of media playback before depleting.
The app also gives you the option to switch voice prompts on or off, but our pre-release unit only had voice prompts in Chinese. That's something that needs fixing for final release.
As wireless connections go, it's hard not to over-laud the wireless connection reliability in the Diva. We could walk two rooms away from our phone and still have the music playing consistently. That means if your phone is in your pocket or bag, you shouldn't find the audio cutting out at all.
Fiil Diva review: Upgrade to Pro?
As well as the Diva headphones on review here, there's also the Diva Pro which has a few features not found in the standard model.
If you're willing to stump up a little more cash (and extra $100 US Dollars to be exact, so £77), you get 4GB dedicated storage to save your favourite songs for offline and untethered listening. You also get better 3D audio and voice control.
Fiil Diva review: Sound
Considering at one point you could reserve the Diva from the Kickstarter project for as little as $129 (£99), the sound quality from these headphones is superb. Even at their suggested retail price of $199 (£155), they are good value for money.
Sound is full, and the Hi-Res Audio quality ensures that the little details in your tracks are retained and easy to hear. However, even with the EQ at the "normal" preset, bass has a tendency to be very prominent - but not completely dominant.
Even with the bass-heaviness, the audio quality is great enough that you still get to hear those subtleties you might miss from most headphones. The bongos being tapped lightly alongside thedrum kit that would normally overpower it, or just the full sound of the bass drum skin being hit by the pedal, rather than just hearing the beat. That, or being able to tell the difference between the guitar string being plucked by a heavy pick, or thin pick, or hearing the subtle tonguing of reed from the saxophone player.
We would like it if there was a more customisable EQ though. In the current version of the app, there are three presets - bass, original and treble - and that's your lot. That does disappoint if you're used to controlling a nine band EQ in minute detail.
The app also allows you change the levels of noise-cancellation and ambient awareness. In our experience, although there are better headphones out there for noise-cancellation, the Fiil do a really good job considering their price.
You can set the ambient passthrough to NC (noise-cancellation), Monitor or Open.
With Open activated you're completely aware of your surroundings, although still able to immerse yourself in the music. External sound stills comes through, and is relatively clear, albeit muted.
Switch to Monitor mod and it allows slightly less ambient sound through. NC mode, of course, almost completely kills off any exterior noise - although louder or high-pitched sounds are still audible.
It's not often you come across a pair of sub-£160 earphones that impress. There are normally too many compromises, either with design or sound quality. Not so with the Fiil Diva. These cans may not offer all the qualities of a £400 pair, but they certainly punch way above their weight.
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