iLive Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Earbuds
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It's not often we find a product that isn't even worth the cost of the cardboard that the product is shipped in, but the iLive Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Earbuds fits that category.
The company is aiming the Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Earbuds (which for brevity, we'll call iLive Earbuds for the rest of the review) at people who may be looking for an affordable set of AirPods Pro. The case and design of the iLive earbuds are similar to Apple's offerings, with white tones and a rectangular case.
Another similarity is the headlining feature of the iLive earbuds: Active Noise Cancellation. ANC is able to block unwanted noise in the background such as loud traffic or heavy machinery.
iLive Earbuds Specifications
The iLive Earbuds include Bluetooth 5.0 with a wireless range of 49 feet, a USB-C port with a charging time of 120 minutes to full battery, and a battery life of five hours at 50% volume with ANC off.
They work with Siri and Google Assistant, and include a built-in voice that announces when certain features are turned on and off, such as Transparency Mode, Active Noise Cancellation, and when the earbuds have connected to a device.
The earbuds also have a sweatproof design, although there is no IP rating on the product page or packaging that would suggest water resistance.
Using iLive Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Earbuds
Each earbud has touch controls on the stem for various functions of the product. For example, users can tap to play or pause music, answer and end phone calls, tap twice to skip tracks, and so forth.
We quickly noticed that the touch controls were very sensitive and erratic. Taking the earbuds out of the case and wearing them would inadvertently start playing or stopping music, often before we wanted this to happen.
Like the AirPods Pro, the iLive earbuds include silicone ear tips in the package that come in different sizes. The tips were easy to remove but a bit tricky to push back on.
The earbuds were reasonably comfortable, feeling thicker than the AirPods Pro. The company says the battery life is around five hours, which was in line with our limited usage — but more on that in a bit.
Problems from the jump
After switching out the tips, the sound stopped playing out of one earbud. The tip-swap probably wasn't the cause since the tips aren't connected to the inner workings in any way. If the audio loss was caused by the swap, that's worse.
Occasionally, this problem has also happened with some AirPods during our usage, but putting them in the case — then taking them back out — fixed it. No such luck with these — sound still hadn't resumed out of both earbuds despite unconnecting and reconnecting them to Bluetooth, or taking them in and out of the case.
Before this happened, occasionally there would be some interruption when sound was playing out of both with Apple Music. Music would briefly switch from one earbud to another as if one earbud temporarily lost a connection.
Sometimes the music would stop entirely, although this may have been due to those sensitive touch controls when adjusting the earbuds.
Transparency Mode worked adequately. Like AirPods Pro, it plays music and other audio while helping the wearer hear background noise. It was hard to tell when Active Noise Cancellation was on, although it may need both earbuds to be functional.
And then we had to stop testing on October 12. They stopped connecting to any device, not appearing in the Bluetooth list on a MacBook Pro or iPhone.
When plugged in, the power indicator light above the charging port on the bottom of the case didn't turn on, so it seems that the earbuds have decided to call it quits. We also tried using a USB-C cable from a different brand during usage, instead of the one provided in the package, and no luck.
We reached out to iLive several over the course of a week, identifying as consumer first, then as reviewer, with all attempts explaining what had happened and asking if there was a solution. The company hasn't yet replied to any message, nine days after the first, and five after we identified ourselves as reviewers.
There is a Help Center section on iLive's website that lists common questions that customers might have, along with answers. A graphic on the page says, "talk to a real person every time," but there isn't a chat button or window available to click on.
There is a drop-down menu at the bottom of the page for support, but it doesn't list any products.
If a reviewer can't get support, warranty or otherwise, than neither can anybody else.
iLive Truly Wireless Earbuds - Pros
- It works with Siri and Google voice assistants
- Good battery life
iLive Truly Wireless Earbuds - Cons
- Audio stopped working correctly
- Sensitive touch controls
- Active Noise Cancellation didn't make a difference
- The earbuds stopped working altogether
iLive Truly Wireless Earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation - Verdict & Price
As a general rule, we start a product at a 3.0 score, and work up and down as the review period proceeds. At no point in our evaluation did the score go above that 3.0, and the 1.5 score we're giving the earbuds assumes that if you have a problem, you can return them to a big-box store where you bought them.
With all of the issues experienced during testing, we don't recommend these earbuds, at all. Even if AirPods are too expensive for the prospective buyer, there are better alternatives than iLive's product — like two tin cans connected with string.
They cost $69.99, far, far too expensive for the experience they provided. Dollar-store wired earbuds are better.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Where to Buy
The iLive Truly Wireless Earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation are sold through iLive's website. But, please don't.