Belkin SoundForm Move Plus REVIEW
Can a pair of earbuds that retail for less than $100 be any good? PAT PILCHER fires up Belkin’s nicely priced Move Plus.
If you’re a red-blooded gadget addict, the chances are good that you’ll probably already own something from Belkin. Be it HDMI cables, chargers, screen protectors, smartphone cases or even a router, Belkin has a vast portfolio of gear aimed at anyone with a gadget fetish. Not one to stay idle, Belkin has also launched their SoundForm range of ear-gear. I got my sweaty hands on their affordable SoundForm Move Plus buds, which are priced at a wallet or purse pleasing $89.95. They’re designed to be budget-friendly without sounding like your nan’s transistor radio.
Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support Witchdoctor.co.nz. and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.
My first impressions while unboxing were positive. The Move Plus buds come with a USB-C and wireless capable charging case that gives them a 24-hour battery life (19 hours from the charging case and five hours use from the buds). Because it’s wireless, their case can conveniently be plunked on a charging pad to juice up. For faster charging, USB-C is supported too. Belkin has given the Move Plus charging case a conical, rounded, almost organic shape that makes slipping it into one’s pocket or purse effortless. The folks at Belkin also added a handy strip of 6 LEDs on the case so you can tell just how much charge the case holds at a glance.
The earbuds are not petite, but they’re not so huge that they’re uncomfortable to wear for prolonged use. One upside to their slightly bulky design is that once you’ve bunged them into your noggin, they’re not going anywhere. Another is that they’re black. This might not sound like such a big deal, but in practice, it means that unlike a white pair of buds (from a certain fruity phone company), they don’t end up looking grotty after a few months of use. If you’re a gym bunny or like to run in the rain, the news with the Move Plus buds is all good. They’re IPX 5 rated. In real-world terms, this means they can handle the odd splash or the sweaty insides of your ear canal and keep on delivering sonic sweetness into your melon.
I took the Move Plus bud’s for walkies in Wellington’s CBD to test their performance in a crowded RF environment. While they didn’t drop out or stutter at the usual spots where most wireless earbuds struggle, I did experience two intermittent dropouts on the way into the city. Odd, but there you go.
The Move Plus buds are also notable for what isn’t included. While they are priced at an affordable $89.95, their sticker price also means they come without active noise cancellation. For everyday use that isn’t a biggie, and their snug fit means that there’s lots of passive noise isolation on offer. In use with music playing, the lack of ANC wasn’t hugely noticeable. That said, if I was travelling on a plane, I’d find the lack of ANC an annoyance. The other absence is the lack of an audio app for equalisation should you want to tweak sound levels.
They might be the most affordable model in Belkin’s SoundForm earbud line-up, but their audio output was surprisingly good, even if an equaliser would have helped soften mid to upper treble, which was a tad bright at higher volume levels. That said, there was oodles of bass on offer, and mids were both plentiful and clear. Firing up Air’s ‘The Dualist’, I was also impressed by the Move Plus’s expansive soundstage blasting into my cranium.
While you can technically buy cheaper wireless buds, you’d be doing yourself a disservice. The Move Plus buds offer surprisingly good bang for buck value. Wireless charging, solid battery life and surprisingly good audio make the Move Plus a complete no-brainer compared to the many other kamakuza-no-brand earbud clones available at this price point.