Yes, Apple has ditched the headphone socket, as has some currently China-only Android phones. This could be the future of smart devices but, unless you’re prepared to dongle-up, getting the best out of your portable audio is going to rely even more heavily on their tech.
Battery life, control and wireless audio quality are things that are peculiar to Bluetooth headphones.
There is also the issue of getting all of that in to a set that looks good and doesn’t weigh heavily on your noggin.
Has the FIIL Diva managed all, or even some of that?
FIIL Diva design
The headphones certainly have a premium air about them, and that starts with the packaging.
A classy white box is wrapped in a similarly white, sleeve that only features what it has to.
The name is also on each side of the Diva which glows a soft white when the device is on.
The set I was sent to review, as you can see, are white. It’s a really clean, nice white too. The grey vents on the earpieces are grey and are sandwiched between a textured aluminium section that holds the controls, mics and hinges and a chromed ring around the earpads.
The ear cups and headband are lined with soft leather. This continues the premium look and feel of these cans. Not only that but, unlike pleather, these don’t give you sweaty lobes.
There’s a little toggle switch next to it that controls the special ‘My AudioFiilter’ mode. This can allow more of your environment in so you know what’s going on around you.
You also get a 3.5mm jack port so you can use the Diva as wired headphones.
But there’s something else. Some more controls, but you can’t see them. The right ear cup has touch controls.
FIIL Diva performance
Let’s talk about those touch controls I mentioned.
This rather neat sounding idea allows you to control music playback via a series of finger swipes on the right ear cup.
This takes quite a bit of practice and I felt that my swipes worked best when I started right at the edge and go right the way across for it to register.
Later on, I could more-or-less manage shorter swipes so I guess my accuracy was improving.
To unlock even more, you can and should download the FIIL+ app for iOS or Android.
Burn and battery
The FIIL, however, are the first ones that I have seen that has a ‘burn in’ function.
This plays pink noise at various volume levels for 8 hours to imitate use. The characteristics of headphones, as well as other items of Hi-Fi gear, change as they get used. The burn in process speeds this up.
The Diva’s battery is excellent. When fully charged the app shows over 30 hours of music playback. Once I had got half way through the week, the headphones still showed more than a third of its charge was left.
3D sound and MAF
This natty, but mostly pointless in my point of view, feature simulates the experience of listening to music in different-sized rooms. This adds a bit of reverb basically.
These are most useful, especially as NC is Noise Cancelling.
The Windy mode filters out wind noise and this also works quite well.
FIIL Diva sound quality
Standard music playback is bright and crisp, and I found myself noticing details I often miss on other headsets. The reproduction seemed quite level, perhaps with the mids pushed a little forward.
I eventually ignored those odd modes completely and stuck with the standard settings.
As usual, I have put a variety of music through these. Everything has come through well defined, clear and punchy.
Bass is there, and it is taught and direct. The mids a clear with vocals cutting through nicely. The highs come through crisp without any shimmer or harshness.
FIIL Diva convenience
As previously mentioned, the Diva fold up at both ends to either slip in to a bag or in to its travel case. The hinges seem to be very sturdy too!
This is not the extent of its handiness though.
“But, motion sensing?” I hear you ask.
Well, you see, when you take the headphones off, the music pauses. Guess what, when you put them back on the music resumes. This also works when you’re watching videos on your tablet or phone.
I really like this idea. Walk in to a coffee shop and slip your headphones around your neck to chat with the Barista, without missing any of your music. Brilliant!
I found that this worked really well.
FIIL Diva review conclusion
Everything about these headphones both look and feel quality. I love the design, and the little additional bits such as the app and the motion sensing are the icing on the cake.
Sound quality is great and not the usual ‘urban’ bass heaviness or ‘tuned to be exciting’ you usually get.
The only slight drawback is that all the voice notifications are in Chinese. True, I am slowly learning what Bluetooth connected or disconnected sounds like but this hasn’t prevented me from enjoying the headphones.
FIIL Diva price and availability
The FIIL Diva is available through Kickstarter currently at $149 (£114-ish) which is 25% of their retail price. The campaign is looking really good as it stands at $131,843 of their pledged $50.000 goal.
FIIL also has a Pro version which boasts 4GB of on-board storage, “Hi-Fi quality sound”, and more. Those are available for a $199 pledge.