When Bluetooth was standardized over 20 years ago, people envisioned a world where convenience met performance in an earpiece that would seamlessly interact with your device. Online gaming was just kicking off around that time and even then, I remember conversations where people dreamed of wireless headphones, mouse, keyboard that could performed just as good, if not better, than wired counterparts. Fast forward several years and Apple launches their Air Pods, where subsequent competitors would launch their own iterations. Gaming never truly followed suit as the need for studio headphones is still at its peak. I personally use the Galaxy Buds Pro as I am a Samsung Note 10+ user and prefer seamless connectivity. This is the sort of element I look for that seems to still be an issue when utilizing ear buds on other Bluetooth devices – it’s not seamless. Roccat is trying to combat this by crafting their own iteration of ear buds for gamers – a Bluetooth device meant to fill in the gap between seamlessness. It works, for the most part, but that’s only one of the many caveats this device has, as it just barely meets the benchmark of what’s expected for ear buds.
Minimalist Design with Cheap Plastic
I want to start off by saying that I do appreciate the Syn Buds Air – it feels absolutely comfortable when playing long sessions, and the overall look is exceptional. But that’s really as far as it goes because otherwise, the casing for both the buds and the charger is entirely made of really cheap plastic. It makes the overall device much lighter which can benefit long play sessions, but it’s marginal at best. When comparing to my Galaxy Buds Pro – it’s immediately apparent. At $99.99, it should materialistically match the $119.99 Buds Pro, even if the audio doesn’t match it, it should present itself for that price tag. The slit to open the top of the case is somehow difficult to use if you don’t have a centimeter of nail – you basically have to dig in to open. You can just brute force it, but the cheap plastic is very slippery. However, there’s splash resistant for those who decide to use it in the rain, which is always a plus. But, overall, it’s just a barely passable design that’s comfortable.
The Syn Buds Air utilizes a USB Type-C to charge, which is very appreciated for that fast charge time of up to 20hrs of usage. The buds are traditional in design and comes packaged with a couple rubber designs to fit most ears. The overall size of the charging case is similar to the first Air Pods, but a bit bulkier to match those long charge times. Just like every other bud in the market, pairing mode starts when you flip the top – however I’ve had major issues with it as it would often just pair my right ear bud and I would have to reinitialize upon use, every session. It’s a bit annoying. Additionally, you would have to download the Syn Bud Air app from your app store, pair your headset to your phone, then go into the app and apply an update to fix some preluded issues. Took me a few days for the update to work, which was unfortunate. I can say though, upon use before the update, the headphone did sound excellent when it finally paired.
Specs on Specs
Despite all that, the Syn Buds Air sounds absolutely boomy and clear thanks to the 6mm audio driver implemented! It’s without a doubt one of the better performing ear buds in the market – even comparable to the Galaxy Buds Pro – the one up is that the Galaxy Bud Pro has an airgap for sound to pour out to give that sense of concert-vibe, which really helps with the overall sound quality. There’s no such thing in Syn Buds Air, so the sound in it can feel a bit too loud to the point that it’s almost painful. I had to turn down the master volume of all my games for it to sound pleasant. I did find it odd that it doesn’t have any sort of dual audio channel so that I can individually tune my discord chat and the games volume for clarity without distortion. What it would do when I connected to Discord is immediately distorted the game’s sound and lower it entirely and then make the voice chat clear.
One thing you shouldn’t do is use this for multiplayer as the input lag between what’s happening in-game and what you’re hearing is too wide of a gap; Roccat is advertising that Syn Buds Air’s latency is about 60ms response time, and that to me is just not good enough. I mean, the delay for hearing shots, attacks, audio queues with footsteps and directional is just…. too dangerous in a competitive scene. It is highly suggested to use these for games where you’re griding for loot, story or anything else because for those situations, it’s perfect.
REVIEW SCORE 6.5/10
Roccat’s Syn Bud Air is a decent step in the right direction. Even at $99.99, some elements could use some improvements to finalize the reasoning behind the price tag. I personally am enjoying it, and my gripes doesn’t really hinder my experience, but I can’t in good conscious, say that this is the best thing you can get at a budget.