We were really excited about trying the Here Ones because they are one of the only completely wireless earbuds on the market that not only act as wireless streaming headphones, but are also a hearing system with sound enhancement and noise cancellation.
The Good: The best fitting completely wireless earbuds we’ve tried
The Bad: Only two hours of audio streaming on one earbud charge
The Sound Worthy: You can use them for audio streaming, noise cancellation, and to to be more aware of the sounds around you through speech enhancement.
Being able to pop some smart earbuds into your ears and not have to worry about wires or bulky headphones make these really convenient for many situations. We gave them a try while
- during a workout,
- cleaning the house, and
- in a noisy restaurant
When it comes to hearing loss, these hearables may provide some benefit for people with a very mild hearing loss or those who need help focusing in certain situations.
Because you are limited by the amount of amplification that these provide (up to 6dB), and you are limited by the amount of time you can wear them on one charge (up to 2 hours), they would not be sufficient for someone needing an everyday hearing solution for anything greater than a mild hearing loss.
However, the Here Ones are moving to the top of our list of best hearables because they provide a comfortable fit with top-notch audio streaming, sound enhancement, and noise cancellation abilities in one.
These are the lightest wireless earbuds we have tried, making them really easy to wear for an extended time period. The earbuds have a very sleek style and the case is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse for convenient access to charging.
The Here One earbuds look cool, with no awkward antennas or shapes. They sit nicely within the ear and don’t stick out making you look like Frankenstein.
They currently come in two colors: white and black. (We tested the black, but I can’t wait to get my hands on a white pair!)
Pairing was very easy with the iPhone 6.
Once the Here One app is downloaded, it walks you step by step through the pairing process. Plus, when you register your devices via the app, you will receive an introductory email that helps guide you through the pairing process.
The buds themselves turn on automatically when removed from the case (if charged) so there is no worrying about how to turn them on. They will also automatically sync with each other.
The range of pairing between the buds and the iPhone was sufficient. While wearing them when cleaning the house, I was able to leave my phone in the living room and walk into the bedroom without loosing connection.
In the other situations they were tested in (car, restaurant, gym) there were no problems with the connection.
One thing we did not try was pairing the earbuds to multiple devices at one time. If you have multiple smartphones or tablets that you are switching back and forth between, this would be something to consider and test.
Here is a breakdown of how they worked in the situations we tested them in:
In the car. Being able to stream my audiobook wirelessly in the car (independent of what my husband was listening to on the radio), while also being able to cancel out the road noise using the bus noise filter was a perfect combination.
Plus, when I was driving I was able to use the layered listening feature which allowed me to still listen to my audiobook but also monitor my real-world environment (traffic noise).
At the gym. Getting into the workout zone was easy with Here One by utilizing the audio streaming and noise cancellation features together. Instead of bulky noise cancelling headphones, the Here Ones are a perfect solution to wear at the gym and have access to music without having to hear your own breathing. Plus, the light fit and no wires gave me the ability to move around freely at the gym.
Cleaning the house. Like at the gym, I was able to stream music and cancel out the unwanted vacuum noise using the smart noise filters.
In a restaurant. Using the directional speech enhance (front) filter gave me the ability to focus on the person across the table while removing some of the distracting background noise of the restaurant. The sound of this took some getting used to, as it wasn’t how I normally hear in a restaurant (being able to hear sounds all around me). However, I could see how this would be helpful for someone who needs help focusing in a noisy place.
The earbuds charge directly in the case 3 times before the case needs charging using a USB cable. This makes charging really convenient which is important because the buds only last 2-3 hours on one charge depending on if you’re streaming or using them for real-world sound enhancement.
The app is easy to use, with four main sections:
- volume control,
- audio streaming play,
- noise filters,
- and live mix
A few things I would change on the app would be to have access to other audio sources (i.e. Audible) on the quick play functions of the app. It currently only gives you access to Apple music and Podcasts so when I wanted to play my audiobook I had to leave the Here One app and open the Audible app to play it.
The Live Mix function on the app allows you to adjust the amplification that us occurring at different frequencies, kind of like increasing the treble and bass on your environment, but with more accuracy. There are also additional pre-defined live mix functions such as echo and bass boost. I played around with these but am not sure how they would be of much use in the real world.
The other downside of the app was the Listening Profile function. This is essentially a mini hearing test that you do through the buds. You are asked to move a slider bar on the app when you just barely hear the tone through the earbuds. This gives a good picture of how well you hear certain frequencies and allows the speech enhancement features to be set accordingly, but the slider bar is not very user friendly.
There are very few functions on the earbuds themselves, which is part of the reason they are sleek and easy to use.
To answer calls, access siri, pause music, bypass noise filter, etc. you simply tap the outside of the bud once or twice.
The lack of buttons on switches is really nice, although I did get a little confused on when I was supposed to give a single or double tap for different situations and had to pull out the provided cheat sheet a few times. I assume this function will take practice as your continue to wear them.
When it comes to the fit of the Here One, they are by far the best fitting wireless earbuds we have tried. I didn’t even have to change the eartips, they fit right out of the box. Plus, they were tested on my small ears, which have been difficult to fit properly in the past.
I think having a good fit is really important for the average earbud/hearable wearer because most people don’t know how to properly insert devices in the ear. Making them ready-to-wear and comfortable is a huge factor in consistent use of any hearing device so the fact that we did not have to manipulate or customize the fit in any way means that most people will be satisfied with the fit.
Overall I am really impressed with the Here One earbuds.
With 3-in-1 functionality, including audio streaming, speech enhancement, and noise cancellation, wrapped up in a sleek and well-fitting completely wireless earbud, we believe this is a positive step forward in the hearable market.
A product like Here One has the potential to change the negative stigma of hearing aids and help provide more solutions for those with hearing loss, as well as bring the importance of hearing health to the forefront.