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Review

Fiil Diva good quality wireless headphones for your smartphone - if a little pricey

By Adam Swimmer, Postmedia Network

(Supplied)

(Supplied)

Entertainment Review

Fiil Diva headphones

US$149 through Kickstarter campaign

3.5 stars

I've spent a lot of time in music and electronics stores trying to find a good pair of earphones for my phone. I usually stay away from Bluetooth headsets because they tend to have terrible sound quality for music. And I also stay away from headphones because they're bulky and wearing the headband makes me feel a little claustrophobic.

So I was a little tentative when I received the Fiil Diva headphones for review. But the Beijing-based Fiil Technology has made an impressive pair of active noise-cancelling headphones. You can either connect them to your phone with the included male-to-male headphone cord or pair it via Bluetooth to listen to your music wirelessly. There's a companion smartphone app that tracks the headphones' battery power and lets you configure its settings.

A Kickstarter campaign, which has more than tripled its US$50,000 goal, offers two models: the Fiil Diva (available when you pledge $149 or more) and the Fiil Diva Pro ($219), which includes voice controls and 4 GB of storage (space for roughly 1,000 songs) so you can use it without needing a phone.

For testing, I was given a prototype of the Fiil Diva so I was not able to try out those two features. It came straight from a Beijing factory so a woman's voice would sternly tell me things in Chinese when I did things it didn't like, such as turning the volume up too high.

While the price may seem a little steep, these are premium headphones. While not quite studio quality, the Fiil Diva provides rich, clean high-resolution sound making it great for listening to music.

And the foldable 17.78 cm-by-15.24 cm headset is relatively comfortable to wear. It's lightweight - only 213 g - and the padding on the nylon headband isn't too constrictive. And while the fit is snug, the silk-protein leather ear pads with memory foam don't feel too obtrusive either -- though they can make the ears a little warm after awhile.

The pads do a great job of blocking out the surroundings on their own but the Fiil+ app allows you to suppress the nearby sounds by turning on active noise-cancelling. There's also a setting to cut down on the noise created by wind friction if you're, say, riding your bike.

(Alternatively, you can set the headphones to monitor or enhance the environment in case you want to still be aware of what's going on around you.)

The headphones are controlled by a single button on the cover of the headset. You slide your finger up and down to control the volume and horizontally to switch tracks. These controls only work when the Fiil Diva is paired with the phone via Bluetooth and it sometimes takes a few tries to get the headphones to acknowledge the action. But don't press it too much or that digital Chinese lady will get mad at you.

I also occasionally noticed the song skipping a beat when walking down the street with my phone in my pocket. But that could be as much an issue with the Bluetooth chip on my own phone as with the one on the headphones.

Using the Fiil Diva as a Bluetooth headset to answer phone calls worked much better than I expected. I assumed I'd be able to hear the person on the other end fine but the headphones actually has a better microphone than some cellphones. Although it has a slight speakerphone quality with its echoey background, it broadcasts the voice at a good volume and it's reasonably clear.

All in all, the Fiil Diva is a solid pair of headphones for the true connoisseur or tech nut who's willing to shell out some extra dough.