Libratone Q Adapt USB-C Earphones Review
If you bought a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2XL recently, you were probably in shock when your phone didn't come with earphones. And then, to rub salt in the wound, the only USB-C earphones in the Google store cost $149 (they're on sale until June 15).
Well, we balked at the price too, but after spending several days with the Libratone Q Adapt, we were swept off our feet. We highly recommend these earphones for many reasons.
The design shows a high level of thoughtfulness. A separate slim microphone is placed at chin level and a control panel sits lower and centered (someone's finally thinking of you, lefties!). The panel separates the cable design into a workout-friendly cable above the panel and a luxuriously durable braided cable below it.
We also love the noise cancellation and isolation features, audio quality, and the included set of eartips to make sure they fit you perfectly.
These earphones worked in everything from a Pixel 2 to a new Macbook and even a Galaxy S9. If they don't immediately work, you may need to access the software settings of that device. For example, you'll need to manually select the audio output in Macbooks' sound preferences, and on the OnePlus 5T, you'll need to turn on OTG storage in Advanced Settings.
Thankfully, the control panel has a small LED light that turns on when you're good to go.
How Do They Sound?
First of all, these are some comfy earphones. Even with the right eartip size, you're generally just jamming in-ears into your ear canal. The angled back of the Q Adapts anchors the earphones in a way that they create a seal while feeling like the inobtrusive earbuds of yesteryear. It took a few days to get used to the design, but as someone who doesn't love noise isolating in-ears, my conversion was pretty quick.
The noise isolation and cancellation on these earphones is fantastic, in no small part due to the CityMix™ feature. I could allow some outside noise to filter in one the lower two levels (passthrough and passive) or zone out on the upper two levels (50 and 100% noise cancellation).
The earphones beep when you press the dedicated CityMix button and double beeps when you reach the highest level. The highest level of noise cancellation was so effective on trains and buses that it was disorienting to turn it back down once I was on the street.
If you need a visual for CityMix, you can use the Libratone app and adjust the levels there. In the settings, you can also change the sound profile (the default is neutral) to favor bass or treble, but the three settings are pretty basic in their equalization.
The default setting suited music and podcasts well, and I definitely appreciated the bass setting on trap and funk tracks. The treble setting combined with the noise isolation made listening to podcasts on the go a much clearer listening experience than with cheaper in-ear headphones.
On both ends, the in-call audio exceeded already high expectations. I did notice that a few calls dropped on non-Pixel phones, tested across a few days and locations, but I'm hesitant to make a direct correlation.
What Could Be Better
These are pretty expensive. In-ear headphones are often considered to be a cheaper, more portable alternative to high quality on-ear/over-ear headphones, but these sit in a similar price range to the latter. If you want great sound in a small package, we think these earphones are worth the price tag.
Warranty & Customer Support
Libratone offers a 30-day trial period during which you can return them for a full refund. Should you decide to keep them afterwards, they are covered by a one-year warranty.