It's only been in the market for a few months and already the Fiil Diva Pro Wireless Headphones is making waves. It is one of the first wireless headphones in the market with build-in storage. At S$359, is it worth the hype (and the price)? After using it for a few weeks, here are my findings.
The headphones sport clean lines, and a beautiful design. I’ve come across many headphones that feel cheap and flimsy, headphones that creak easily under stress - but not the Diva Pro. This one feels like it was made to achieve a much more premium feel, using solid polycarbonates and a metallic frame, weighing in at 215 grams. When I stretched the headphones apart, the headphones felt very durable, with no creaking. Nice! The faceplates on each ear cup is blazoned with Fiil’s logo in silver, and glows when you switch Diva Pro on!
It comes with a hard carrying case (with a carabiner) that will surely do a fantastic job of keeping it safe when you travel. It includes a USB to Micro-USB cable for charging and a 3.5mm cord, should your headphones run out of battery. The cord has an in-line mic, and button controls that you can switch to use for both iOS and Android devices! Unfortunately it does not come with a plane audio adapter.
The Diva Pro features simple gesture controls on the right ear cup, making it easy to skip tracks and adjust the volume with swipes. The controls are easy to use and I never experienced any problems skipping or fast forwarding through my phone’s music. One single button toggles between different noise-cancelling modes, and Play/Pause is handled by the 'Bluetooth' Button.
On paper, Diva Pro will connect to your device wirelessly for up to 100M, while in real life situations, the wireless range is more like 30M at best. At home, the connection’s good with up to 3 concrete walls in between.
Fiil’s version of Active Noise Cancelling is called MAF, short for ‘My AudioFiilter’. It features four different levels of Noise Cancelling, from Full Noise Cancelling to ‘Open Mode’, allowing all ambient sounds through. 'Windy Mode' acts against wind noise specifically. While using it in the train, the noise cancelling really works to bring down the ambient rumble of the MRT, and I could hear my music better without raising the volume.
For better audio quality, Diva Pro uses the Bluetooth 4.1 standard, and supports aptX codec. The Diva Pro also supports playback of Hi-Res formats from DSD to Flac, so audiophiles won’t be disappointed.
Where most headphones rely on a separate device (more often your phone) for music, Diva Pro comes built in with a 4GB storage so that you can listen in to your favourite Hi-Res tunes from the headphones itself. It is a radical idea, but I do feel that 4GB is a little too skinny if audiophiles were to store their favourite Hi-Res files. They often take up more space than regular music files. What I feel is missing from this feature, is that folders or playlists cannot be recognised! Even if you were to store your music in folders, the Fiil+ App will simply present yours songs in a single screen which you have to scroll through!
These are supposed to be in 3 different folders.
Aside from accessing your songs on local storage from the Fiil+ App, you can also call them up using Voice-Search. The Fiil+ App also supports voice control for popular music-streaming services like Spotify.
I felt that the Fiil+ App’s voice search function is a big step back compared to Siri or Google Now. It was troublesome getting the App to understand what I’m saying (In English!) and I had to repeat the song’s name multiple times to get it right. So I just give up and switch to back to using my phone to navigate. Voice search also does not call up songs stored in your phone, instead switching to Spotify. I strongly prefer that Fiil+ supports Siri or Google Now instead!
The Fiil’s battery life is rated at 32 Hours on a single charge, which is not quite so. It really depends on what you’re doing. I was listening to it on multiple sessions of a few hours long, through Bluetooth and Noise-Cancelling, and the Diva pro’s battery life showed 15 hours of music payback time left. (I swear I haven’t used it for 17 hours straight!) It may be possible to attain playback time of 32 hours if features like Noise-Cancelling is switched off. But overall the battery life is pretty awesome. I only wished they had built in an auto-shutdown feature as I kept forgetting to switch it off, and the next day, there wasn't much juice left!
To extend the battery life, motion sensors in the Diva Pro pauses your music when your take your headphones off, and resumes when you put it back on! It’s a nice touch that adds to the user experience!
This is where the Fiil Diva Pro really shines. When I first auditioned it, I found the sound a little too mellow for my liking, with reverbs that sound too exaggerated. I was really surprised that the Fiil+ App has a ‘Burn-In’ feature that puts the headphones through pre-programmed burn-in cycles. Some audiophiles may be skeptical about the concept of ‘Burn-Ins’, but the difference that I felt was real. After just one cycle, the headphones revealed its true capabilities.
Bass from the Diva Pro had a decent kick to it and was able to reach pretty low. Bass drums from Jennifer Warnes’ ‘Way Down Deep’ carried impact and sounded meaty. Vocals shone through in tracks like ‘Baby I’m A Fool’ from Melody Gardot and ‘Gravity from John Mayer, displaying solid mid-range. Listening to the guitars in Laura Fygi’ ‘Dream a Little Dream’, treble that used to sound too mellow now felt brighter, smooth and well controlled. (I do feel that the treble could be more sparkling though)
I had hoped that the sound-stage could be more open like over-the ear cans, but as these are closed-back on-ear headphones, I might be wishing for the impossible. The so-called ‘3D MaxWide Sound’ that Fiil promoted didn’t work as expected. Gradually increasing reverb was added with each 3D mode which made the sound muddy and compromised my enjoyment. After trying it once, I never used that mode again.
I had auditioned headphones with better track separation, quieter background and a more open, accurate soundstage; but those tend to be bulkier and cost a lot more. I found that the Diva Pro manages most types of music pretty well, enough to satisfy casual listeners and audiophiles alike!
It doesn’t really matter how great your headphones sound if they’re painful and uncomfortable to wear! Overall, the Diva Pro felt pretty comfortable, providing adequate clamping force but not so much force that it squeezes. The cushions are plush and felt silky on my ears. The ear cups do not rotate horizontally, but can articulate to fit the shape of your head. I was able to wear it for 4-8 hours stretches with occasional breaks in between, only when it got a little sweaty.
Despite having some features that could be better, the Fiil Diva Pro remains an excellent pair of wireless headphones. After using it for a couple of weeks, I have grown accustomed to its beautiful design, build quality, sound quality and comfort. Its wireless connection is reliable, and the sound quality will not disappoint you! At S$359, it's pretty reasonable since the popular Bose QC35 Noise Cancelling Headphones is S$190 away at S$549.The Fiil Diva Pro is worth a good look if you're looking to ditch the cord!
Available in Black or White and Red.