Some years ago, when Apple debuted its AirPods, true wireless earbuds were a novelty. Many questioned if they were safe to be worn on jogs or while working out, and most were concerned about battery life. Cut to now, and if the number of such devices available in the market is anything to go by, those concerns seem a distant past.
While many of these earbuds seem to be Apple clones, some are markedly different. One such device is the Wings Powerpods, from the Nagpur-based Brandscale Technologies. The first thing you notice is a shiny display on the matte-black case. I lifted the shiny lid and was greeted by two turquoise orbs—okay not quite that but two turquoise rings on the pods—straight out of Tron, the movie.
The Powerpods connected to the Apple Macbook Pro without a hitch and soon I was binge-watching The Mandalorian on Disney+ Hotstar. Thanks to its pebble shape, it wasn’t comfortable to wear, till I was able to find the right tip which fitted my ear. Once that was done, and I pushed the buds in tight, they felt secure. On the flip side, I couldn’t hear much ambient noise—which is a necessity if you’re jogging outdoors.
It’s safe to say that I could watch a little more than four episodes before they ran out of juice. In any case, I had to stop binge-watching that night because the eerie glow from the buds was disturbing my wife’s sleep. Unfortunately, there is no way to switch off the lights.
The next morning, I paired it with the OnePlus 5 before stepping out to buy some provisions. When I received a call while outside, I needed to turn up the volume, thanks to the poor network. And while doing so, I inadvertently turned the buds off. This happened on a few times, making me wonder if it was a better option to control the volume on the phone.
Next, I paired it with the iPhone and listened to a wide variety of songs on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. While the bass is punchy, I have heard better stuff. To its credit, the highs were reproduced very well and there was no clarity lost even at high volumes. That said, the mids were underwhelming, and made me run back to the AirPods. But the sound on the Powerpods has a warmth that is pleasant, and I found it so across devices—even when I listened to tracks from JioSaavn, Hungama, Gaana, and Google Play Music on the OnePlus 5. I was also able to summon Siri and Google Assistant using the buds but had to shout a bit to make the smart assistant hear me.
The display is a nifty feature; not only does it show how much charge is left in the case, but also whether it is being charged, or charging the Powerpods or an external device. Yes, the case bundles in a battery bank with a 2,500 mAh battery. And that can come in handy if your phone’s running out of juice. The company claims that the case can charge the Powerpods 10 times; I did not count, but while using the buds principally to binge-watch and listen to music, I had to charge the case once every five days.
During the time I used the Powerpods, I felt the need for a lot more control. It would have been nice to have a companion app to change equaliser settings, set up profiles, and of course to turn off the lights. The price mentioned on the case is an eye-watering ₹9,499, but it is available for ₹4,499. At that price, it has a lot going for it, especially the display, if you want it for general use. Just add a companion app.