Tech is getting smarter. With the rise of digital assistant like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, we’ll soon be able to control many aspects of your digital lives with our voice. A while ago, we reviewed the OnVocal OV headset, which has Alexa built in, with mixed results. Now, the company is back with a refined version — the OV Pro.
The headset takes the same overall form-factor and concept as the original, but tweaks it a little in an attempt to offer a smooth experience. Does it succeed? We put the OV Pro headset to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the OV Pro headset is its design, and like the previous-generation OnVocal OV, the headset has a neckband design, but unlike the previous device, the headset is a little slimmer, a little sleeker, and just generally looks better. The new headset also does away with the microphone arm — which helps make the headset look a lot more like a consumer device.
The earbuds themselves also seem to be a little more compact, which is good news — it means that they should be even more comfortable than they already were, plus should be able to stay firmly in your ears without any issues.
On the inside of the left arm of the headset, you’ll get a small button to control certain functions, while on the right arm you’ll get pretty much everything else. There’s a power button, along with volume controls and a USB-C port under the arm. We’re glad OnVocal switched to USB-C here.
Setting up the app requires downloading the OV app, and we were very confused about the app. OnVocal seems to think that people are going to want to message others through the yet another third-party app — which simply isn’t going to happen. There is an advantage to using the app, which is that you can then use your voice to message and call people — but the fact is that you can also simply use the headset to activate Google Assistant or Siri, depending on your phone, to do the same thing. We recommend not giving the app permissions to view contacts and call logs, and only using it to set up Alexa.
In the box, apart from the headset itself, you’ll get a USB to USB-C charging cable, a 3.5mm to USB-C cable, and an extra two pairs of ear tips. It’s a decent selection of accessories.
As mentioned, the OV Pro headset is a little sleeker and slimmer than the original OnVocal OV headset, and that includes with the earbuds themselves. In general, we found that the headset fits nicely around the neck, and the earbuds are pretty small and comfortable in the ears — which is always helpful.
Of course, we do recommend experimenting with the different ear tips that come in the box — as you might find that one pair fits a lot better than the others.
Perhaps more important than any of the smart features on offer by the OV Pro headset is how it sounds — and it doesn’t sound all that great.
The bass on the headset isn’t bad. Bass is generally punchy and present, though it would have been nice if the bass extended a little deeper than it does. Part of the issue with the bass is that it’s a little overshadowed by the high mids, which are more piercing and loud.
As mentioned, the mids are slightly strangely tuned. There is some warmth and body to the low mids, however the high mids have been boosted a little too much. The result is that while vocals and guitars shine through a mix, other frequency ranges are a little pushed back.
This is especially true of the highs. The high end seems to be decently detailed, but again, it’s overshadowed by the higher mids. A little more extension on the highs would have also been nice — and would have added a little more clarity.
The headphones connect to your listening device through an unspecified version of Bluetooth, and as such you should get up to 10 meters, or 33 feet, of range. We found that the headphones never really skipped or jump except at unreasonable distances or through a lot of obstacles.
Battery life on the headset isn’t bad. It comes in at 14 hours which is decent, though not amazing.
Setting up the headset requires the use of the “OV Loop” app, and it’s hugely disappointing to have to use it. The point of the app is to allow hands-free messaging and calling, which still requires Google Assistant or Siri, depending on your phone. We were very disappointed that OV hasn’t released an app that simply allows users to sign in to Alexa — especially given the privacy concerns in today’s day and age. In fact, we would go so far as to argue that the fact that you have to use the app at all is a dealbreaker. OV Chat simply isn’t going to become the next big chat app — and we think users should be concerned about handing over chat and phone data to a company with little track record. If you do set up the app, we recommend ensuring that it does not have access to things like contacts, photos, and so on.
If you do get the headset and opt to use the app, you will get to take advantage of Alexa. Using Alexa on the headset is like using Alexa on anything else. You can use it to control your smart home devices and play content. You do need to change the wake words that you use a little (OV Alexa instead of simply Alexa), which is a little annoying, but you’ll get used to it.
Ultimately, the headset is smart, but we’re frustrated by OV pushing its services down the user’s throat. In all likelihood, you’ll probably download the app and create an account just for the sake of setting up Alexa.
So do we recommend the OV Pro headset? Well, no. The design on the headset is fine, and it’s relatively comfortable, but the sound isn’t great and you can only use the smart features if you’re willing to sign up to the annoying OV Loop app. We wish OV would focus on making a great pair of headphones, and not trying to shove extra features and services into the face of its users.
But what if you want a great Alexa-enabled pair of headphones. If that’s you, then it’s worth simply waiting a few months for more options to be on the marker — or looking into options from companies like 66Audio.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation||Yes|
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver type||Dynamic||On-ear controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Battery life||14 Hours|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth||Cable length||N/A|
|Wired connection||No||Case type||N/A|