Vissles 2-in-1 Music Pill
Truly wireless headphones are popping up like flowers during spring time, which has many brands trying to get in on the action by breaking down the barrier of entry that is price, like the Altec Lansing Nano Pods which retails for $30 and we looked at shortly after CES. Other brands, like Sony, Bose, and Apple, push along the higher end of the pricing spectrum by offering the least possible compromises compared to traditional headsets, with ANC or digital assistant integration. Vissles pitched us their 2-in-1 Music Pill, which doubles up as both a set of truly wireless in-ears with a charging case and a Bluetooth speaker, making it rather versatile.
Vissles is one of those brands trying to combine lean branding and marketing with availability via Amazon, essentially pursing the same business model as the likes of Anker, for example. Thus, the Bluetooth 5.0-based 2-in-1 Music Pill ships in a basic but functional white cardboard box, which makes for an adequate unboxing experience.
Besides the functional devices within the package, you will also find a generic, but surprisingly sturdy micro-USB cable to charge the case and two additional sets of silicon tips for your ears. A very basic guide shows you the various functions the in-ears provide and some insights on how to trigger the speaker within the carrying case.
The Vissles in-ears are actually surprisingly sturdy. Yes, you may notice that I tend to be somewhat skeptical when it comes to these types of products as they can be hit and miss. The exterior sports a tiny status LED and two smooth, capacitive surfaces that allow for music control and and volume adjustment, with the left unit allowing you to reduce the volume, while the right increases it. There are six contact points on both, but only two are used for charging, while the remaining four of the right bud are utilized to connect to the speaker inside the case. Thus, the four on the left are generally not used.
The case itself is made out of plastic and feels sufficiently solid. There is some faux surface on the solid half of the top cover, while the other half comes with a speaker net. Overall, this does look like a pill, but I just hope they don't attract the wrath of Beats by using that name.
To charge the unit, simply plug the micro-USB cable into any power source. Yes, I absolutely would have loved to see USB-C here instead, especially as units like the Nano Pods from Altec Lansing manage to do so at a no-frills entry-level price. Once you pop the two buds in, you can see them light up to let you know that they are charging via a red LED, and they turn blue once you are connected to your BT device.
The fit is actually quite comfortable for my ears. Sure, the Nano Pods are smaller, but in the end, the shape of the Vissles units feels better in my case. In terms of audio, these actually sound genuinely good. Yes, they will be bested by big brand variants, and you absolutely notice the lack of active noise canceling. However, the bass of the Vissles in-ears is voluptuous and provides nice pressure without distorting or being overly overbearing. The mids go under a little bit, but the highs are more noticeable in return. That said, these are absolutely geared towards being more focused on the lower frequency range.
The Music Pill speaker may be activated by simply dropping the buds into the housing while they are connected to your phone. With the speaker, you can let those in your immediate surroundings partake in the joy of listening to something, but at 3 W, there are naturally limitations in regards to volume. On top of that, the speaker does not manage to offer the same sound quality the in-ears provide by quite the margin. In a pinch, it is nice to have the option, though.
In terms of battery life, they are advertised at 4 hours, which, as is the the case most of the time, is pretty utopian. In reality, you can expect to get around 3 hours out of them before they need to be recharged using the 500mAh battery the Music Pill case itself provides.
The Vissles 2-in-1 Music Pill retails for $65 on their website, which is not particularly cheap considering their USP is the secondary speaker. Also, you should absolutely ignore their "full price" as that is just a marketing ploy and they will never sell for that MSRP. That said, they provide good sound quality and fit, so you could also do worse. Lastly, I do need to mention that, as is the case with many products and small brands like this, you can find their OEM selling unbranded units with a minimum order of 1000 pieces for around US$20 each straight from China, so the markup for being a US-based seller and the proper warranty is also quite high. Thus, the Vissles 2-in-1 Music Pill is quite alright, but should really sell for maybe around $45–$50 at most considering they do perform better than the bargain-bin $30 Nano Pods.