We received a set of in-ear headphones for review, the VAVA MOOV 14 (a clever name). This small headset was made with gaming in mind and has a good price tag if it can live up to the level of quality it’s reaching for. Is this a good addition to your Nintendo Switch experience? Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the set.
The set makes some bold claims about its quality for being a small, in-ear design, offering a 3D surround sound experience. I’m happy to say that it does indeed live up to its claims! When listening to a few songs to test them, the mixing and separation of sound felt very good. Drums and bass lines had a satisfying punch to them without drowning out the melody, and there were instances where it felt like the guitarist was standing right there in the room. This quality of sound transfers nicely to gameplay, and I was able to play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in handheld mode without missing a sound (even Metal Mario’s warbly voice).
This was a boon I wasn’t expecting but that came as part of the in-ear design. Once the headphones are in place, everything else sounds like it would if you cover your ears. When the game sound or music starts on top of that, the sounds of the outside world will pretty much be gone.
I tested the set while playing at two crowded restaurants. In one case, I didn’t realize there was a child yelling at the table next to mine until I took them out. In the other, I was easily able to drown out a rowdy group of young adults cheering at whichever sports game they were watching (there were at least 7 on so I have no idea).
In-ear design is not for everyone. These aren’t like earbuds that come with a phone that rest in the crook of your ear—these are going slightly into the ear canal like you might do with a cotton swab. If you don’t insert them as far as they need to be, you won’t get proper noise cancelation or sound quality. In my case I even noticed them slipping out until I got them adjusted properly.
The set comes with interchangeable silicone tips of varying sizes so each user can pick the set that is most comfortable for them. My ears are particularly waxy and I was worried that they would look disgusting after use, but I was happy to see that they were good at avoiding gathering wax (in some cases none to speak of at all). The tips will still need to be cleaned or wiped down from time to time and didn’t come with anything for this task, so you’ll want to plan ahead on how to handle this.
Worth noting, these are basically the standard issues of in-ear headphones as a whole. If you’re already used to this design and have experienced these issues, there won’t be any new surprises that you haven’t already dealt with.
The set comes with a nice zipper case which stores the headphones and has a pouch for the extra silicone tips (and I like that the VAVA logo is clever enough that it looks the same when upside down). The headphones came wrapped with a twist-tie to keep them from unraveling, and I recommend resisting any instinct you have to throw it away—it makes putting the headset away nice and easy.
Look at this. Does this not look like an amazing match? The zipper case will fit in your pocket and is small enough to fit in any bag you might be carrying your Switch in already. Depending on the case, you may even be able to fit it into a Switch carrying case that wasn’t made with it in mind. Wherever you plan to take your Switch, this headset can go with you.
Other Design Considerations
The earplugs themselves are an aluminum alloy, and touching them for the first time instantly gave me a feeling of solid, professional construction I did not expect. The set does not have L/R markings for which side is right or left, but one side does have a microphone and a multi-purpose button (which I assume to be the right). The multi-purpose button works with any device which supports controls from headphones, though the Switch does not currently have functionality for this.
The microphone is nice and clear in its quality. I don’t expect it would replace a professional microphone for the purpose of recording, but for making phone calls or in-game voice calls it’s perfectly passable (and I think it has some noise canceling capabilities of its own, but that might just be my computer). One oddity I do notice is the in-ear design again. When I speak into the microphone while wearing the headset, my voice sounds muffled to me. It sounds clear to the person I’m talking to, but I can’t hear myself as clearly as normal. Whether this is a non-issue or a point of concern is up to each individual user, and that depends on whether you plan to use the microphone to begin with.
The VAVA MOOV 14 accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It delivers high quality sound and offers a microphone for online gaming in a portable package for a very reasonable price tag. The question of whether or not the product is right for you is a matter of preference.
Are you comfortable with in-ear headphones? Have you been using some phone’s standard issue earbuds with your Switch? Are you looking for a more portable option than a heavy duty headset you already have? These are good reasons to grab a pair of these.
However if the in-ear design is something you just aren’t comfortable with and portability or price aren’t major concerns of yours, you might be more satisfied with a typical over-ear design. And if you’ve never tried an in-ear design before and are curious, the sound quality you will get won’t let you down (whether you keep them or trade them off to a friend), and the price tag won’t sting very much if it turns out this style isn’t for you, making it a good first set to experiment with.