At CES 2021, HP has launched something rather unexpected: The company’s first attempt at a pair of wireless earbuds. The Elite Earbuds, though, aren’t just another attempt at aping the success of the AirPods. Rather, HP sees them as part of the ecosystem of the commercial PC, a space it knows quite well.
“With the rapid increase in video calls and audio conferencing, wireless earbuds are now a workplace essential,” the company said in a press release. HP’s certainly right about that, especially since so many of us are fighting for quiet space to take calls in our homes.
HP’s solution is a fairly nondescript pair of black earbuds and a simple black charging case to match. The earbuds feature many of the most common features found in wireless earbuds, such as active noise cancellation and silicon tips. HP didn’t have the product available to show, nor did it provide a photo of the earbuds outside of its case.
But HP’s focus here is on how the Elite Earbuds fit into the ecosystem of work-life, calling them the “world’s most advanced wireless earbuds for collaboration.” HP points to a number of different factors to back up that claim, including the internal analysis it has done around the earbuds’ “Premium” Active Noise Cancellation, earbud fit test, speech amplification, tap to switch between devices or audio settings, and customizable environment pre-sets.
The Elite Earbuds use Microsoft’s Windows Swift Pair for pairing and comes with its own “comprehensive” Windows 10 application, courtesy of HP. HP also has smaller versions of that app for Android and iOS devices.
HP is also bundling the earbuds with its new high-end business laptop, the Elite Dragonfly Max, which even includes a built-in slot to store them.
At 8 grams, they’re a bit heavy, though. The second-generation Apple AirPods Pro weigh nearly half that much at just 5.4 grams, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live weigh 5.6 grams.
The Elite Earbuds take two hours to fully charge, while 15 minutes will provide 1.5 hours of use. Once fully charged, HP says earbuds will grant you five hours of listening time or four hours of talk time. The case, meanwhile, also takes two hours to fully charge and can support three earbuds recharges on one charge itself. The case uses a standard USB-C to charge up.
Though we haven’t been able to try them out yet ourselves, the Elite Earbuds feature 9.2mm neodymium drivers and a nominal frequency range of 20Hz to 18kHz.
HP did not announce the price details of the Elite Wireless Earbuds, but they will be available in April.
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