Moto Buds Plus Review: Comfortable and highly customizable

Moto Buds Plus Review: Comfortable and highly customizable

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The earbuds are small, with short stems and silicon tips, so they are rather unobtrusive. Oh, and they have an IP54 water and dust resistance rating, meaning they are perfectly fine for some splashes of water or… streams of sweat coming down your head—all things I, as a runner, am happy about.

Fit and feel

Given their lightweight, the Moto Buds Plus are a total breeze to wear. I had no problems wearing them for hours during work or while enjoying some downtime on my phone.

Motorola has included two other silicon tip sizes just in case the ones that are preinstalled don’t fit your ears. The Moto Buds app that is available on the Google Play Store even has an option that tests how good the headphones fit your ears, just in case you can’t exactly figure it out for yourself.

For me, the default tips were plenty comfortable and snug, and the Moto Buds Plus stayed my ears even as I was sweating during my more intense runs. This could be different for you, though, as all of us have different ear shapes, so make sure you are comfortable with plug-in eartips first. If you feel they usually work well for you, the different size options should cover all the rest.

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Pairing

Pairing is pretty straightforward—you simply open the case and long-press the button in the middle until it starts blinking in blue. Then you go to your phone and open the Bluetooth settings, find the Moto Buds Plus, and tap to pair.

One thing that took me a bit by surprise was that the earbuds had to be in the case in order to be paired. I wasn’t able to initiate a pairing mode while wearing them. Not a big deal, but just something to keep note of.

Companion App and Features

The companion app is called the Moto Buds app, and it is actually quite a comprehensive one. It shows you the battery percentage of each earbud and the case, the buds you have connected, the noise control mode, and gives you several customization options.

Let’s start with the noise control modes, which (from left to right) are:

  • Off 
  • Transparency
  • Adaptive
  • Noise Cancellation

Besides the noise control, you also get a few other neat features such as the ability to have the Moto Buds Plus connected to two devices simultaneously. This feature was a bit finicky in my case, as I had to do a little settings juggling between my laptop and phone, but it still worked alright.

You also have a dedicated Hi-Res and Game modes. The former enables higher audio quality to be streamed from your phone to the earbuds, while the latter reduced the quality to shorten the transfer time and reduce latency. In my experience, however, the Game mode did not seem to improve the latency too much, and there was definite lag between my actions in the game and the sound coming through, so I wouldn’t recommend these for gaming purposes.

Motorola has also included in-ear detection, which pauses whatever’s playing when you take out on of the buds.

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Touch Gestures

Motorola has made the Moto Buds Plus controls touch sensitive, instead of the alternative which is pinching the stems. I prefer the touch controls as they seem to be more accurate and responsive, and even more intuitive, at least for me.

I can safely say that the touch gestures on the Moto Buds Plus felt responsive and reliable, and I did not experience any wrong inputs throughout my time with them.

Here are the default gestures you can do with Moto Buds Plus:

  • Double tap—answer or end call, or if you’re listening/watching something, play or pause
  • Triple tap—previous/next for the left/right earbud
  • Pinch three times—previous song
  • Long tap—noise control

The cool part is that the touch gestures are highly customizable. Here are all of the options you have for each gesture:

Noise Cancellation (ANC)

The Noise Cancellation mode is pretty good, it blocks a lot of the unwanted noises, although higher-pitched sounds come through a bit. Being earbuds, though, and not that expensive ones at that, the noise cancelling feels a bit above average to me, so props to Motorola there.

The transparency mode is non-adjustable, sadly. You cannot choose why frequencies to let through and which ones to block out, so no “voices-only mode”. That said, it does let in quite a lot of noise, which makes you feel like you are not even wearing the buds, especially with how light they are.

Adaptive is a bit unpredictable, just like any other ANC headphones. I prefer controlling the amount of noise that gets through myself, so I tend to do it manually anyway.

Sound quality

The Moto Buds Plus can get more than loud enough, although they do start to lose some quality at the top end. Anything below the 80% mark, however, sounds good. With an overall balanced audio profile, with a slight lean towards the bass side of things.

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Speaking of bass, I was very surprised to hear the low-end frequencies these little guys can muster up while listening to hip-hop and R&B. I had an absolute blast bobbing my head back and forth.

Videos and content with speech also seemed perfectly fine for me, with the voices coming through clear to hear and distinguish.

The good news is that you also have an EQ tool, where you can adjust the audio profile or pick from four presets: flat (default), bass boost, vocal boost, and brilliant treble. The Bass boost preset was a bit too much for me, but I found the other two very helpful, with the brilliant treble mode perfect for more vocals-heavy tracks, and the vocal boost more suited to podcasts.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery life is great on the Moto Buds Plus. I managed to get around 6 hours with ANC and Hi-Res mode turned on. Turning those off will give you about 2 hours on top. The case will give you a little less than three charges for the buds.

The case also supports quick charging, so having the buds for 10 minutes inside will give you about a couple of hours of playback.

You can charge the case via wireless charging or via a USB-C cable.

Final Thoughts

I quite liked the Moto Buds Plus, so much so that I am thinking of continuing on using them during my runs or when I don’t feel like putting on my over head headphones. For $129, they offer a very comprehensive level of customization and features, stellar comfort, and long battery life.



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