If you were interested in the Noble Falcon Pro that I reviewed previously, you’ll definitely also be interested in these new earbuds from Noble Audio, the Noble Fokus Pro.
Anyway, let’s start with the design. The case is actually much nicer than the Falcon Pro’s square case, with the company opting for a more conventional oblong case that sits nicer in jeans pockets. The lid is a similar blue as the Falcon Pro’s, and since blue is my favourite colour, it’s a welcome touch. On the front, there are four LEDs to indicate charging, along with a USB-C port on the rear. Unfortunately, no wireless charging here.
Flip up the lid and you get the earbuds inside, along with a reset button on the case, in the same design as the Falcon Pro. The earbuds look quite different from the Falcon Pro, and in truth, I much prefer this design. It looks much more like a custom IEM now with this blue marble swirl faceplate that’s smoothly integrated into the shell with no seam at all. You’ll also notice this metal bass vent port on the side, and that’s because these are still using three drivers, two balanced armatures and one dynamic driver. Personally, it sounded great on the Falcon Pro, so I’m all for this hybrid design.
The BA drivers are custom ones from Knowles, and the dynamic driver has been increased to 8.2mm from the previous 6mm, which should mean we’ll see an improvement in the lows. More on that in the sound quality section later.
As for fit, the Fokus Pro does feel a bit more comfortable because the nozzle length has been reduced, so while it’ll be a better, more universal fit for most people, it does reduce the passive noise isolation by a bit. It still does block out a good amount of noise though, so not really a problem here. I never found myself wishing these earbuds had ANC, so yeah.
The earbuds run on touch controls, and they actually aren’t as finicky as the ones on the Falcon Pro, which is a big plus for me. As for the controls, they’re pretty simple by default on this unit. Double-tap on the left earbud to bring the volume down, triple tap to bring volume up, double tap on the right for the next track and triple tap to go to the previous track. A single tap on either side for play/pause. Of course, this is all customisable in the app, but I found it pretty much covered everything I needed.
In the app, you also get an EQ feature with six presets and a custom 10-bar EQ, as well as a personalised EQ that uses a frequency test to customise it for you. My personalised EQ seems pretty similar to other earbuds that have this feature, so yeah.
The app itself is also pretty simple, that’s pretty much it, aside from choosing what language you want the app to be in and such. That being said, do take note this is a new app, the Noble Fokus, and not the old Noble app that you would use for the Falcon Pro.
There’s Bluetooth 5.2 here, which is pretty expected since the Falcon Pro had 5.2 as well, and the earbuds support SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive, which is a nice plus for Android users. It also uses the same master-slave switching system as on the Falcon Pro, which means that even if one earbud runs out of battery first, the other one will automatically become the master earbud and you’ll be able to use either earbud independently.
Battery life isn’t as great as the Falcon Pro, but it’s still impressive in its own right. Noble claims 7.5 hours at 50% volume, and I typically listened at around 30-40% since they still get very loud. That being said, I did get around seven hours and 45 minutes, so it’s still very good.
This time around though, the Fokus Pro has lost the IP rating due to the design change, but Noble still says it’ll be able to withstand sweaty workouts, but it’s not recommended to wear the earbuds in the rain or in the shower. Unfortunate, but understandable.
As for microphone quality, well, I honestly can’t imagine anybody buying these specifically for use for calls, but in a pinch, it’ll do.
The sound quality, though, is delightful. Coming from the Falcon Pro, these felt more immersive and cohesive, with an improvement in the lows coming through in the powerful sub-bass. The real improvement here, though, is in the mids in my opinion. I felt the mids were too recessed on the Falcon Pro, and that’s addressed here with more forward mids and engaging vocals. The treble was a bit sharp on the Falcon Pro, and that’s pared-down here as well. It’s more natural and smooth this time around, which makes this sound signature a lot more palatable for the general public.
Staging is excellent as well, with Noble really doing a good job across their true wireless earbuds. It’s both wide and deep, with a good amount of spaciousness and air. Layering is also done well, and you get great imaging.
As for price, they’re slightly higher than the Falcon Pro at US$349 or around S$539. This sets them pretty firmly in the expensive camp, with other options like the Bang & Olufsen EQ and Bowers & Wilkins PI7 coming in at around US$400 and the Sony WF-1000XM4 coming in at US$280. Are they worth the price? I’d say yes. With great passive noise isolation eliminating the need for ANC, the better-than-average battery life, the excellent sound quality and the gorgeous (to me) design, I think Noble’s done it again. The Noble Fokus Pro really is a great pair of true wireless earbuds.