Lava Probuds 22
Lava Probuds 22: Many people who have a smartphone nowadays also have wireless earbuds to go with their phone. And those who don’t are probably often thinking of getting one. Now, in the market at the moment there are earbuds available in all sizes and at almost every reasonable price point. There are expensive buds and there are ultra-affordable ones that don’t even cost Rs 1000. Now Lava is adding another option that people can look at – the Lava Probuds 22. These are affordable earbuds with a price of Rs 1,399 and they claim to offer not just good sound quality but also fairly decent noise isolation.
I have been using the Probuds 22 for over 10 days as a part of reviewing them for India Today Tech. My experience with the buds has been quite positive. There are some bits that I have liked more but there are also some areas of concern.
Overall, though, the Probuds 22 is worth the price. It’s just that you should know that if you get them you will also have to make some compromises. Let me explain in this review.
Lava Probuds 22 design and fit
When I opened the box, the Probuds 22 reminded me of Galaxy Buds 2. But obviously, the first look was a little rushed. It was due to the design of the box. The Probuds 22 sit in a changing box shaped like a small square and it has rounded edges, similar to the box of the Buds 2. Inside, the Probuds 22 do have a shape similar to that of the Samsung buds. But they also have a longish stem, which the Buds 2 don’t have.
Enough of comparisons. On their own, the Probuds 22 are well-designed buds. Although the flap of the box feels a little flimsy and the plastic used is obviously more downmarket, which is alright considering the low price of the buds. The box has a small LED light, which shows the battery status by blinking in red, green and white. The charging port on the box is USB C, which means most of the chargers out there in the market should be able to charge the box.
The buds are lightweight and built well, although they use glossy plastic and will inevitably collect tiny scratches with use. While reviewing, I used the Probuds 22 in white color. My experience with them suggests that another available colors – Black – would be better at hiding scratches and dust stains.
The Probuds 22 also has a functional design. The fit is superb. Or at least was for my ears. This means I could jog wearing them and not worry about them falling out of ears. The good fit also means that passive noise cancellation – or in other words blocking out ambient noises – is superb. Lava says that the Probuds 22 are IP-rated to survive rain and splashes, although this is not something that I tested during the review. The fit is also comfortable. I didn’t feel any pain in my ears even after using the buds for hours at stretch.
Lava Probuds 22 performance and battery
Before we talk about the sound quality, some mundane stuff. I used ProBuds with both the iPhone and Android and in both instances found that it offered robust Bluetooth connectivity. The sound from the buds, while calling, was also clear, I suppose thanks to the ENC (environmental noise cancellation) that Lava implements in the buds using a quad-array microphone. Despite their low price, the Probuds 22 also features low latency that smartphone gamers would appreciate.
I listened to tens of songs on Probuds 22. And my experience was mostly pleasant. I liked the sound that came out of the buds, whether I was listening to Bollywood music or to some BTS hits. The highs were not screechy and the mids were clear. Particularly for the price, I feel the Probuds 22 offer good enough sound. But one part where they are lacking is bass. If you are someone who prefers to feel the low-end bass hitting your ears and making you tap your feet with the beat, the Probuds 22 won’t please you. In fact, in this budget range, chances are that you will find the right pair of buds. You will have to spend more to get more bass.
Other than the low bass, I cannot find much to complain about the sound of Probuds 22. But there is another aspect of it that I absolutely found cumbersome – the touch controls.
In this price range, touch controls are rare. So it is good to see that Probuds 22 have them.
Unfortunately, the touch controls don’t work very well. The Lava Probuds 22 allows users to do one tap for answering calls, one tap for pausing music, and 6 taps for connecting to different devices. However, I found the tap controls to be a bit finicky.
For example, when I listened to music during my auto-rickshaw ride, the gesture controls got activated every time I tried to settle my hair rustled by wind. This was a bit frustrating. Similarly, any and every accidental touch on the buds is registered minutely and that too mars the experience.
One bit I liked about the Probuds 22 is that they have a tiny LED light, right above their P logo. This too blinks to show the connectivity and battery status, in a different color depending on what it is showing. The battery life that Probuds 22 offers is good. I used the buds extensively and I usually charged them and their charging box once every two days. It takes around 2 hours to fully charge the buds and their box.
Lava Probuds 22 review: Should you buy it?
Overall, I think Lava has done a good job with the Probuds 22. You get good audio, decent battery life, and pretty much everything else you may wish for in a budget pair of earbuds. Surely, it is missing a few features and some of the features are far from perfect. The plastic and materials used to make the buds and their box are also budget-oriented and in no way premium. But they aren’t shabby and that matters. But for Rs 1400, I feel the Probuds 22 offer more than enough to justify their price. And that, in my book, makes them a good product, worthy of a positive rating from India Today Tech.