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Don't buy the Hooke Verse 3D Audio Bluetooth Headphone (Review)

GeneralEdward Kiledjian4 Comments
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I test thousands of products every year and can't remember the last time I recommended a clear DO NOT BUY!

The promise of these headphones (similar to the Sennheiser Ambeo headset) is that they will record  3D audio at a much higher fidelity. 

Whereas the Sennheiser is lightning based, which limits it to IOS products, the Hooke Verse is Bluetooth (which gives it more versatility). However, the Sennheiser Ambeo works with all platform video recording apps, while the Hooke Verse requires you to use their own proprietary app (because they need support for proprietary audio recording codecs). Here is where the problems start.

Problems with the Hooke Verse Software

I tested the product with a Samsung Galaxy S9+, a Note 8 and a Google Pixel 2XL. The Hooke Verse Android app is limited to 720p recording (even though all the devices support 4K at 30fps or more). Support confirmed that this is an application issue and that it will eventually be fixed.

The Hooke Verse Android app does not support the telephoto lens (on devices that have a physical telephoto camera).

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The interface is not intuitive at all and it is clear the required development planning wasn't done. The Video icon you see on the lower left-hand side isn't to record video but rather to turn off video recording and only capture audio.  To record you are expected to click on the 3D button.

The sliders on the sides are to adjust the gain but with a couple of lines of code, this could have been automated with the option of a manual override. The person buying this accessory wants to be as plug and play as possible.

Once you manage to record a video, you expect to see a rich share sheet to apps installed on your smartphone (Instagram, Snapchat, Google Photos, Twitter, Vimeo, etc), but you will only see 3 options:

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There isn't even an option to save to the camera roll (aka standard video folder in the device). 

Once you record and playback (in the app) your first video, they explain the additional audio filters you can buy for $4.99. Considering the price of these headphone's the filters should have been included for free (my opinion). Even if you buy the filters, there is no way to choose which one to apply since the filter controls are loaded beneath the media control buttons. Support said this would be fixed, but again, no ETA.

 If you look closely, you will see a bunch of circular filter choices under the media control buttons. There is no way to bring them to the forefront.

If you look closely, you will see a bunch of circular filter choices under the media control buttons. There is no way to bring them to the forefront.

Even the cheapest (and most free) video recording apps on the Google Play store support these functions (but the Hooke Verse Android app does not):

  • Histogram to determine exposure
  • Ability to lock exposure
  • Ability to lock focus
  • A guide for thirds on screen
  • Different recording qualities from the native format up to 100MB/s high quality (which most high-quality video recording apps support)

Problem with the Hooke Verse hardware

I recorded a video in an area with an overhead HVAC vent using the Sennheiser Ambeo (on an iPhone 7) and the Hooke Verse on a Pixel 2 XL. The Sennheiser successfully removed the background "air noise" while the Hooke Verse picked it up.

Conclusion

I contacted support (on memorial day) and someone responded which was nice, but they could not provide any ETA for app upgrades to fix these issues. At $249, consumers can rightfully expect a much more refined experience. 

There is no way I can recommend this product with all its glaring flaws My hope (and recommendation to the company) is to build their codec into FimicPro and make that the default app they provide with their headsets. I do not believe Hooke Verse will be able to build a "good enough" video app.

The out of the box experience was so bad in the first 24 hours that I am returning the headphone's back to Amazon. If you are on IOS, go for the Sennheiser Ambeo. If you are on Android (like me), you are out of luck.