This year alone, we’ve seen V-Moda release more new audio products than the company has in the prior two years. We saw the noise-cancelling M-200 ANC this past Spring, and now their first-ever true wireless models were announced: the Hexamove Lite and Hexamove Pro. Review units for both were sent to Laptop Magazine, and we loved the Pro version and had high hopes for its more affordable sibling.
The Hexamove Lite is V-Moda’s attempt at developing inexpensive wireless earbuds with premium performance. Does it succeed? Not really.
Aside from the innovative design and vibrant sound, all other areas were given little attention. This shows in the buggy controls and connectivity. Missing standard features like quick charging is befuddling. The gigantic, unappealing charging case and lack of app support don’t do the Hexamove Lite any favors either.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Availability and price
The $129 Hexamove Lite is available at major online retailers, including B&H and Sweetwater, or directly from V-Moda. Shield customization raises the MSRP to $150. It comes in Black, Red, and Sand White. Inside the box are a charging case, USB-C charging cable, and three sets of BLISS fittings (S, M, L).
These buds carry a lower price tag than mid-tier gems like the Beats Studio Buds ($149) and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($149), as well as category leaders like the AirPods Pro ($249) and Sony WF-1000XM4 ($279). If it still seems too high for your budget, check out the fine-sounding Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch ($119) or JBL Reflect Mini NC, which comes with strong sound and ANC and can be had for as low as $75.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Design and comfort
Place the Hexamove Lite and Pro next to one another and you’ll see they share the same exact design. Any differences lie in the details; the Pro has a silver accent around the touch sensor and lets you manually swap out the shields. The hexagon-inspired shape looks cool. Build quality is also on point with a sturdy frame composed of IPX5 splash-, dust-, and weather-resistant materials.
If purchased through V-Moda’s site, you can personalize the installed shields by selecting from a series of different designs and monograms created by the brand’s in-house artists. This is a fun way of personalizing the buds. Unfortunately, whatever design you pick is the one you’ll have to stick with because, as previously mentioned, you can’t change out the plates.
Let’s jump to the charging case. It’s colossal. Like, noticeably-bigger-and-heavier-than-the-Bose-QuietComfort-Earbuds-charging-case colossal. I get that V-Moda has developed this brand aesthetic of big, durable, and serviceable cases, which is demonstrated beautifully on their wireless headphone releases. However, this charging case is just one big block of plastic that is unpleasant to carry around.
The earbud shape has some ergonomic benefits to it. For instance, the buds are easier to adjust. Plus, the cavity provides enough space for the buds to rest on the concha without pressing up against skin. I wore them for 2-hour stretches throughout the day before experiencing any fatigue. However, the fit is slightly loose due to the subpar seal the tips create.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Controls and digital assistant
Tap gestures and on-ear detection make up the Hexamove Lite’s control scheme. Neither works well. Most times, the touch sensors wouldn’t register any of the input methods: single, double, and triple taps. When they did, touch sensitivity was too high, pausing music or hanging up on a call every time I adjusted the buds for optimal fit. Motion detection wasn’t very accurate either, lagging to enable auto-pause when removing the buds.
I also want to note that none of the paperwork in the box breaks down the controls, leaving you to perform trial and error with each input method.
Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby are compatible with the Hexamove Lite, and all work well, when you can get the feature working. Again, the poor touch sensors make the attempt frustrating. I performed the triple-tap gesture unsuccessfully many times on the left earbud just to get to turn it on. Once I had the opportunity to fire off voice commands, V-Moda’s two-mic array picked up vocals and commands with precision.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Audio quality
V-Moda headphones and earbuds have always been praised for their articulate, full range sound. Don’t expect the Hexamove Lite to be on the same level as other sonic giants like the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the less expensive Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch. Instead, appreciate the warm, detailed sound these buds deliver.
The bass response on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was deep and rich, as the kicks bounced off my eardrums with impact, while the low-end growl brought prominence to the harmonic hook. I was surprised to hear Pharrell’s crooning so clearly, which isn’t something I’ve experienced on most sub-$130 models. This shows how well V-Moda balanced the frequency range on these buds.
Moving onto more bass-forward selections, the 808s on Future’s “Red Light” knocked hard without distorting the soundscape. Vocals were slightly fuzzy, but still perceptible whenever the rapper raised his voice.
The Hexamove Lite performed best when paired with orchestral recordings. Jazz classics like Ahmad Jamal’s “Stolen Moments” sounded serene. Despite the double bass being a tad emphasized, solid reverberation came out of the 6mm diaphragm drivers that was spaced sufficiently to hear the crisp hi-hats and melodic piano keys.
You won’t get much noise isolation out of these buds. Not having the Hexamove Pro’s wingtips compromises fit and audio quality, letting ambient noise into the soundscape. I could hear family conversations and my infant boy screaming when I passed by the nursery while listening to music.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Battery life and charging case
V-Moda rates battery life at six hours on a full charge. This is viewed as the new industry-average time, especially after the AirPods 3 launched, though the Hexamove Lite still falls short of what several other models above and below its price point offer. Two that come to mind are the $99 JLAB Epic Air Sport ANC (11 to 15 hours) and Sony WF-1000XM4 (8 to 12 hours). Factor in high volume and streaming, and playtime drops by 30 minutes. You’ll likely get 3 to 4 days of moderate use (1.5 hours daily) before recharging.
The charging case holds a total of 24 hours, which is the same as the AirPods Pro case (24 hours). Do the math and this equals about 4 additional charges. This is still a letdown considering how huge the case is. Furthermore, quick charging and wireless charging do not come part of the package.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Call quality and connectivity
The Hexamove Lite is a serviceable calling headset. My wife heard my voice loud and clear whenever speaking in the office or by the pool area, granted she could hear splashing from cars speeding through flooded streets when I sat on the front porch. Wind also had a strong presence during voice and video calls, though she mentioned that my voice was audible over the gusty effects.
Bluetooth 5.0 is OK for the most part. There were several times when audio would randomly stutter or one of the buds wouldn’t connect after being inactive for several minutes. The buds do achieve up to 45 feet of wireless listening, which was good enough range to go from one end of the house to the other without any dropout. Pairing to smartphones and laptops was also quick. One feature I’m surprised to see made the cut was multipoint technology to pair to two devices simultaneously.
V-Moda Hexamove Lite review: Verdict
Compared to other models in the same price class, the Hexamove Lite is a major disappointment. While it serves up specific brand hallmarks like one-of-a-kind aesthetics (e.g., customized face plates, ultramodern silhouette) and great sound, it drops the ball in so many other areas. I don’t know why the controls are such a mess, especially when they operate fine on the Pro version. The inconsistency with connectivity can be annoying at times, along with having to carry that monstrous charging case.
If you’re a brand loyalist and want V-Moda sound at a relatively affordable price, then sure, the Hexamove Lite should suffice. However, there are much better options out there, both expensive and inexpensive, that provide better overall performance and value.