The Devialet Gemini are a solid and effective pair of true wireless earbuds. Noise cancellation and transparency modes impress, and the sound quality entertains. In light of their price, though, there are other true wireless buds that offer better value.
- Lively, energetic performance
- Effective noise cancellation
- Feature set covers the basics
- Fit can come loose
- Baffling ‘Neutral’ mode
- Not much to differentiate from rivals
- Internal Delay CompensationHybrid ANC uses Devialet’s IDC technology to improve noise reduction across the frequency range
- Transparency modeTwo microphones work in sync to filter through external sound
French audio company Devialet is best known for its wacky-looking and technically impressive Phantom speakers, and with the Gemini the company is the latest audio brand to have a go at the true wireless market.
The Gemini features the specs you’d expect from a premium pair of earbuds, so while they look impressive on the spec sheet, can they translate that into a true wireless performance to challenge the likes of Bose and Sony?
- Not quite the appearance you expect
- Big charging case
- Good touch capacitive controls
What’s interesting about the Gemini’s look is how un-Devialet they are. Considering the company is best known for its curved, helmet-shaped speakers and chrome-finished amplifiers, the Gemini look less than spectacular.
That’s not to say they’re not interesting to look at. While the shape of the earbud housing is principally to maintain a strong noise-isolating presence – hence the large oval shape – the area facing outwards has a distinctive metal alloy sheen to it with the touch control surface imprinted with the Devialet logo. It’s an odd mish-mash, and if Devialet was going for something different then the Gemini certainly do look different.
The touch capacitive control surface does work a treat, and only requires the slightest of brushes to pause/play, switch between noise cancellation modes (hold), or skip tracks and activate your mobile’s voice assistant (double taps). There’s no onboard volume control, and customisation of controls is just a choice between track skipping and voice assistance.
The fit is good but the earbuds are prone to pushing out over longer periods, requiring a push back every now and then. It’s an issue that can hamper the effectiveness of the noise isolating design and noise cancellation. They’re comfortable to wear, although these aren’t earbuds I’d take for a run. There is a selection of ear-tips to choose from with extra small, small and large options alongside the default medium.
The case continues Devialet’s rather interesting design choices. It slides open to reveal the earbuds (which I rather like), but it’s big and not one for slim pockets. On it is a LED indicator to show how much charge is left at a glance, plus a button to initiate Bluetooth pairing.
- Effective noise cancellation and natural-sounding Transparency mode
- Very odd Neutral mode
- EQ customisation possible via app
It wouldn’t be a Devialet product if it didn’t come with technology laden with acronyms; the Gemini certainly don’t disappoint on that front.
The best place to start is the Gemini’s noise cancellation. It’s based on the company’s proprietary Pressure Balanced Architecture (PBA), which also integrates Devialet’s Internal Delay Compensation (IDC) tech.
To put this as simply as possible, the PBA system uses vents that allow air within the ear canal to flow outwards while also stopping external noise from penetrating through, optimising low-end frequencies. IDC is an algorithm that serves to more effectively cancel out sounds across the frequency range from high to low.
The result is, at times, very impressive noise cancellation – as long as that seal is intact. Vehicles glide past, commutes are quieter, voices are rendered more intelligible; the world around you takes a back seat. The performance is more effective than I found on the B&W PI7, and while it couldn’t erase a crying child or subdue a throng of England football fans, it’s effective.
Also effective is the Transparency mode with its high and low options that filter through sounds to give you a sense of what’s around you. Music still sounds good, and in terms of clarity and naturalness, this is a strong performance from Devialet.
What’s not so good is the Neutral mode. It wrings out all the weightiness from music playback: bass loses impact, with tracks sounding small and distant. It’s such an odd performance, I can’t fathom what Devialet was trying to achieve here.
The Gemini app is solid but requires the creation of an account, which is slightly annoying. From the app, the earbuds’ firmware can be updated, there’s customisation for controls, wear-detection and equaliser settings. The latter offers a choice between a selection of presets – Bass, Flat (default), News/Podcast, Custom – or you can tune the sound to a finer degree as well as change the balance between the left and right earbuds.
Tuning the sound can lead to boosting of other elements in a song. So, for instance, elevating the bass can slightly affect instruments around, so I didn’t find it to be quite so pin-point and exact. Another feature mentioned in the app but isn’t an app function is EAM – Ear Active Matching. It detects the shape of an ear and adapts the sound to compensate, optimising the seal of the ear-tips.
Battery life is quoted at 24 hours, with six hours per earbud, stretching to eight hours with ANC off. Curiously, I found that the right earbud would always drain faster than the left one. Fast-charging is supported and the case can be charged via a wireless charging plate too.
Bluetooth connectivity is 5.0 with SBC, AAC and aptX Bluetooth supported. Wireless connectivity has proven to be solid, and while there was some choppiness at Victoria Station during busier hours, it survived a walk throughout Waterloo station at peak morning time without issues. Aside from some minor blips and slight phasing, it maintained a strong connection.
- Energetic and at times thrilling sound
- Lacks the detail and nuance of the best pairs
- Decent enough call quality
There’s plenty of competition at this price, but the Devialet name brings with it a certain pedigree that means these earbuds shouldn’t be discounted. The Gemini don’t disappoint, with a performance that’s confident, entertaining and – most of all – fun.
I wouldn’t necessarily call them the most fidelius of performers, but I also wouldn’t label that as a mark against them. The soundstage isn’t described with as much width as other pairs – the Gemini feel taller than they do wide – but I think that works in their favour to create an impactful performance.
In terms of tonal balance I found them to be pretty good across the frequency range. High-frequency notes are given enough clarity and detail to be distinctive, and although the mid-range is more thickly described and less detailed than other true wireless pairs, it still comes across as natural in its approach.
The bass is what will gain your attention, with a varied performance that alternates between punchy, impactful and explosive. Play Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy and the bass frequencies are strong but also kept in check, so they don’t become the overriding focus.
At their best, the Devialet Gemini fizz with energy and dynamism. There’s a fine feel for dynamics in Tom Morello’s cover of Voodoo Child, guitar riffs exploding into life with entertaining ferocity.
Ship o hoj, Mandalorians! from The Mandalorian series 2 is another track that’s energetically described, the switch from quiet to loud creating a rhythmic flow that ebbs and propels the track forward. They aren’t lacking for subtlety either, with smaller-scale dynamics handled just as adroitly. There’s never less than a confident sense of assuredness in that regard.
Where I think the Gemini falter is that they aren’t as focused as some other true wireless sets in terms of the sound stage. The Sony WF-1000XM4 offer a tidier organisation of the sound stage, handling voices with more nuance; as well as being more musical and natural-sounding. The Gemini are more forceful, more in your face with their energy and drive compared to the composure offered by the Sony earbuds.
Call quality is solid enough, clear enough to pick up my voice – but, as the person on the other end noted, the Gemini had a tendency to pick up surrounding noise such as the wind or the weird cackling laugh of a man walking past.
Should you buy it?
If you want good sound and noise cancellation The Devialet Gemini hit the spot with a lively audio performance and effective noise cancellation.
There are better value true wireless buds around Overall, there isn’t much that distinguishes the Gemini from other true wireless pairs at this price, and they’re more expensive than either Bose or Sony’s efforts.
Devialet’s first wireless earbuds are mostly a success, although they don’t quite reach the levels set by the likes of Bose and Sony.
In some respects, they’re not far off. The noise cancellation and Transparency mode are an effective combination and the sound quality they offer is very entertaining. The design is more functional than stylish in light of the £279 asking price, and there isn’t as much here to differentiate the Gemini in terms of features.
Aside from a few missteps – that Neutral mode is a head-scratcher – the Gemini are a solid first step from Devialet into the true wireless market.
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How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
The Gemini are water- and sweat-resistant to IPX4.
Yes, they can provide an hour of playback from a five-minute charge.