Motorola announced a cavalcade of new smartphones during a livestream this morning, but the Moto X Style, Moto X Sport, and refreshed Moto G weren't the only new devices it debuted. The company revealed two smartphone audio accessories under the "Moto" brand umbrella, the Moto Pulse and Moto Surround, that go on sale starting today.
The Pulse and Surround may not share the same form factor -- the latter are earbuds, the former over-ear headphones -- but they're very clearly geared toward the sort of active, casual listening you might do at the gym or on a jog. The Pulse's ear cups fold flat, and the Surround is waterproof and sweatproof. Both connect to devices via Bluetooth, sport microphones, and last a reasonably long time on battery -- 18 hours for the Pulse and 12 for the Surround.
The cheaper ($60) Pulse seems the more versatile of the two. In addition to the longer-lasting battery, it's got better range drivers (40mm) than its earbud counterpart. But the $70 Surround has it beat on range (up to 150 feet), and packs a vibration motor to notify you of incoming calls and messages.
Both headphones optionally pair with Motorola Connect, Motorola's software hub for wearables on Android. The app tracks battery, lets reply to text messages and incoming calls with voice commands, and even maps the location of your headphones/earbuds if you lose them.
It's tough to say how the Pulse and Surround stack up to the competition without trying a pair (we'll test both shortly), but the specs and pricing are in line with other accessories we've seen in the category. Samsung's Level U and LG's Tone+ fitness earbuds, for comparison's sake, are priced almost identically ($80) to the Surround and feature about the same functionality. But the Surround lasts up to 2 hours longer than both, and Motorola says the Pulse is unique in its range -- it stays paired to a phone, tablet, or computer up to 60 feet, or "two times the standard range" of competitors. So long as the audio quality is up to par, the Pulse and Surround might end up being very reasonable buys.
The Surround and Pulse are available from Motorola.com.