If you're in the market for a pair of the best wireless earbuds, you really are spoilt for choice. Every market segment is saturated with options, with a lot of top quality picks fighting for your hard earned cash.
Entering that fray today are the Devialet Gemini II wireless earbuds. The second generation of the Gemini line, these look to improve on the form, and plant the brand firmly in the mix with other big name devices on the market.
They're a brand with good credentials when it comes to top notch audio, too. We've tested their Devialet Mania portable speaker and the Devialet Dione soundbar in the past, with both impressing our reviewers.
So, are they any good? Well, let's dive in and find out.
Devialet Gemini II review: Price and Release Date
The Devialet Gemini II earbuds were unveiled on the 13th of September 2023. The standard variant retails for £349/$450, and comes in either Matte Black or Iconic White.
There is also an Opéra de Paris edition. That uses 24-carat gold plating on the case, for a touch of added class. Those will set you back £549/$650. As ever, though, check out the widgets on this page for the most up to date pricing wherever you are.
Devialet Gemini II review: What's New?
So, how do these earbuds differ from the previous generation? Well, there's a few things, but the first worthy of note is the case. That's been redesigned in a much more recognisable way, with a case shape that is smaller and almost bullet-like.
That reduced dimension is perfect for day-to-day use, making it much easier to carry around than the slightly bulky case last time out. It's not the only part to have shaved some millimetres, either.
The earbuds themselves are smaller this time out, with a reduction in each dimension. That shaves off some weight, too. The buds this time are just 6g each, down from 8g last time. That doesn't sound like a lot, but wear them for a few hours and you'll notice a difference.
Speaking of long listening sessions, let's talk about charging time. You'll get five hours for the buds alone on the Gemini II, and 22 hours with the charging case included. Both of those are down slightly from the originals, which is an odd choice. I can only presume that the reduced dimensions forced a sacrifice to the battery longevity.
Realistically, those times are fine for most users. But it still feels unusual to see a more refined product sacrificing on quite a key spec.
Inside, there is much more new stuff to get excited by. Devialet Adaptive Noise Cancellation and Active Wind Reduction are both included, to make the overall listening experience much more enjoyable.
There's also a brand new driver in these earbuds. It's a 10mm titanium-coated unit, and – spoiler alert – it sounds phenomenal. More on that below.
Devialet Gemini II review: Design
We touched briefly on the design above, but it's worth taking a deeper dive here. There has been quite a seismic shift between generations here, with the Gemini II looking much more familiar to those who are used to cases like the AirPods Pro.
The top and bottom of the case feature a multi-ridged design, which beautifully marries minimalism with intrigue. It's a very Art Deco design, actually, which is refreshing in a world of smooth curves and stark edges.
The buds themselves are much more aligned with the previous generation of Gemini earbuds. They sit upright in the ear canal, with a microphone sat atop the branded touch buttons. It's not an uncommon design, and should go relatively unnoticed in use.
Devialet Gemini II review: Performance
Of course, none of that makes one iota of difference if they sound dreadful. Fortunately, that's not the case here. In fact, I'd go as far saying these are the best sounding earbuds I've ever used.
The most impressive part is the bass response. If you've ever been up close at a live music event, you'll know all about the low end experience. Bass frequencies just thump you in the chest, turning simple audio into a multi-sensory experience.
That same thing happens with these earbuds. I can't explain how, or why, but when you get a perfectly tuned kick drum or bass guitar, that same thud hits right in the sternum.
It's the same whether you're listening to some old school dubstep or binging One Direction – or, you know, so I've heard – and it's absolutely exhilarating. If you've spent a lot of your life at live music events, these are the closest you're going to get that experience from your armchair.
That level of audio excellence is really the order of the day here. You'll find a sumptuous level of detail in the high end, while separation across the spectrum is absolutely top notch.
As a point of comparison, I recently spent a good deal of time with the new Sony WF-1000XM5's. Sony is widely praised for making some of the best products in this category, and my experience with those was no different. On the basis of pure audio quality? These Devialet's edge it. The difference is subtle, but once you notice it, you'll never want to go back.
Then there's the noise cancellation. You get up to 40dB of cancellation on board here, which is decent. It's a difficult thing to quantify, but let me give you a real world example. I used these on a treadmill at the gym, with someone on the next machine. When I activated the noise cancellation mode, I could not hear a single noise they made. In fact, I couldn't hear anything, other than the audio that was playing. That's pretty darn good.
The Gemini II's aren't perfect though. While they are staggering sonically, other parts of the performance don't quite live up. The touch buttons, for example, are a little unwieldy. Sometimes they're really sensitive, others they're almost unresponsive. I spent a long time accidentally skipping back and forth between tracks before I got the hang of them.
There's also the battery life. And look, there's no issues between what's on offer and what you get. These nibble at battery life, making it easy to get the stated longevity from them. I just can't shake the feeling that they aren't quite up to scratch.
Sure, there are only a handful of people who really need more than 5 hours on a single charge, or 22 hours with the case. The trouble is, that handful of people are likely to crossover quite substantially with those who would consider spending £400 on a pair of earbuds.
Devialet Gemini II review: Verdict
So the bottom line is – are the Devialet Gemini II earbuds worth buying? And that's where I'm really torn. See, I stand by everything I've said in this. If you're looking for the best sound quality from a pair of earbuds, I really do think this is it – certainly from the varied crop I've had the pleasure of testing personally.
You'd think that would be enough. But I'm just not quite at the point of telling you these are a no brainer. Those issues with the touch controls and battery life are forgivable on some devices. When you're spending £400, though, that's a tougher pill to swallow.
I do still think they're a worthwhile buy for the right person, though. You need to be an absolute audiophile – the kind of person who prioritises top notch sound over absolutely everything else. But if that is you, these should absolutely be on your shopping list.
As mentioned, there are a world of wireless earbuds just waiting for your cash. The top pick if you're looking for something similar to this is likely to be the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Those run a little cheaper, but offer similarly fantastic sound quality and a great app.
Another source of top notch audio is the Bowers and Wilkins PI7 earbuds. Those have won awards from the T3 team for their performance – and even had our reviewer dewy-eyed and talking about rare steak when he tested them. Good, then.
If you're looking for something with great audio and design, but have a much more modest budget, I'd also thoroughly recommend the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds. Those are staggeringly good value-for-money, with great audio quality – and they're only around a quarter of the price of these earbuds.