Story by Nick Hastings, via our partner site, Digital Trends /
Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance man, a brilliant polymath whose expertise in various arts and sciences often outclassed even the leaders of those fields. New York-based Inspero Inc.’s Vinci 2.0 smart earphones hope to offer enough versatility and flexibility to live up to their inspirational namesake.
Following up on the company’s crazy Vinci over-ear headphones that impressed us at the 2017 Luxury Tech show and received nearly $1 million in Kickstarter funding last year, the Vinci 2.0 pack an impressive array of features into a unique, angular-neckband design. The band itself is pentagonal, featuring a small OLED touchscreen — we’re not entirely sure why — and the whole package weighs a shade over three ounces (90 grams).
The Vinci 2.0 are equipped with onboard flash storage — 8GB for the Lite model, 16GB for the Pro, and 32GB for the Super — so you can leave your phone in your bag while working out. Baked-in support for not one but two virtual assistants, Amazon’s Alexa and Inspero’s proprietary Vinci, means you can rely on voice commands to do just about anything, including controlling your music playback, calling an Uber, or checking the weather forecast.
The Vinci 2.0 support both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing you to utilize Alexa and Vinci without an anchor device. If you’re out on a run — and therefore outside of Wi-Fi range — the headphones even support 3G (something we’ve never seen before), so you can access voice assistants or even streaming services from virtually anywhere. The company also claims the built-in bone conduction microphone filters ambient noise to ensure voice recognition and call clarity, and the two pricier models feature active noise cancellation up to 28dB.
As for streaming services, the headphones feature native integration of Spotify, Amazon Music, and Soundcloud (you know, if it survives), allowing users to play their favorite songs, albums, and playlists at will (in addition to music saved in the onboard storage). The Vinci AI is capable of creating user profiles based on music choices — you can “like” or “dislike” songs as they’re playing to help build a profile — and it even takes physical data into account to determine what kind of music is best suited to an activity.
When we say “physical data,” we mean data collected about your physical well-being. The Vinci 2.0 can monitor your heart rate, steps, cadence, and workout speed, and they feature a personal workout assistant to coach you through grueling exercise. As if all that wasn’t enough, they also support gesture control, allowing you to control music with a simple hand wave. And while we’ve yet to see gesture control work as advertised on a pair of wireless buds to this point, these headphones have a mountain of features.
The kicker: If you decide to fund the Vinci 2.0 via Kickstarter, you can get the Lite model for just $79 ($149 retail), the Pro model for $129 ($289 retail), or the Super model for $219 ($399 retail). Sound too good to be true? Well, it might be. As you might have surmised, 3G connectivity requires a cellular SIM card — as of now, the headphones support AT&T and T-Mobile — which typically runs $5/month or so as an add-on to your plan. If you’ve got a different cell provider, you’ll need to open a plan with AT&T or T-Mobile to use 3G on the Vinci 2.0.
Investing in crowdfunding projects always implies some risk, and the Vinci 2.0 are aiming high — really high. As always, we advise caution before spending your money on a product that’s not guaranteed to ever see the light of day.