Motorola Moto Buds+ Review: Affordable Wireless Earbuds with Bose-Quality Sound – But Beware This Major Flaw


The recently released Motorola Moto Buds+ are making waves with their excellent audio tuning and impressive active noise cancelling. This isn’t surprising, given that their sound was certified by Bose, renowned for their cutting-edge audio features. With a price tag of $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$249, these earbuds seem quite appealing. However, there are some notable limitations. Some devices lack app support, and the Dolby Atmos or Dolby Head Tracking features can only be used with a compatible Motorola smartphone. This decision might seem puzzling, especially since many iPhone models can handle Dolby Atmos. Nonetheless, these earbuds present an intriguing option for those in the market for high-quality audio at a reasonable price.

As a result, many features mentioned in the full review are accessible only through the Moto Buds app, which is unfortunately available only on Google Play. Additionally, the app isn’t compatible with all Android devices. For instance, it didn’t work with our FiiO M11S music player, even though it supports Google Play. This means some users won’t be able to utilize all the features. While the earbuds can pair with an iPhone, you’ll only be able to enjoy the impressive sound quality and most noise control modes via touch controls. Sadly, that’s the extent of it.

The Motorola Moto Buds+ boast an impressive array of features often found in top-tier wireless earbuds, including wireless charging and multipoint connectivity. While the noise control capabilities vary, one mode in particular stands out. Users can choose between Transparency, Noise Cancellation, and Adaptive modes. Notably, Adaptive mode is accessible only through the app. For the other two modes, or to turn off noise control, simply hold your finger on the earbud’s touch control area for three seconds. This combination of features ensures a versatile and user-friendly experience.

Motorola Moto Buds+

The Noise Cancellation mode on these earbuds is impressive, rivaling some of the best noise-canceling earbuds available. I tested this feature during a flight to the Canary Islands, even without using the accompanying app, and the results were remarkable. After listening to music for a while, I removed the Moto Buds+ and was astonished by how loud the airplane cabin actually was. The earbuds effectively eliminated all the ambient noise, making for a peaceful and enjoyable listening experience.

Wear detection is another handy feature that’s enabled by default. In most cases, it performs excellently, pausing playback within a second of removing an earbud and resuming almost instantly when the earbud is placed back in.

The design of these earbuds is quite discreet. While I can’t comment on the Forest Gray color, the Beach Sand option definitely evokes a pebble-like aesthetic. Contrary to the slightly metallic appearance shown on the Motorola website, the earbuds actually feature a rough matte finish. Initially, I wasn’t fond of this texture, but it gradually grew on me. The touch controls are generally responsive, though there were occasional instances of misregistered gestures or a lack of response.

Most importantly, I can confirm that these Bose-certified earbuds deliver the exceptional sound quality you expect. The dynamic basslines and the subtle details in both vocals and instruments create a fantastic listening experience.

Motorola Moto Buds+

Motorola Moto Buds+: In-Depth Review, Pricing, and Release Date Revealed

  • $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$249
  • Available since April 2024

The Motorola Moto Buds+, launched in April 2024, are now available for purchase directly from the Motorola website in both the UK and the US. For customers in Australia, the Motorola site redirects to Lenovo, the parent company, for purchasing.

With features like Sound by Bose, Dolby Head Tracking, Active Noise Cancellation, and wireless charging—all for just $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$249—these earbuds might seem too good to be true.

While the Moto Buds+ offer great value for their price, there are some drawbacks to consider. For instance, they lack app support on certain devices and cannot utilize Dolby Atmos or Dolby Head Tracking without a compatible Motorola smartphone. This limitation is especially disappointing given that many iPhone models support Dolby Atmos. Nonetheless, if you own a compatible device, the Moto Buds+ perform admirably. Even without the advanced features accessible through the app, they still deliver impressive sound quality and functionality.

Motorola Moto Buds+


TypeWireless earbuds
DriversDual dynamic drivers. 2 x 11mm woofers and 6mm tweeters
Active noise cancellationYes
Battery life6 hours (ANC off), about 5 hours (ANC on)
Weight4.2g (per bud), 43g (charging case)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3
Waterproofing“Water-repellant” – no IP rating
App availableYes – but only on Google Play


  • Customizable EQ and touch control settings
  • Active Noise Cancellation up to 46 dB
  • 3 microphones per earbud with Environmental Noise Cancellation

The Moto Buds app is well-designed and user-friendly. However, it’s important to note that it is exclusively downloadable from Google Play. Unfortunately, it isn’t accessible on Apple’s App Store or certain Android devices like older smartphones and the FiiO M11S music player, even though they support Google Play. While the Motorola Moto Buds+ can still connect to these devices via Bluetooth, many advanced features are only accessible through the app, limiting functionality in these cases.

The app includes many standard features typical of earbuds in its price range. By default, the in-ear detection feature functions seamlessly: removing an earbud promptly pauses playback, while reinserting it resumes playback almost instantaneously. Monitoring battery levels for each earbud and the case directly through the app is particularly convenient. Additionally, a ‘Find My Earbuds’ feature emits a sound from either the left or right earbud, aiding in locating a misplaced earpiece. These functionalities collectively enhance user experience and utility.

You have the option to customize the gestures for each earbud. By default, double-tapping plays or pauses your music. On the right earbud, a triple tap skips to the next track, while on the left earbud, a triple tap goes back to the previous track. Holding a tap for three seconds switches between noise control modes. You can personalize these gestures to your preference, whether it’s adjusting volume, activating your device’s voice assistant, or opting for no action at all.

Motorola Moto Buds+

You have access to four predefined equalizer presets designed to enhance your listening enjoyment: Brilliant Treble, Bass Boost, Vocal Boost, and Flat (the default setting). Additionally, if you prefer personalized sound adjustments, you can manually customize the equalizer settings to suit your preferences.

One intriguing feature I discovered on the app was the Fit Test, aimed at optimizing audio quality and noise control by confirming correct earbud placement. During the test, the earbuds played a tune to assess their fit. In my experience, the right earbud was positioned correctly, but it suggested adjusting the left side or trying a different ear tip size for better results.

The earbuds feature effective active noise cancellation, allowing you to adjust the level either through the dedicated app or by pressing and holding your finger on the touch area for three seconds. While Adaptive mode requires the app for activation, you can easily switch between Transparency, Noise Cancellation, and Off modes using the touch controls directly.

While the Adaptive mode sufficed, I consistently opted for the Noise Cancellation mode due to its significantly superior noise-cancelling capabilities. However, I was less pleased with the Moto Buds+ Transparency mode. Although it allowed environmental sounds to come through, the effect seemed overly amplified, accompanied by noticeable background hissing that detracted from the experience.

Motorola Moto Buds+

I put Noise Cancellation to the test during a four-hour plane journey, and it effectively blocked out cabin noise. Every time I turned it off or removed an earbud, the sudden surge of ambient noise was quite shocking. Additionally, I tried it out on a train, amidst bustling city streets, and in a lively city center, where it performed exceptionally well.

The Moto Buds+ feature an advanced triple microphone system enhanced by Environmental Noise Cancellation, designed to optimize noise control capabilities. During testing, the talk microphone demonstrated remarkable reliability, delivering crisp and clear playback of my voice.

The Moto Buds+ promise up to eight hours of uninterrupted playtime. In a recent test with ANC disabled, the left bud delivered a solid six hours, while the right bud powered through to just over seven hours. Motorola hasn’t specified ANC-enabled battery life, but during testing, I observed a 20% battery decrease in under an hour at 50% volume.

When it comes to batteries, one standout feature of the Moto Buds+ is its versatility in charging. Unlike the Bose Quiet Comfort Ultra Earbuds, which require an additional $50 case for wireless charging on top of their nearly $300 price tag, the Moto Buds+ case supports both USB-C charging and wireless charging out of the box. I found it particularly convenient that the Moto Buds+ case charged swiftly using my Anker 3-in-1 Cube charger.

  • Features score: 3/5


  • Great all-round performance
  • Generous volume levels
  • Delivers detailed sound

The Motorola Moto Buds+ excel across the board, even without tweaking from their default Flat EQ profile. Throughout our extensive playlist testing and regular use for music and podcasts, they consistently delivered an enjoyable listening experience. The sound quality is truly impressive, creating an immersive atmosphere that has quickly made them a top choice for me.

The Moto Buds+ showcase remarkable treble clarity, especially evident while playing “Young Blood” by The Naked and Famous. During the song’s breakdown around the three-minute mark, these earbuds also exhibit excellent control over lower-frequency sounds, enhancing the overall listening experience.

The track “Clair de Lune” by Kamasi Washington provided another opportunity for the Moto Buds+ to showcase their versatility in handling different audio levels. The bassline came through clearly without overshadowing other elements. As various instruments built and layered over each other, these earbuds delivered a dynamic sound rich in detail. Another standout track, “I Want You” by Moloko, highlighted the Moto Buds+’ capabilities once again. The percussion hits were sharp and exhilarating, demonstrating the earbuds’ adeptness at managing the intricate layers of instruments, synths, and vocals with precision, delivering a nuanced listening experience.

Motorola Moto Buds+

Solji’s “Rains Again” showcases exceptional vocal clarity with exquisite detail and impressive handling of high notes. The vocals, alongside strings and guitar, harmonize seamlessly despite their similar ranges. However, a minor drawback lies in the sound of rain at the song’s outset and conclusion, which resembles static rather than the expected clarity, contrasting with the Moto Buds+’s capability to capture intricate nuances throughout the track.

The song “Black Eye” by Allie X vividly showcases the versatility of these earbuds. It begins with a burst of electric energy, smoothly blending into the deep bass of the drum machine. Despite the Moto Buds+’ emphasis on low frequencies, they adeptly capture the intricate layers of electronica playing softly in the background. This demonstrates their ability to deliver both powerful bass and nuanced detail, enhancing the listener’s experience across various genres.

The offered volume range is quite ample. During our testing of battery life, playing our tracklist continuously at 50% volume, I could distinctly hear the music even with the buds placed on my desk. In office settings, with noise cancellation off, I found that listening to a podcast at just 25% volume allowed me to catch every detail without any issues.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5


  • Comfortable and secure fit
  • Touch controls not always very responsive
  • No IP rating

The Moto Buds+ come in two color options in the UK and Australia: Forest Gray and Beach Sand, whereas only Forest Gray is currently available in the US. I received the Beach Sand color variant. The case features a textured matte finish that feels rough to the touch, complemented by a shiny silver hinge located at the back, just above the USB-C charging port. There’s a convenient indentation at the front base of the case, providing a good grip when opening the lid. Both the case and the hinge are solidly built, promising durability and reliability.

Inside the case, there’s a circular button located towards the front that activates pairing mode for the earbuds. When activated, a small blue indicator light on the case flashes. The interior of the case and the inner-ear sections of the earbuds feature a softer matte finish, while the exterior sections and posts have a rough matte texture akin to the outside of the case. Initially indifferent to this texture, I’ve come to appreciate its unique feel over time.

Motorola Moto Buds+

The earbuds, matching the color of the case, feature silicone tips available in small, medium, and large sizes. Each earbud incorporates three microphones: feedforward microphones located atop each post in black for enhanced clarity, feedback microphones nestled alongside the speaker for noise control modes, and talk microphones discreetly housed within the silver base of each post. Touch controls positioned below the feedforward microphone on the outer side of each earbud post offer functionality, though responsiveness varied with occasional missed gestures.

The earbuds were pleasantly lightweight and immediately comfortable when I first used them. Normally, I have to switch to smaller ear tips, but the medium size already on them fit perfectly. With my long hair prone to getting in the way, I often unintentionally dislodge earbuds, but the Moto Buds+ stayed securely in my ears.

Motorola Moto Buds+

Initially, I was apprehensive about the rugged texture of the case, fearing it might easily scratch or gather dirt. However, after several weeks of regular use—being moved between bags, pockets, and placed on various surfaces—it held up admirably. Impressively, despite these conditions, the case only showed minor scuffs that were hardly noticeable except under specific lighting conditions.

Motorola claims the Moto Buds+ feature a water-repellent design that guards against moderate water exposure, like accidental spills or light rain. However, there’s no specified IP rating, which is surprising. Even budget earbuds like the Speck Gemtones Play boast an IPX5 rating, making this omission notable and unusual.

  • Design score: 3.5/5


  • Great quality sound and noise cancellation
  • App and some features only compatible with certain devices
  • No official water resistance rating

The notable drawback of these earbuds is the absence of app support for iOS users, which also poses uncertainties for some Android devices. For instance, we couldn’t install the app on our FiiO M11S music player or older devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9. If your primary device isn’t compatible with the Moto Buds app, there is a workaround: you would need access to a compatible Android device to adjust your settings. However, this solution may not be practical if you frequently change EQ settings.

If you own a compatible device, the Moto Buds+ offer a remarkable deal with Bose-certified sound quality and effective noise cancellation. They come in at a price that’s about $70 lower than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Unlike the Earbuds 2, the Moto Buds+ include features like wireless charging and the ability to connect to a second device, making them a compelling choice for budget-conscious consumers seeking premium audio performance.

Are you willing to spend $129.99 / £129.99 / AU$249 on a pair of earbuds without an official water resistance rating? Motorola’s use of the vague term “water-repellent design” raises some concerns, especially since many top budget earbuds come with IP ratings. If you’re particularly careful, this might not be an issue. However, if you’re prone to accidents or plan to use them in all weather conditions, the lack of an official rating is something to consider before making a purchase.

Motorola Moto Buds+
  • Value score: 4/5


FeaturesThe standout features here are the impressive noise cancellation and the high-quality Bose sound. However, the lack of app support for a significant portion of the market is a major drawback.3/5
Sound qualityThese earbuds deliver a well-rounded and high-quality listening experience, even on the default settings. While pairing them with a compatible Motorola smartphone unlocks the full potential of Dolby Atmos features, the sound quality remains impressive without it.4.5/5
DesignThe touch controls can sometimes be unresponsive, and there’s no official water resistance rating. However, the earbuds and case are well-built, offering a solid and reliable feel overall.3.5/5
ValueIf you have a compatible device, these earbuds are definitely worth the investment. However, it’s important to note that they do not have an official water resistance rating, which is something to consider.4/5

Buy them if…

You want Bose-certified sound for a lower price
The Motorola Moto Buds+ offer up satisfyingly good sound at a much lower price than full-on Bose alternatives, plus they have a couple of features that some Bose earbuds lack too.

You want good active noise cancellation
I really can’t rave about the noise cancellation enough. The way these earbuds cut out the loud ambient noise during flights is fantastic.

You want an earbuds case that can charge wirelessly
A great feature even some of the best earbuds don’t possess is wireless charging. The Moto Buds+ case was perfectly content charging on my Anker 3-in-1 Cube charger.

Don’t buy them if…

You have an iPhone or another incompatible device
Although these earbuds still sound great without the app, you’d be losing out on the ability to make the most of the features, and frustratingly, the Dolby Head Tracking feature is only available with compatible Motorola smartphones.

You want reliable water resistance
Despite many budget earphones offering at least an IPX4 water resistance rating, Motorola has simply labeled the Moto Buds+ design as “water repellent”, which doesn’t give us much faith.

You want super-responsive touch controls
While the touch controls weren’t terrible, they weren’t the most reliable either.


Motorola Moto Buds+Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2Cambridge Audio Melomania M100
Price$129.99 / £129.99 / AU$249$199 / £199 / AU$299$219 / £169 / AU$299
Active noise cancellationYes, adaptiveYes, adaptiveYes
Quoted battery life8 hours (buds), 38 hours (with case)6 hours (buds), 24 hours (with case)10 hours (buds) 33 hours total (with case) with ANC on
Weight4.2g (per bud), 43g (charging case)6.2g (per bud); 59.8g (charging case)6.65g per earbud
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3, aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 

Motorola Moto Buds+
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 

Although they lack wireless charging and multipoint connectivity, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are celebrated as the top noise-cancelling earbuds for their exceptional sound quality and industry-leading noise cancellation. A recent firmware update introduced the Independent Single-Bud Use feature, allowing you to remove one earbud without pausing playback on the other. For an in-depth look, read our full review of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 here.

Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 

Motorola Moto Buds+
Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 

These earbuds offer high-resolution audio without any unnecessary frills, showcasing Cambridge’s focus on quality. One standout feature is the impressive ten-hour battery life, even with active noise cancellation activated. For fans of Matt Berry, there’s an added bonus: his distinctive voice provides updates on pairing status and ANC settings. Interested in more details? Check out our audio expert’s comprehensive Melomania M100 review.


  • Tested the earbuds for a month
  • Used them when commuting, at work, and at home
  • Listened to music and podcasts on Tidal, Apple Music and Spotify

I wore the Moto Buds+ on weekdays for various activities, including listening to music or podcasts during my walk to the train station, on the train, and while navigating a busy city center. In the office, I used them for work calls and to enjoy music while working at my desk. On weekends and during my free time, I continued to use the Moto Buds+, even during a four-hour plane journey.

I tested the battery life of the earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) turned off, following our standard protocols. Typically, I would conduct a complete test with ANC disabled, but these earbuds automatically deactivate ANC when they are not being worn, even if the wear detection feature is turned off. Despite this, I observed that the battery level dropped by 20% in just under an hour.

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