In just six years, Devialet has literally come from nowhere to become one of the most coveted hi-fi speaker marquees in the market, going head-to-head with Bang & Olufsen with its crisp sounds and revolutionary design. Fans of its products include A-list music artists like power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé , Will.i.am, and business mogul Elon Musk . So the news that the French brand was finally releasing its first earbuds gave rise to much anticipation. Interestingly enough, the Devialet Gemini made a brief appearance, without much fanfare, in-store earlier this year before being pulled, purportedly because there were some urgently outstanding software issues. It quietly made its way back in-store only recently. With its Devialet pedigree, expectations have been high on performance and design. Does it live up to them though? Meet TikTok’s Singaporean CEO, Shou Zi Chew Form and function After the groundbreaking Phantom speakers , the design of the Gemini is a little underwhelming, with only matt black on offer. The small and sleek earbuds come in a relatively large charging case, with a slide-open top. It’s flatter than what you get with the Bose Quietcomfort or the Sony WF-1000XM3 , but slightly bigger than the Airpods Pro , and fits into pockets without an ungainly bulge. I love the slide top that opens the case wider and allows for easier access to the buds, which are held in place by strong magnets. With the Bose case, I often find myself battling the case top, which automatically snaps shut. There is a USB-C port for charging, but you can also top it up wirelessly with a Qi wireless pad. There are four sets of ear-tips to choose from and the small-sized buds are comfortable to wear, although there is a tendency for them to push out after some time, so they’re probably not that suitable for vigorous exercise. The oval-shaped earbuds are solid to the touch without being too heavy, with a demure Devialet “D” logo on the touchpad. Simply electric: Mercedes is bringing sexy back with the EQS Connectivity and controls The earbuds connect easily to my iPhone via Bluetooth. Touch controls are simple, with a single tap on either earbud for play and pause. Double taps on the right forwards one track, while the left takes you to the previous track. A long press on either bud scrolls between Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and transparency mode. I find the size of the buds a disadvantage, especially when they start to push out; there is little room to manoeuvre when I try to push them back in and, more often than not, I end up pausing my audio. The best solution is to make sure the earbuds are fitted snug and tight before you turn on the music. Consequently, the buds also don’t allow for volume control as there is no space to swipe or to add physical buttons. The only way to access additional controls is through the Gemini app, which allows for volume control, sound equalisation and a scroll through ANC, neutral and transparency. You can also engage Siri or Google Assistant via the app. Apple of Steve Jobs’ eye? Meet the tech billionaire’s equestrian daughter Eve Sound and power The sound is where the Gemini blows its competition away. The crisp treble makes for awesome vocal audio, and the bass is strong enough without being too booming. Sound balance is great and energetic even without presetting the equaliser. Finding innovative ways of improving the noise-cancelling earbuds formula is no mean feat, but that’s the task Devialet has set itself with the Gemini. To try and achieve that aim, it has incorporated three of its in-house patented technologies into the buds: Ear Active Matching (EAM), Pressure Balance Architecture (PBA) and Internal Delay Compensation (IDC). The EAM algorithm instantaneously captures the specific ear shape of the listener and tailors the signal to the ear to ensure a fully immersive and intimate listening experience. The PBA relates to the internal structure of the buds and is designed to help regulate the air pressure in your ears, which impacts sound quality and ANC. The latter is also bolstered by IDC, which suppresses high-frequency sounds that often seep through many ANC headphones. Perhaps the ANC is so strong on the Gemini that its other settings pale in comparison. With the ANC on, you can shut out the world and headbang to Metallica or be crooned to by Ed Sheeran to your heart’s content, but put the earbuds into neutral mode and it seems like the world comes crashing back on you as sound quality flies out the window. The Gemini boasts a single charge of six hours, with an additional 18 hours in the case, making for 24 hours in total. It’s nothing to really write home about since that has almost become the current standard. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro offers 28 hours with case, with ANC off, while the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 offers a whopping 45 hours, albeit also without ANC. Battery levels are shown on the case with a status LED that glows green when it has more than 50 per cent of juice left, orange when it dips below 50 per cent and red when it is dangerously low. You can get the exact percentage through the app. What if a superhero designed a supercar? Meet the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro Verdict Despite its delay to the market, it does really feel like Devialet rushed out the Gemini before it was fully ready. At US$320 (HK$2,490), it has many direct competitors in the market, not the least of which is the Sony WF-1000XM4, if you can get a set, which seems to offer a more well-rounded experience. If you have a need to or like to turn off ANC, these are probably not the ideal choice. But if, like me, you have no qualms about shutting out the world forever, you might be tempted by the excellent sound quality. Otherwise, it might be worthwhile to wait for Gemini 2.0, which we’re sure is coming to a store near you soon. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .