If it wasn’t for their use of Apple’s Find My network, the Belkin Soundform Immerse wireless earbuds wouldn’t be much to write home about.
The large and kinda uncomfortable $180 wireless earbuds offer the usual suite of features we’ve come to expect in this price range. Capable active noise cancellation (ANC)? Check. Wireless charging case? Check. Good audio quality? Eh kinda. They even toss in multi-point Bluetooth support which is slowly becoming a new standard feature for higher-end wireless earbuds, plus aptX and Google Fast Pair to round things out.
While the Soundform Immerse check almost all of the boxes, they don’t necessarily execute every category with perfect grace. They’re by no means the worst wireless earbuds around, just not ones that’ll top anyone’s "best of" list.
The most impressive thing about the Soundform Immerse is how well they tie into the Apple Find My network, Apple’s massive low-energy Bluetooth tracking network that lets accessories piggyback on the Bluetooth signal of every nearby iPhone to broadcast their location to owners looking for them. In my testing I found the Soundform Immerse provide a pretty seamless experience when using Find My to locate them, and they even do a better job playing with the network than Apple’s own AirPods.
It’s just a shame everything else about these wireless earbuds is so dull.
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The fundamental issue with Find My integration on AirPods is that the AirPods case has no radios of its own. Instead, the wireless earbuds transmit occasional Bluetooth signals. Since Find My for AirPods rolled out, I’ve always found it to be unreliable. Often, I’ll get CarPlay notifications as I’m driving that I left my AirPods Pro behind when they're actually in my pocket. On the few times I have actually left my AirPods behind at work, that notification didn’t arrive until I was already out of my car and back home. The feature is effectively useless as currently implemented.
Belkin solves this by giving the Soundform Immerse’s case its own always-on Bluetooth radio. I got no false left-behind notifications the entire time I was testing them, and it more reliably notified me when I did intentionally leave them somewhere. The case also has a tiny speaker for pinging it with the Find My app, which I never had trouble connecting to even from far away in an environment where it was near other iPhones.
Thankfully, this feature doesn’t seem to come at the cost of battery life either. My review unit’s case held plenty of charge for a whole week of occasional use and Find My was enabled the whole time. The Soundform Immerse are rated for five hours of playtime with ANC on and seven off, with about three charges in the case, for a total of 28 hours if you don’t use ANC.
The one thing the case lacks that AirPods have is the ability to locate it more precisely with the Find My app, similar to AirTags. While connecting to a nearby set of AirPods can be unreliable, when your iPhone does manage to make a connection, you get a less precise but still useful version of the AirTags' signature "Precision Finding" locating experience. With the Soundform Immerse, you only get a general GPS location for your lost wireless earbuds, and you’ll have to rely on audibly pinging the case to find them once you get there. Aside from this limitation, the Find My experience with the Soundform Immerse is superior to AirPods.
The sound quality on the Soundform Immerse is serviceable, and I think most people would find it pleasing. Belkin’s “Signature Sound” preset leans on boosting the bass for more impact, but mids and highs suffer on the whole as a result. Vocal-heavy tracks and podcasts sound artificial, while snares and percussion have a tendency to get lost in the mix in busier tracks. I will admit you need to listen carefully and do quite a bit of A/B testing between pairs to really notice the Immerse’s shortcomings. There’s nothing that sounds obviously wrong here if you don’t have a strong comparison point, and EQ tuning in the app was able to get me a more balanced sound profile that didn’t suck all the life out of my songs.
The Immerse also aren’t very comfortable. The buds are pretty large and getting a good fit was difficult. Belkin includes wingtips if you want the most secure fit, but they gave me a lot of discomfort (the Sennheiser Momentum 3 still have my favorite wings to date). Belkin’s wing-free option was fine, but the sheer size of the wireless earbuds made securing them more of a challenge. I was able to get the Immerse to stay put, but the seal was tight enough to make extended listening sessions a problem.
If you wear tighter pants, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pocket this case.
On a related note, the charging case also is large; it’s big enough to cause trouble for some smaller pockets. I have some pairs of shorts that held the charging case just fine on a day of errands, but the pockets on a pair of straight-cut jeans proved to be too tight. If you wear tighter pants, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pocket this case.
ANC and transparency modes fell right down the middle for me. They’re each fine, and the ANC was pretty effective in noisier environments. The transparency mode is configurable in the Soundform app; I found 50 percent provides the best balance of outside noise and my own audio. Neither feature brings the real wow factor that more premium ANC wireless earbuds offer, but Belkin does a good enough job to get a passing grade.
The Immerse’s other features are right on the line of being good enough, but they certainly don’t have the fit and finish I’d need in a pair of wireless earbuds flirting with the $200 price range. It's also worth pointing out that Apple might be readying a pair of second-generation AirPods Pro (or AirPods Pro 2 as we're calling them) that are rumored to include improved Find My support for the charging case. Leaked images suggest the AirPods Pro 2 case might come with a built-in speaker as well. If tracking your case is a top priority for your next pair of wireless earbuds, it's probably best to wait to see what Apple releases this fall.