Construction and comfort
The Gemini IIs have a very similar design to their predecessors. It therefore retains its visual surface reminiscent of the iconic Phantom I speakers with the brand logo pasted on them. The design is as precise as ever and the level of finish is impeccable: the different plastic casings are perfectly assembled and the metal decorations provide a truly premium look.
If the looks haven’t really changed, the Gemini IIs are significantly smaller – 22% according to Devialet – than the first Gemini, and this is especially evident in terms of comfort. The Gemini II are quieter in the ear and adapt better to smaller body shapes, allowing them to deliver more global sensations. The headphones are a lot of fun to wear, at least for people who aren’t bothered by the intrusive feeling of an in-ear format. What’s more, the silicone the tips are made of is pleasant to the touch. Four pairs are provided in different sizes.
However, Gemini IIs can rest slightly condensed on the tragus, antihelix, and/or conch depending on the shape of the ears. Therefore, wearing headphones requires taking few breaks during long listening sessions to avoid any pain. Furthermore, while the headphones stay in place most of the time, they may tend to come out of the earbuds when you’re running or just playing with your jaw.
Luxurious and easy to carry case
Like the jewelry box, the case containing the Gemini II is particularly luxurious. The plastic is of excellent quality and the metal frame has a particularly luxurious look, which some might describe as ostentatious. Moreover, the level of finish is perfect and traces of assembly are very hidden, except for the visible joints between the metal edge and the imitation metal plastic panel on the back. The pairing button is also located in the middle of this panel. There is a USB-C port at the bottom.
Like the headphones, the case was on a slimming diet. 40% smaller than its predecessors, it now fits easily into a pants pocket. The hinge changes from a sliding system to a lidded opening that is easy to operate with one hand.
Comprehensive and customizable orders
When first testing Gemini, we noticed a lack of customization and specific customization of the controls. Devialet seems to have rectified the situation with these Gemini II devices, which are much more versatile than their predecessors. Out of the box, the controls available are comprehensive: it is possible to manage playback, switch from one listening mode to another, navigate between tracks, manage calls, and even control the volume. The tactile surfaces are also responsive, but be careful not to tap too hard or you’ll be deafened by the resulting valve effect.
However, some ergonomic concerns remain. For example, the command to change the listening mode is the same as the command to reject calls. Therefore, you must wait until you pick up the phone before you can change the listening mode. Additionally, noise reduction remains on during calls and there is no voiceover function. Additionally, although many of the controls are customizable within the app, the volume level and actions available during calls are not. Finally, if the Gemini II were to be used solo, the controls would then be truncated and forward/backward navigation between tracks or full volume control would no longer be possible.
Some connection problems
Pairing with the in-case headphones is performed by long pressing the button located on the back of said case. The Gemini IIs then communicate via Bluetooth 5.2 and are compatible with SBC, AAC, and aptX codecs. It features a multipoint function that allows it to connect to two devices simultaneously. The headphones also feature a proximity sensor to pause music when removed from the ears.
Although the connection was stable most of the time, we did experience some difficulties like small drops here and there when listening to music and during certain calls. It also happened to us several times that the pairing, after a long press of the appropriate button, did not work, forcing us to repeat the process several times before it worked.
We measured Bluetooth latency at around 225ms, which fortunately compensates for video content. Games remain exempt from any compensation, which can be a problem for titles that require pacing or reflexes.
The Devialet app is fully stable on iOS and Android, and brings together some settings and parameters aimed at customizing the headphones. We thus find a six-band equalizer remaining in the headphones’ memory, pre-recorded equalization profiles, a pane for customizing the controls and an accurate visualization of the remaining battery level. The strange thing is that you need to create an account to access the Android app, and not its iOS counterpart. Additionally, it’s impossible to navigate the app if one of the headphones remains in its case.
For the second edition of the headphones, Devialet designed entirely new speakers and amplification systems. Despite everything, Geminis II remain very close to their ancestors, and this does not displease us. The headphones thus provide active, impressive and very well-controlled sound reproduction.
Like the first Gemini, the Gemini II is very clear out of the box with punchy bass and high mids that sound a bit clunky, thus a sound signature that can be tiring in the long run. Fortunately, all you have to do is take a quick swipe through the equalizer for the magic to happen. By significantly reducing the bass (-4dB) and treble (-4dB) levels, the Gemini II finds a true balance.
Once this balance is re-established, we can’t help but be impressed by the level of detail and accuracy of the display. The headphones benefit from a very nice extension in the bass with a real feeling of sitting; Voices are always written and crystal clear; Stamps are fully respected. We also appreciate the natural reproduction of the trilogy, which is also remarkably accurate. Sure, more trained ears can detect a slight lack of homogeneity in the bass and high-mid frequencies, but nothing that can really detract from the listening experience.
The soundstage was also very well arranged and faithfully reproduced. Its large width and good depth make it possible to identify different sources without any problem. We also pay tribute to the excellent dynamics demonstrated by Gemini II.
Insulation and noise reduction
Insulation and noise reduction
Unlike the previous Gemini, which offered different powers of noise reduction, listening to ambient sounds, and a “passive” mode, the Gemini II makes do with one noise reduction mode, one mode for listening to ambient sounds, and ignoring “bad mood.”
Thus, the single noise reduction mode provides simply amazing performance in terms of bass attenuation. The sounds of engines and the roar of trains are impressively dampened, as is the static noise of the ventilation. In this area, the Gemini II manages to keep up with the Sony WF-1000XM5, the champions in this field. The Devialet headphones are also very adept when it comes to canceling wind noise.
On the mid- and treble attenuation front, the results are a bit mixed. In fact, the passive isolation offered by the Gemini II is fairly true, but it’s a step behind the competition and is in stark contrast to the strong reduction of low frequencies. Some sounds, such as tires skidding on the road, keyboard tapping, or nearby chatter, remain partially audible. However, this “shy” attenuation of the mid and high frequencies should be kept in mind, because in reality, it is more than enough for you to immerse yourself in a bubble of calm and enjoy your music.
Furthermore, the difference between the strong bass attenuation and the lighter midrange reduction causes a suppressed feeling that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Listen to surrounding sounds
Listen to surrounding sounds
The ambient listening mode on board the Gemini IIs does the job. We are able to clearly discern what is around us, understand various nearby discussions and recognize audio alerts. All sounds are transcribed normally. However, the extension in the high frequencies is so limited that distant elements cannot be properly appreciated and the passive isolation of the headphones is completely forgotten.
Rich, dynamic and accurate sound reproduction (and balanced after equalization).
Very effective in reducing noise on bass.
The finishes are impeccable.
Many features (multipoint, aptX codec, wireless charging, etc.).
Passive insulation is a bit disappointing.
Some ergonomic errors in terms of controls.
Sometimes connection problems.
Battery life is a bit tight.
How does the evaluation work?
A perfect combination of luxury and audio excellence, the Gemini II are particularly luxurious headphones, which manage to deliver a truly remarkable listening experience. We also applaud the onboard noise reduction performance, which nonetheless lags behind the impressive Sony WF-1000XM5. More comfortable, more customizable and above all more advanced than their predecessors, the Gemini IIs still suffer from some technical issues and a rather low autonomy compared to the competition.
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