Born out of a successful Kickstarter campaign that just ended in December last year, the Yobybo X-Boat Pro are the first TWS earbuds with what’s called an ‘open case’ design. That’s short for ‘a case with no lid’, because the X-Boat Pro earphones dock directly inside the case’s negative space, the way a pen docks in a pen cap.
There are merits and obviously demerits to this approach, but more on those later. The X-Boat Pro are a pair of TWS earbuds running Bluetooth 5.2, and come with ANC and LDAC support. They’re not markedly different from your regular pair of TWS earphones, and without the case, the earbuds look just like a pair of black AirPods, but their unique case, docking style, and UX is what sets them apart.
Designer: Yuhang Chen
The unique case makes the X-Boat Pro incredibly interesting to look at and use. The earbuds sit within the case, exposed for you to see (so you know if you’ve lost one or not), and taking them out is a nifty single-handed action that your thumbs will instantly fall in love with. Instead of popping the lid open and sliding an earbud out, all you do is press your thumb gently on the stem of the earpiece and its magnetic interaction allows it to pop out of its case. Slipping the earbuds in is equally satisfying, as they click right into their dock with a pleasant snap.
However, this open design does raise a pretty common concern – safety. Although Yobybo ensures that the magnets are powerful enough to securely grab each earbud, it may not be enough to satisfy most skeptics. There’s also a small (but significant) chance that dust may get into the earpieces, or worse, water – a problem considering the X-Boat Pro are only IPx4 water-resistant.
That being said, given most people don’t really go swimming with their earbuds on, and will most likely take their earbuds off in the rain, the X-Boat Pro are a pretty compelling purchase if you’re looking for something unique to impress people with. The earphones have an impressive 40 hours of use (with the charging case) and the case sports a USB-C port on the back that even allows you to reverse charge, using your X-Boat Pros as a (pretty small) battery pack for your phone!
The X-Boat Pro are a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2022.