If you've followed me enough, you know that 1) I am an audiophile, 2) I'm a runner, and 3) I've gone through a lot of headphones. That being said, it's quite possible I've found my last pair of on-the-go bluetooth earbuds.
When you're on-the-go, you need three things from your technology:
- Long life
Without these three items in place, that mobility-centric technology is worthless. I've seen that more times than I care to...especially in the realm of peripherals and wearables. In fact, the most recent piece of wearable technology I'd experienced was the Jaybird Bluebud X...one that left a rather bad taste in my mouth for bluetooth headphones.
So you can imagine my trepidation when Aukey sent me a pair of their Bluetooth Headphones V4.1. At a $29.99 USD price point, you can bet I was skeptical. To make the waters of faith even more murky, Aukey doesn't even list the phones on their official company site. It seems the official page for these headphones is Amazon.com (where a scant amount of reviews have them rated fairly high).
"What do I have to lose?" I asked myself. Not much, was the answer. So I set out to pair them with a phone I have dedicated for my runs and prepared to put them through the paces.
Pairing was incredibly simple:
Press and hold a button on the top of one of the "buds" until a light flashes between red and blue and then accept the connection on the phone. Pairing occurred without a hitch. They were connected and ready to go.
Slipping these babies on wasn't nearly as easy as pairing. At rest, the phones fall into a tight little circle (Figure A).
The Aukey headphones at rest.
You must unfold the headphones and then place them in your ears such that the branding is right side up (Figure B), otherwise the sound will drastically suffer (due to the angle of the buds).
The correct positioning of the Aukey headphones.
And now...putting them to test.
The first thing I noticed was the sound. From headphones at this price point, I would have expected a bit too much midrange and little (or too much bass). The truth of the matter is, Aukey nailed the mix. Once you get the phones seated just right, the sound is quite impressive. In fact, the Aukey's could easily stand up to the sound of the much more expensive Bluebuds.
I ran with these for about two weeks of hot summer temperatures...which means sweat. After the second week, the pair failed...exactly like the Bluebuds. I contacted the company, they insisted it was the battery, and sent me a replacement pair. The second pair...held up and haven't succumbed to rigors of heavy exercise yet.
But don't assume these 'phones are just for exercise. If you're looking for an ideal pair of headphones (that do happen to include a built in mic for calls) to travel with, these are it. No more wires and no more having to deal with fragile earbuds. Pop these babies in, use 'em, pop 'em out, and stuff 'em in your bag. They're rugged and always return to that wound up state for the ultimate in mobility.
I'm not saying these are perfect. They aren't. They look a little odd and, if you're wearing the right (or wrong, as it were) pair of sunglasses, the plastic of the device will make an audible "clicking" as they tap against the ear pieces of your glasses (only as you run...walking isn't an issue). In fact, to silence that sound, I wound up having to attach moleskin over the plastic (where it came into contact with the glasses). That did the trick. I contacted the company to inform them of the issue. Maybe they'll put a nice soft coating over that portion of the plastic. Who knows.
As to battery life? I managed to get a week's worth of runs from a single charge. That's just over 6 hours, so battery shouldn't be an issue for most users.
Even with it's awkward looks and easily-fixable clacking noise, the Aukey bluetooth headphones are a winner. The combination of sound, ease of use, and reliability make this $29.99 USD investment very much worth it.
Have you found the ideal bluetooth headphones? If so, what was your choice and what made them work for you?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.