When the iPhone got rid of its earphone jack, the world was in an uproar. Since then, all the Apple fanboys have now settled down and in fact, wireless earphones like the Air Pods have begun to take off. Today, we get up close and personal with a budget pair of such earphones, the Hi TWS In-ear Wireless Earphones from Bluedio. But whilst budget is always good for those wanting to save their pennies, will the actual audio quality be humming to the same melody? Let’s find out.
BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN – 3.7/5
Before I even opened the box, the first thing I noticed was how lightweight the package was. At first, I thought it was because it was so small, but it’s also partly because the design of the case the Bluedio earphones sit in. It feels as though it’s made from very cheap plastic, that besides being moulded to the earphones so they sit inside comfortably whilst they charge, would offer little protection if someone were to accidentally stand on it. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll probably be ok in your bag or pocket, but if you accidentally dropped it and stood on it, I think you’d split it as easily as a Kinder Egg.
Design-wise though it is a very good idea, having the case act as a protective house for the earphones as well as the charging base for them as well. But again, they don’t feel as though they’re always in quite right if that makes sense. That’s because pins have to come up from the base of the case and stick inside the earphones to charge them up. But they almost wobble a bit when in place, and I think if they had something that would maybe click and hold them steady, as opposed to just resting, I’d feel much better about the whole situation.
The earphones do redeem the whole package though, as they feel much better and the design is quite nice too. As with most designs, it consists of two essential parts; the head that fits into the ear, and the stem as I like to call it which houses the controls, LED indicators and inner magic (or electrical wiring for those who know about this stuff). At the base of the stem is the charging port which I’ve already mentioned above, fits into the case which charges it, but it does feel slightly loose when it sits inside. See the drawing below for a more detailed picture of how the whole package looks and all the characteristics.
AUDIO – 3/5
The most important part of any set of earphones, headphones and speakers is the audio quality. I’ve tried everything from a cheap pair I picked up in an emergency from a pound shop to the £200 set we were sent to review made by Mitchell & Johnson (you can read our review HERE). One thing we’ve learned in our time reviewing audio products is while you can uncover some absolute gems in the budget range, you do quite often get what you pay for. And this is just the case with the Bluedio wireless earphones, unfortunately.
When playing music, the sound isn’t too bad. The volume range is nice but quality does dip at the top end, although compared to some other budget brands, thanks to the air leaking hole at the top (also known as tuning hole), it allows them to adjust the sound quality and frequency response curve. Making for a better audio experience for the user. Although they’re not the best I’ve ever heard, even from budget sets.
However, audio quality fails to shine through even more when using the in-built hands-free feature to take calls from your phone. The mechanics of how it all operates work well, but the audio is dreadful. It’s almost as if you were talking to someone in a wind tunnel, all you can hear is static and whirring noises. The microphone is clear enough that if using an iPhone, Siri can make out commands, but what you hear back is just poor. One thing they do well though is each earpiece keeps in sync with one another despite no cable attachment, which means you won’t have a delay from one to the other as if you were hearing an echo.
COMFORT – 3.5/5
One of the main worries I had, and I’m sure most people have about this style of wireless in-ear earphones, is whether they will stay in your ears. I mean I’ve had may sets, wired and wireless, that fall out all-too-easily. But even the wireless ones tend to be attached together with a cable, and so if one does pop out, you feel secure they’ll hang around your neck so you don’t lose them. With these, however, yes you’ll notice if one falls out unless maybe you haven’t got anything playing at the time, but if they do, you could easily stand on them or even worse, see them fall down a drain or anything. Surprisingly though, they hold in pretty well, and I’ve not had them fall out once since using them, which has been for a number of hours over a few weeks.
Once they’re stuck in your ears though, how comfy are they? Well, they’re not that bad for the most part. They’re moulded to your face essentially to fit in your ear properly and rest down the side of your face without digging in. And when you’re walking around they’ll feel just like any other pair you’ve ever worn, although after wearing for a prolonged period of time, they do become somewhat irritable. But I do tend to feel this way about most in-ear earphones. However, they prove to be less comfortable in a different scenario. My girlfriend likes to listen to music in the bedroom, often to block out my snoring, and she finds them very uncomfortable to wear when falling asleep. Normally she has no problem with falling asleep with them in, using the standard earphones that came with her iPod but whatever the reason, she just can’t settle with these.
FUNCTIONALITY – 4.8/5
One area where the Bluedio Hi TWS In-ear Wireless Earphones do shine though is their functionality, they’re packed with all sorts of features and functions. One such feature is facial recognition. Not in the sense, it can see you to help unlock your phone like your phone’s camera, but it has sensors in the earpieces (the right is the main sensor) and it can detect when you’re wearing it and when it is removed. The reason it does this is to improve battery performance so when you take them out they pause any music playing, and start again when you put them back in.
That’s not the only feature they have though, the buttons on the earpieces play a big part too. One tap will both answer and end a call from your attached phone (connection is via Bluetooth), as well as play and pause music that you’re listening too. Double-tap the same button and it’ll allow you to skip a track to the next in your playlist. And finally, keep hold of the button to open up Siri on your iPhone, or depending on which app you choose, open up Alexa or the Google Assistant on an Android device. As mentioned above it picks up commands really well, just when you accept phone calls the sound quality didn’t seem all that clear.
Finally, the functionality of the earphones case. The idea is sound even if there are some design aspects that could be improved. I love that it acts as a storage place to keep your earpieces, keeping them secure and together inside your bag or pocket. And the fact it doubles up as the charging station is great. It contains a 600mAh battery with each earpiece having a built-in 55mAh battery, meaning they last about 5 hours when listening to music, up to 1000 in standby. But what’s better is because the case charges them off its own battery, every time you take them out and put them away they are charging back up instantly again. A full charge takes about 2 hours in total, so ideal to leave on overnight or whilst you’re in the office at work. But you won’t have to charge them that often at all really, and they’ll pretty much be ready for you to use every time you want.
VALUE FOR MONEY – 4.5/5
In terms of value for money, you can’t go far wrong with these. At just £10.68 they offer a decent audio experience, although they’re not going to blow you away, but, they do the job they set out to do and they do it well enough. They offer a wide range of features and the compatibility with SmartPhones is impressive, not only being able to listen to music and answer calls but also to skip tracks and access the phone’s voice assistant as well. You really do get a lot for your money with these and they’ll last you for a very long time with the battery that both the earpieces and the case have.
OVERALL – 3.9/5
Whilst, not the best set of earphones you’re going to find, they’re a good buy for the price. They’re lightweight and compact, easy to pop in your pocket or bag, and with the in-built batteries, they’ll last you a long time if you forget to charge them thanks to the charging dock built into the casing. There are a few design flaws that I think could be improved and the audio quality whilst not bad when listening to music does dip when taking calls, but when they cost less than a round at a mid-priced pub, I don’t think you’d be too upset buying a pair or receiving them as a gift.
- Lightweight compact design;
- Audio quality is fine for a budget headset, but does falter when using for hands-free calls;
- Packs a fair amount of features and offers good value for money;
- The case concept acting as a protective cover and charge station is good but could feel more sturdy.
If you want to purchase the Bluedio Hi TWS In-ear Wireless Earphones yourself, or just find out more information about the product, you can do so by clicking HERE to go to the listing on the official Gearbest website.