SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review.

Sure those PowerBeats headphones Apple showed off might look the business but the reality is not everyone can afford the $199. I mean how is it possible that a set of headphones with a fraction of the technology an iPhone contains costs 1/3 the price? Granted a lot goes into speaker technology but still.

So today I’m looking at completely the other end of the spectrum of headphones with a price range that most mere mortals can afford, the SoundPeats Q12. Who knows if due to some dodgy translation it was supposed to be SoundBeats.

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SoundPeats Q12 Bluetooth Headphones Review. Worthy Of Your Consideration

Sure those PowerBeats headphones Apple showed off might look the business but the reality is not everyone can afford the $199. I mean how is it possible that a set of headphones with a fraction of the technology an iPhone contains costs 1/3 the price? Granted a lot goes into speaker technology but still.

So today I’m looking at completely the other end of the spectrum of headphones with a price range that most mere mortals can afford, the SoundPeats Q12. Who knows if due to some dodgy translation it was supposed to be SoundBeats

Still with an asking price of just £19.95/ $24.99 expectations shouldn’t be too high but then again my last inexpensive wireless set won me over.

Specifications.

Before my review units arrived I raised my eyebrow sceptically after seeing the Amazon listing page.

Yes it comes with 3 different sizes ear hooks and ear tips, weighs in at 15 grams, the magnetic feature letting you “attach the two earpieces together and wear it like a cool necklace” but it all falls down when you see “built in with aptX and Bluetooth 4.3 Technology”. According to wikipedia there is no such thing.

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Construction.

Those of a self or style conscious nature may want to look elsewhere as these headphones protrude noticeably. You could be forgiven for thinking they were designed around an Uhura style Star Trek communicator, but if you stick with them you reap the reward of a comfortable fit and despite its look of bulk, a lightweight design that holds steadfast during physical activities.

In the real world of trail running, three half marathons, cycling and general dog walking duties never once have these fallen out or caused any discomfort even with several hours of usage.

With such a protruding set of earphones things get bleaker with a head wind. Unless both are firmly lodged into the cranium perhaps more than I am comfortable with, wind sheer noise and whistle is amplified.

On a run it’s not that bad unless it’s a humdinger of a headwind but on a cycle you end up having to crank up the volume to compensate. A bandanna or buff helps no end but that creates a whole load of health and safety issues all of its own.

Between each earpiece the cord does a great job of keeping cable noise out. Being slightly stiffer than similarly reviewed units, never once have I noticed distracting cable bounce, either worn with cable down the front or wrapped around the back of my skull

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Controls.

Button controls are nicely spaced on a flat controller, comprising of volume up & down and power. A firm press between thumb and forefinger is needed to register a press but the generous spacing meant I never accidentally hit the wrong button.

Siri controls are a bit finicky taking some time to master. The gap between a two second press and power off takes some mastering as you don’t get the Siri “ding dink” letting you know it’s ready for your bidding. It’s worth taking the time to read the manual to become acquainted with the controls.

Battery life hits the sweet spot of 4 hours of listening, about a day and a bit on standby and a few hours to charge up fully. A quick plug in and charge for 15 minutes from dead gave me a nice 45 minutes or thereabouts.

Yet.. for the love of god (and or any other deity you may or may not worship) please, please, please, don’t have an annoying voice that comes on every 18 seconds just to announce power low. Please.

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Sound quality.

Happily I would say “not bad at all”. There’s nothing exactly special about sound quality nor would I expect there to be at this price point of wireless earphones. However, with a vast collection of music from Taylor Swift, Iron Maiden, Dance, Trance plus Podcasts never once have I been unhappy with the sound. Stereo separation is clear and obvious, high ends manage to avoid any sibilance. A bit more booty in the bottom end for bass would be welcomed, but overall a capable set of headphones soundwise.

Support.

For months these never missed a beat, coping with runs, cycles and general dog walking across rugged terrain then one day they steadfastly refused to connect to my iPhone.

Pairing is achieved by pressing and holding the power on button, a voice then declares “power on” followed by “pairing”.

This time around no voice was to be heard and despite a flashing blue / red LED light to indicate pairing, nothing was happening. Powering off then back on with a myriad of button presses proved to be futile and left two Labradors wondering what the heck the hold up was on our Saturday afternoon run.

After 15 minutes it was time for the manual. Great for describing the functions and how to use them, but in the realms of a chocolate teapot when troubleshooting. Same for the website and even with a stupid amount of time spent googling for the issue all I could find was a PDF of a different model.

Time ran away and some 30 minutes later (45 minutes since I wanted to go out) after a strange and complex ritual of plugging in the USB cable, whilst pressing and holding buttons (all whilst chanting an ancient and arcane incantation 😉 ) I was suddenly able to connect and listen.

This is always the problem when buying Chinese based electronics. When they work a certain amount of smugness is permitted in the knowledge you bought something that works just as well as higher priced products. The price to pay is if it goes wrong, or you have an issue you’re usually screwed.

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Overall.

At £19.59 / $24.99 at the time of writing for the SoundPEATS Q12 I’d put these in a category of “heavily consider” that’s if you can bear the pokingoutness of this style. Controls are solid, after real world punishment these are still holding together nicely.

It’s a shame about the lack of English support (read: none) from SoundPeats own website. However that’s the price you pay and aside from that one time of pairing hell, they have been flawless.

The carrying case is a nice, practical addition, matching the $99 Jaybirds Sport headphones’ one in terms of quality.

If I had to rate these earphones on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give them a 7.5 and place it in the “heavily consider” category.

Available via Amazon US and Amazon UK

Review: Jabra Move Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones

With the recent rumours that Apple might be eliminating the audio jack on the next iPhone we may soon be looking for Bluetooth headphones to replace the standard ones that Apple supplies.

Now I have no issue with Apple’s earbuds other than I’ve never had a pair that managed to stay inside my lug holes for any extended period of time. In fact I often notice folks walking along nonchalantly sporting the famous white earbuds that appear to be glued to their ears without any issues and it has always caused me a pang of jealousy.

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I recently read an article by Serenity Caldwell on iMore that mentioned the Jabra Move Bluetooth Headphones and I thought I’d take a punt on the device. Priced at £53 on Amazon (price may fluctuate) there are many cheaper BT headphones available, some I have purchased previously such as the Bluedio HT, which are available for £18.99

Firstly I was impressed with the packaging. It’s funny but I never even considered packaging until I bought my first few Apple products. I used to only care that the packaging protected the device in transit but now I pay closer attention to how the packaging presents the product as I open it and does it give me that ‘Wow’ factor.

The box contains the headphone (obviously, if not then something had gone terribly wrong), a USB cable for charging, an audio lead (for if you get caught short of power) and an instruction manual (which I glibly ignored….I’m a guy, it’s what we do).

The earphones come in three colours, red, blue and black. Not being that adventurous when it comes to colours, I opted for the black version. I was quite surprised by how small and compact the headphones are. They consist of a padded headband, padded ear-cups and a length of curved metal attaching them both.

The controls are quite limited but essentially cover everything you might need in your earphones. There is a controller on the left ear-cup that controls the volume as well as stopping and starting the track you’re listening too. Next to this is the audio jack to use the earphones if they run out of power.

The right ear-cup contains the USB charging port along with the On/Off switch, which also doubles up as the Bluetooth syncing button.

I haven’t heavily tested out these earphones for accepting phone/Skype calls but they do work for this function, and sounded fine in the limited testing I have done.

Although the headphones already had some charge in them on unboxing, I resisted my desire to try them out right away and attached the USB cable to charge them fully. This didn’t take very long and I was soon ready to pair the headphones to my iPhone.

As it turned out this was simply a case of pushing and holding the on/off switch for an extra few seconds, that placed the Jabra Move set into seeking Bluetooth mode. I then simple went to Settings > Bluetooth on my iPhone and selected the now visible Jabra Move and violin….I mean viola, they were connected. The device can link with up to eight separate bluetooth devices but only two can be active at any one time. It is also very easy to quickly reset to factory settings should you need too.

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Once connected I slipped the Jabra Moves onto my head, slipped my phone in my pocket and headed out for a power-walk.

The first thing that struck me was how comfortable the earphones were. I have a fairly big head (don’t say anything) and earphones tend to crush a little. The Jabra Move felt very comfortable and the cushioning on the ear cups meant that after a very short period of time I hardly even noticed I was wearing them.

Obviously the most important aspect of any earphones is the sound. The Bluedio HT earphones, that I mention earlier, had always sounded fine to me but the Jabra Move just moved the sound quality up several levels. I mainly listen to Rock and Country music, with the odd smattering of Podcasts and Audiobooks, while working out and I have been pleased with the quality of all these formats. I’m sure they wouldn’t win many awards from dedicated audiophiles; but to my ears they sounded fantastic. After all, I was listening over Bluetooth and from a compressed audio sources.

Keeping all of that in mind, I still enjoyed the gentle sounds of the opening to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ as well as the more pounding beats of AC/DC and Metallica tracks.

It has been a few weeks since I took delivery of the Jabra Moves and I have continued to wear them every time I go out, both for commuting and when training. They remain comfortable and reliable and last for many hours between charges. I have had the odd occasion where the Bluetooth appeared to be dropping out; however I eventually tracked this down to a streaming issue with Apple Music, so it wasn’t the Jabra’s fault at all.

I have synced them with a number of devices during this period and every time the process has been simple and fast.

If you are on the look out for some headphones as a possible replacement for your current audio ear-wear you should really consider giving the Jabra Moves a look.

Manufactures Link

Available at Amazon

Aftershokz Bluez 2S Review – Cycle And Run Safer With Music In Your Head

The Aftershokz Bluez 2S are a different type of headphones, headphones that will let you run or cycle whilst still being able to hear what’s going on around you. The Aftershockz are wireless but they don’t go in or over the ear.

They actually conduct the sound via your cheekbone which is really weird but the technology is really cool and also really works.

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Active Wrap Headphones Review. Only $29 yet incredibly uncomfortable

SPBEAT9-Active-Wrap-EarPhones_thumb.jpeg

These SPBEAT9 Active Wrap Headphones kicking around on the stack social website for a tempting $24 plus shipping. It might seem like a no-brainer to get a set of wireless headphones given the price points but before you spend your money read on.

Updated.  Avoid these at all costs.  You can now purchase these for just $5 from AliExpress and since publishing TRNDLabs have removed the SPBEAT9 branding.  In short they’ve purchased these cheap, written some copy, taken a few pictures and watched the cash roll in.

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Reviewed : Denon AHC560R In Ear Headphones with Remote & Mic

Denon AHC560R Box

The Apple supplied headphones can be described as mediocre at best and I’ve long been on the hunt for a decent set of headphones without a bank balancing crushing price. I use my headphones everyday for long periods of time that would pretty much be considered unhealthy, so I was overjoyed when I discovered the Denon AHC560R on sale. But once again like my last headphone purchase, disappointment promptly welcomed me when I opened up the box.
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Sony DR-EX300iP In-Ear With Remote & Mic Worse than Stock Apple Headphones

Sony DR-EX300iP Headphones

I’m not overly fussy or picky when it comes to technology but I do like to do a bit of research first, especially something that I use all the time.  For example I wont purchase a cheap mouse or keyboard because “it’ll do” as that just stupid and headphones are no exception.  Finding these Sony DR-EX300iP heaphones and checking out their 4 and 5 star review you’d think it’s a no brainer and for someone like me needing, no craving some better phones for iPhone I bought a set of these Sony DR-EX300iP with high hopes.

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