Festive-season sales are over, and most high-end Bluetooth headphones and earphones are off the discount lists now. If you did not buy one when the offers were still in place and are now looking to settle for a decent value-for-money audio device, we can offer you some help.
Business Standard reviewed a few earphones, earbuds and headphones that are not just light on the pocket (well, most of them) but also pack good sound quality. Here are some of our picks:
Fingers TWS Pods
Sometimes, there is a reluctance to go for wireless earbuds, as there is a fear these would slip out of ears, especially while commuting. But, that side, it's a great device to listen to music and attend calls, without the hassle of tangling wires.
Fingers recently launched TWS pods, and it's a tiny set of earbuds with a whopping 30 hours of battery life. So, basically, you have to charge the case once and it goes on and on.
We tried to see how the device stood against the company’s claim, and the result was impressive. We used the earbuds on a week-long trip, and with around 2-3 hours of usage on an average every day; it lasted the entire trip.
On one charge, the smart-charging case can recharge the pods five times. It also has an LED display to show the battery percentage.
The build quality may not seem very good, but what's really impressive is the sound quality. The balance between bass and treble is just right. For everyday use, this fits just fine.
The only thing we weren't comfortable with while using the earphones was the LED light on the earbuds that keeps blinking. It looks good while gaming, but if you're using them in the dark, they tend to distract. There's no way you can turn them off.
Also, you can go for light activities wearing the earbuds. Overall, for Rs 4,100, Fingers has a great offer for people looking for a true-wireless experience in budget.
Realme Buds Wireless earphones
After making a mark in the smartphones segment, Realme has thrown its hat in the audio device segment. Well, the entry has been decent, but now it seems the company is aiming to squeeze in some more room for itself.
Priced at Rs 1,799, the Realme Buds Wireless has been sound-tuned by DJ Alan Walker, and it offers a battery life of up to 12 hours.
Let's start with the looks. It is true that it's all in the detail; when you look at the neckband-style Bluetooth earphones, you'd be more than impressed.
From colour scheme to matte finish, the earphones can give any premium audio device a run for its money.
The neckband is very flexible because of the rubber material it is made of. The yellow wires in the middle add to the looks, but the earbuds with magnetic ends are where is magic happens.
The device weighs 30 g, so you can hardly feel if it's there at all while wearing around your neck. The right module has a charging port and touch buttons for playback, calls, and volume.
The earphones have 11.2mm Bass boost drivers, with Bluetooth 5 and support for the SBC and AAC codecs. The set can also handle swat and drizzle.
An interesting feature in the set is that the earphones automatically turn on when the earbuds are separated from each other, and turn off when they are joined.
Coming to the sound quality, these earphones have a clean output with decent bass. The battery easily lasts about 10 hours on single charge. Realme Buds Wireless, though, is not versatile: We didn't enjoy all genres equally, but they have perhaps the best tuning for everyday use in the sub-Rs 2,000 price range.
Zebronics Envy Bluetooth headphones
Zebronics keeps adding something or other to its audio device portfolio, and the latest addition is a headphone with something appealing when it comes to looks.
With a price tag of Rs 2,969 and a battery life of up to 33 hours on single charge, these over-the-ear headphones fare well on several metrics.
The Zeb-Envy looks appealing with a matte finish and overall build quality. Minor detailing has been taken care of. In fact, the detachable mic is a good idea. It comes in handy while gaming, and you can simply remove it while using for other purposes.
What's impressive is the exterior of the earcups that shows LED lighting. What’s more, there is a dedicated button to change the mode from static to RGB and breathing.
The headphones aren't too heavy, either (238 g), and they are collapsible. That makes it easy to carry them. The earcups are soft and appropriate for extended use.
Coming to sound quality, the 40mm driver makes it versatile for various genres of music. We enjoyed mobile gaming, too. The sound effects felt good, and right in place. The bass wasn't intrusive, either.
The headphones aren't bass-heavy; the tuning is geared towards loudness. However, if you listen to the premium versions of Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube, you would feel the difference in quality.
From a price and performance perspective, Zeb-Envy is a good investment.
Zoook ZB-JAZZ DUO Bluetooth Headphones
Headphones, or speaker? This can do both jobs. These 6-in-1 headphones costs Rs 2,299 but what's on offer is FM Radio and Micro SD card, besides other regular features.
The loudspeaker isn't great, but it works fine in a small space. What's most impressive is the sound quality. We were surprised with the sound as the tuning was just right in place. Behind such good output is the 50mm driver. The Bluetooth 4.2 version does the job well.
From a build perspective, the set may not impress much. It has just the basic look with a plastic work. But the headband and earcups are comfortable. And despite a small size, you can wear them for extended hours. The size also makes it easy to carry during daily commute.
The exterior of the earcups has buttons for various functions.
As for the verdict, what's really impressive about the headphones is the sound quality. The other features are just secondary, as you would not use them often. The looks may not be extraordinary but the sound quality is impressive.
Digitek DB E008 Bluetooth earphones
These neckband-style earphones have a rubber coating over the bands with plastic ends, one of which has the controls for playback, calls and volume.
The earphones have flat wires that make it easy to keep in a bag or anywhere else. The earbuds have magnetic locks that keep them together when not in use.
The earbuds sit in the ear comfortably and don't fall off easily. We used it during light workouts and they did not slip off. The only issue while using them during workouts is that the earphones do not have any IP rating (levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from dirt, moisture, etc.)
The overall build quality is good, and the earphones are light, too. The sound quality may not be the best. The tuning is geared for treble and the output lacks a balance between treble and bass. The treble-heavy sound output also makes it difficult to listen to music at high volumes. But there is no sound leakage which is a good thing.
The call experience using the earphones was decent. The Bluetooth 5.0 makes them quick to connect to your smartphone or any other device. The company claims that the earphones can last up to 25 hours on a single charge, and it did put a good show; we didn't have to charge the set for about a week with 2-3 hours of usage daily.
Priced at Rs 1,495, these earphones may appeal to those who like their music loud. However, for those who want a balanced tuning, this may not a great option.