Step into any gym in the world and you’re likely to find the vast majority of people tucked into their own corner of the world, working out in silence, seemingly oblivious to everyone else. The reason for this isolation is almost immediately obvious once you look around, MUSIC!
Almost everyone I know, myself included, listens to music while exercising and while there are many different reasons why that is, one of the more common ones is focus. In short, listening to music while in the gym helps to maintain your focus on the exercises and distracts from the pain of physical exertion, increasing your athletic performance by up to 15%.
That being said one of the hardest things to do is find a pair of earphones/headphones suitable for exercise, most headphones are too heavy and bulky, and common earbuds will almost certainly keep falling out (which, let’s be honest, is probably up there with the most annoying things in the world).
Therefore it’s essential you choose headphones that practically disappear on your head (lightweight, perfect fit and great comfort) and still maintain a lively/fun sound to get you in the zone!
Click on each product to go straight to the review on this page.
|Samsung Level U Pro Wireless||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||Moderate|
|Altman QCY E265||⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|
|AYL QY8||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|
|TOTU G6-4||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|
Samsung Level U Pro Wireless In-Ear Headphones
Samsung’s Level U Pro In-Ear Wireless headphones are part of a series of three (currently) released by Samsung in recent times to combat LG’s popular Tone range.
The Level U Pro Wireless In-Ear’s sit right between the Samsung Level U’s and the Samsung Level U Pro Active Noise Cancelling Headphones in terms of their price as well as the order of release.
Although all three sets bear huge resemblances, there are still some key elements that differ and I will pay special attention to those differences in this review.
Design and Fit
The neckband design pioneered by LG has gained traction and is increasingly finding its way into just about every Bluetooth enabled headphone on the market, including this one. To be fair LG hit a goldmine here as this design is really convenient (for most people) and solves so many of the problems that have generally plagued wireless headphones, so it’s no surprise that Samsung, like so many others, lifted it for themselves.
The Wireless Level U Pro’s come in four distinct colors ranging from the usual all black, to a glossy bronze, and daringly sporty blue and purple. While the blue and purple versions are boldly sporty and playful, the black and bronze versions are understated elegance at its best.
Going back to the neckband, it houses the usual assortment of playback and volume controls on the right side, a microphone on the same side and a well-placed USB C port. All of the above are arranged in such a way that they’re distinct and easily accessible and yet don’t look the least bit clunky.
Last but not least, the same neckband houses the all important battery that powers the whole set.
The ear-tips are silicone gel that molds to the shape of your ears when you stick them in, providing a tight but moderately comfortable seal that makes them noise isolating. The same ear-tips are used in exactly the same way in the Samsung Level U Pro ANC’s but the Level U’s feature a pair of Stabilizing Wing Ear Gels.
Honestly, while I do like the tight seal of the Wireless Level U Pro’s, I would have liked to have the Stabilizing Wings too as they would make this set more stable when exercising, which would be great as the current design means they will inevitable fall out if you use them in that context like I did.
While they do tend to fall out during vigorous activity, the headphones are very light and can quite easily be forgotten when not in use.
Of course like it’s cousins, the Wireless Level U Pro features magnets at the back of the earbuds to clasp them together when not in use.
The fact that they’re water resistant (they don’t have an IP rating though so might be best not to dunk them in water) is another tick in their favor.
Featuring a dual 13 mm speaker design, the Wireless Level U Pro’s provide a sound well above their price range (for Bluetooth headphones of course) and are a sign that wireless headphones might finally be starting to catch up to their wired counterparts.
Samsung maintains that they are best used with any Samsung device that supports UHQ audio (of course) in order to enjoy their full benefits, and while those claims may or may not be true, they’re worth noting at least for information’s sake.
The bass response from these headphones is tight and rumbles like distant thunder at all the right times and that’s all without being significantly boosted.
The presence of a midrange is equally welcome as it is authoritative enough not to be drowned out by the bass. The only problem seemingly comes with the treble, which is boosted somewhat to the point of sibilance, a flaw especially prominent at high volumes and in quiet environments.
Nevertheless like I said above, the sound quality is pretty good, and you won’t find many sub-$100 Bluetooth headphones out there that can match it.
The Bluetooth connection is seamless and shouldn’t give you any trouble whatsoever, both when pairing and in terms of range.
The battery lasts for about 9 hours after just over an hour of charging, which is just about what Samsung claims.
Like its cousins, the Wireless Level U Pro is compatible with the free android app by Samsung called Level. With it, you can adjust your equalizer settings, dramatically improving your listening experience.
You can also customize your settings to make sure you receive notifications in the form of the neckband vibrating when you have incoming calls or texts.
The headset will also read your text notifications for you if you so wish.
The wireless headphones are still behind wired ones in terms of quality of sound, comfort, etc. However, it’s clear to see that it’s catching up fast and it’s no wonder because so many manufacturers are racing to perfect the wireless headphone. The first to that line will undoubtedly corner a huge slice of what will surely be a considerably huge cake.
And while the Samsung Level U Pro Wireless headphone is not perfect by any means, it’s a step in the right direction. Its problems aren’t too significant and could be fixed with a little more effort, for example, it’s comfortable but that comfort could be significantly improved and the treble could do without that extra push that leads to distortion at times.
That said Samsung got just about everything else right here from the sound quality, if you ignore that little treble push, to the design which is light, portable, durable, and really good looking regardless of the color option you go for.
And with that said, if you’re on the lookout for a wireless headphone this could be just the one you’ve been looking for. If you’ve been a skeptic, well, prepare to be seduced.
TaoTronics TT-BH07U Bluetooth Headphones Review
Design and Comfort
For less than $40 you wouldn’t expect much in terms of design and build quality from any earphones, much less wireless ones. However this is one of the qualities where the TaoTronics TT-BH07U excel.
The minimalistic all black design (well almost, the word Tao on the in-line remote is enclosed in orange) gives the earphones a certain sleek and stylish look, the metal alloy finish on each of the earbuds further adds to that while bringing durability to the mix as well.
The two earbuds are connected by a short cable with a built in in-line remote, the cable is designed to be placed behind your neck so as not to distract you during your workout. The earbuds each have a built in magnet at the back that allows you to clasp them together when not in use in much the same way you’d wear a necklace.
The TT-BH07U’s are fairly comfortable and can be worn for 3-4 hours at a time without developing ear fatigue and they have managed to stay in place during my somewhat vigorous exercise regimes, something I really appreciate (haven’t had to readjust even once). This feature is a result of the hooks attached to the earbuds. These hooks position against your ear canals in such a way that the earbuds are secure without compromising too much comfort.
In the box TaoTronics includes three sets of ear tips to accommodate different ear sizes.
My main attraction to the TT-BH07U’s stemmed from the fact that they’re wireless (Bluetooth 4.1 capable), but this is also where they seem to falter a little.
First I had problems pairing with my device (tried 3 of them) until after some online research I discovered the instructions in the box are wrongly worded, if you try pairing while the earphones are on (as the instructions say) you will only succeed in switching them off. So to pair, switch them off and hold the play button for about 7-10 seconds (not 5 as the instructions say).
Once paired the Bluetooth technology has a pretty good range of about 10 meters, however the sound begins to crackle at about 6 meters.
The other problem I had stemmed from the fact that this range is valid only in line of sight conditions and once any obstructions come into play it’s drastically reduced so you’re going to have to keep your device in your pocket while using these, which to be fair is a minor inconvenience if at all really.
This is where the TaoTronics excel, for their price range. The sound is powerful and easily good enough to beat out some more highly priced competitors in the earphone market in general.
Strong bass is met with well formed mids and fairly strong highs and the set packs enough punch to deal with high volume levels without too much distortion to the various sound spectra.
The in-line remote has three controls, two for volume and the center button for play/pause and answering calls if on mobile.
A built-in mic with CVC 6.0 Noise Isolation technology means you can make and answer calls without having to stop your workout and your voice will sound clear and strong to the other person on the line and filter out any background noise around you.
According to the manufacturer, you get around 5 hours of listening out of 1-hour charge, which was pretty accurate in my experience.
All things said and done the TaoTronics are a good set of budget earphones for exercise purposes.
Their unobtrusiveness means they can work well in regular everyday use as well if you don’t wear them for too long.
The worst thing about them is they aren’t the most comfortable earphones out there, even at their price range, while the sound quality is far and above their best feature.
The wireless capability is an advantage as well and besides the minor inconveniences of wrongly worded instructions and out of sight range it works pretty well.
So if you have budget constraints in your hunt for good earbuds that don’t fall out then these are probably the best bet for you.
Senso ActivBuds S-250 Review
Design and Comfort
The Senso ActivBuds are one of the most stylish low end headphones you will find and one glance at them will tell you that they were made for the style conscious.
The simple all black color, with red on the buds themselves, is elegant with a hint of functionality.
The over the ear hooks are not stiff as you would find in most of the same type but soft and mushy, and wearing them wasn’t just comfortable, it was oddly relaxing.
The ear hooks are to ensure the earbuds don’t fall off during exercise and they do so quite well. The buds themselves are gel flex silicone, meaning they adjust to the shape of your ear and don’t strain your ears in any way, a fact I highly appreciate big as I am on comfort (of course as is the norm the box contains two other different sized buds to accommodate different ear sizes).
Now forgive me if I haven’t mentioned one of the standout features that comes with the ActivBuds I thought the style deserved due praise, in a word though, WATERPROOF.
Yes, the ActivBuds have an IPX 7 waterproof rating and not only can they be submerged in water (up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes at a time) they are sweat resistant, meaning goodbye sweaty, smelly earbuds (for me at least). The rating also means you can take a bath/shower without risking any damage to them(just don’t exceed 30 minutes).
The two earbuds are connected by a soft, flexible cable designed for wear behind your neck. The cable is tangle free, so no risks there.
With Bluetooth 4.1 technology connection with any device is seamless. The range is 30 feet and you can move around in any direction for most of that distance without experiencing any static or cutting out.
Now with most headphones in this niche the range usually applies in line of sight terms, not so with the ActivBuds. I put two walls between myself and my phone and moved around without any hassle with static only coming into play about 7 meters away, which is pretty good.
The battery life however is reportedly 8 hours but I’ve only been able to use them for up to 6 hours at a time, a huge discrepancy but certainly not a deal breaker in my book (an LED light lets you know if the battery is low).
Surprisingly the headphones themselves come with a lot of accessories, more than usual in this market I should say. The box comes packed with a sleek metal car charger with two ports, a micro USB cable and a converting lightning/USB cable, a hard clam-shell case to carry them in, and the aforementioned extra buds. Talk about overkill.
It’s a given that most Bluetooth headphones aren’t comparable with wired headphones in terms of sound quality, put simply they’re rarely ever as good as they’re wired counterparts. While this is true, I have to say the ActivBuds truly underwhelm here. I don’t know if the design, comfort and wireless aspects set the standard too high or Senso just didn’t put as much effort here. Either way I was disappointed.
The bass is slightly muddy and there aren’t really any highs to speak off, while the mids are the only saving grace as they are fairly solid, the volume is also pretty loud and I’ve never used it at over 70% so if it does cover some of the sins.
The CSR Bluetooth technology also helps, especially when making or receiving calls as it ensures you can transition seamlessly between calls and music without missing a word. The right earbud has built-in controls and a mic, pretty useful for controlling your music and answering calls.
Are They Worth It?
The biggest let down with the ActivBuds is the sound quality, which is a pretty important quality. Average sound quality just doesn’t cut it these days and that’s what these headphones ultimately deliver.
However there are plenty worse that cost more so it’s possible I’m being too harsh here. I think it’s fair to say the high-quality craftsmanship together with the sense of style and quality you get from wearing these headphones might have raised my expectations a little too much, after all these are low end and something has to be sacrificed.
In terms of comfort and design these are one of the best you can find for this price so if those are qualities you hold in high regard then these headphones were made with you in mind.
And lest you forget WATERPROOF! It’s safe to say many will be using the ActivBuds for a while to come just for that alone (me included).
Jaybird X2 Review
The X2’s might already be a few years old, but being so popular I couldn’t resist in trying them out, as I believe these are still top performers in 2017.
Design and Comfort
That the X2’s aren’t just your run of the mill wireless headphones is evident the minute you open the box.
The layout of the items in the box is clearly well thought out and the extra goodies packed in with the earphones are clearly high quality. The different color combinations that the X2’s come in are all sporty, playful but decidedly compelling and classy at the same time. The classy look however doesn’t hide the fact that the headphones are a bit bulky and feel that way when wearing them although they are quite light.
The ear-tips used already in use when they arrive are made from a fairly comfortable high quality silicone material. In the box are 6 sets of ear-tips, three foam and three silicone, and while it took a little time for me to figure out the perfect fit, it was well worth trying. The Comply foam ear-tips that I ended up choosing are some of the most comfortable ear-tips I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
The patented Secure-Fit ear fins are meant to snuggle against the lower side of your ear-canal for greater fit and they keep the earbuds secure in your ears in the process, the fact I haven’t had to readjust them once during my workouts is testament to how well they work.
An in-line remote is present along the cable, close to the right earbud and the charging port is hidden behind the brand decorated cap at the back of the same earbud. The cable connecting the two buds seems, at 21 inches, to be a bit too long. Jaybird explains the length as a style choice to allow users to choose whether to wear the headphones over-ear or under-ear, and those opting for under-ear will have the use of cable clips.
Durability also seems to be another strong feature of these headphones judging by the materials used in making them. And the fact they’ve been a fan favorite for several years in that regard is further proof.
Super Bluetooth and Other Perks
The wireless connectivity on the X2’s starts off at a disadvantage. The Bluetooth 2.1 technology used is old news given these headphones where in production before the advent of Bluetooth 4.1. That slight disadvantage therefore means other headphones pair much faster than these, however that’s where the drawbacks end.
The X2’s have one of the strongest Bluetooth ranges you will find in any set of headphones, a strong 50 feet even out of line of sight.
The battery life is also superb, a solid 8 hours (it’s so good I’ve often times used the X2’s as my regular headphones).
In the bag, besides the 6 pairs of ear-tips, I found a silicone carry bag in the black (midnight) design I’d chosen, a tangle free micro USB cable and three sets of ear fins.
One thing most audiophiles will tell you is never compare wireless headphones to wired headphones when it comes to sound quality. And while that rings true for most wireless headphones, the X2’s deserve that compliment.
These are one of the few wireless headphones that I’ve found to have anything even resembling a soundstage, a pretty good one at that.
The bass while not induced like in some headphones is pretty solid and consistent throughout, the mids and highs are always coherent even at high volumes and distortion is almost nil (a magnificent feat of design for wireless headphones).
The high quality of the audio is consistent throughout ensuring sound fidelity even when you shift to a call. The pleasant female voice assistant, Jenna, provides instant feedback whenever there is need, informing you when your battery is about to expire, when your device is ready to pair, etc.
At over $100 the Jaybird X2’s are certainly premium headphones and as well as being on the expensive side of things, you should be able to find some good deals with the X3’s being the latest model.
Their bulkiness, long cables and old wireless technology (although extremely well implemented) are things that should ideally be found on less expensive hardware. However if you look past these flaws you’ll find a great set of headphones that has the holy grail of headphones, the three peat if you will, maximum comfort, durability and thumping sound quality.
If you’re not too restricted by budget or if you want a pair of headphones you could use for multiple purposes not just exercise then the X2’s should be what you’re looking at.
Jaybird X3 Review
Right from their first offering Jaybird has cornered a huge share of the exercise headphones niche. They’ve managed this feat by releasing beautiful, innovative and incredibly reliable hardware. In fact such is the reputation they’ve built up that Logitech decided to acquire the company recently.
The Jaybird X3 wireless headphones are one of the first Jaybird has released since the change in ownership (along with the much more expensive Freedom Wireless Headphones).
The Jaybird X3’s are, as the name suggests, a new and improved version of their much lauded predecessor, the Jaybird X2. Therefore this review will focus on comparing the two and ultimately deciding if indeed these are better than the X2’s and worthy successors.
Build and Comfort
The basic design of the X3’s is much the same as that of the X2’s (few adjustments notwithstanding) and as such still exude that same air of sleek sophistication loved by X2 users.
One of the changes in design is that the X3’s feature a slightly curved earbud design for greater fit and the battery’s have been moved from the earbuds to the in-line remote and hence the earbuds are noticeably smaller than the X2’s. In fact the 34% size reduction is so big the X3’s can comfortably be used with a helmet or snug hat on whereas that would have been at best very much uncomfortable with the X2 version.
The change in battery position however means a slightly larger in-line remote, which comes with it’s pros and cons, the increase in size means it’s heavier to wear and often tugged at the right earbud (from which it hangs) causing it to shift at times when I didn’t use the ear fins. Using the ear fins however drastically reduces that problem and although you still feel the weight of the remote the earbud doesn’t move anymore.
On that note, like with the X2’s I found that the comply foam ear-tips (3 sizes are available in the box along with 3 sizes of silicone ear-tips) worked best and provided a secure fit with and without ear fins, although they’re way more secure with than without especially when exercising.
One change I didn’t much like that comes with the X3’s is the charging port, gone is the micro USB port and in comes a new 4 pin charging port on the remote, this means there’s a small hub that comes with the accessories you’ll have to use to charge. The hub connects to a micro USB cable at the other end (comes with) and the two are held together by a lanyard to avoid loss or separation.
The problem with this design change is if you lose the hub you’ll have to buy a new one from Jaybird/Logitech and they’re the only ones that carry it so you don’t have any other choice. The replacement fee is small but I don’t really like thinking about the hassle if I do have to replace mine.
The X3’s, like their older sibling, are completely hydrophobic and sweat resistant so you don’t have to worry about that. And the change in charging port location brings about a slight plus here as well as you don’t have to worry about sweat getting into your charging port as some X2 users have experienced.
Wireless Capability and accessories
The X3’s use the latest version of Bluetooth software, version 4.1 and have great range like their predecessor at almost 50 feet.
Connectivity has never been an issue in the time I’ve used them and the upgrade in Bluetooth software means I can pair these to 2 different devices and, uniquely, pair two different X3 headphones to the same device (I haven’t quite figured out why I would need to do this though, still bragging rights I suppose).
One thing that hasn’t changed is the battery life and at a solid 8 hours, that is still quite impressive. Gone though is the silicone carry bag and replacing it is a polyester zip bag that you can slip into your pocket if need be.
Sound Quality and The MySound App
As impressive as the X2 is in sound quality it’s no match for the X3 and that’s saying something. If you’ve used the X2 then I’m sure you don’t need further explanation but for those that haven’t, I’ll do my best to describe it for you.
Jaybird decided to redesign the 6 mm drivers used on the X2 and it shows. The bass on the X3 is emphasized and as such much better than on the X2, the thump I feel in my ears to DMX’s Ruff Ryder’s Anthem or Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit is exciting every time and positively renews my vigor in the gym without fail. The mids and highs remain unaffected by this emphasis in bass though and are as solid and firm as on the X2.
To further improve the sound you can make use of the free Jaybird MySound App and customize your sound to what you like best. The changes are saved to the X3’s firmware, which is a good thing as you can delete the App after without affecting your customized settings.
The sound is quite loud and I haven’t had to go past the 75% mark, and even at full blast (it’s almost unbearably loud at that point though) distortion was minimal, which is rare for wireless headphones.
The only problem with sound might be that the noise reduction technology means you’re not going to hear anything from the outside and if you’re jogging on the streets that won’t be great (it’s actually a positive for most people).
As a standalone set the X3’s would be considered quite an awesome pair of headphones and when compared to the X2’s it’s safe to say they’re an improvement on an already good set.
The biggest drawback to the X3’s is the proprietary charging unit. All other problems are minor (in-line remote tugging at the right earbud) and can easily be fixed.
The fact that these come in $50 cheaper than what the X2’s retailed for when they were new is an added bonus. Add to that they outperform the X2’s in every aspect that matters then you have quite a bargain.
High sound quality, great comfortable fit and long battery life are the holy grail in wireless headphones and the Jaybird X3’s have all in abundance. You won’t regret getting these beauties, I haven’t.
Phaiser BHS-730 Review
Design and Comfort
The BHS-730’s immediately stand out with an eye catching (some would probably say flamboyant) hot-red color broken by the solid black of the in-line remote sitting close to the right earbud and on the earbuds themselves (they do come in four other colors, all bright except black).
If the color itself doesn’t immediately catch your eye then the wingtips sticking out of the end of the earbuds will. The patented wingtips are designed to cradle into your ear canals and thus hold the earbuds in place as naturally as possible.
The bullet shaped Comply T-400 M memory foam tips house 8mm speakers and they’re designed in such a way as to mold into your ear regardless of distinctive shape resulting in a comfortable feel that a lot of in-ear headphones can only dream of.
On holding the headphones in your hand you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re too lightweight to be durable in any way, you’d be wrong however. See the thing is these headphones are made from an impressive aviation grade aluminium-magnesium alloy and not only is it light it’s very durable as well.
The cable holding the two earbuds together is strong and flexible although I found it to be a bit too long as it reaches down to my shoulder blades where most such cables would be just at the back of my neck.
The earbuds are designed in such a way that they have built in magnets at the back to hold them together necklace style when not in use, a useful feature that’s only going to grow more popular.
When it comes to comfort the Phaiser BHS-730’s go all out and they employ the use of liquipel nano-coating technology to ensure the earbuds are sweat resistant and so far it works well as I haven’t had to readjust these babies while working out at any point. Side-note, these aren’t waterproof although according to Phaiser they should be able to withstand an accidental dunk into water.
Battery Life and Wireless Function
Pairing with all my devices was seamless and as per instruction manual, however as the Bluetooth range is not stated I had to do a little bit of investigation, turns out it’s quite short and the sound starts cutting out at about 3 meters.
The battery life is is around 4.5 hours (dropped to about 4 hours straight after a couple of months usage) and requires 90 minutes to fully charge. The headphones will inform you when battery is almost out (the voice was a little annoying for me but I’m getting used to it), the only problem with this notification is it comes just 5 minutes before the battery runs out.
The box comes with the micro USB cable for charging and an astounding 6 extra earbuds, two with wingtips (grand total 3 different sized wingtip earbuds), three brown rubber buds of varying size and 1 pair of bullet shaped Comply T-400 M Memory Foam buds (they retail at $20 individually).
With strong, clear bass; well defined highs and solid, mids, it’s safe to say the BHS-730’s have pretty good sound quality for this market. In fact I’d go as far as to say this is where they excel, especially compared to other wireless headphones in the same price range.
It’s safe to say those 8 mm speakers are put to good use here as the audio is rich and impressive, with no audible distortion at any volume hence I’ve found myself enjoying my workout all the more with these on.
The in-line remote helps to control playback (press volume controls twice in quick succession to skip) and answer calls as well if connected to mobile.
The Phaiser BHS-730’s make an effort to stand out in a crowded market and with the exception of low Bluetooth range they succeed.
While the battery life isn’t the highest out there it is quite reasonable, especially if you will be putting them to their intended use. In turn quite a few features stand out and among them is their impressive durability, great sound quality and comfort.
So if you’re looking for a durable pair that will provide good bang for your buck then this is absolutely the choice for you.
Altman QCY E265 Review
Design and Comfort
The all black headphones are noticeable in their simplistic no frills design, so much so you can immediately tell they were designed to be as cost effective as possible and accommodate only the essentials necessary to thrive in this market.
The two plastic earbuds are connected by a tangle free lightweight cable, contributing to the light feel of the set. In fact the E265’s are so lightweight it’s probably a little counter-intuitive given the cheap materials used in construction so durability might be an issue here in the long term (I’ve had mine for just over a month).
The ear-tips are made from rubber material that’s sweat resistant with an IPX4 waterproof rating, meaning not only should they withstand sweat they should withstand water splashes as well, dunking them in water would probably be too much though.
The ear-tips are quite comfortable but my biggest problem with them is they tend to fall out easily when exercising, which is almost the whole point of exercise headphones really. Altman solves his problem by packing in three pairs of ear-hooks in the box that you can attach yourself, which begs the question, why didn’t they build them in in the first place as these things have a tendency to disappear, small as they are.
As much as I was annoyed by the unattached ear-hooks I was suitably impressed with the Bluetooth function of the Altman E265’s. The headphones, like most in the market now, use Bluetooth 4.1 technology and the pairing is seamless (at least it was for me) and they can actually pair with two devices at the same time.
The range is excellent at a full 10 meters both in line of sight and with obstructions present, actually I will say the Bluetooth is unusually strong and I rarely get any static when using them, a rarity in this market.
The headphones have a micro USB slot for charging and come with the appropriate cable. The battery life is listed as 7 hours after a full charge of 2 hours, and although I’ve only been able to get up to 6 hours I’m still not complaining as I’m yet to find Bluetooth headphones that actually last as long as the manufacturer says or indeed any device for that matter (yes, you too Apple).
Here the E265’s actually also perform really well for their price, well enough to actually sound better than a few higher priced models I’ve tried.
The bass is strong and deep, you can really feel the kick of a drum and still be able to enjoy the clearly defined highs and the crisp, clear mids.
Built into the cable, close to the right earbud is the in-line remote housing the volume and playback controls which can also be used to answer calls when paired with a cell phone.
APTX technology ensures the audio quality of your music is not compromised and you enjoy CD like quality with your audio. However as good as the audio quality is I do have a slight issue with the volume, mainly the fact that it’s quite low, so even at full volume it doesn’t quite shut out outside noise, which can be annoying from time to time.
The Altman E265’s are quite cheap and as is the norm with cheap products they will obviously be lacking in a few areas, in this case I do not think these will be very durable and I’m not too happy with the fact that the ear-hooks have to be self-attached. While they are comfortable to wear, there’s nothing to write home about in that aspect.
Where these headphones truly shine is in their wireless capability which is arguably the other most important thing when it comes to exercise headphones (along with staying put in your ears).
Sound quality is also quite good, much better than you would expect even for headphones twice the price of the Altman’s.
These headphones are perfect for you if you can get over the fact that you will eventually have to replace your ear-hooks when they run out (all 3 pairs will slowly disappear, trust me on that), if you will be using these strictly for exercise or if you take good care of your accessories in general.
AYL QY8 Bluetooth Headphones Review
Sometimes working out is a chore, there’s no getting around it. For most people, fitness guru or not, there will be days when you feel like you’d much rather lie on a bed of nails than head for the gym.
Personally I often find that there’s one thing that’s sure to motivate me, and that’s listening to music. In fact this trick works so well for me that sometimes even the thought of listening to my favorite ‘hype’ track will immediately get me going. By the time I get to the gym I’m chomping at the bit to get started (Eminem ft Lil Wayne – No Love, in case you’re wondering. Cinderella Man works too).
Now in order to enjoy music enough to get in that frame of mind, your headphones have to have great sound quality (among other things) and that’s where the AYL-QY8 headphones come in.
AYL is a relatively unknown brand compared to some of its competitors and while that’s usually a disadvantage, in this case it seems to have helped AYL sneak up on these better known brands with some great audio equipment.
Design Style and Fit
Coming in a sleek all black design with silver frame around the edges of each bud, the QY8’s are instantly alluring, impressive to behold.
As common as the colors are in tech products there seems to be a great degree of care that went into making the QY8’s that brings out these qualities, the absence of an in-line remote along the cable connecting the two earbuds only serves to heighten the seductive nature of these headphones.
The design is so seamless had I not done my research before ordering the headphones I would have thought they have no controls or charging port. They do. Located at the back of what is the right earbud is a set of controls for volume, playback and calls. On almost the same position on the left earbud is the micro USB charging port.
The only problem arising from this sleek design is that the charging port is so seamlessly designed it’s a little hard to get it open. A grove to stick your nail in would have been very helpful I feel (so maybe a little to sleek, if such a thing exists).
The earbuds are made from a hard plastic, strong enough to last for a while. The plastic ear-tips are probably not the most comfortable in the world and although they aren’t too bad they would have benefited from some memory foam ear-tips.
The comfort is slightly improved by the presence of detachable ear-hooks, and although I’m not usually a fan of detachable stuff these ones are inserted in such a way they won’t fall off, you’d have to physically remove them yourself if you wanted to.
Wireless and Battery Life
Pairing has never been a hassle so far and with the ability to pair with two devices at once, the Bluetooth 4.1 technology is put to good use.
The range is pretty good too at 10 meters and quite strong, with very little static coming into play when moving around, a very polite female voice will inform you if you are beginning to move out of range.
Battery life stands at 6 hours, 1 less than the 7 stated by the manufacturer. At 2 hours, the charging time is fairly standard and hasn’t been a problem for me.
Now I’m very picky when it comes to the sound quality I get out of a set of headphones, it being one of the most important things necessary to make a good set of headphones and all that. But I do have to say the QY8’s sound amazing.
The equalizer is completely in sync and you can tell real effort has been made to make these headphones sound better than their retail price. And they manage to do so quite well. The drums thump with venerated authority in my ears and the guitars, pianos are strong and firm.
At a stretch the one problem I would have with the sound is they could probably do with a little more volume. The EDR APT-X audio decode technology was indeed a wise choice because very few Bluetooth headphones will be able to come up with cleaner, crisper sound than this.
The QY8’s may have been made by a new kid on the block (relatively) but they are showing a few old dogs some new tricks. That’s not to say they don’t have problems.
The overly sleek design is counterproductive in some instances, they aren’t as comfortable as they could be and they are a little heavy on the ears, all of which could definitely be improved on. But in those aspects they excel in, they manage to outstrip most rivals.
They seem quite durable, the wireless works perfectly and with such amazing sound, I’m a big fan.
All in all if the AYL-QY8’s where twice the price they are now, they would still represent a pretty good buy.
TOTU G6-4 Review
Build Quality and Comfort
The G6-4’s come in a muted black color, with TOTU inscribed in white. At first glance the design impresses but on closer inspection some flaws are visible.
Although the in-line remote is built into the right earbud instead of along the cable holding the two earbuds together you don’t get the trim, seamless feel that comes with other headphones designed the same way.
The illusion is broken I felt by the design of the buttons, the play/pause/power button is shaped like a swooping triangle that kind of sticks out and the volume/playback buttons are quite noticeable as well. The overall effect of these design flaws being a set of headphones that are clunky where they could so easily have been sleek and classy. An open charging port on the left earbuds is another factor here as well. Those problems however seem to almost dissolve away with the use of the headphones.
The nano-coated ear-tips are some of the most comfortable sweat resistant babies you will find out there. The ear-hooks used to aid in creating the most comfortable fit and keep your TOTU’s in place are designed to nestle beneath your ear canal and they did so quite well, ensuring I never had to fiddle with my headphones during my workouts.
As cheap as they are, the build quality seems sturdy enough and I firmly expect my pair to last for a very long time, baring some stupid mishaps on my part (I’m a bit prone to those when it comes to headphones).
The Bluetooth 4.1 technology employed by TOTU although being the latest is quite standard at this point within the market.
They do however put it to good use in that their range is one of the best out there at just over 10 meters and stands up quite well to that distance even outside their line of sight. Loss of sound quality only comes in at around 9 meters in those instances.
The battery life is a little on the short side given it lasts around 4 hours maximum with a full charge of 1 hour 30 minutes.
The sound is by far the best quality of the TOTU G6-4 headphones.
The bass is tight and handled the biggest drums in my playlist quite capably. The highs and mids are all solid and clear with the highs showing no signs of strain even at high volumes.
Usually with wireless headphones superior audio quality means lower volumes but that’s not the case with the G6-4’s, the use of aptX technology was a masterstroke and the audio performance shows that as it’s easily comparable to much pricier cousins.
For supposedly budget headphones TOTU’s creation is one that performs quite well.
The fact that they tend on the clunky and heavier side of things shouldn’t be too much of a deterrence to most people, especially given how good they are in other areas.
The sound quality is far and above the best quality, while comfort comes quite close and as a result if you are looking for great exercise headphones that can easily double up in everyday uses (office, travel, etc) then these should be your choice.
|Samsung Level U Pro Wireless||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||Moderate|
|Altman QCY E265||⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|
|AYL QY8||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|
|TOTU G6-4||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐||Very Low|