AWEI HD Bluetooth Wireless Sports In-Ear Earbuds Headphones Review

Since purchasing the iPhone X I’ve had to get used to no longer having a headphone jack on my phone. The phone comes with headphones that fit the lightning port, and also comes with a 3.5mm to Lightning port adapter if you’d prefer to use your older headphones.

So the only real problem is if you need to charge your phone at the same time you want to use your headphones!

The iPhone X has great battery life so unless you’re a heavy user of the phone, if you set out with a full charge for the day this isn’t going to be a problem, even if you don’t have a full charge, if you’re heading to for example your work place you can top up the charge when you get there if you carry a charging cable about with you. As per my article here on how to keep your smartphone battery healthy for as long as possible, you don’t want to constantly be fully charging the device anyway.

For those moments where you do need to charge and want to listen to music/podcasts at the same time you need another solution. Either get a Bluetooth headset or buy an adapter that allows you charge and listen to music at the same time. The recommended adapter from Apple that allows you to charge and listen via 3.5mm jack is made by Belkin and costs £30. The adapter that contains two lightning ports is £35.

If you’ve got top quality headphones that you want to continue using then the £30 adapter is probably a good investment. It’s probably on the same par for lose ability as wireless headphones also.

But what if you could get Bluetooth headsets for less and embrace the wireless revolution? Especially if it’s something you’re concerned that you might lose. You don’t want to keep shelling out £30 each time you lose that adapter!

Well, you can, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to spend any more than £30 on a pair of wireless headphones anyway, ideally, I’d spend less. For three reasons.

1. If you have a top quality brand pair of headphones on you, it’s likely their logo is going to be all over it. It’s not too difficult to identify someone using wireless headphones, and even ones like the model I’m about to review, despite being in ear are going to be pretty easily steal able. It only takes someone standing behind you on a train for example, waiting for their stop, pulling at the cable, which will bring them flying out your ear, and then they do a runner out the train doors and into the night. By the time you’ve realised what’s going on, they are long gone.

2. You have to charge these things, and the battery life of them is probably enough to get you through a daily commute, If you need to use them everyday for your commute to work. odds are you’re going to need to charge them everyday too. We’ll discuss the battery properly in the main review, but like all batteries, it’s going to degrade over time, so what’s the point in spending close to or over 3 figures for a pair of headphones whose lifespan is going to limited by their battery!

3. As already mentioned. Easy to lose.

The product I went for in the end were the AWEI HD Bluetooth Wireless Sports In-Ear Earbuds Headphones.

They arrived in good quality packaging, which made them at least look a higher quality product than what you were paying for.

Earbud headphones won’t be for everyone but I like to attempt to at least cancel out the noise around me, which these boasted they could do. They also came with 2 additional separate earbud sizes, although the ones on the headphones themselves fit into my ears perfectly. The feel is as if you are wearing earplugs, something I have to do now at concerts and clubs as years of abuse of live music has given me Tinnitus.

Because they go right in your ears they also get dirty quite easily. I’m not an overly waxy ear person but after a few wears you could see a build up inside and around the ear buds. So clean them often.

The instructions quote 6 hours ‘talk time’ and 4 hours for playing music. I would say the 4 hours for music is about accurate, so you may wish to look for something that can go for longer if you’re daily commutes, jogs etc are likely to last longer, especially if you haven’t been able to give them a full charge beforehand.

Charging takes 2 and a half hours to fully charge and as with other devices, I would recommend you try and stick to this, don’t leave them charging for 8 hours overnight, you’re just going to degrade the battery very quickly. The instructions themselves quote to not charge for any longer than 10 hours.

It’s worth noting they charge via USB, but just come with the lead, So yet another device to take up a USB plug. I’ve found juggling all my devices that now need to charge via USB difficult before heading out to the point I’ve had to buy a 4 port USB plug adapter as well.

They look pretty stylish too, again, they look more expensive than what you’re paying, the magnetic feature is also pretty useful when you need to put them away and theoretically should help stop them from getting tangled up with all your other wires that may be on your desk or in your draw. I guess it’s worth mentioning these are wired together, and are not like Airpods. It’s unlikely you’ll find a pair of knock off AirPods for £20!

The magnetized feature of the headsets enables less tangling of cables and helps keep thing's tidy.
The magnetized feature of the headsets enables less tangling of cables and helps keep thing’s tidy.

The volume controls are pretty easy to use also, + single press increases the volume while a longer press skips tracks, obviously the same but in reverse for the – button.

Firstly, you need to connect them to your phone obviously. Out the box, this was a no go, clearly not enough juice in the headphones as my iPhone just didn’t find them. After an hour on charge and trying again, they were discovered fine. In fact, this is what the instructions tell you to do.  To pair you need to hold down the power button until the blue/red LED starts flashing.

One slight annoyance with these headphones which seems to be the case with a number of Bluetooth headphones regardless of if you buy a cheap pair or an expensive pair, is the flashing blue light indicator when they are paired with your device. In the case of this pair they also give a visual indication of how much battery charge you have, however this flash sequence goes off about every 8 seconds. If your listening to music/spoken word in the dark, or walking home late, then you do end up looking light a slightly sad walking Christmas tree. My solution was to simply put a little bit of black electrical tape over the where the blue flash is!

My hack for disabling the annoying flashing blue light. Black electrical tape
My hack for disabling the annoying flashing blue light. Black electrical tape

On the iPhone once connected you get the handy power indicator to show how much battery is left in your headphones. Although I’m not sure how accurate this is. After connecting one time the battery indicator said I had half the battery left, within minutes, they started beeping to indicate the battery was low and eventually powered off.

So that’s the funky features and look and feel out the way, how do they sound.

Pretty good, at least for someone that suffers with tinnitus. When you first connect there is a bit of a hiss, and can be after some notification type noises from the phone if you’ve not got any other audio playing, but the hiss goes away and is not constant. Listening to podcasts felt fine, some people had mentioned a constant hiss in the background when listening to spoken word only but I did not suffer this.

Audio also sounded good enough for me, I didn’t need to have them too loud either. You don’t get the colour indicator on the phone when adjusting the volume like you do with wired headphones which is a good visual indicator that you may potentially damage your hearing in the long-term, something I would advise any youngsters/teenagers reading this to take notice of, a constant beeping in your ears for the rest of your life may not be fun if you don’t learn how to mentally deal with it. Personally I feel there’s no need to even have these on full blast at any point, they do a good job of cancelling out the noise around you.

Sit in the ear quite comfortably

For this review I’m purely basing the product on it’s audio and spoken word quality from music apps. I haven’t yet received a call with them on, or had the need to make a phone call, and I’m not one for needlessly just phoning someone up for a pointless chat. This is 2017 after all. No one  actually uses a phone to speak to each other verbally! Right?

To round up, for a pair of Bluetooth headphones that cost less than £20, these are an excellent choice. They arrive in good packaging, only let down by the disjointed instructions. It feels harsh to knock a mark off for this, especially as the instructions are generally well written in English, something which is not always the case with products that are clearly manufactured and exported straight out of China, but AWEI seem to have a pretty good English translator, but unfortunately things like charging and Bluetooth are spread over more than one section, rather than having all the information in one place. However disjointed instructions and not having an option to turn off the flashing blue light is 2 reasons to knock off a point, even at this price point,

The product seems well made, I like the magnetic feature, they are comfortable in the ear and the general audio quality for an everyday person is more than good enough. For a less than £20 pair of headphones, these are an excellent choice.

Final score: 4/5

I was not asked to review this product, and these headphones were purchased with my own hard earned cash.

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