When last generation’s iPhone came out and it lacked a headphone jack, everyone who is remotely passionate about gadgets felt deceived – why was this happening? Who asked for this? Apple’s competitors raced to mock the Cupertino company for their decision (remember how the first Google Pixel hinged on the headphone jack as one of their biggest selling points?), but eventually the idea of removing the jack grew on almost all the big players.
Nowadays, when a new phone is announced the odds of it lacking the headphone jack are about the same as a flip of the coin. Thankfully, manufacturers have had enough time to adapt to the change and we have a ton of Bluetooth/wireless alternatives to the century old audio port.
The second pair of headphones I actually own, not just try out, are a pair of Aukey Wireless Earbuds – they’re about as cheap as they come for headphones that don’t tie you down to your phone (or just about every other device, for that matter), and… they just cured me of the fear of living without a headphone jack.
My only other headphones were big, over-the-ear, bulky, and they came with their own stand which had to be plugged into both the computer (via a headphone jack), and a power outlet (what!?). You’d expect that this gave you a bigger range, but I could barely get up from my desk before sound started to crack in my ears, and I’d take no more than a couple of steps until it cut off altogether. And even when I was sitting right next to the docking station, the sound had a tiny, barely perceivable but infinitely annoying buzz that never stopped. So for years I was reluctant to getting another pair.
Until my new Aukey headphones came in. Boy, did they change my mind! They came in a huge shipping box, but upon opening that I found a smaller package for the headphones themselves – boy, what a sight! They’re sleek, well designed and feel sturdy in your hand.
The headphones come with a band that you put around your neck, so they won’t fall off and get lost when you’re not using them. Plus, I have the feeling like many of the components (like the battery) are hidden in the neck band, so the earbuds themselves are the perfect size for your ear.
Pairing was easy, I didn’t even have to look at the manual to figure out the steps. Once I turned the headphones on, they connected quickly and I was listening to music within the minute. On the first day, I used them for pretty much all day and experienced no connectivity issues – which was my biggest fear going into this.
The distance the headphones work at is great, I can set my phone down in one corner of my apartment and walk to the other end without losing signal quality or hearing any static. Which is actually something I usually do, while cleaning the house I set my phone to charge in one room and I’ll go off with my podcasts with me all over the house. I found that in some areas reception does cut off (if there are two walls or more between me and my phone the sound quality will drop).
In practice though, the occasions where I use the phone away from the headphones are few and far between, so it’s mostly not even something I think about.
Another fear I had was regarding sound quality – and the Aukey wireless earbuds manage to impress me here. They sound… normal. No static, no sound cracking, they’re just as good as my previous (wired) headphones. I would actually compare them to the older generation Apple buds, but the sound quality is slightly better for the Aukey headphones, especially when it comes to the low sounds like bass, as they isolate the sound better due to their in-ear design and the rubber that seals sound and traps it in your ear. The overall sound isn’t going to impress an audiophile, but the Aukey headphones more than earn their price when it comes down to sound quality. In fact, I like them more than my old Beats, I find their sound to be far more balanced and clear.
Wearing the headphones for an entire day doesn’t get exhausting, but you do feel that they’re there almost constantly, especially the band around your neck. They come with three sets of rubber pieces of different sizes, like most headphones, so you can swap them in with ones closer to your size if you notice any loose or tight fitting.
But wearing the headphones and carrying them around with you are two very different things – while other earbuds can be tucked away in your pants’ pocket, these have to stay around your neck the even when not in use. And as I said before, while it’s not a huge bother you do feel the headphones around your neck the whole time you’re wearing them. So while they’re not convenient, they do at least offer you the chance to easily carry them around with you. The headphones’ controls are also immensely practical, especially when you have your hands busy driving, at the gym, or in any other situation where you don’t want to fiddle around with your phone. The buttons are crisp and responsive, and they’re perfectly placed so you can quickly press them without missing a beat.
And speaking of carrying the headphones around with you, what are these earbuds good for? In my experience, just about everything. I wore the Aukey wireless headphones mostly while driving and running around town doing odd errands. But the most use I got out of these headphones was by far at the gym. I can’t count the times when I was on the treadmill and my wired headphones got caught on something, sending my phone tumbling to the floor. I literally love wireless headphones for giving me that extra step in mobility in situations where it’s so crucial to have it. On the downside though, the headphones weren’t made for intense activities in mind, they’re not so easy to hold in place while you run, but once you get used to it (by tucking the plastic part under your T-shirt, in my case) they’re going to be just fine.
Oh and I almost forgot, with the Aukey wireless earbuds this situation is a thing of the past. I’m so glad about that! It used to be one of the most annoying things in my life, getting my earphones ripped out with a loud POP! every time I walked next to a door handle.
Now that we covered practicality, design and tech specs, it’s time for the most important feature for me: battery life. For this, manufacturers will usually give you the longest possible battery life that they got in their tests, while people who aren’t exactly fans will give you the lowest battery life that they encountered as a standard. I tend to think that the truth is somewhere in the middle, and in my experience with the Aukey Bluetooth headphones they lasted me through the day with ease. On a normal day I probably use them for 3-4 hours, but spread throughout the day, and they have yet to give up on me once. So battery life in real life usage scenarios is great, they will probably need charging once you’re home, but that’s just the price you have to pay for being mobile.
All in all, the Aukey wireless earbuds go above and beyond for their price. Their sound quality is good, their design and build quality is better than I’d expected. They’re definitely a model to take into account when looking for light headphones that won’t put a significant dent in your wallet.
What do you think about wireless headphones in general? What’s the most important aspect for you – is it battery life, sound quality, mobility?
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