If you like listening to music or podcasts while you are on the move then you probably use headphones. (If you don’t, and you listen to them through the phone’s speakers, then there is a special place in hell reserved just for you!) After getting my headphone wires caught in car doors, wrapped round me in error, or just pulling the wires out when I’m not meaning to, I decided to start experimenting with wireless headphones.
As always I started with the cheapest Bluetooth headphones I could find. These were about £20 through Amazon. I can’t find the model anymore but they were very similar to these.
The only difference is that they went into your ear rather than sat on your ear. At a time when BT headphones were £100+, £20 didn’t seem too bad a price. They charged using a mini-usb cable and I could get about 3 or 4 hours of play from a full charge. The first pair stopped holding their charge after about 6 months so I bought another pair. These lasted about another 6 months before they, too, bit the dust.
The sound quality on these were dreadful. The design was dreadful. The battery life wasn’t great. The biggest issue I had is that the plastic band that went behind my head made my neck sweat loads. I think it was because the plastic was a hard plastic.
At this point the price of Bluetooth Headphones was reducing. More importantly, the style of them was changing. The headphones were getting smaller as thats what people wanted but I guess the cost of the parts for them also reduced.
Realising it was the neckband that was making my neck sweaty I went for a different style. These were proper ‘in-ear’ headphones attached with a wire. The wire still went behind the head but I hoped these wouldn’t be as sweat causing.
The downside to these were a big bit to go in the ear. Seeing as this where the battery and all the ‘gubbins’ would be kept, it would be the pay-off for having bluetooth headphones.
These were lighter than the previous style headphones but I found they didn’t keep their charge as well. I also didn’t like the large ear-pieces.
As a leaving gift from a company I got given a load of Amazon vouchers. I used this to purchase a TomTom watch. The reason being it is that it not only could store music on the watch, but came with some bluetooth headphones. The added bonus is that it had various workout/tracking capabilities.
Frustratingly, the first set of headphones they sent me didn’t stay paired to my devices. After a couple of weeks I contacted Amazon and they agreed to swap them out. Unfortunately it was a complete swap of the watch and the headphones but the 2nd ones they sent worked perfectly.
I was getting hours of listening on the headphones. With my iPhone I could play music from my iPhone to the bluetooth headphones and use the watch to move between tracks. This was great! The only thing the watch didn’t do was be able to notify me of messages. The did offer a firmware upgrade that allowed you to get notifications AND messages on the watch itself! It was the future!
These were very similar in style to my last pair but the ear section was smaller plus the control was ‘inline’ to move around the tracks. There was no headphone control on the headphones themselves.
The TomTom Bluetooth Headphones charged via a micro-USB socket so it was easy to charge them. I used these for about a year before the battery stopped holding charge as well. Thats when I moved onto the headphones I use now.
Presents For Someone
I love bluetooth headphones. They make my life so much easier when I’m commuting by not having wires everywhere. For this reason I bought a set for a friend of mine. They only used inner ear headphones so I checked on Amazon for something and found something like these.
They looked great and could be magnetic’d together. When I remembered back to my original Bluetooth Headphones these were tiny! Unfortunately both the sound quality AND the microphone were shockingly bad so were replaced at Christmas for something better.
The Replacement Presents
I would have to bite the bullet and go for something that wasn’t £20 from Amazon! They had some Apple wired headphones and didn’t like how they fitted so Apple Airpods were not going to be suitable. They also didn’t want ‘over the head’ style headphones that were coming back into fashion.
For this end I chose BeatsX by Dre. He is a doctor so I’m sure his headphones are going to be medically appropriate for anyone! I was hoping that the £150 purchase price was going to be worth it. I purchased them from Apple as I knew they’d have them in stock.
The market is flooded with fake headphones so if you are purchasing any branded headphones then make sure they are legitimate versions. If you are buying from Amazon make sure they are sold by Amazon and not a 3rd party seller. That’s my advice, but I’m a blogger, not a cop. Do what you are happy with.
When they were opened at Christmas they really were well appreciated. And they get used every day.
The battery life on the BeatX is fantastic and they charge using the Apple Lightening Connectors so one cable will charge both the phone and the headphones. This is useful as it means you don’t have to keep multiple cables around.
I’m reliably informed that the sound quality on them ace and using them for phone-calls is nice and easy with a loud microphone, the person on the other end of the phone has no difficulty hearing you.
I’ve settled on a pair of bluetooth headphones. They are the most expensive headphones I’ve ever purchased but as a ‘per year’ cost I think it is acceptable. The headphones I’ve gone for are Apple AirPods.
I’ve had these almost as long as they have been available in the UK. Stock was heavily controlled at launch and even at £159 they were flying off the shelves. I monitored the stock situation at all the London stores and noticed what time they updated. Based on this I made sure I was online at the right time to put my order in direct with Apple Covent Garden. Once I had ordered them online I was able to collect at my leisure – Apple only sells what it has in stock so my order took 1 pair out of stock and reserved for me.
As you may have realised from my blog already, I’m a bit of an Apple Fan. I did like the apple wired headphones and found they fitted my ears perfectly. I understand that this is not the case for everyone however it did give me more confidence that the AirPods would fit my ears.
They AirPods have their pieces – the two headphones and the case. The case doubles as a battery pack so you can keep your headphones charged on the go. In fact, just 15 minutes in the case gives another 3 hours of charge to the AirPods. The case uses a lightening connector but the headphones can not be charged without a case.
I have found the sound quality for both music and calls has been excellent. No-one has complained about not being able to hear me on calls and even in louder environment the microphone has worked well.
Music is loud enough in with the AirPods. Some people do prefer to be deafened by their headphones but that’s not for me. If you want the loudest headphones then the AirPods wont be for you either. Some people have also found that the AirPods don’t sit comfortably in their ears. I have to say that I’ve not had any issue with them being in my ears including visit to the gym, turning my head quickly and going for a run. The only time I do have issues is if I’m wearing a wooly hat that goes over my ears. Whenever I take it off an AirPod is usually knocked out but this is my fault as I forget I’m wearing them!
Although there are no visible controls the AirPods they do actually have some functionality. There is a option within the headphone settings on the iPhone that allows you set what tapping the AirPods does. It sounds strange but works really well. I have mine set up so I tap my right one to go forwards a track and my left one go back a track. There are other options but this works well for me.
Other things the headphones do is that if you remove one from your ear it will stop playing music through it but will continue playing through the other that is still in your ear. Remove them both and the music stops playing through them and whatever you are listening to is paused. You also have the option in settings to do something similar with phone calls, so that the microphone it uses jumps between the headphones if you remove on.
Bluetooth Headphones on a Plane
This is something I looked into a while ago. Check out my blog post where I’ve asked various airlines whether you can use them or not.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
So I’ve tested plenty of bluetooth headphones and decided on the pair that works best for me. They turned out to be the Apple AirPods. Not cheapest and perhaps not the best for everyone but the best for me. As I’ve had them about 2 years there is a good chance I’ll replace them at the end of this year. There is a re-designed version of the case Apple is launching which includes wireless charging and that is something I’m really interested in.