Bluetooth headphones are considered a dime a dozen by many. Whilst sound stages differ wildly from device to device, there are many budget variants to choose from that provide adequate sound quality for the layman (me!). On a cost scale, these fit firmly into that bracket. Have these succeeded to deliver meaty bass with crisp mids and highs? Let’s take a look in our full review of the EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones.
Disclaimer: EC Technology provided this review sample. This product was used during a review period that spanned approximately 2 weeks of. For transparency, our first unit was faulty and broken at the ear-tip, however our replacement from EC Technology showed no such flaws and performed as expected.
Wireless technology has never been so prevalent. Phones have it, laptops have it, even educated bees have it….no wait, that’s a song. Either way, the point is wireless technology is everywhere. Bluetooth, a form of wireless communications technology has gone through various guises, and its more recent advances have meant it’s been adopted by the audio technology market due to its low energy consumption. EC Technology have released other bluetooth products in the past but their Bluetooth Earphones are their first foray into the wearable audio market.
Unboxing & Product Tour
As you can see, the packaging is small and concise for the EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones. In the box comes an instruction manual which is surprisingly easy to follow, albeit there isn’t much call for it based on the usability of the device, a short white microUSB cable for charging, the headphones themselves as well as a bag of 2 additional ear-tip sizes and 2 ear-hook supports.
As you can see, the design is quite striking. A black glossy plastic adorns the actual ear pieces, with a neon green accent and flat cabling connecting both the left and the right ear pieces. The left ear piece is pretty sparse with only some subtle branding on the glossy plastic, and a flap-covered microUSB port for charging. On the right ear piece sits a volume rocker come track skip/repeat button and a dedicated phone button for picking up calls which doubles as the power on/off button, as well as a pinhole microphone. Finally there is a small LED which illuminates to showing pairing and on/off status.
Use & Performance
So I’m no audiophile. My listening habits further support that assertion as most of the time I’m listening to music I’m driving up and down the UK motorway system which is hardly conducive to a positive acoustic environment. However, I have used a number of headphones, both wired and wireless, and therefore my views are backed by an amount of experience. So, where to start? Let’s start by saying that Mark reviewed the Honor AM12 headphones recently and I have since purchased a pair for general use. I was surprised by the clarity on those wired AM12s, and EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones are almost identical in clarity. Bass is adequately heavy and rumbling (for headphones) whilst the mids and highs are crisp with only slight deviation between the two noticeable in certain genres of music (normally bass heavy songs). The inclusion of Apt-X technology helps to deliver a full flavoured musical experience also. If you are unsure what Apt-X is, essentially it’s a technology that compresses the data transmission between bluetooth devices to deliver the full audio quality to the headset where previously bandwidth limitations of the bluetooth protocol restricted this.
These small headphones also produce a large amount of isolation, both in terms of you from the world, and the world from your music. With the headset in-ear, external noises are drowned out but still audible, but not intrusive which is about the most you can expect from in-ear headphones. Remarkably however even at a high volume, they are virtually inaudible when out of the ear and playing audio, from a couple of feet away. Very good.
Volume is subdued by default but is easily cranked up either by using the built-in volume rocker, or the bluetooth volume on the device it’s connected to, which brings me on to a neat little feature EC Technology has added. Dual functionality of buttons is not unusual but EC Technology have managed to integrate dual functionality without any hiccups. For example, the phone button on the top of the right ear piece doubles as a play/pause button as well as turning the device off with a long press. Furthermore and more impressive to use is the volume rocker. Primarily the + and – buttons act as a next/previous track skipper, however long pressing either increases or decrease the headset volume. It sounds as though this should be the other way around, but this actually functions really well in real world use.
The different sized ear-tips should work for all ear types (I use the medium) and with the ear support hooks also stabilising the headset whilst in ear, I spent a couple of hours wearing them in an active situation without them falling out, coming too loose or becoming uncomfortable. That’s no mean feat.
Whilst not a measuring point for the headphones as such, call quality is a feature and as such it should be measured and tested as such right? We agree. I tested this with a number of callers and all said that whilst my voice was slightly subdued it was clear and crisp, which considering the microphone on this unit is a pinhole mic situated nearly 6 inches from my mouth, is not too bad at all. Would I hold conference calls for work on this? Perhaps not, but in a pinch these headphones won’t let you down. Good to know.
Finally, battery life is rated at 5 hours of continuous play time, and that seems to correlate to my findings. The EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones perhaps delivered slightly more during the testing period but it’s a good gauge.
If you’ve reached the conclusion you can probably guess what I’m about to say here. These EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones are a great product in their own right. I’ve compared them in my review to the Honor AM12 wired in-ear headphones and in general usage I’ve compared them to my other bluetooth headphones, the Mpow Swift running headset. I can honestly say that between all three, I’d choose the EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones – just.
The headset is great. I can’t fault the build quality, design aesthetic (I like neon-green actually!) or the sound quality. Are there areas I’d look to change? Perhaps, yes. Whilst difficult in a unit this small, it’s always nice to have bluetooth headsets that have the ability to use a 3.5mm audio jack when the juice runs out. Additionally, whilst I love the implementation of dual buttons, I always favour a roller/track volume rocker than buttons. Again, the size of the device might reduce the feasibility of this.
With the cost of these EC Technology Bluetooth Earphones sitting at £15.99 currently, and interestingly the other two headsets mentioned in this review, the AM12 from Honor and the Mpow Swift, also coming in at the same price bracket, you could say theses are a no-brainer for anyone looking for a sports-orientated bluetooth headset. Will the give you a q-Jays type quality of sound? Perhaps not, but then again you’re looking at a difference of over £250 so it’s hardly a fair comparison.
These are great headphones, with great technology, for a great price. It’s that simple.