Another product from our friends at Aukey and this time we’re looking at one of their headphone products. This product is specifically designed for those sporty types, with a lightweight design and an ergonomic fit. Let’s take the Aukey EP-B26 for a spin and see how they fare in our full review.
We’ve covered a few things by Aukey previously and our team have definitely purchased more than just a few Aukey products in the past. It’s safe to say that Aukey are a known quantity when it comes to peripherals and mobile technology. What we’re less aware of however is their headphone products. The Aukey EP-B26 is a portable, foldable Bluetooth headphone unit that has a wrap around on-ear solution that aims to keep the units in situ when running and generally being sporty.
The EP-B26 are predominantly decked out in a rubberised plastic coating which does accept fingerprints and sweat quite readily but deals with it without any incident. The headband is hardened plastic with pivot points to allow cup movement and flexibility as well as provide the aforementioned pivoting.
Both ear cups are covered with a very thin feeling pleather and whilst they provide some comfort, they don’t feel especially hardy. On the right ear cup is the on/off/call control, along with the volume up/down controls below it with the next/previous track skipping buttons above. There is also the micro USB charging port for ensuring the embedded 450 mAh battery is topped up as well as a pinhole microphone. The left cup has a simply Aukey branding strip across the centre.
- Bluetooth: V4.1
- Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
- Maximum Range: 33 feet (10m)
- Talk Time: Up to 24 Hours
- Charging Time: 2 Hours
- Power Input: DC 5V 500mA
- Battery Type: Built-in Rechargeable Li-Poly Battery (450mAh)
- Item Weight: 0.15oz (72g)
- Micro USB Charging Cable
- Warranty Card
- Instruction Manual
Let’s look at the fit and finish of the unit first. The black rubberised plastic on the ear cups collect dust and lint easily as well as fingerprints, grease and/or sweat. Luckily it’s just as easy to remove. The rubberised texture is no doubt there primarily to ensure that there is a pleasing tactile feel when accessing the unit’s controls when in use. In that, they succeed.
The EP-B26’s are absolutely portable and fold up neatly with the plastic headband contorting and the ear cups sitting nicely in front of it. It doesn’t feel as those these are “just about to break” but there is an element of flimsiness about them which is enough to make us think that they wouldn’t stand up an accidental arse-meets-headphones moment – at least not twice!
Now onto the sound. These have some decent clarity at all levels with bass suffering only a little. Vocals and percussion are on point generally for a unit at this price point. They get loud enough for anybody with hearing issues to use, and anybody without, to introduce some! As with many budget Bluetooth headsets, the underlying hiss is still audible but it’s barely there at rest. For those looking for a cheap and cheerful pair of headphones to use during their workouts, we think the sound quality will be adequate.
What is less than adequate in our testing is the fit of the EP-B26’s. The idea is that the cushions sit on the ear, and the plastic bar sitting above the cups flows around the back of the neck to stabilise the unit. The issue here is size. Ears and heads are different sizes so to have an over-the-ear type headphone without any real size adjustment sees this unit being caught out. During testing with an average sized head, the cushions sat on the ears fine, but the units are stretched out and the bar actually ends up sitting on the other side of the ear, sometimes pinching it. It’s not going anywhere; it’s snugly fit, but it’s not entirely comfortable for long sessions. Those with different sized heads will have varying results of course. When we adjusted our fitting to be more comfortable, we leaked audio and let in external noise which detracted from the experience. It’s a shame as the audio sounds crisp when clasping the unit to the ears in the right place – sadly we were unable to recreate this in actual usage.
Battery life is acceptable on this unit with up to around 7 hours of continuous playback and a claimed 300 hours of standby (not tested). We did find the 100+ minutes to charge fully a little bit jarring however. This seems to be the case for lots of Bluetooth headphones and not just aimed at Aukey, but faster charging times for peripherals really needs to be a “thing” even at this price point.
It’s unfortunate but we have to say we were slightly disappointed. Don’t get us wrong, these are a great budget pair of Bluetooth headphones and very portable to boot, but there are areas that couldn’t be overlooked.
Thankfully sound isn’t one of them with acceptable quality at all levels and those listening to everything from classical music (why at a gym?) to dance, or hardcore to get the blood pumping should have no real complaints. No, the complaints might come from those who want a perfect fit. We certainly didn’t get one, and we can’t guarantee that it isn’t just going to be our issue when the design is taken into account.
We’d suggest taking advantage of a returns policy that will allow you to test whether the fit is going to be acceptable to you before plumping for these. If it is though, you’ve got yourself a bargain; An inexpensive Bluetooth headset for the gym, with good battery life and audio and easy to reach controls.