I've spent a lot of time testing and reviewing different Bluetooth ear buds this year. I have used many good and not-so-good sets of in-ear earbud headsets. Every single pair though has the same problem for me. That problem is that they are not comfortable to wear for any extended period. The same can be said for wired earbuds as well. The in-ear design, for me, is not comfortable for long periods.
I have never really considered a simple pair of on-ear headphones since they historically have been bulky, heavy and uncomfortable. However, times have changed, and many manufacturers are producing affordable, high-quality on-ear headphones.
I have had the opportunity to test out the Aukey Foldable EP-B18 on-ear headphones, and I have been impressed by the quality and comfort they have delivered. Read on below the break for the full review.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX
Delivered in relatively simple packaging you are met with the headphones, micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm male-to-male cable which can be used to convert the headphones into a wired set.
You will also find the warranty information card, which is for two years.
Aukey lists the playback time for this headset at 10 hours. While also stating 200 hours of standby time. In my use, I was able to achieve about 7-8 hours of playback on a single charge. Your mileage may vary.
Like most other Bluetooth headphones these days, they contain Bluetooth A2DP, which stands for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile. What does this mean? Simply put, it allows audio to transmit from your phone to your headphones without compromising the sound quality. Bluetooth audio is still well back compared to the quality of wired, but having this tech built in does usually lead to a better listening experience. You will also find that pairing and use of the playback controls work better with devices containing A2DP.
The overall build quality of the headphones is fairly decent. They do feel a tad cheap due to their plastic construction. However, the quality and comfort of the foam earpiece covers are slightly above average.
The slightly sub-par build quality though did not lead to an unfavorable experience when it came to comfort. Since these are on-ear, the headphones were extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods. I spent most of my time wearing them while at work, sitting at my desk. Unlike earbuds these headphones never cause any irritation while I was using them.
The USB connector on most Bluetooth headphones I have used is consistently sub-par in their design and hard to access. The ease of access on the Aukey's however, was excellent in comparison to others. Most of this attributes to the size of the headphones compared to the earbud design. The same applies to the 3.5mm auxiliary jack on the opposing earpiece.
The headphones are also foldable. The ability to fold these down is welcomed, making them easier to put in your laptop bag while on the go. They do not fold completely flat like some other designs can. However, they do fold down to be compact enough to travel well.
The audio quality of the Aukey EP-B18 is good. Not great, just good. For spoken audio such as podcasts and audio books, the quality is slightly above average. However, music is a somewhat different story. It is passable in most scenarios, however, for songs that have high treble with sharp sounds you will find that the audio is quite tinny.
If you are like me, listening to mostly podcasts and audio books, these are completely passable, particularly in the price point, these are offered. If you're any audiophile, which I am most certainly not, you may want to move up to a higher price tier to find something more suitable.
Switching over to the 3.5mm wired option I did conclude that the tinny pitch was not quite as noticeable. So the previously mentioned tinny sounds can be attributed to the quality of Bluetooth audio. It has improved significantly but still has a way to go before it is on-par with a wired connection. Once the 3.5mm cable is connected, the power to the headphones shuts off, which will save you battery for when you need it.
The volume controls, which are positioned on the right ear piece, leave much to be desired. First, they do not function when using the 3.5mm connection. When using them over Bluetooth, I found that the controls were hard to locate and use. There is a small raised "nib" on the volume up/down controls which are supposed to make it easier to find. This was not the case for me, and I would prefer that they used a dimple-style design for you fingers to slide into.
BOTTOM LINE - SHOULD I BUY THIS?
So; should you buy these? For $35.99 CAD, absolutely. They are decent enough quality that you will not be disappointed with the purchase. If you are seeking a high-quality music experience, you're not looking at this price point. You are likely looking to something like the Bose QC35 headphones.
These are best suited for someone looking for a decent listening experience for podcasts and spoken audio but may also want to play music from time to time.
You can purchase the Aukey EP-B18 from Amazon.ca.