Status Audio is quickly becoming known for making impressive headphones at absurdly low prices, so when they announced the wireless BT-S Bluetooth headphones for their sportier users, they had my attention. But at just 35 bucks, can these possibly perform?
The BT-S headphones are powered by a built in rechargeable battery that charges via an included micro USB cable. Built in Bluetooth connectivity allows the headphones to connect to practically any modern smartphone to access services like Pandora, Spotify, and hosts of other services. The headphones have built in controls for controlling volume, switching stations, turning the device on and off, and even answering phone calls via the built in microphone. There are two buttons located on the top of the headphones that control volume with a click, or they can be used to skip tracks by holding one down. A third button located on the face of the headphones turns on the headphones by holding it for 3 seconds, off by by doing the same, answering a call with a quick press, and rejecting a call with a long press. They’re water resistant with an IPX7 rating, meaning rain and sweat are no problem, and they pack round 4-6 hours of battery life. Also included is a cable organization clip and different sized ear tips. They retail for $35 and weigh 2.4 ounces.
What I liked
Status Audio always finds a way to impress me with their sound quality, and these haven’t disappointed. They provide clear, consistent sound with a wide dynamic range producing excellent lows and mids with soft yet chipper highs that produce a very enjoyable, well defined and balanced sound. The sound profile is mostly flat and neutral, with a little emphasis on the bass, making high energy modern songs sound great. The lows a present a bit more up front and pronounced than I would expect from Status Audio, as they’re generally very accurate in their reproductions, sounding more like studio headphones than most, but it’s not so overdone as to be distracting or unenjoyable. While biking or jogging I did find the extra thump to add a little extra pep to my step, so this might be the point. In the end, they sound wonderfully clear without that dulling that many Bluetooth headphones get due to compression, and even the smallest details can be easily heard.
The build quality is pretty good too. The construction is designed to be light weight yet they’re robust enough to survive being outside and exposed to the weather. The body is compact and stays out of the way of any real abuse, which helps, while the extending drivers feel rigid and robust to survive being packed under the weight of other objects. The ear hooks are flexible yet retain their shape after being stuffed inside a pack, and the flat cabling is soft but refuses to crimp or kink. So far, I’ve had no durability issues at all.
Using the headphones is as simple as it gets and very convenient in general. Being able to reach up to toggle songs, reject calls or just adjust the volume on the fly is exceptionally useful when biking, and pairing is as simple as holding in the face button for a few seconds. I had no issues connecting, with my phone finding it on the first try and staying connected every since. The battery life is long enough that I can make it through a nice long bike ride without exhausting it, and recharging through the USB cable is just a matter of plugging them in.
They’re also very comfortable. They’re so light that I really don’t notice I’m wearing them most of the time and the ear hooks allow them to stay put without moving around in my ear. Having three sizes of cups should allow most users to find a comfortable fit, and they provide a soft gentle grip without a having a large driver sunk into the middle of them like many wireless headphones. I chose the smallest cup to allow me to hear my surroundings better, even though the mediums were a slightly better fit, and the ear hooks kept them in place anyway. All things considered, these are definitely the most comfortable wireless headphones I’ve tested, but this can vary by user.
What I didn’t like
This is my third pair of Status Audio headphones and the only pair that didn’t come with a carrying case. Ironically, this is also the first pair of headphones I’ve purchased from them that’s designed to be portable. Why they decided their most portable headphones shouldn’t come with some sort of carrying case, I’ll never understand. I ended up tossing them into a snack sized zip lock baggie instead and I’ve gotten around this way just fine so far. It would be nice to have something a bit more substantial to protect them with, but it’s a minor complaint.
As a long term fan of Status Audio, I was surprised and a little disappointed to see the all too common push to exaggerate the bass on these headphones. Those seeking a more accurate representation of their music will find these not entirely suitable for that cause, at least out of the box. After some tuning (if you’re good with an equalizer) you can achieve a more natural sound that’s quite pleasing and accurate if that’s your goal, but most users aren’t going to know how or care to manipulate those settings. To be honest, most users won’t want to either. They don’t sound bad by any means, and many users will love the sound profile, but they’re certainly out of character for the brand who generally emphasizes a classier, more accurate sounding audio.
These headphones perform way out of their price range, outperforming headphones I’ve tested that often retail for well over $100. They’re lightweight, exceptionally comfortable, and provide a robust enough battery charge to last me through even the longest bike rides, jogs or long nights jamming out at camp. Aside from the jarring addition of bass boost to their otherwise neutral sound profiles and the lack of a carry case, I find these to be an exceptional pair of headphones at an even more surprising price.
The highest of Recommendations
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