Photos by Veronica Oggy
For a pair of headphones under the $50 mark, we often find ourselves recommending something like the standard $35 Apple earphones. You typically cannot beat the sound quality (build quality up for debate) for the price, but if you want to go Bluetooth, pickings are slim in the under $200 category.
If you are looking for DJ-style, over-ear Bluetooth headphones, your options are even fewer before hitting the $250+ price point for a wireless pair of Beats by Dr.Dre.
However, at just $39, Tenqa’s Remxd Bluetooth Headphones are clearly not for the pros, but looking at the Bluetooth alternatives from Rocketfish, Sony, and Sennheiser, they definitely impress at a fraction of the competition’s prices. They were also built with iPhone in mind, which means they pack a microphone and controls for hands-free calls—just like Apple’s stock iPhone earphones…
Pros: You would likely expect less than spectacular build-quality from a $40 pair of over-ear headphones. The good news is that our favorite part of Tenqa’s headphones is the solid construction. Sony’s over-ear headphones under $40 feel flimsy in comparison. They certainly do not have the plush cushioning of higher-end headphones, but we had no complaints with comfort or fit after extended periods of use. The sound quality is decent; they are comparable to anything else with a Bluetooth, mic, and remote at the price. However, they can sound boxy compared to Apple’s high-end offerings at times.
For battery life, we had no issues getting the 15 hours listening time before having to recharge (takes 3.5 hours for a full charge). You should not have an issue getting the 22.5 hours talk time and 180 hours standby time that Tenqa advertises.
The headphones include a built-in mic, pause/play buttons, and a button to answer calls, on/off switch for Bluetooth, and a volume wheel that also allows you to navigate through songs. There is also a 3.5mm input for the included USB charging cable, and a 3.5mm cable (in case you want to go without Bluetooth). As for the built-in mic, you get what you pay for with sound quality. It is adequate for indoor calls, but you will not want to rely on these when there is a lot of background noise.
Cons: Unfortunately, the sound quality does not quite live up to Apple’s earphones—if you are after an accurate reproduction of your source audio. While the tone quality of Apple’s earbuds tend to be closer to neutral than not, Tenqa’s cans go the way of Dre’s Beats with boomy, sometimes over-the-top bass. The audio performance starts to show its weaknesses when compared to Apple’s $80 In-Ear Headphones, which also include a built-in remote and mic. Another $20 will get you Sony’s $99 DR-BT101 Bluetooth headset, which is a noticeable step up in audio performance.
Do not expect everything to go smooth with your Mac. These were designed specifically for iPhone, and they do not always play nice with your Mac…even after successfully paired. Tenqa said its complicated getting the headphones to work 100 percent with all Bluetooth drivers, which is a fact of life for most manufacturers.
Should you get them?
For the average, casual listener, the difference in sound quality compared to Apple’s earphones is definitely not a deal breaker. Those that do not mind or prefer the unnatural bass of a pair of Beats by Dre will not be bothered. However, at the end of the day, you are still compromising on sound quality in exchange for Bluetooth and solid construction/design at a $40 price point. We reviewed Tenqa’s over-ear headphones, but the company also offers a wrap-around design with similar specs for $25. If Bluetooth is necessary, you are probably not going to find a pair of over-ear headphones at this price that compare to Tenqa’s headphones.