If you’re looking for a pair of inexpensive wireless earbuds for workouts, then Aukey’s EP-B20 Bluetooth Headset is worth a look. These aren’t the most prestigious earbuds that you can pick up, but they sound decent, feel great in ear, and come with a reasonable $27.99 price.
Design and function
Aukey has adopted a neckband design for its sport earbuds, and I find that the design is functional and performs well when moving or working out. To me, the most important thing about a pair of earbuds, outside of audio quality, is how well they stay in your ears. By avoiding the traditional cable setup and opting for a neckband, the chance that the earbuds will be accidentally dislodged from your ears is reduced.
The neckband, which is flexible and features a soft rubber material, is almost indiscernible while resting on the neck. When you run, however, you’ll feel the end pieces of the neckband bounce around your neck. If you’re a runner, you may deem this annoying enough to be a deal breaker, because not only do you feel the band hit your neck/collarbone area as you run, but you can actually hear the sound slightly resonate into your ears.
Aukey includes three pairs of swappable earbud tips in order to ensure a good fit inside of the outer ear canal. When a good fit is achieved, you’ll benefit from the low end bass that these earbuds are capable of producing. You won’t notice deep booming bass, but it’s generally adequate for workout scenarios.
The cable for the earbuds is a little over six inches and features an extra inch or so of adjustment via a band on the mid part of the neckband. The cable design provides enough slack to fit comfortably in your ears, but doesn’t lend enough cable to significantly increase the risk of tangling. The back of the earbuds themselves are magnetic, allowing them to snap into the neckband’s end canals for easy storage when not in use.
My main gripe with Aukey’s design is the neckband’s brittle plastic shell. There’s really no other way to describe the shell and the rest of the plastic that graces the EP-B20 Bluetooth Headset—it feels, well…cheap. At $27.99, some sacrifices had to be made, and it’s very obvious that Aukey decided that the plastic shell’s quality was worth sacrificing to meet price targets.
There is one benefit to such a brittle and lightweight neckband, however, and that has to do with weight. Because the neckband feels so lightweight and brittle, it feels almost unnoticeable when worn around the neck. Honestly, I wouldn’t let the feel of the neckband discourage me from picking up these earbuds, especially if you’re likely to subject them to an abundance of sweat and grime during workout sessions. By the way, Aukey says that the EP-B20’s are sweat proof.
On its Amazon page, Aukey describes its wireless earbuds as being able to produce “powerful treble and resounding bass for an unforgettable audio experience.” I laughed a bit when I read that, because that’s quite an over the top description. The sound is not an unforgettable experience by any sense of the imagination, as the mids and highs are muffled at higher volumes, but the sound is decent enough to where it shouldn’t overly detract from your workouts either.
Aukey says that it’s using CVC 6.0 Noise Cancelling technology in these earbuds, and while that might be true, the style of the earbuds, with the suction tips designed to be placed in the outer ear canal, go a long way toward eliminating outside noise by themselves.
The EP-B20 Bluetooth Headset ships with Bluetooth 4.1 and supports a variety of profiles including HSP, HFP, AD2P, and AVRCP. Thanks to its 120mAh battery, users can expect about 15 hours of talk time/play time, and around 300 hours standby time.
As with most Bluetooth headsets these days, this pair supports phone calls and interaction with Siri via the phone button at the bottom of the neckband — you’ll also find a play/pause button on the opposite end. On the outside of the neckband you’ll notice volume buttons and back/skip buttons, and on the inside you’ll note a power switch and the microUSB charging port.
As someone who owns a pair of PowerBeats 2 headphones, I honestly think I’d be more likely to pick up the Aukey’s the next time I go for a walk. These earbuds don’t sound as good, but I like the neckband design that these offer, as I find them more comfortable than the over-the-ear setup provided by the PowerBeats. If you’re a runner, however, think twice, as the hard brittle plastic bouncing on your neck may prove to be annoying to you.
At less than $30 bucks, it’s hard to go wrong with the Aukey Bluetooth sport earbuds. They certainly don’t look the coolest, or feature the best build quality, but the bang-for-the-buck value aspect is certainly there.
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