In a world where the Apple AirPods exist, the most Apple product in years, it is possible boom time for competitors or the end of the road. The fact is that the AirPods are actually not expensive when you look at the competition-
B&O Beoplay H5 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones- £199.99
BEATS BY DR DRE Powerbeats3 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones- £169.95
SAMSUNG IconX Wireless Bluetooth Headphones- £199.00
JAYBIRD X2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones- £139.99
As you can see, the AirPods appear competitive at £159.00, but have the advantage of working near perfectly with an iPhone.
And then you have the lower end of the market which includes the Philips Runfree Wireless Bluetooth Sports Headphones at a mere £24.99. Is it possible that they can be a sixth as good as the AirPods and other expensive wireless headphones when reviewers are suggesting that the AirPods sound similar to the normal EarPods from Apple in terms of audio quality?
Well, I guess it all comes down to music and if that is want to listen to above anything else. I reviewed the VicTsing Smallest Mini Bluetooth 4.0 In Ear Headset which retail for £9.99 back in October and have used it every day since. It always connect, it offers decent battery performance and has proved to be ideal for podcasts, but not for music. Even with the extra headset, the audio quality is simply not good enough for serious music playback. It remains one of the best value accessories I have ever bought, but real wired headphones are the order of the day for music.
And so I decided to try a compromise which are the Philips Runfree Wireless Bluetooth Sports Headphones. The price is good, the name is a real brand and they look kind of funky. There is a wire between the two speakers of course which all but the most expensive wireless headphones offer, but that should not be too much of an inconvenience unless you are trying to hide the fact that you are wearing headphones completely. Then again, you wouldn’t be buying bright green headphones if that was the case.
So, there are 3 areas that matter with wireless headphones and I will list how well the Runfrees work in each area-
Pretty poor to be honest with you. They sound better than the £9.99 VicTsings, but that would be expected. The problem is that they sound like £12 headphones from a no-brand.
Terrible. I am using the smallest inserts and they are too big for my ears which means that they hurt a lot in almost all circumstances. I do not have small ears at all and the choice of only 2 inserts is not enough in my opinion.
Terrible again. I have to ‘forget this device’ every time I try to use them with my iPhone SE which is something I never do with the VicTsings.
Excuse the abrupt end to this review, but I would advise to spend some decent money to get a pair of wireless headphones you will enjoy every single day. The VicTsings are perfect for podcasts and at £9.99 you can’t really go wrong. For music, go for the AirPods.