When Apple launched the AirPods in 2016, it set off a new phenomenon-these were wireless earphones that were also a style statement. Almost immediately, other brands followed-some were a rip-off of the AirPods, others had original design. Today, wireless earphones are available for as low as Rs 1,000 to more than Rs 20,000. But like in any product segment, it’s the mid-range that offers the best value-for-money. One of these is Amazfit PowerBuds by Huami, priced Rs 6,999.
The PowerBuds aren’t a rip-off of the AirPods, and these pack a technology punch. These are TWS (true wireless sports) earphones with features such as heart-rate monitoring, magnetic ear hooks, noise reduction for calls, etc., making it not only a good set of earphones, but also a fitness device.
The battery is claimed to last eight hours of playtime on a single charge.
An interesting feature is ‘tap control’. The PowerBuds can be customised with tap functions such as music controls, call answering/hanging up, wake up voice assistant (Siri, Google Assistant), or turn on/off the ambient sound enhancement mode, ensuring safety during outdoor sports. These are also equipped with in-ear detection, so that the music can automatically play or pause when placing the PowerBuds in or removing from your ears. These are rated at IP55 (water-resistant, but not waterproof), and therefore sweating during a workout won’t affect their functionality.
But unlike the AirPods, the PowerBuds are slightly heavier and bulky. While that doesn’t lead to any discomfort during long periods of usage, this bulkiness makes them prone to falling out, especially while running. To counter that, Huami is offering magnetic sport ear hooks as an added accessory (within the box at no extra price)-these ear hooks can be connected to the PowerBuds and then around your earlobes to prevent the PowerBuds from dropping.
The sound quality-especially the bass effect-is good, and it is definitely better than what your average wired earphones will deliver, though it is not in the same league as that of top-quality headphones.
Wireless earphones are here to stay, and have become a social signal of affluence.
Heart-rate monitoring with PPG optical sensor
Magnetic sport ear hooks to prevent them from dropping
Superior sound that enhances beats during exercise
IP55 water and dust resistant rating
Eight hour battery life (and a magnetic charging box)
Dual-microphone noise reduction for calls
In-ear detection that automatically plays/pauses music
Estimated street price: Rs 6,999