Wireless earbuds are all abuzz lately, with Apple making the controversial decision to remove headphone jacks from iPhones. And to the surprise of no one, it’s becoming a potential boon to Bluetooth audio OEMs, such as the pair of wireless earbuds I’ve been using from SmartOmni. My experience with them has been different, to say the least.
The buds are fairly small, each with their own internal battery, and they aren’t connected by any type of chord. Thus, each one needs to be turned on, and they require an additional pairing step, which I’ll touch on shortly. They are dark in color, and the ends that face outward from the user’s ears are a chrome/metallic color. There are three sets of earbuds that come with it, and each set has one red and one green. This is useful, as the buds are visually identical without them. They are also interchangeable, so it’s not super important to keep them straight. Along with the earphones, there’s a smallish charging station, with two docks, one for each bud, to allow them to charge. The item is rounded out with a compact case that zips closed, and some stablizers that hook around the ear. And while having buds this small can be nice as they are discreet and easy to carry about, they are also easy to lose, as it nearly happened to me a couple of times.
Pairing and using the buds is slightly different from others that I’ve used. Either or both of them can be paired directly to the phone. How they work though, is that one of them is paired to the phone, making it the primary bud. The other one is then paired to the first bud, making it secondary. Once I got the hang of using it, they paired up properly. I got around four and half hours of use out of them, over multiple sessions with them. Frankly, I was a bit surprised, considering their size. Their range/distance was typical with other bluetooth earphones, where I could get twenty or thirty feet away, before there was degredation that was noticable. They were able to charge completely, in under two hours. I used them once in a phone call, and there were no issues, either in my hearing the caller, or my being heard. Other functionality that it has includes it reading out the phone number of incoming callers (though sadly, not their name), and a button for enabling Google Now, where it can transfer spoken commands to the phone.
Here’s where things get unusual. I have used them for a while, more that the four-ish hours that I got in running the battery down. For a good portion of it, the secondary bud would have its volume fade in an out. To make matters more confusing, there was NO pattern to it. None. I could walk away from my phone a good twenty feet, and the sound was pristine. Yet the secondary bud would fade in an out when the phone was in my hands, right in front of me. It also happened while in my pocket, and when it was at arm’s length, and so on. It happened when the battery was full, and when it was low. I tried switching which bud was primary and which was secondary, and whichever bud was secondary ALWAYS exhibited the behavior. I even offered the people at SmartOmni the option to forgo this review, or replace the unit. They assured me that they wanted this review to go out, and that they’d exchange or refund any purchase of buds that exhibit this behavior. They are confident that it was a defective model, but ultimately you are the judge. All I can do is share my experience with you, as to how things went with these earphones.
In the end, it’s very difficult for me to recommend this set of earphones at all. Perhaps I’ve received a defective unit, but having one of the earbuds consistently fade in and out was beyond frustrating and distracting, and almost always took me out of the experience of what I was listening to. Personally, I think they’re worth avoiding on those grounds alone. Should you choose to purchase a pair hoping for a better experience, SmartOmni is offerig a ten percent discount for those who use the following code: HBSQWTU2