At the end of 2014 I wrote about budget Bluetooth speaker I picked up for £10, which I was pleased with at the time and – I’m pleased to report – I continue to be pleased with. Even with regular use and multiple recharges the battery life significantly exceeds the advertised four hours (unless I max out the volume for a bit of air guitar).
I’ve since added to my collection of inexpensive gadgets with Bluetooth heart rate monitor and a pair of Bluetooth headphones, of which the latter are the subject of this post.
Priced at the princely sum of £19.99 from Lidl, and available in black – my choice -, white, red, or blue the SilverCrest® Bluetooth® Headphones (aka SBTH 4.0 A1) boasting a 15 hours battery life were my latest purchase.
Since getting the portable speaker my music listening has increased drastically, but I only tended to listen via (wired) headphones when I was either:
- Travelling (with a pair of noise cancelling headphones)
Unless I was trying to block out other noise, I would rarely bother or remember to plug a pair in when I was working; therefore my only reason for picking these up was the typically compelling combination of “shiny new toy” and “cheap”, with “no wires” being an afterthought.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this purchase has been a double-edged sword, but the good does outweigh the bad.
They do exactly what they are supposed to. They paired painlessly with my iPhone 6 Plus and MacBook Pro, and will happily connect to both simultaneously (obviously you can only hear audio from one source at a time). They are mostly comfortable, and I have worn them pretty much all day without discomfort, but on other days they’ve annoyed me after only a short while. Battery is as advertised or better, as it was with the portable speaker. Audio is good enough, but they do distort with heavy bass. For a pair of supra-aural (on-ear) headphones, they do a good job of reducing ambient noise, but at medium to high volumes others will be able to hear what you’re listening to. The built-in microphone is passable.
When connected and in use a blue LED flashes continuously on the right ear, which are very noticeable in a darkened room. Occasionally when using the hands-free mode the connection will be garbled, and I’ll have to switch to the phone itself.
Both of those are minor details compared to the next one though, but the majority of the blame lies in iOS. I cannot use these headphones to watch video on my phone due to a significant delay between the video and audio. From my research this seems to be because iOS uses AirPlay for the audio, and even affects Apple’s own Beats wireless headphones. There is no delay when used with the MacBook Pro, nor when paired with an Android phone.
Despite that one glaring problem I’m very happy with them, and have been using them everyday for both music and podcasts.