Wired earbuds have a major weakness in the connection between the actual earbud and the wire, and no matter how careful I was with them they were forever getting dropped, ripped out of my ears (caught on a door handle – I love it when that happens) and within a few months I would get the inevitable failure in one of the contacts and one of the earpieces would stop working – I am sure you are all-too-familiar with the syndrome.
Considering the number I had bought recently, and that barely any had made it beyond the 6 month mark, it was time for change, time for my first Bluetooth earphones.
What you get
These Taotronics sets cost barely more than a reasonable quality set of regular wired earbuds, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the package I received. One of those now-popular minimalist cardboard boxes that actually look very nice contained a short USB charging lead, a nice little carrying pouch, a little bag of spare rubber earpieces – both in-ear parts and ear-hooks.
And the earphones themselves, of course, which actually suggested a quite decent build quality – flat, durable-looking cable and very robust-seeming earpieces that seem a world away from the flimsy earbuds I was used to. The earpieces are each backed with a magnet that allows you to wear the set around your neck and connect the two earpieces together so they don’t fall off when you are not using them – I have no idea if that is a common feature with these kinds of headphone, these are my first, but although it adds a lot of weight it’s a nice touch.
How they work
The Taotronics BH-07 set is turned on by holding the middle button on the inline remote control for a few seconds until a blue light comes on. If you have them on your ear you will hear a pleasant little bleepy upwards trill, while turning them off plays a downward trill – useful sound cues that mean you can tell if they are on or off without looking down at the light.
The set is paired with your phone or other device by holding down the middle button even longer – until the light starts flashing blue and red – and then OKing the connection on your device. I though this was worth mentioning as it didn’t seem very clear from the instructions.
The set takes about an hour to fully charge and then is probably good for some 3-4 hours listening time. It will start making warning bleeps when it is close to empty, and will turn itself off some 15 minutes after that.
Pros and cons
I wasn’t expecting incredible high fidelity – not from a Bluetooth headset and not from one that costs $20-ish – and so I was not disappointed, it’s just fine for casual music listening on the move, or if you want to watch TV around the house without disturbing everybody else.
The earpieces are rather heavy due to the magnets, which might bother some people, and the rubber hooks have an annoying habit of rotating slightly so that they are out of place and you often have to push them back into place before you can fit them into your ears.
The range is perfectly acceptable – anywhere in the same room, especially with a line of sight, is going to be fine, although if you are out and about and put your phone in a pocket you might get dropouts. When riding my bike I found I had to put the phone in a side pocket to avoid this.
One MAJOR problem, which I assume is not only a problem with these earphones, is interference with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi networks. To give you an example, I watch a LOT of YouTube and Twitch on my phone in my downtime around the house. It was literally unwatchable because the Bluetooth was interfering with the Wi-Fi and making videos grind to a halt every few seconds. I actually had to buy a 5Ghz Wi-Fi router to resolve that problem! It may be that my phone is poorly shielded, I can’t discount that possibility.
I have had these earphones for 6 months now and they show none of the usual signs of failure for now. My feeling is that declining battery life will be the main problem in the long run. All in all, if you are looking for entry-level Bluetooth headphones, at this price you really can’t go wrong.