This is a guest post by Mike Forest.
Scott was recently offered a set of headphones in exchange for an honest review. Thing is, Scott doesn’t listen to music when he works out, or even when he goes on long walks. Mike does. All the time.
So… we had the company send him the headphones.
The BTS Sport headphones are a set of behind-the-neck, on-ear headphones. They cost $59.99 USD retail.
See the picture of the unboxing:
I’ll divide my thoughts according to what I think the true strengths of the headphones are, then address those aspects of the BTS Sport headphones that are basically solid and good, and finally I’ll discuss what I consider the weaknesses.
Before We Begin:
What I used these for…
I tested these for about a month. I worked out at the gym, went running, puttered around the house, went for walks with my dog, and I tested them as well just by sitting at my desk, keeping them paired with my laptop.
In terms of how I use and treat my headphones, I generally prefer very light in-ear earbuds for most things physical (especially running), and over-ear studio headphones for situations that allow it. I’m more picky about headphone “feel” than some. I’m about average for quality. I can identify quality, but I’m not an audiophile.
I primarily listen to music when I’m working out at the gym, and when working at home. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I’m puttering around the house, walking my dog or going on runs.
The TL;DR Summary: They’re excellent for the price, and they’re reliable. (If you’re like me, you have been burned when it comes to wireless and bluetooth.)
They have excellent battery, excellent connectivity, good sound quality, they answer calls well and reliably, and the drawback to them is that they’re a bit big and not the lightest pair of headphones ever.
With these, it is kind of obvious how the strengths and drawbacks are related. You have to decide what your preferences are.
Strengths of the BTS Sport
The Bluetooth connection on my iPhone 6s plus was easy and quick, then extremely reliable.
I was also impressed by the range. I could leave my iPhone in the kitchen and go to the other end of my apartment (100ft) and only heard breaks in reception at the very edge.
If you’re working out in a large gym, no, you probably couldn’t get away with leaving your phone in the locker room. That’s crazy. But if you were at, say, a very small gym, or a home gym, you could leave your phone in your bag in the corner, if they allowed that.
I have nothing but good things to say about the BTS Sport’s battery and battery life. I wish I could give an exact figure but I found it hard to drain the sucker.
I never did in a way that would give me a truly accurate result. After three days without charging them, it’s hard to track precisely how many hours of actual music playback you went through, especially when you’re listening to audiobooks and podcasts at multiple speed rates (so that you can just do the math later on of how much you go through).
The website promises “400h standby time” and “25h Continuous Music Playback.” As far as I can tell, that is accurate, and not surprising. They have chosen to give up a bit of leanness for more Bluetooth connectivity and battery.
“Solid” / ”Good” Aspects
Taking Phone Calls
I have little to say about this, except that they worked as they should.
The buttons work. They took some getting used to, to make sure you didn’t hang up, or you don’t skip to the next chapter of your audiobook when you just wanted to up the volume, but they are not in very weird places like I’ve seen before.
Also, there is a distinct “click” feel to them, so you know when you’ve clicked. You can also learn by feel, because of the ridges.
I don’t have the best ear, especially relative to my fiancée (who is a classically trained opera singer), but I’ve learned to distinguish quality from… not. I also asked me fiancée to listen and compare to see what she thought. She agreed with me. The sound is pretty good.
Long story short is that these headphones deliver good quality, especially for the price point.
Is there a difference between these and $300 over ear studio quality cable headphones by Bose or Sony? Yes, if you’re listening for it, of course there is. Duh. If you’re working out, you don’t need that kind of quality. Honestly, if you do, I think you’re paying attention to the wrong thing during your workout.
I also want to add that this might sound like I’m damning with faint praise, but I’m really not. I’ve listened to other Bluetooth headphones that were absolutely terrible. Seriously, a lot of them just suck. These don’t, and for $59 that’s impressive.
(The only headphones I’ve had that really did better, in terms of sound quality relative to the price point, were the over-ear Sennheiser HD 201s, which cost $23 and sound like they cost five times that. Unfortunately, the cable on those is insanely long for anything except working at your desk.)
Weaknesses of the BTS Sport Headphones
That’s it, really, though it does stand out a bit. It’s sort of obvious as soon as you look at them straight on.
It’s the obvious trade-off for the Bluetooth connectivity and the wireless battery life. These are not small headphones. You kind of look like a robot if you look at yourself straight on. They're thick. You can get a feel for it better with the actual images from the company website:
Even though it's at an angle, if you look carefully, you can kind of see what I mean on the woman running:
If you don’t care, cool. I don’t, and frankly out in public when you’re going for a run or working in the gym, I don’t think anyone would notice. You tend to notice if you look at yourself straight on in the mirror.
I don’t have much to say here. It just is what it is.
This is related to the above, obviously. They’re not super heavy, but they’re not the lightest headphones, and they’re heavier than any wired ones.
If you find yourself often very bothered by the weight of behind-the-neck headphones, don’t get these. If that's not an issue for you, don’t worry about it.
I liked these for working out, and for running they were okay, though I could feel them and notice them.
Note that my preference for running are in-ear earbuds, so I’m used to very light headphones for that.
For puttering around the house, doing chores, making dinner, going into different rooms in my house without having to think where my darn phone is, and so on, they were excellent.
For working out at the gym, they were very good.
For running, they I found them good. If you’re the type of person who finds in-ear earbuds just fall out when you run, these would work well instead. If your in-ear earbuds fit great and never fall out, and – like me – that’s what you’re used to, I’d stick to them.
I also think these would make a good Christmas gift for anyone who’s into working out, or who needs an extra set for every day travelling around.
They’re basically convenient and reliable, in other words. If you’ve just been burned by the iPhone 7 not having any cable connection, I’d recommend these. You’ll find a use for them. If you hate having cables when working out, I’d definitely recommend these.
If you’re an audiophile, and you’re used to $300 non-Bluetooth over-ear headphones, then no, stick with those headphones. You’re going to have to pay more to get that kind of quality. That’s life.
If this were Amazon, where everyone is generous, I’d give the BTS Sport 5/5 stars.
On a general scale, I’d give them 4/5 stars.
Here is the reasoning: On the one hand, the size and the weight. These aren’t perfect. On the other hand, it’s hard to fault them for that, given the battery life, the strong connectivity, and the price point. You just have to know what you’re going to get. That said, a perfect 5/5 would somehow blow me away in all those things, and I’d wonder why they didn’t cost $299.99 or something. I’d be an evangelical about them, trying to convince all my friends to buy them right now. A 4.5/5 wouldn’t be over-the-top, too-good-to-be-true territory, but it would have all the strengths, but I’d also think, “Wow, these are pretty small, given the price.”
I’ll also mention that Audio66 also has two other sets of headphones:
- The BTS Pro ($129.99) is another set of wireless Bluetooth behind-the-neck on-ear headphones, that might be a step up if you’re buying for a true audiophile. They look a little slimmer, and boast some neat extra features like an iOS equalizer app.
- The Revolution ($169.99) is a set of wireless Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones. They’re obviously going to boast better sound quality, though it looks like they have less battery life (though if you run out, you can switch to a cable connection).
Mike Forest writes about habits and smarter dieting and fitness strategies at his website, http://thehabit.space/.