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These little marvels are by no means the first Bluetooth in-ear wireless headphones on the market, but they’re the first such earbuds from Cambridge Audio. Once again, the company has come up trumps with a good hi-fi product that’s great value for money.
Its driver diaphragms use graphene for strength and flexibility. The result is a clean sound from ridiculously small bullet-style ear buds. Bluetooth 5.0 gives a reliable connection while AAC and aptX codecs give the best possible wireless connection quality.
What’s equally impressive is that the small buds cram in a nine hour battery life. They can be stowed in the charging case, which is barely bigger than a matchbox, for a total battery life of 45 hours. You’ll always want to use the case because the earbuds are so tiny you’d lose them without it.
Image credit: Cambridge Audio
Setup was simple: the earbuds each sync to your phone via Bluetooth and find each other with ease, to work in tandem. From then on, they automatically power up and connect when you take them out of the charging case. There’s no special app, which means one less thing to do, but it also means you can’t fine tune the headphones’ EQ to tailor the sound.
Fit is fairly good. They come with four sets of tips: three sizes of silicone tips plus one pair of memory foam tips. Between these it’s possible to get a good fit, although changing them over the memory foam pair proved fragile and tore slightly. There’s nothing to secure them in place for sports, but if you’ve found the right fit you can at least run for the bus without fear.
Sound quality is impressively open and detailed, but the design lacks sonic isolation from the outside world. This makes them great for adding a soundtrack to daily life without blocking it out but they can’t stand up to loud environments. The earbuds feature a noise-cancelling mic for phone calls and voice assistant but no active noise cancellation to help combat background noise disturbing listening.
Finally, controls are very impressive: instead of multiple tiny buttons that are hard to tap, the end of each earbud acts as a single big button. As mentioned, the headphones pair with your phone as soon as you take them out of the charging case. Then a single tap on either earbud plays or pauses the music. A double-tap left or right skips backwards or forwards a track. A long press turns volume down or up. And a slow double-press summons the voice assistant. It’s not uncommon to hit pause by mistake as you put them in your ears but aside from that the controls work very well.
Image credit: Cambridge Audio
In all, it’s an impressive package at a keen price and makes a strong case for wireless listening if you’re not already a convert. The Melomania 1s are so tiny that you can pocket the charging case and carry it everywhere, giving everyday a soundtrack.
Designed to work with iPhone, Apple Watch, Siri and more. Battery life is 5 hours (more than 24 hours including the juice in the charging case). The £199 version has a wireless charging case so you can simply lay it on a Qi charging mat.
From £159 apple.com
Impressive musicality and, unusually, noise cancelling make these the tiny headphones to beat in terms of pure sound quality but they’re pricey. Battery life is 6 hours (24 hours including charging case).
Bose SoundSport Free
A comfortable design and water-repellent mesh over the open ports make these a good choice for sport. Battery life is 5 hours (15 hours including charging case).
This article first appeared on eandt.theiet.org
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