- Fairly good sound
- Has aptX HD for Hi-Res streaming
- Poor neckband design
- Slightly artifical mid/treble lift
- Review Price: £99.99/$132
- 8-hour battery life
- micro-USB charging
- AptX HD
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Built-in controls
- 7mm dynamic drivers
What are the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth?
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth are wireless earphones. Meters states that they’re “Bluetooth in-ear headphones you won’t lose”, because they clip together magnetically when they’re not in your ears.
Size-wise, they’re much larger than a true wireless pair such as the Apple AirPods. Sound quality is enjoyable, entry-level stuff – which is no surprise, given the wired M-Ear earphones cost just £40/$53.
However, the design needs work as they tend to slowly slip out of your ears, making them a poor choice for runners.
Design and comfort
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth are neckband headphones. I find this the most practical type of wireless earphone, mainly because they tend to last a lot longer than ‘true wireless’ pairs. The latter’s batteries often drain in as little as three hours, whereas the M-Ear Bluetooth will last up to eight.
A thin band of rubber sits around your neck and AA battery-sized blocks with leather-effect outers sit by your collarbones. These hold the battery, controls and electronics.
Other Meters headphones use actual sound meters to stand out from the crowd, but here the synthetic leather parts attract attention. As well as the leather skin on the main parts of the band, little leather loops are attached to each earpiece to make removing them from your ears a little easier.
I’ve never had an issue removing normal earphones from my ears, but these loops should help avoid putting to much stress on the cable. They have to withstand years of being bunged in and pulled out all the time, after all.
Unfortunately, I find the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth’s design just doesn’t work particularly well. Even as I sit here with them around my neck, over the past 20 minutes, the left side has started to slip down. I tried running a 5K with them in my ears, and ended up slipping the neckband bungs under the collar of my t-shirt just to keep them on my head.
So why doesn’t the design work? Most neckband headphones have a semi-stiff part that sits behind your neck, but there’s no definition to the shape here. Add lopsided weight of the neckband control units and this results in the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth slithering, snake-like, out of place.
This issue dominates the experience – although, otherwise, they’re okay. You get three sets of silicone tips in the box, and a little carry case too. The tips seem to require some fiddling to get a good fit, but this will vary from ear to ear.
The earpieces are all-metal too, although this is quite easy to ignore as you end up gripping the leather-effect outer more than any other part of the device. The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth are available in black, tan and white, as well as the red version seen here.
Features and wireless
AptX HD is the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth’s nod to audiophiles. This is a Qualcomm technology that lets Bluetooth audio stream at 48KHz, 24-bit, eradicating the sound quality compromise of Bluetooth.
This is one of the cheaper earphones I’ve used with aptX HD. The SoundMagic E10BT, for example, don’t feature aptX, which allows CD-quality streaming.
Ensure your phone supports aptX HD before getting too excited, though. Both ends of the chain need the feature. The stream will revert to the highest quality standard common to phone and earphone.
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth’s battery life is just passable. At eight hours, it’s the least I’d expect from a neckband earphone currently. The Sennheiser Momentum in-ear Wireless last for 10 hours, as do Trusted Reviews favourites, the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless.
These earphones aren’t miles off, then, and they do seem to hold charge well between sessions. A micro-USB charge socket sits on one of the neckband cylinders, under a rubber flap.
This gives the earphones a degree of (unofficial) water-resistance, but I find the bung a nightmare to remove. At one point, I resorted to using tweezers. Like the band itself, this part looks good on paper but just isn’t that well designed in reality.
The controls are pretty good, however. You’ll see ‘+’, ‘-‘ and ‘O’ icons embossed into the leather cover of the right control housing. They look pleasant, are easy to use by feel alone, and there are click buttons beneath that make it easy to determine the press of a button.
The M-Ear Bluetooth are an odd mix of solid and poor design choices.
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth need to sound great to counteract the design issues. They sound good, but aren’t best-in-class.
These earphones were designed in association with Adam Clayton, bassist of U2. I mention it this far into the review because it’s about as much fuss as Meters gives the collaboration at this point. And it shouldn’t affect your decision anyway.
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth have small 7mm dynamic drivers, but the sound isn’t small as a result. Their soundstage is fairly wide for a somewhat-affordable in-ear wireless pair, and low-bass punch beats both the SoundMagic E10BT and OnePlus Bullets Wireless.
Don’t take that to mean the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth have an obviously bassy sound, however. One positive aspect I’ve found common to several small driver earphones is good bass depth without it becoming leaden or swampy.
The Meters M-Ear Bluetooth are a lot tauter-sounding than the SoundMagic E10BT. To some ears, this may be interpreted as being “less warm”. Many like a warm headphone, but in avoiding excess low mids and upper bass, the Meters are much less likely to sound congested, or to confuse complex arrangements.
The high mids and treble define the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth sound. Meters has given them a shot of adrenaline in an attempt to deliver a well-defined sound.
This doesn’t result in sibilance – a potential issue when jacking-up higher frequencies – but this part of the sound’s make-up is incongruous. The very high mids aren’t particularly smooth, making their texture seem somewhat artificially sharpened, as it stands out.
The V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless pull off this concept of an in-ear wireless headphone with added higher-frequency energy more successfully. However, at £50/$66 extra, they may stretch your budget.
Why buy the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth?
We can’t recommend the Meters M-Ear Bluetooth because their design will test your patience. They’re poor at staying on your head, and that’s a problem.
Around this price you might want to consider the super-well-designed £69/$92 OnePlus Bullets Wireless, or the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless, which are more expensive but better in all respects.
With one trip back to the drawing board, to address the design issues and tweak the tuning of what seems to be a perfectly solid driver, Meters could be onto a winner.
Impractical design lets down these unusual-looking wireless earphones.