- Secure and comfortable fit
- In-line remote
- Certain parts feel cheap
- Review Price: £22.99/$31
- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless
- In-line remote and microphone
- Magnetic earbuds
- Four pairs of wingtips
- Travel pouch
What are the TaoTronics Lightweight Sports Headphones?
It’s easy to feel sceptical about the troves of inexpensive Bluetooth headphones on Amazon, but very occasionally you do come across a surprise. There are actually a few different pairs being sold on Amazon under the TaoTronics moniker. This particular pair are the most expensive option that also includes aptX. At £22.99/$31, the TaoTronics Sports Headphones certainly tick the budget checkbox and, while they’re not perfect, they get a lot right for the money.
These headphones are IPX6 for water-resistance, meaning they’ll survive sweat and rain, and they have a secure fit to boot. The only real shortcomings for these sports headphones are the battery life.
Design and comfort
The TaoTronics Sports Headphones are pretty standard as far as neckband-style sports headphones go. These have a cable connecting the two buds that you wear behind your neck and there’s an integrated cable tidy to help take up some of the excess cable and help secure them against the back of your neck. The cable is pretty long so you’ll likely find yourself using this while running in particular.
The headphones only weigh 13g, so are nice and light, but as the in-line remote control sits towards the right earbud, it does tend to sit a little more heavily towards that side. So even with the cable tidy engaged you might find it a little distracting. The in-line remote lets you adjust volume, play and pause your music, and skip tracks. The buttons are nicely separated, so they’re easy to press without too much concentration.
There’s also a Micro USB charging port tucked away behind a slightly flimsy-feeling cover to keep water and sweat out. It’s a little tricky to get the cover back in place after a charge and this reminds you that these are budget headphones after all.
The earbuds have a bullet-like design, which means they protrude out of your ears a reasonable amount. They’re not the most attractive headphones in that regard. Fortunately, you get a selection of four different-sized wingtips, which is a generous amount. The wingtips secure the earbuds against your outer ear, anchoring them in place during more intense workouts. These do a good job and are a staple of any good sports headphone.
The headphones have been a regular gym companion and also joined me for a 10K and I’ve not had any problems with comfort or fit aside from the slightly distracting tug of the microphone.
The other neat feature are the magnets on the outside of each earbud, which let you connect them in front of your neck making it less likely you’ll lose the headphones.
You also get a basic travel pouch for keeping the headphones and wingtips in. It’s basic but does a job.
Sound and microphone quality
There’s not much information available on what’s driving the TaoTronics Sports Headphones’ sound but, frankly, if you’re considering headphones this cheap you’re probably not an audiophile. With that said, the sound quality is actually surprisingly pleasant. They’re not going to pack the powerful bass of more expensive models but there’s not a lot to complain about for the cost.
The headphones have some low-end presence, so don’t sound overly tinny like cheap headphones can. There’s some semblance of mid-range separation so your music doesn’t sound like a complete garbled mess. These headphones sit firmly in the ‘surprisingly good’ range, especially when you factor in the price.
While these headphones boast having aptX for less lossy audio, it’s a bit of a moot point when sound quality isn’t exactly their strong point.
For headphones you’ll likely be wearing while pounding the pavement or hitting the weights, they do a good enough job of what sports headphones aim for – helping you zone out from your workout. These aren’t for critical listening but they do a good enough job. The ear tips also do a pretty good job of sound isolation, so if you want to block out the external sounds of your gym they’ll do this. This isolation might not be ideal for outdoor running if you want to have situational awareness, however.
The in-line noise-cancelling microphone proved to be equally good, picking up my voice on calls clearly so that callers didn’t have any problems hearing me.
The only real shortcoming is the battery life. These headphones are rated for 8 hours but, realistically, I was seeing around 6 hours on a single charge while listening at moderate volume.
That’s still not too bad all, but considering the size of the in-line remote where the battery lives, I still would have liked to see closer to the rated 8 hours.
Should I buy the TaoTronics Lightweight Sports Headphones?
If you’re on a seriously tight budget, or the kind of person who loses headphones constantly, the TaoTronics are surprisingly good for the money. They’re not going to deliver earth-shattering sound quality, and certain parts of the build quality are in keeping with the price, but overall they punch above their budget price.
They’re a great choice if you simply want to make a step up from the wired pack-in headphones you might have got with your phone and want to go wireless. If you’re looking for a known-brand alternative, consider the Monster iSport SuperSlim.
Super cheap sports headphones that punch above their weight.