Finding the right pair of headphones for running or working out can be tough. You don’t want a pair that falls out all the time, but you still want them to be comfortable and sound good. Brainwavz thinks it has the answer to that problem, and has come out with the Brainwavz BLU-200 earbuds.
The headphones are the successors to the BLU-100 earbuds, and could be considered the lager sibling with a slightly different frequency response. So how do they perform? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice when you open the somewhat small box is the design of the headphones, and the first thing you’ll probably notice about they’re design is how big they are. These earbuds aren’t small by any means, likely because of the fact that they’re Bluetooth-connected — even then, however, it would have been nice if Brainwavz were able to find a way to minimize how big the BLU-200’s are.
Unfortunately, their size contributes to the fact that they can often fall out, however that effect is minimized if you use the included ear hooks.
Apart from their size, the Brainwavz BLU-200’s actually look pretty great. They offer a sleek black design with light green highlights, giving them a premium yet sporty look. Along the cable, you’ll find in-line controls with three buttons, making the headphones easy to control, as well as a built in microphone. On the cable, you’ll also find a cable tightener, which will help you adjust the length of the cable. On the back of the right earbud is a small door, which opens up to reveal the microUSB charging port.
The headphones also come with a good smattering of accessories. You’ll find a hard case (yes, a hard case, not a soft carrying case), as four different tips — three gel tip sizes, and one pair of memory foam comply tips, which are an excellent addition. It’s frustrating to have a pair of earbuds that fall out and don’t have memory foam tips, so it’s nice to see that Brainwavz has tried to even things out in that respect. Last but not least, you’ll find a pair of ear hooks, which will help the earbuds star inside your ear.
As mentioned, these earbuds tend to fall out, especially on the go, but less so when you’re wearing the comply tips and/or the ear hooks. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still probably run into a few problems, but not as much.
When they are in the ear, it seems like the tip of the earbuds are a little big — they do get a little uncomfortable after half an hour or more of wearing, although for those only wearing these when you’re at the gym, that might not be as much of a problem.
Because of that, we would argue that these earbuds are best for the casual worker-outerer — not someone who spends hours per day at the gym. If you do spend a lot of time working out, then you’ll probably want to shell out a little more for a better pair of sportsbuds, but for someone who just likes to go for a run after work, these might be a fine choice.
When it comes to sound, the Brainwavz BLU-200’s actually sound pretty darn good. In general they sound kind of warm, with a somewhat slow attack. These earbuds aren’t natural sounding — but then again they’re not aimed at being natural.
Despite the fact that they’re earbuds, they seem to offer plenty of bass, which is helpful considering the fact that these are workout earbuds. There seems to be an emphasis on deeper bass, however there’s a slightly less emphasis on the low-mids, which shapes the bass and kick drum a little. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — the pounding coloration of the bass frequencies will be helpful for people working out at the gym.
The mids are a bit tricky on these headphones. They seem to be a little cluttered in the mid range, and there’s definitely a bit of a cut in that midrange that accentuates the high end and the bass. That’s common among headphones these days, and while it does make the headphones sound a little unnatural, it gives them a fun sheen.
The high end is also a little tricky here. The lower highs seem to suffer by the accentuated bass, while the high highs are very prominent, to where they were almost a little too shrill. In general, we appreciated that the highs were there, helping the cymbals stand out and giving the vocals some serious presence, however everything else going on with the sound does take away a little from their sound.
But we’re nitpicking a little. In general, these headphones sound great, especially for workout purposes. If you’re an audiophile, these aren’t going to be the headphones for you, but if you need a pair of earbuds to pump you up while you run, they’re a great choice.
While you could assume that the larger size of the earbuds is to help give enough room for a decent battery, you would be mistaken — these earbuds come with a 60mAh battery that’s rated as only lasting 4 hours by Brainwavz. That’s not much, at all. For comparison, the JLab Audio Epic2’s that we just reviewed offered three times the battery life, sitting at 12 hours on a single charge. What’s more, we couldn’t even get the full four hours out of the earbuds. Sure, 4 hours isn’t bad for a 60mAh battery, but the fact is a larger battery should have been included.
The Bluetooth performance of the earbuds is pretty standard. The Brainwavz BLU-200’s use Bluetooth LE, or “low energy,” which does help with the small battery. In terms of distance, connectivity was pretty standard. Technically you should get as much as 30 feet connectivity, although a number of different factors, such as obstacles, will change that.
The Brainwavz BLU-200 in-ears are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, they look great, on the other hand they’re a little big. On the one hand, they sound pretty good, but on the other hand you’ll only enjoy that sound for four hours on a charge. Of course, it’s also important to keep price in mind, and these headphones are pretty cheap, coming in at only $54.50. We think that’s a great price for what these headphones have to offer.
Our recommendation? If you casually workout after work and you’re good about remembering to charge things, then these are a great option. They sound is nice, you’ll get a pair of ear wings to help keep them in, and a nice hard case to protect them in your bag. If you constantly forget to charge your devices and are bothered by a big design, you may want to look elsewhere.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver size||9.2mm||In-line controls||Yes|
|Sensitivity||96dB at 1mW||Microphone||Yes|
|Rated impedance||16Ω||Ear tip material||Gel/memory foam|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Battery life||60mAh, 4 hours|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Wireless distance||30 feet|
|Wired connection||No||Cable length||N/A|
|Detachable cable||N/A||Case type||Hard case|
|Weight||Unknown||In-the-box||Hard case, 3 gel tip pairs, 1 comply tip pair, 1 ear hook pair|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Black|