There’s been somewhat of a sports-tech revolution of late. Smartwatches are getting more and more sports-focused, fitness trackers are all the rage, and more sports headphones and earbuds are launched every month. MEE Audio is no stranger to sports headphones, having previously launched in-ears like the MEE Audio X7 Plus. Now, it’s back, with the MEE Audio X8.
The MEE Audio X8 are aimed at the sports-person or gym-rat who doesn’t want to have to deal with annoying wires. But are they worth the $80? We put them to the test to find out.
The MEE Audio X8 sports headphones offer a pretty basic design at first glance, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They use an around-ear frame, with a wire that wraps around the head. On the left side of that wire, you’ll get the in-line controls, with volume up and down buttons, and a multi-use button. That module also houses the microUSB charging port. On the right you’ll find a module that’s the same one as the one on the left — which we assume is just to balance the weight, or that houses a battery even though the charging port is on the other module.
There’s one really interesting thing about the design of the X8’s, and that’s the swiveling ear tip, which allows for those with different-shaped ear canals to still get a comfortable fit. We’re a little on the fence with this, but ultimately we think it’s a nice feature. It does get a little finicky when you’re trying to fit the earbuds in, but it’s nice that the feature is there to help achieve a more comfortable fit.
In the box, you’ll get the the headphones, plus a nice clam-shell case, a charging cable, and an extra three pairs of ear tips on top of the ones pre-installed — so four ear tips in total. The clam shell case is especially nice, as these are the type of headphones you’ll throw in your gym bag to take to your workout.
The design of the headphones really is quite nice, but it’s nothing to write home about. We appreciated the extra functionality of the swivel tips, and we like that they’re kind of subtle, as the last thing you want (or I want) at the gym is another reason for someone to look at you.
The MEE Audio X8’s are quite comfortable, but as is the case with any in-ear, not overly so. The ear hook is a great feature, and we would even go as far as to say that its necessary on sports headphones like this, which would otherwise fall out during use.
Speaking of falling out, you’ll want to make an effort to find the right eartips for use with these earbuds, as that will help keep them in. We think MEE Audio really should have included a pair of Comply tips with the X8’s, as they would have helped keep the earbuds in the ear — it’s really quite disappointing that they’re not in there. We found that generally the earbuds stayed in relatively well, but you will have to push them back in every 10 minutes or so, which can get a little frustrating.
In general, when it comes to comfort, these headphones aren’t the best, but they’re not the worst either, especially for the price.
As far as sports earbuds go, the MEE Audio X8’s actually sound pretty good. Our main concern with the X7 Plus earbuds is that they lacked quite a bit of high-end, and it seems like MEE Audio has by-and-large remedied that.
Let’s start with the bass. The bass on these earbuds is pretty well-defined, however it sounds a little like there’s a roll-off at the really low-end. That’s pretty common for in-ear headphones of this size, but it’s still a bit of a bummer. Most will be fine with the bass provided by the X8’s, but if you’re into deeper and clearer bass, these probably aren’t the earbuds for you.
When it comes to the midrange, things also aren’t bad. There’s a nice amount of low-mids without getting too muddy, and the high-mids are generally well defined. There are some tricky spots in the high-mids that cause things like snare drums and guitars to bite a little too much, but it’s not that bad unless the volume is really loud.
The high end faces similar issues as the low end. The frequencies are generally well sculpted, but there’s a roll-off in the really high frequencies, which cuts out some of the airiness you would get from vocals and bite you get in guitars. Again, it’s not a huge issue, but still something to keep in mind if you’re planning on buying these.
In general, the sound on the X8’s is pretty good, especially for a set of sports-buds.
Most of the time, you’ll be using the MEE Audio X8’s while your phone is in your pocket, and as such the connectivity is more than good enough. We did occur some connectivity issues whereby music skipped a little, but those issues were rare and they quickly got sorted out.
The battery on the headphones is decent, but it’s not great. MEE Audio says the X8’s will last 8 hours on a single charge, so you’ll need to remember to keep them charged at least every week if you’re a casual gym-goer, or more regularly if you’re more dedicated. That’s not a huge issue for most, and these certainly aren’t the worst earbuds when it comes to battery life.
The MEE Audio X8’s aren’t without their issues, but the pros outweigh the cons here. There are some issues with sound quality, but in general the X8’s look great, sound good, and are decently comfortable. These really are for working out — there are much better options out there if you’re looking for some headphones for home listening. But, if you’re planning on taking them to the gym, we highly recommend the MEE Audio X8’s.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||8mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||8 hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (30ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.1||Cable length||N/A|
||No||Case type||Clam shell|
||N/A||In-the-box||Case, charging cable, four pairs of ear tips, wire clip|
|Weight||16g (0.5oz)||Colors||Black, blue|