January 26, 2015
First, let me give you my background as to why my review may be useful to you. I've worked in and out of music production and sound engineering for almost 15 years. I own over 50 pairs of headphones...from $10 to hundreds of dollars, wired and wireless. I'm not as good as true audiophiles at distinguishing imperfections and details in exact frequency ranges..my ear just can't do that at this point. But I think my opinion strikes a very good balance between a normal consumer that knows almost nothing about headphones and someone wanting details on the particular sound signature.
These headphones intrigued me because I prefer over-the-ear headphones for comfort, sound signature, and build quality. The build quality on these are outstanding...best I've seen for wireless headphones close to this price. They feel expensive and there are two ways to adjust them for the perfect fit. They swivel, unlike any headphones I've owned, and this really helps to get them tight fitting. The swivel is not loose at all if that's a concern. Padding is thick and comfortable around the ear cups and also on the headband. They fold up nicely as you can see in one of my pictures. The ear cups are a little smaller inside than other headphones I've tested. My average size ears do not completely fit inside. It's not uncomfortable, but it may be a problem if you have larger ears. Long listening sessions did not cause discomfort even when it was pressing on my ears.
On the left ear cup, a 1/8 inch input allows you to connect an included cable to use these like regular wired headphones. That's nice to have if your battery dies, since this still works if the headphones are off. I've personally never used this feature on any of my headphones because that pretty much defeats the purpose of buying wireless. A dedicated wired headphone is always going to sound better than bluetooth wireless because of compression, all things being equal. If you want to used a wired connection only, buy a wired headphone and get more bang for your buck.
The right ear cup has your micro usb charging port. It has no flap or cover. The box included a micro usb cable, but no charger. Like most headphones now, chargers are absent from packaging. On the backside of the right ear, 2 click buttons are present for volume up and down. Pressing the buttons make bigger shifts in volume than just holding them down, which makes the volume slowly and smoothly change. It's nice to have both options. The power button is about an inch below the volume buttons. Holding it will turn the headphones on and off. When you want to pair the headphones, start with the headphones being powered off. Hold down the power button even after you are prompted the unit is on, until the voice prompt says "ready to pair." About 7 seconds. Below the power button is a wheel clicker that functions as track skips and play/stop. You push it in to play and stop, and you turn it up and down to skip tracks. I really like the fact that all of the buttons are different and easy to distinguish when you have them on your head and can't see. Plus they are all on the same side.
Sound is very subjective. It's an inexact science. I can only give you my interpretation of what I personally hear from these headphones. They are average at best for sound quality. I have never heard a pair of Bluedio headphones before this. Nothing stands out at all. You would think a 57mm driver would give the manufacturer some ability to do some great things on the low end. Yes, there is bass...but it's muddy bass. There is no clarity to the bass. No depth. The whole 60-230 Hz area is just way too muddy for me. My biggest problem with this headphone is clarity over the entire range. There isn't a lot of separation and most instruments feel muddied together. It also feels like the sound is slightly behind a wall or veil.
This headphone is capable of different EQ settings by pushing Volume + and - at the same time, but there are no instructions as to what settings, or how many, are available. No setting really fixes the clarity issue for me. They can get louder than any average listener would want. I do not notice any sound leakage since these are closed headphones and the fit can get nice and tight. Also, I'm assuming these aren't Apt-X capable. It doesn't advertise that and it isn't on the box. Someone can please correct me if I'm wrong and I'll edit. Apt-X is a better form of compression that may help preserve some clarity and detail when listening vs the old standard bluetooth compression. It's also supposed to be lower latency. Most new smartphones and devices have it, but it will only work if your headphones and device both are capable of Apt-X.
When you quickly compare different headphones in the same listening session, with the same source material, it's much easier to pick up some of these criticisms vs. just popping these on and listening for an hour. So please keep in mind, this is a critical review on the sound because sound is most important to me.
The phone aspect works great. Voices were clear from the other end. The other person told me they could hear me clearly as well. There is a small pinhole on the right ear that I assume is the microphone. They advertise echo suppression. I don't use headphones as my full time bluetooth device for talking, so I can't give an extensive review on that feature. For quick calls while I'm wearing them, they are perfectly fine.
SIGNAL & BATTERY:
The range is absolutely excellent on these. I could walk over 30 ft without hearing one hiccup in my music. Walls are going to make everyone's results vary, but these would be excellent to place your phone in a central location in the gym and not have to carry it. The battery is very good as well. As advertised on the box I would say.
CONCLUSION AND FINAL THOUGHTS:
One feature that may be useful to some is the "headphones as bluetooth receiver" option. I did not know it existed until I read the manual. I followed the directions and tried multiple times, but I could never get it to work. This option would allow you to stream music from your phone to a non-bluetooth capable device, like an older home stereo, by simply pairing the headphones to your phone and then plugging the headphones into the stereo.
My review stars are based on the product vs the price. For the price, these headphones are a perfectly fine value. The build quality and looks of the TS2 far exceed the price range. If you listen to three different headphones back to back to back and you have a hard time hearing or describing the differences, you shouldn't worry. If you are truly worried about audio quality as your number one feature in a bluetooth wireless headphone, then you'll probably have to spend a little bit more money. I'd also get an Apt-X capable pair if your device supports it.
I was very critical on the sound because that is the main factor for me. You may think I was too critical in my analysis of a $36 wireless headphone. I agree with you, but I gave it 4 stars because it falls in line with my sound expectation for what a $36 wireless headphone usually sounds like...which is not great. If an $80 headphone sounded like this, it would not get 4 stars. The build quality, range, battery, and the many dedicated buttons took my review from 3 stars to 4. My hope is that Bluedio spends a little more time on the audio aspect for the next model.