Genius use of magnetics takes these Bluetooth earphones to the next level of tangle-free travel, but they’re let down by a short battery life
When you’re travelling, it’s important to stick together. That’s obviously the motto behind these unique magnetic Bluetooth earphones, which weigh a mere 15 grams.
But are the Xqisit iE200 Stereo Bluetooth in-earphones good for travel? Magnets in the earpieces mean they reverse into each other when nearby, meaning the U-shaped cable array becomes a circle. That’s great for fastening them safely around your neck, and for avoiding tangled-up travel problems when they’re stored in a pocket or bag. On the downside, the battery life stretches to just three hours, which make them good for a workout in a hotel gym, or perhaps a short-hop flight, but little else.
The makers’ claim of a ‘cable-free’ design is pushing – that’s for the next generation of Bluetooth earphones to boast about – but the iE200’s get pretty close. The design is nicely balanced; instead of a battery-cum-control panel on an in-line box on one side, there are two much smaller boxes on both sides; controls on one side, battery on the other. The latter charges-up via microUSB.
Once paired with an iPhone 5S – something that took longer than expected – the iE200 delivered decent amounts of detail, and just enough mi-range and low frequency (bass). The stereo effect is good, too, although the earphones themselves are not labelled as left and right, which seems something of an oversight for an earphone manufacturer. Perhaps the best feature is that after using the iE200 to make a hands-free call, you can end the call by letting the earphones’ magnets meet.
Design for life
Whatever the design advantages of the iE200 – and they are really impressive in that department – there’s no getting away from their very average-to-poor build quality. The range of the Bluetooth connection is troublesome, as is the short battery life. However, if you;re after a pair of cheap earphones that have something special for travel, the iE200 are a good value, and decent-sounding, option.