Week 33, 2015: Budget priced Bluetooth Sport Earphones


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 33, 2015

Q. I was reading your old columns and saw your recommendation for theBlueAntPump. I would like to have something like this, but $79 is a lot. Do you have any inexpensive recommendations?

-Dominic Giovanetti, San Francisco, CA

The BlueAnt Pump can now be found for as little as $45. Even so, I have found better sounding models for less. There are now a number of Bluetooth earphones that sell for under $30 on Amazon, some of which get quite positive reviews.

I mentioned some future products that Modern Portable showed me at CES. One of them was very inexpensive Bluetooth sport earphones that were promised to sound very satisfying with music, better than anything else at the price.

To prove their point, they recently sent me a small box containing five sets of Bluetooth earphones, specifically their new earphones and four competitors selling for under $30. The earphones were in small plastic clear bags marked BT#1 to BT#5, with individual pairing instructions written on a sticker on each plastic bag. They told me to get back to them with which one I thought sounded the best, along with other comments I may have.

I compared the earphones over two days and one was downright bad, one was OK, two were pretty good, and one model stood out. I kept going back to it as the best. Once I had them seated in my ear the bass was detailed, natural and satisfyingly deep, with a clear midrange and crisp treble.

To confirm my findings I did the same comparison with four other people from ages 22 to 44, a mix of male and female. Everyone picked the same model I did as their favorite. When I told Modern Portable the winner (BT#4) they confirmed it was their new model, the HiFi Pro Sport, which will sell for $19.99 online. There is also a two for $35 offer only at modernportable.com if you need more than one.

There were some other features I liked, that make them seem like an even better value. They seem better made than the BlueAnt earphones, and are very easy to operate. The jHub power banks are a budget product and it shows in the construction sometimes, but these don’t feel budget at all. The dongle with the microphone has three logically positioned buttons. The top button raises volume, the middle turns it off and on, answers calls and pairs the earphones, and the bottom button decreases volume. To pair them, you just hold in the middle button and the earphones say, “pairing.” When they pair with your device they say, “connected” and when you max out the volume they say, “maximum volume.” It’s much easier than looking at blinking lights, trying to figure out what is going on.

The sound rates as hi-fi, if not quite high end. They are in a different class than the mind-boggling good wired Focal Sphear earphones I enthusiastically recommended last week, but not everyone wants to spend $180 on earphones, either. Given the Modern Portable HiFi Pro Sport sounds at least as good as any wired $20 earphone I have tried, getting Bluetooth and a six hour battery life as part of the deal makes them a standout bargain.

Modern Portable realized that a lot of people would be skeptical that they can provide a good-sounding, well-made, reliable set of sport Bluetooth earphones with microphone for under $20. They are putting their money where their mouth is by providing a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee, return for a refund if not satisfied. See them at www.modernportable.com or www.amazon.com.