I don’t usually review in-ear headphones but I know the quality of TaoTronics products and that they usually bring something new to the table and so I thought I would give them a go. At the time of writing no price has been announced but I would expect it to be in the £30 range.
This headset arrived in a rather plain cardboard box large and robust enough to use for storage of the headset, useful since no case was provided. A more attractive and up market box would make the headset a more attractive purchase, especially as a gift. Inside the box along with the headset was a short USB to micro-USB charging cable, five additional earbud sets of different sizes, and a User Guide. The User Guide is large, well printed and easy to read and I attach a copy of it to my unboxing video.
Build quality seems fine. I have used other neckband style headsets before but this is the first I have tried made of silicone. As you would expect the headset can be bent and twisted any way you wish and I would think it is far more robust than the plastic rivals. It has an attractive matt finish and looks rather stylish when worn. The two earbuds are on retractable cords but are on rather delicate thin wires so care must be taken with them. The earbuds are made of metal and are magnetic and so can be clamped together to stop them getting in the way when not in use. The headset claims to be noise reducing and so care must be taken to select the rubber ear gels that give the best results. 12 gels of varying sizes are included in the pack so it may take a while to find the best fit. The noise reduction is no fantastic but does make a difference. A short standard USB to micro-USB charging cable is included which connects to a grommet protected port on one end of the neckband.
When wearing them the silicone band is certainly more comfortable than the plastic ones but still moves about a bit when I tried running with them and so I would not advise them for sports use. If you do use them outdoors then the IPX5 rating means they are rain and shower proof but do not immerse them in water. The built vibration alerts for incoming calls would be useful too when in a noisy environment with the headset buds not worn.
Turning now to the audio reproduction I would say it is good but not great. I have tried in-ear headsets before capable of delivering good bass but this is not one of them. Bass tones are there and can be clearly defined but they are not as punchy as many would like. The mid range tones are clear and detailed without being sharp or abrasive and the overall sound is pleasant and easy to listen to. I would have liked more bass but that is a commodity hard to find in these sorts of headsets. At least the low end register is clear and not muddy or distorted but simply lacking in volume and punchiness. I made received a call on the headset and both sides of the conversation found it clear and audible.
Setting the headset up was easy enough thanks to the excellent User Guide and that the headset adheres to the traditional Blue/Red flashing LED system. It was easy to pair to my Android phone and once paired the connection seems stable, free from drop outs and automatically reconnected after rebooting. This headset is able to pair to two devices and auto connect to either as required.
Up to ten hours of music playing is claimed from each battery charge and from my use this does not seem to be unrealistic.
This is an unusual neckband style headset which looks great, sounds good and has a build quality that should gives years of use if looked after.
Good build quality
Clear and detailed sound
Excellent User Guide
Secure and comfortable fit
Grommet protected charging port
No carry bag