The True Wireless revolution is finally here, and it's not showing any signs of slowing down in 2017 with a slew of new buds hitting the market and a lot of consumer head scratching as a result.
Rowkin was one of the first companies to hit the market with a true wireless ear bud last year, and their product was met with mixed reviews overall, as were many others.
Now that the dust has settled and people are starting to understand and embrace the true wireless bud it seems like a good time to go back and take a closer look at the flagship Rowkin Bit Charge Stereo earbuds.
Design & Comfort:
The Bit Charge Stereo buds come in a sleek carrying case that acts as a charger for both the buds and your phone should you need an emergency back up. This detail is smart, some may say obvious, and seems to be the trend among wireless buds cases overall.
The buds themselves are small and slide into your ear with ease and are practically invisible unlike most of the others on the market. The dainty size of these buds has been rather polarizing amongst critics and consumers which is understandable if you are prone to losing things.
One of the things we found appealing about these buds was the small size and comfort, so for us, this was a big pro and not a con. The buds come with a variety of tips that should create a comfortable fit for most consumers, and once they are in your ears, you barely know they are there.
One of my few gripes is that the buds are not marked Left, and Right, instead the bud gives you an audio indicator for the right and left channels that plays through the bud. While it's an admirable attempt, it's not great and should be marked clearly on the buds themselves. A lot of headphone companies just don't get this right, and I'm not sure why as it's so obvious?
The carrying case for the buds is great for the most part although it lacks a cover to protect the buds while they are in transit which is a pretty significant oversight for buds this small. The exposure of the buds, even though they are set into the case still presents a risk of a bud popping out in your pocket, backpack, etc. and if that happens, you are going to be pissed.
Function and Sound:
The sound quality of these little buds is pretty impressive considering the size. We tested the Bit Stereos with a variety of genres from electronic music to jazz to hip hop to indie, and they performed well overall delivering clear highs, decent mids and ok bass. If you are a fan of heavy bass, these buds are just not going to do the job for you, for most people it should be just fine.
We were realistic about the level of sound quality we were going to get from a true wireless bud this small. These units are not made for audiophiles and deliver solid sound for what they are. It only comes down to the convenience factor and if you are willing to sacrifice a little sound quality for the size and connectivity advantages.
The SIRI connectivity is cool but takes a little getting used to as you need to tap the tiny silver button on the buds themselves but it does work, and I could see it being very handy for city commuters. The buds also allow you to take calls with a touch of the button and notify you when a call is coming in, so you can take it on the fly. The call functionality is great for short calls but might not be clear enough for longer conversations, or important calls, it's more of a backup plan for quick calls on the go.
The battery life is just ok, the buds last around two hours on a full charge, so these are not great for long commutes. The battery case is handy for quick charge ups and will give you about ten to twelve full charges before it runs out of juice. The buds pop into the magnetic chamber, and the LED indicators will turn red to indicate that they are charging and go out when they are ready to go again.
The buds are water and sweat resistant which again is now an industry standard as most people are using these while they are working out or commuting aka getting sweaty.
So all in all the Rowkin's deliver on some decent sound and easy to understand functionality that will actually be used by most consumers unlike many bells and whistles on other true wireless buds.
I took the Bit Stereos on a couple of different trips, and no, I did not lose one of them but was also extra careful on how I handled and stored the units knowing they are easy to lose track of.
I used the buds primarily when I was walking around airports, around town or simply waiting around for my next plane or meeting. The True Wireless design brings a certain sort of freedom you just don't get with wired headphones, but it's not great for everything or everyone.
I tried to use these buds at the gym which just did not work that well with all my moving around and required constant readjusting to get a good seal.
If you are looking for a great pair of workout headphones from Rowkin, you might try their Pulse model as they stay in a lot better for this type of activity and are a little more snug fitting. They are currently on sale as well for $49.99, a great buy for sure.
I also gave them a try snowboarding, and while they fit pretty well under my helmet due to the small size the limited battery life and high potential for loss make the Pulse better for this type of activity as well.
So if you are looking for a decent pair of inexpensive true wireless headphones that will deliver in all the right places the Rowkin Bit Stereo Charge is a great choice and it is also on sale for $129.00 right now.