Brainwavz BLU-200

A huge thanks to Brainwavz for sending me a pair of the Blu-200 Bluetooth 4.0 Earphones.

Since buying my Apple Watch I have been looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones which I can keep in my bag, pair to my watch and use to listen to music without being connected to my iPhone.

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The headphones are presented in a hard case containing:

  • Ear Hooks
  • A velcro (branded) cable tie
  • A micro USB charging cable (it is charged via a port on one of the headphones)
  • 3 Silicone Ear Tips
  • 1 set of Comply (TM) Foam tips

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Design and comfort

Having looked at several Bluetooth 4.0 earphones recently I was impressed with the size and fit of the earphones. With the integrated technology the headphones are clearly larger than a normal earbud but don’t feel large when in the ear. I found them to be comfortable and well fitting and even with a little jog didn’t fall out!

Pairing with iPhone and Apple Watch

This was really easy - simply switch on and search for device on Apple Watch or iPhone. I used the Blu-200 as my primary earphones for a week with my Apple watch listening to music as I started my day at work.

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Audio quality

The dynamic 9.2mm drivers (16 ohms) produce a crisp and clear sound with a good all-over frequency range. The bass was very clear and punchy without too much distortion at loud volumes. The specs show a frequency range of 20 - 20000 Hz mirroring the normal range of human hearing.

I found the noise isolation and reduction of the in-ear design very effective particularly in noisy areas such as the swimming pool.

Bluetooth

I am always keen to see if the bluetooth specs match real world use and I could clearly get the 10m advertised in an empty hallway. I also found good connectivity around my house going through some fairly solid walls. The earphones can be paired to two different devices using the Multipoint connection feature.

The controls

The controls are easy to operate and control both volume (short press) and track skip (long press) and voice dialling. It appeared that the volume control adjusted the output from the earphones but not the volume level on the iPhone or watch.

Overall conclusions

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The earphones currently retail for approximately £40 on Amazon (see below) and I feel that this is very good value for money. The battery life of around 4 hours (continuous playback) for 2 hours charge is definitely going to keep you going. The remote is easy to operate phone control is a good additional feature.




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X-mini Kai2 capsule speaker

Introducing the X-mini Kai2 Capsule Speaker

Retaining all the outstanding features of the award winning X-mini Capsule Speaker range, this improved Kai2 features the ceramic driver which delivers a sound experience better than ever before.





I was really pleased to receive the X-mini Kai2 to review after having been really impressed with the X-mini Wi which I
reviewed back in April.

For a speaker measuring approximately 6cm x 6cm this speaker produces loud, crisip and punchy sound. I wanted to thoroughly test this unit so took it on holiday and used it as my only speaker. It faired really well under a range of conditions both inside and outside.


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Key Features

  • Ceramic speaker (which delivers improved sound over the first generation) - 2.5W output
  • A stylish design with the fold away concertina design
  • Very simple controls
  • Ability to connect multiple units together
  • Audio out socket which can be used to turn older stereos into bluetooth enabled ones
  • Built in noise cancelling microphone


My experiences

  • The speaker paired instantly to my iPhone and my MacBook Air. I managed to get a good 9-10 bluetooth range outside and about 6m inside the house.
  • The microphone sound quality was very impressive when I held a small conference call using my the Kai2 and my iPhone 5. As an interesting test I took it outside into a windy environment and the noise cancelling was very evident.
  • The battery lasted just under 5 hours on constant Bluetooth playback during a very long car journey at a reasonable volume for everyone to hear.
  • The 2.5W speaker produced excellent sound reproduction both inside and outside. The speaker was loud enough to provide background music to a small BBQ. I was surprised by this level of volume for a unit of this size.
  • My only issue (and to be honest this only happened once!) was when using the combined volume / track advance button during playback of an audio book. Whilst trying to change the volume I managed to skip to the end of the audio book.

If you are going to only buy one USB speaker this year I would recommend this one to you. It is a small, compact yet clear and crisp speaker. The audio line out is excellent for retrofitting old HiFi units and making them bluetooth compatible.



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