Unless you’re an avid audiophile, chances are you haven’t heard of the Brainwavz brand before, but this Chinese company has been quietly producing good-quality — and extremely low-priced — headphones for close to eight years now.
Largely specialising in in-ear models, it mostly sells its headphones direct via its own site, though a few specialist Aussie retailers have recently started stocking them too.
The company’s newest offerings are these wireless Bluetooth headphones, now in their second-gen iteration.
Now, Brainwavz is hardly alone in this category — it’s exploded in popularity in line with the ongoing fitness-tracking craze, but where the BLU-200s differ is that they cost less than one-half the price of most others, selling for US$55 including shipping — around AU$75.
And specs-wise, they match most of their more-expensive competitors, with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, support for aptX audio compression for better-quality sound over wireless, a claimed four-hour battery life (although this was closer to 3.5 hours in our testing), 10m range and an in-line mic for answering calls.
Each earphone contains a dynamic 9.2mm driver enclosed in an aluminium housing, making them acoustically full-bodied and physically robust, respectively.
Those 9.2mm drivers are actually quite large for in-ear headphones and that means that, in the ear, the BLU-200s do stick out quite far, although we found them surprisingly stable, secure and comfortable in terms of fit.
They’re quite well balanced; there’s no digital distortion and they’re tuned for crowd-pleasing sound output, with forward upper-mids really filling music out and enough bass that music has a pleasant amount of impact.
The high-end hasn’t been neglected either, with enough detail reproduced that we could occasionally hear a singers breathing in our test tracks.
About the only thing we can gripe about is that these aren’t waterproof, so they’re not ideal to wear exercising. But then, Brainwavz doesn’t make any claim that they are and, at this price, that’s a shortcoming we can pretty easily live with.
Price: US$55 (includes delivery)
From: Brainwavz Audio