Wireless neckband headphones under Rs 1,500 – Technology News, Firstpost

We recently tested two affordable wireless audio products from Realme’s Dizo sub-brand. Right at the end of the article, I had hinted at two other comparable products being reviewed, and here they are. The Boat Rockerz 330 and the Mivi Collar Classic are two extremely affordable wireless neckband headphones that look similar to the Dizo Wireless. Both claim impressive range figures, among other things. It’s time to find out how they work.

Mivi Classic Necklace Review

Classic Mivi Necklace

Not too long ago we reviewed the Mivi Roam 2 Bluetooth speaker and were very impressed with its design, build and performance. Therefore, I was very excited to try Mivi’s wireless neckband which costs the same as the aforementioned budget speaker. The Mivi Collar Classic has a few advantages, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to the high expectations set by the Roam 2.

    Questionable build quality and finish Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

The headphones have questionable build quality and finish. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

For starters, the build quality is too plasticky for my liking and the design isn’t appealing. While this can be lived with on a low cost wireless neckband, the finish is too uneven with some rough edges on the battery compartment as well as the control box, excess adhesive protruding from near headphones and some scuffs on brand new product fresh out of sealed package. The headphones have a magnetic lock on the back, but it doesn’t serve as an on/off switch. In hindsight, that’s not a bad thing, as the magnets are weak enough to hold the buds in place long enough. Using flat cables is a good choice and gives the impression of sturdiness.

Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

The micro-USB port is covered with a rubber flap to protect it from dust and moisture. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

The buttons on the control box are stiffer than necessary, but they allow you to control all key functions, such as volume control, play/pause, skip to next/previous track, answer/end/ rejection of calls, etc. The micro-USB port is covered with a rubber flap to protect it from dust and moisture. Although the company claims that this neckband is dust and sweat resistant, there is no IP rating for this product. So be careful; a little sweat should suffice as they survived a few jogs with me, but avoid exposing them to rain and splashes.

The headphones don’t fit very well in the ears with any of the three pairs of silicone tips (small, medium, large) provided in the pack. They feel a bit loose, offering a sub-par seal that results in poor passive noise isolation. Unlike most budget headphones, these aren’t bass-heavy, which is a good thing, but the sound signature is a bit too bright for comfort. The highs are not very well tempered. They eclipse certain mid frequencies and overpower the sound too much, causing listener fatigue. The cramped soundstage doesn’t do the audio quality any favors either. The output isn’t the loudest here, and you have to turn the volume up 80% for normal volume.

The Mivi Collar Classic supports SBC codecs via Bluetooth 5.0. There is no support for AAC, and expecting aptX in this budget is overly optimistic. The wireless range is neat (up to 10 meters with a clear line of sight) but drops considerably with a concrete wall between the listener and the source device. Pairing the neckband with a phone was seamless. Call quality is average at best. It’s perfectly usable for indoor calls, but the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise when you’re on the road.

The battery life of this product is its strong point. While I would have preferred a USB-C charging port, I’m willing to overlook the presence of a micro-USB port given its sub-Rs 1,000 price tag. While it couldn’t handle the advertised 24 hours, the Mivi Collar Classic lasted a good 17 hours on a full charge, which isn’t a bad number at all. The lower number is likely due to the volume always being close to 80% during testing, which contributed to the faster battery drain. On the bright side, you can fully charge this neckband in less than 45 minutes. The company claims that ten minutes of charging gives you ten hours of playtime; a claim I couldn’t verify because I accidentally ended up charging it fully instead of unplugging it after ten minutes.

The Mivi Collar Classic is priced at Rs 999 with a one-year warranty. This makes it one of the most affordable wireless neckbands on the market. Despite this, it would be hard to recommend the Mivi neckband given its finish and sound quality, unless you like lower bass and heavy treble. There are also too many better products available for a little more money. While I appreciate Mivi’s attempt to move away from the bass-heavy crowd, it just couldn’t strike the right balance with the Collar Classic. Maybe next time he can recreate the magic of Roam 2.

Advantages:

  • Affordable
  • Good autonomy (about 17 hours)
  • Quick charge; full charge in less than 45 minutes
  • Low weight
  • Sweat and dust resistant, but no IP rating

The inconvenients:

  • Sound is a bit too bright for comfort
  • Plastic construction with a poor finish
  • In-ear fit is a bit loose
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Sub-par call quality

Rating: 3/5

Price: 999 rupees

Rockerz 330 Boat Review

Rockerz 330 Boat

Going from the Mivi Collar Classic to the Boat Rockerz 330 was a refreshing change in many ways. For starters, the build quality is significantly better; not as good as the Dizo Wireless, but there’s not much to complain about either. The rubberized neckband is more pleasant on the neck, the ear cups adapt much better to the ear thanks to the fins and offer good passive noise isolation. This neck warmer is rated IPX5 moisture resistant and can be worn in the gym or while jogging in a light drizzle. I did the latter, and that boat is still afloat.

The buttons on the control box are much smoother to press; however, their placement could have been smarter. The volume up button is located below the volume down button, and out of habit you end up turning the volume down when looking to turn it up, and vice versa. The multifunction button with the company logo is located on the back of the pod. As on the Mivi neckband, these three buttons allow access to all the key functions of these wireless headphones.

Image: Tech2/ Ameya Dalvi

The buttons on the control box are much smoother to press; however, their placement could have been smarter. Image: Tech2/ Ameya Dalvi

The back of each earbud has a magnetic tip, and although the magnets are stronger, they don’t act as an on/off switch. Pairing this neckband with a phone via Bluetooth was a simple and effortless process. The Boat Rockerz 330 also supports dual pairing – connecting to two devices simultaneously and switching between them. Wireless range was perfectly fine, with the neckband maintaining a solid connection up to 10 meters without any obstructions, and about half that with a concrete wall in between. These headphones support SBC and AAC codecs via Bluetooth 5.0. Strangely, the sound profile is distinctly different on the two codecs.

With AAC enabled, the Rockerz 330 delivers bass-heavy sound preferred by the majority of buyers in this segment. However, too much emphasis is placed on the low frequencies to the detriment of the mids. There’s noticeable aural masking in the midrange spectrum, with certain instruments and vocals bearing the brunt of the excess bass. The highs are well-tempered but seem slightly insufficient to balance the bass, giving the sound a smooth feel with low detail. The soundstage, while not overly expansive, is wider than the Mivi’s and is acceptable for the segment.

Boat.  Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

The back of each earbud has a magnetic tip, and although the magnets are stronger, they don’t act as an on/off switch. Image: Tech2/Ameya Dalvi

Although this rarely changes things for the better, I always try to disable AAC to see how different the product sounds on SBC codecs. To my surprise, disabling AAC on the Boat Rockerz 330 makes them noticeably better. There’s a reduction in bass, a lot more clarity in the mids, and the highs also gain a bit more sparkle. Mind you, there’s still sufficient bass even with AAC turned off, but the overall output seems much more balanced. You should give it a try if you buy this product, and if you feel the need for more bass, you can always re-enable AAC from the Bluetooth settings. These headphones are powerful enough at 50% volume; however, they tend to distort a bit at high volume above 75%.

Call quality is quite impressive, with both parties being perfectly audible to each other. It controls most ambient noise when you’re outdoors, which is good enough for a budget neckband. The Rockerz 330’s battery backup is stellar, with the earbuds delivering nearly 25 hours of playtime at around three hours of daily listening. You have a USB-C port here and it also supports fast charging. The neckband can be fully charged in less than 45 minutes, and ten minutes of charging gives you just over eight hours of playtime. That might be two hours less than the advertised number, but it’s is still very impressive.

The Boat Rockerz 330 was launched at Rs 1,299 and is now selling at Rs 1,499 with a one-year warranty. Although it is not a bad product at all for its current selling price, it would be better to lower its price by a few hundred rupees to avoid fierce competition. Incidentally, the main competitor of Rockerz 330 is from the same brand – Boat Rockerz 335, which is nothing but Rockerz 330 with support for Qualcomm’s aptX codecs and magnetic on/off switch for just Rs 100 moreover, making the 330 nearly redundant at nearly the same price.

To rock the boat further, Oppo has dropped the price of the Enco M31 neckband to Rs 1,499. In terms of pure sound quality, this is arguably the best wireless neckband under Rs 1,500, with support for Sony’s LDAC codecs and two different sound profiles. However, the backup battery is half that of the Rockerz 330 and 335. Choose one according to your needs – Oppo for sound and one of the boats for battery backup.

Advantages:

  • Sound quality above the segment average
  • Comfortable to wear, secure in-ear fit
  • Excellent battery life, more than 24 hours
  • USB Type-C charging port; fast charging support
  • Dual pairing support
  • IPX5 splash proof
  • Good call quality

The inconvenients:

  • Sound a little soft on AAC codecs with excessive bass
  • Sound distorts at high volume
  • No magnetic on/off switch
  • The price could have been slightly lower

Rating: 3.8/5

Price: 1,499 rupees

Elizabeth J. Harless