When listening to music on-the-go, it’s hard to beat the convenience of wireless headphones, such as the SoundBot SB555 Bluetooth Wireless Earbud Headphones. Designed for sports, they offer users more flexibility by doing away with annoying cables that might get in the way of jogging sessions or gym workouts. Versatile and lightweight, they can also act as a hands-free device for making or answering calls while driving.
Despite their compact size and affordable price point, the SB555 packs a surprising punch with their sound quality. Usually, wired headphones sound better than their wireless counterparts, but this has changed in the past decade as wireless technology gets better year by year.
The SB555 comes equipped with an aptX codec, and when plugged into devices with a similar codec, produces a rich and smooth CD-like sound. They also support a wide range of profiles and formats, such as Headset Profile (HSP), Hands-Free Profile (HFP), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP). Although not audiophile quality, they are certainly a cut above your average ear-bud headphones that come bundled with our MP3 players or smartphones.
The headphones run on Bluetooth version 4.0 with a transmission range of 2.4 GHz to 2.48GHz, and are backwards compatible with older devices. Featuring a pair of premium dynamic drivers, sounds produced are well-balanced and detailed. A wide frequency response means that they are able to handle lows, mids and highs well. The bass is boosted without overwhelming the other ranges – so modern genres such as rock, pop and electronic dance music work particularly well. The overall effect is well-balanced, and their wide soundstage makes users feel as if the HD stereo sound is coming from all around them. As there is minimal delay, users can pair the headphones with TV or video as well.
Design and Build
Made especially for sports and outdoor activities, the SB555 is lightweight and portable, weighing just 8 ounces. Sporting a typical ‘earbud’ design, the headphones go inside the ears to form a tight seal. Noise isolation is excellent compared to on-the-ear and over-the-ear types, so users can be rest assured of a private listening experience at the gym or on the commute. They also do a good job at reducing annoying ambient noise, making them a great companion on your travels, to block out the noise of crying babies and crowd chatter.
One common problem with workout headphones is that they fall out due to sweat and movement – and nothing can be more annoying that having to constantly pop them back in when you’re pumping up the jam. The SB555’s buds feature soft hooks that keep them from slipping off, even with vigorous movement. Covered in soft and comfy silicone rubber tips, the material is sweat and water resistant to prevent slippage. Unlike memory foam or pleather, the rubber tips feel cool and comfy on the ears even after long hours of wear, and prevent heat build-up. As these items are small and might be misplaced, the headphones come with two sets of ear hooks and three sets of rubber tips for easy replacement. Meanwhile, the thin cable that holds the buds together goes discreetly around the back of the user’s head, and allows them to dangle around your neck when not in use.
Although they aren’t showy, the headphones come in a variety of colors to suit the user’s mood or their outfit of the day. Choose from colors such as blue, black, red and green for a personalized style.
Aside from sports, the headphones can also be used as a hands-free device, thanks to their in-line mic. Users can make and answer calls while driving or working out, without having to reach for their devices. The mic comes equipped with Clear Voice Capture (CVC) 6.0 technology, a recognition feature that is optimized for picking up voices. The mic also reduces background noise, so users can make calls even in crowded places without losing clarity.
Also included are three-button controls, which are compatible with most portable audio devices such as smartphones and tablets. The controls are located conveniently just below the ear when worn, and features volume increase/track forward, volume decrease/track rewind, as well as a multifunction button.
Their Multi-Point Connection Technology supports simultaneous pairing with up to two Bluetooth-enabled devices. Pairing is easy with no need for passwords or complicated setups, and the process only takes a few seconds.
The headphones come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with up to five hours of music playback and talking time. Although the battery life is not as long as some other headphones in this category, it should be more than enough time for a workout session. On standby, they last up to 180 hours. Charging is through a USB port that goes into a port on the earbuds, and an indicator light flashes to update users on charge status.
The SB555 has an operational range up to 10m or 33ft, allowing users more flexibility to move away from their devices. However, the signal is not very strong and tends to drop off after a few feet. For best results, use the headphones with a Bluetooth enabled device strapped to your arm or placed in the pocket.
- HD quality, stereo sound
- Perfect for sports and outdoor activities
- Secure hook and rubber silicone tips prevent slippage
- Sweat and water resistant
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Better noise isolation and noise cancelling compared to over-the-ear and on-the-ear headphones
- Mic and controls included
- Does not come with travelling bag for easy storage
- Small operational range, signal drops off after a few feet
- Short battery life
Whether you’re a gym rat or just a casual listener, the SB555 has everything you need and more – convenience, portability, comfort and good sound quality. There are a few flaws, such as their short battery life and small operational range, but for their price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value on the market.