Over the years I frequently get asked by my friends what the best Bluetooth sports headphone is. My stock answer is that none are perfect, all have their drawbacks, and the handful of top models may fit you well and work great — or they may not.
The Aoso earbuds might not be a huge name brand product, but they provide good quality sounds for their prices. Don’t get me wrong. You will definitely not get the same results as Bose Bluetooth earbuds, but if you don’t have $100 in your pocket to spend on a high quality earbuds, you definitely would be interested on Aoso products.
Aoso M16 Bluetooth Earbuds
The M16 is not amazing or top of the line or mind-blowing, but it’s really solid. It features an open design and is made from a sweat and water resistant plastic. By open, I mean you don’t jam the earbud into your ear and completely seal off your ear canal (that type of headphone is referred to as a “noise-isolating” in-ear headphone). Thanks to eartips included in the package, which come in three sizes — small, medium, large — the bud sits loosely in your ear yet remains securely in place.
The ear pieces are somewhat bulky, but not so bulky to feel heavy on your ears. However, if there’s a criticism of this headphone’s design, it’s that the ear pieces could protrude out a little less and be more discrete-looking. Easier said then done, of course — today’s battery technology is holding back miniaturization efforts.
The wire also lies flat against the back of your neck so the weight of the control module won’t go pulling these out of your ear. If you intend to use them for running you should use the included shirt clip just to be safe, but you probably won’t need it for everyday use. The control module has a mic and all of the playback controls on it which let you do everything from answer a phone call to skip tracks.
Battery life is also pretty average at only about 4 hours. These can easily last you the day under normal conditions, but if you’re going to be running a marathon or something similar these might not last. That said for the average runner, these will do your music or podcasts justice.
Aoso M21 Bluetooth Earbuds
Better than the M16, the M21 version are comfortable, stay in your ears while running, and have easily accessible playback controls. For a pair of running headphones, these are hard to beat. These found a home mainly among runners, but those same features are what makes these a great all-around choice.
Similar to it’s little brother, they are sweatproof so don’t be shy about taking these to the gym either.If you’ve been waiting for a sweat-resistant, secure-fitting in-ear Bluetooth option that can withstand your tough workouts but doesn’t boost the bass to insanely high levels, this is the pair for you.
Inside are 8mm drivers which provide a decent sound quality, assuming you can get the right combination of ear tips and wing tips to get a good fit.
The only downside to the floating-fit, open design is that ambient sound does leak in: this isn’t a great headphone for noisy environments. But if you’re out running or biking, you’ll be able to hear cars coming, which is why a lot of runners and bikers prefer their headphones to have open designs. Battery life for the M21 is rated at 8 hours, which is fairly decent for this type of small headphone.
I used the the M21 for over a week, taking it to the gym, using it on the streets of New York, and doing two runs with it on Randall’s Island. With a lot of in-ear sports headphones, I find myself having to make little adjustments to relieve some discomfort or get a more secure fit, especially while running, but with this headphone the adjustments I had to make were minimal. They were easy to put on and take off, they powered on and paired quickly to my phone, and worked as well as any Bluetooth headphone I’ve used.
The sound quality is very good for an in-ear sports Bluetooth headphone. There’ve been some complaints about it not playing loud enough, but I didn’t have that issue with the iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge I tested it with.
The headphone doesn’t sound as good as Bose’s $130 SoundTrue Ultra wired headphones, which I like a lot and offers cleaner, more dynamic sound, with better defined bass. Still, the most important feature of these headphones is how much you’re going to pay for them.