iClever XFree Mini Bluetooth Headphones Review
Headphone jack? Who needs a headphone jack?
What are the iClever XFree Mini Headphones?Ever since Apple removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, which caused huge outrage and the Internet to melt down, iOS fans have had to use yet another adaptor to prevent their old headphones or earphones from becoming redundant. Whether you believe it was a design choice, Apple needed the space to fit more components in the iPhone or that they just wanted you to buy new headphones or earphones, for many wireless sets have became a must have item.
For those who have not been sucked in by Apple and have access to devices that haven’t had the headphone jack stolen away from them, you can of course still use traditional headphones or earphones, but wireless models do offer a lot of benefits, such as not having a long cable that you keep catching and causing either your phone or the headphones to smash on the ground. These wireless headphones and earphones can now be found fairly cheaply from as little as £10.
Our review item here is from iClever, a California based consumer electronics brand. Their XFree Mini Bluetooth earphones are not yet available in the UK but can be bought from Amazon US at around £25. Including a whole host of features such as a super light 14g weight, inline controls, noise cancelling mic, magnetic housing for easy storage and up to 10 hours of playing time. Read on to see how these fare as we put them through our tests...
Design and ControlWith an all-black design and metallic housing, the XFree Mini do look the part, well as much as a pair of earphones can that is. With the iClever logo on each earphone and a chrome edging they do look and feel rather better than you would assume based solely on the retail price. The build quality is good, the ear hooks and tips stay nicely in place and the inline control is firm and responsive. It certainly doesn’t have a cheap feel to it. They aren’t completely wireless such as the Apple AirPods, but then these aren’t £160.
The multi-function inline control has three buttons which are mainly used for volume up, down and a multi-function button (MFB) for the power. The volume buttons when held for two seconds will also change to the last or next track, the MFB button will pause and play music and can also be used to answer and end a call, redial last phone number and even voice dialling. The noise cancelling mic is on the rear of the inline control and the micro USB charging connection is on the side.
Specifications and FeaturesThe XFree features a smooth titanium housing and 8mm dynamic speaker drivers and aluminium internal components. iClever claim they are the world’s first ‘Bluetooth Earbuds with 8mm Dynamic Speaker and Full Metallic Housing’. The ends of both earphones are magnetic which allows for easy storage and to help stay secured around your neck to save them disappearing.
The earphones take around 2 hours to fully charge from flat, although this is dependant on the output of your USB charger, they can only accept a 5V max charger output. The standby time is claimed at 400 hours with a working time of 10 hours. Although we weren’t able to fully test the standby time, the working time certainly seemed on par with the 10 hours claimed. If you use an iOS device, the remaining battery power will helpfully be displayed on that device.
The XFree also has an internal hydrophobic nano-coating that gives it a IPX5 waterproof rating, which means it should be fine for water and sweat, anything other than immerging it into deep water, or leaving in your pocket as it goes through the wash for example. Don’t do that.
If you do get into trouble, iClever promise a 24 hour response time to any queries, a 30 day money back guarantee, 18 month replacement warranty and a lifetime support guarantee.
Setup and PerformanceThe Bluetooth pairing is quick and easy, you just need to hold the multi-function button for 5 seconds, then pair it to your device. It only allows one device to be connected at a time, but it will remember the last device it was connected to without having to be re-paired.
Given the price point of the XFree we were very impressed with how it handled the audio with voices coming across crisp and clear and the finer audio details such as being able to pick up on the finger on a guitar string just before it is about to be played at the start of a song. Detail retrieval was admirable, especially considering the price point and the audio retained a nice sense of clarity.
The mid-range was nicely rendered, whilst the XFree earphones were capable of delivering the higher frequencies without becoming sibilant or harsh. The bass was probably the only weak area, it was present but needed a lot more oomph for our liking. Of course bass is always going to be a issue on a pair of earphones and if you really want a superior performance here, you're going to have to look at models that are considerably more expensive.
- Good quality sound
- Super lightweight
- Useful inline controls
- Great value
- Magnetic housing
- Bass a bit weak
- Currently hard to find in the UK
iClever XFree Mini Bluetooth Headphones Review
Should I buy them?Available for around £25 the iClever XFree Bluetooth earphones offer a nice package, performance and features for the money. With a good build quality, multi-function inline control that allows for several call based features, magnetic ends for easy storage and a super light weight of just 14g it has a lot of positives. With the interchangeable ear tips and ear hooks, it can be setup to suit your ears and allow for a very comfortable fit.
On the audio quality side of things, we were suitably impressed with a clear and crisp audio and the finer details able to be heard. The lack of a strong bass was our only real negative, it is present but just not enough for our liking. However when you factor in the price, the iClever XFree Bluetooth earphones certainly deliver a performance that exceeds their cost.
What alternatives are available?Bluetooth headphones and earphones are widely available, especially since Apple removed the headphone jack. Currently the XFree are not available from any UK source that we could find, they can be imported via Amazon US, but from the UK very similar sets with almost identical specifications are available for around £20. Taking all the above into account, we are happy to award these our AVForums Recommended Award. They aren't the best earphones you will find, but if you aren't looking to pay hundreds of pounds for a set and £25 is your budget then they are definitely well worth considering.
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