The holidays are a popular time to get or give tech gadgets, especially at family gift exchanges or as stocking stuffers. One such gadget is a pair of headphones or ear buds. While these can quickly skyrocket in price to a hefty pricetag (ahem… Beats?), there are affordable options out there. I was recently offered the opportunity to check out one of these sets of earbuds, and for their price, they’re not bad.
The Mpow Magneto Wireless Sport Headphones ($34.99 on Amazon) are an in-ear style earbud, with in line mic for phone calls, noise cancellation, great battery life, and magnetic control for pausing/playing music and answering the phone.
Using the earbuds is pretty straight forward – long press the button on the remote to pair with your device and then start listening. What makes the Magnetos cool (aside from the excellent name) is their magnetic control. When you’re listening to music or podcasts, simply remote the earbuds and place their backs together and the audio will pause. When you’re ready to start listening again, pull them apart, and the music starts back up.
This is also great for phone calls. Simply pull the earbuds apart (assuming they are connected with your phone) and they’ll pick up the call. This makes answering the phone handy at a desk, where you may not always wear the earbuds, but want to use them for phone calls.
Sound quality on the Mpow Magneto sport headphones was decent, as well. While they don’t reproduce bass like some big on-ear or over-ears, it’s hard to expect that out of a pair of ear buds. In my testing, they did a decent job of offering fairly full sound in a variety of genres (rock, pop, country, podcasts).
Where I ran into issues was when I took the Magnetos to the gym. After firing up the headphones, I began playing some music and stepped off on a run. Within the first minute, the headphones were falling out of my ears. I’m not talking just a slightly loosened seal and a little outside noise leak – I’m talking about full fledged falling out of my ears. Not a good sign.
After some tinkering, I was able to get them to stay put (with the correct tips and such) for a few minutes at a time, but the shaking and movement of running was just too much for the headphones, and they spent about half of the run sitting in the treadmill cup holder.
Using the headphones at work (where I do a majority of my audio listening), the headphones were great in most regards. It was easy to pop the earbuds out and let the magnet pause my podcast or music, or use the in-line controls to pause playback and adjust volume. One strange function of the Magneto earbuds is the way they’ve implemented their track forward/back buttons. Instead of using double and triple click on the play/pause button, they use a long press on the volume up or down buttons, which can be challenging to master (or retrain for those used to most other earbuds).
Verdict: [rating: 4]
As far as affordable Bluetooth earbuds go, the Mpow Magneto are a decent option, especially for low-impact, low movement activities. The sound quality is pretty good, the phone call/mic quality is what you’d expect of Bluetooth in 2015, and they are reasonably comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The biggest drawbacks, in my opinion, are the fact that they don’t want to stay put when running, and the goofy in-line controls for skipping forward and backward in a music playback.
- Comfortable in the ear
- Decent sound quality
- Don’t stay put when running or doing other higher impact activities
- In-line controls don’t follow the standard and make me sad
If you’re looking for a nice stocking stuffer this Christmas, or want a pair of headphones to help get you through your New Years weight loss resolution, the Mpow Magneto are a decent option at a good price.