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August EP614 Sports Earphones Review

August EP614 Sports Earphones Review

The guys at iDaffodil/August have very kindle provided me with yet another audio product to review. In general, I have been very impressed with the value for money of these products. Check out my reviews of they DAB clock radio and their small wireless speaker.

This time I am reviewing the EP614 Bluetooth Sport Wireless Earphones (that's the Amazon link). You can also get these direct from iDaffodil here. I was provided with the model with a white cord, though there are others available with black and red cords. A micro USB cable is provided, as are several sizes of silicone ear-tips. These are priced at £17.

Design and Features:
The over-the-ear design is perfect for sport and means that I couldn't find a way to knock them out of place. The headphones come with a remote on them with which you can control music playback (pause and play) and skip forward and back a song. Long pressing the skip forward and back buttons also allows you to adjust the volume. As usual, learning what buttons do what is always a little challenging at first - but, maybe if I'd read the included manual I'd get the hang of these things quicker.

The idea of wireless earphones it that you can put your phone in your pocket if running or on the floor if in the gym and forget about it. The playback controls and volume controls allow you to do just that which is great. You won't be able to look at the remote when wearing these due to it being quite near the right earbud, so the low number of buttons helps in this respect.

The earphones are light and the remote's slight weight means it can be tucked into your t-shirt which means that the wire doesn't move when running. The only part that reminds you have them on is the over the ear hooks but these are a necessary evil for sports headphones.

Siri and the in-built remote:
The remote can also be used to take calls and there is an in-built microphone which is great. However, the lack of compatibility with Siri is a disappointment: you can speak to Siri through the microphone and hear him/her through the earphones, but you can't activate Siri by pressing the call/pause button unfortunately. This therefore meaning you need to touch the home button on the phone to use Siri, therefore negating the use of the headphones for Siri.

Audio quality and levels:
I was extremely surprised at the sound quality on these - it is very, very good. They sound as good as any non-Bluetooth earphones I've tried which is a testament to their quality considering how compressed some bluetooth earphones sound. The Bass could have been a bit better but this can be adjusted in software on your phone with an equaliser, so it isn't the end of the world.

The audio level of these can go up to a deafeningly loud volume. However, the noise isolation isn't great on these, even at low levels. This makes it unsuitable for using them for commuting on public transport for example. I would also have liked for the minimum volume to be lower - as it is, even when these are on the minimum volume there is some noise spillage.

Bluetooth and Battery life:
These are my first wireless earphones in about 5 years and the technology has clearly moved on. I will reiterate how good these sound - especially for Bluetooth headphones. I was particularly impressed that these are bluetooth 4.0 meaning that battery life is great. I was also impressed that on my iPhone I can clearly see how much battery is left on them when the earphones are connected. This avoids me having to guess whether I can get through the day with these or not.

As far as the battery life is concerned, I have yet to get these to run out of battery after five hours and they have no advertised battery life. I can definitely recommend these as far as the battery life is concerned. The bluetooth also surprisingly isn't too taxing on my iPhone battery life either which I am very impressed by.

As sports earphones these are almost perfect - great built quality, great sound quality, good battery life, they stay in securely, good controls and even the ability to take calls. However, the fact they aren't compatible with Siri and the noise isolation which isn't great loses these half a star. £17 for these is a bargain.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

These headphones were provided by iDaffodil/August free of charge in exchange for this review. This does not affect my opinions of the product and the review is an honest appraisal.

Review: August DAB Clock Radio Review (MB415)

Review: August DAB Clock Radio Review (MB415)

This is a review of the August MB315B DAB Clock Radio. I was provided with the radio for free in exchange for this review and another on Amazon's website.

Visuals and Design:
The packaging leaves a lot to be desired as can be seen below. When I reviewed another August speaker product last year, I complained about how the packaging devalues the item. Here, I feel the same once again. It is certainly a huge improvement on what I saw last time, but it makes the product look cheap!

First of all, the radio comes in two colours - Black and White. Once unpacked, aesthetically, this is quite a simple but elegant design. There is nothing here that screams modern radio, and high-technology but this piece of equipment well fit well in the home and is packed full of features. The radio feels well-made for the price point it is in, and even comes with a lovely carry handle integrated into the design.

Inside the box you'll find the manual, a charger/power cable (not pictured), a battery and an aux cable. I was surprised to find a battery in there (it looks like one of those old mobile phone batteries from the nineties) as I didn't expect this radio to do anything other than plug in to the mains.

I was even more surprised when through testing I found I could get at least four hours of constant playback from a three-hour charge. This makes it perfect for taking into the garden on a nice summer's day without needing to worry about finding a plug.

On a short trip, as the battery is replaceable, you could take a few spares away with you and this could last you for a weekend away camping for example.

If you simply keep this plugged in all the time, you won't even notice the battery in there. If anything were to happen where the mains power disconnects, you'd still be able to listen to the radio in an emergency. This is an added benefit that not many devices can say that still have nowadays.

As far as the screen is concerned, it is clear and easy to read but I feel the menus could have been simplified. The buttons on the device are the kind that don't move when pressed which takes some getting used to, but they work fine. I would have positioned the buttons next to the screen, however, as you constantly have to look back and forth between the two to make sure you're pressing the radio button.

The fact that you can not only dim the screen but also turn it off completely, whilst keeping music playing is fantastic. Especially, if like me you hate hating extra light in your bedroom when trying to sleep. The time updates automatically as soon as you connect to a DAB station which is handy.

I am a fan of the volume knob which allows fine adjustment of audio levels, and also the way it is well integrated into the handle of the device.

As far as sound levels are concerned, I managed to turn this up to the maximum which easily fills a room with no distortion. I was very impressed. Clarity was also very good and I heard things on certain songs that I hadn't heard before through my normal computer speakers.

The most basic feature of the radio is the ability to tune into FM radio, but the DAB capabilities are what modern radio listeners will be looking for. The quality is perfect and there is no degradation with DAB - you either get the channel, or you don't. I found that I never really needed to extend the antenna beyond the minimum to get a good signal - it was strong. I am sure living in the London suburbs certainly helps with that.

You can of course set an alarm to wake you up to the radio (with DAB or FM) which is relatively simple to do.

As well as the radio capabilities, the radio can act as a bluetooth speaker for your devices. I tried this with my iPhone, the speaker paired quickly and playback was perfect. Apparently, this also has NFC capabilities which means that instead of going into settings and configuring bluetooth, you can just tap two devices together and they will pair. My iPhone 6S does not offer NFC speaker connections so I could not test them.

Finally, there is even more connectivity with the USB and SD ports on the back giving you even more options, as well as the AUX in port which (with the supplied cable) you can play music into from any device with a standard headphone jack.

Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars. This is a solid choice, and probably the best radio I have seen in this price range. It is packed full of features, and is a good-looking appliance (at least from the front - the back looks terribly plasticky). I just wish the interface were a little bit better as it can be confusing at times!

The RRP for the product is £74.95, but at the moment you seem to be able to get it for £50 to £60 online, depending on where you get it from. You can purchase the radio directly from iDaffodil here, or from Amazon here.