Antec AMP Pulse Review: Decent Design, Average Sound Quality

 
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Antec AMP Pulse Review: Decent Design, Average Sound Quality

The Antec AMP Pulse is the first bluetooth headset from prominent hardware manufacturer to hit Indian shores. It will go up against challengers from established players in this space such as Jabra, Plantronics and JBL, amogst others. Let's head right into the review and find out how the Pulse fared in our tests.

Design and specifications
From the unusual packaging to the angular design of the Pulse, everything looks pretty futuristic. Thankfully, Antec has kept the edges curved. The headphones can be folded for better portability. The Pulse is made of mostly of plastic with a dash of metal on the sliding headband extensions. We received a white unit for review but it is also available in pink, blue and orange.

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The headband has a soft faux leather padding, and so do the earcups. The Pulse has an on-the-ear style design and it takes some time to find the right fit. In fact, we felt that it clamped down on our heads a little too tightly, as a result of which long listening sessions became somewhat uncomfortable. The right earcup is crowded with buttons for various functions. Facing the top is a rather tiny power button, and two more for volume control. The pause/forward/rewind buttons are present on the bottom. All are wonky and don't have good travel either. It was a bit of a hassle trying to remember and locate them. There is also a Micro-USB port for charging and a 3.5mm port for the extension cable (provided in the box along with an airline adapter).

The Pulse packs two 40mm drivers and operates in the frequency range of 20-20,000Hz. It weighs around 180g which is pretty light. It has a built-in microphone for handsfree calls. The battery inside is rated to last for 8 hours of continuous playback. The Pulse only supports Bluetooth v3.0, which is a bit of a downer.

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Performance
Pairing the Pulse with another device for the first time was a bit annoying. It took a while for us to figure out that we had to keep the power button pressed down even after the unit had come on for the Pulse to enter Bluetooth pairing mode. The Pulse doesn't have any trouble reconnecting with an already paired device after this. All the controls worked well with iOS, Android and a Macbook Air which we used to test the Pulse with. However, we did notice that the connection dropped very easily.

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We played Do I Wanna Know by The Arctic Monkeys, and the wave of muddy bass that hit us was overwhelming. The bass overshadowed the other frequencies. The mids lacked punch though the treble was just about alright. The sound staging was another mess as sounds from multiple instruments started bleeding into each other in the chorus of the song. Thankfully, the stereo separation was fairly decent. We tried a few songs from other genres ranging from EDM to classical, and our initial observations didn't change. The weak mid-range response also means that the experience of watching movies is dampened.

The Pulse did stay true to its battery life claims, though. It lasted through 7 hours, 41 minutes of staggered usage before it needed a charge.

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Verdict
At Rs.6,999, we think that Antec is has priced the Pulse a little too high. Despite its clean design, the sound quality left us wanting. We think the JBL E40BT is a much better bet in this price range.

Price: Rs. 6,999

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Clean, angular design

Cons

  • Weak mid-range frequencies
  • Muddy bass

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 3.5
  • Performance: 2.5
  • Value For money: 3
  • Overall: 3

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3.0 out of 5 stars
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