Although you can now buy a decent pair of wireless earphones for less than Rs. 2,000, even that might be too much for a lot of people. Fortunately, if you're looking for something absolutely basic that just serves the core purpose of private listening, you need not even spend more than Rs. 500. There are plenty of affordable wired earphones available today, such as the Boat Bassheads 100, which we're reviewing here.
Priced at Rs. 399 onwards, the Boat Bassheads 100 is among the most affordable pairs of earphones you can buy from a well-known brand today. This entry-level option is as simple as it gets, but it includes features like an in-line remote and microphone that most users expect from their earphones. But how does it sound? We review the Boat Bassheads 100 to find out.
While some pairs of earphones priced at around Rs. 500 do feature metal casings or even magnetic clamping for the earbuds, dropping down to Rs. 399 seems to take away any possibility of going beyond the basics. Indeed, the Boat Bassheads 100 is simple, ordinary, and functional; you get plastic casings and ordinary rubber-coated cables, but at least you do get a single-button remote and a microphone for voice calls on the Y-splitter.
Although plastic, the casings do look nice thanks to their unique design. On the other hand, the sharp ends did make handling the earbuds a bit awkward. The build quality is decent for a budget headset, and the Boat Bassheads 100 does seem like it will hold together for a reasonable amount of time. However, we did hear a lot of cable noise when wearing the earphones.
The starting price of the Boat Bassheads 100 is Rs. 399, which will buy you one of the regular black, red, pink, or white colour versions. However, for Rs. 499, you can purchase one of the special IPL-edition variants, such as Kings XI Punjab red or the Mumbai Indians blue edition that we had for review. Apart from the colour and the IPL team logo on the back of the Y-splitter, there are no other differences between these IPL-edition variants of the Boat Bassheads 100 and the standard ones.
Connectivity is through a standard 3.5mm plug. The Boat Bassheads 100 has 10mm dynamic drivers, a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, 16Ohms of impedance, and a sensitivity rating of 92dB. The sales package includes a total of three pairs of silicone ear tips, and the fit of the earphones was comfortable for us.
Don't let the price of the Boat Bassheads 100 have you think you're getting a sub-par product; this pair of earphones does a decent job. The sound is loud, and the sonic signature suits most popular music genres with slightly elevated responses in the lows and highs. With the volume low, the sound was devoid of any excitement, but pumping the level up to around 80 percent immediately improved sound quality.
The sound is clean, with decent stereo separation and an impressive soundstage for a pair of headphones priced at just Rs. 399. Listening to Mermaid of Salinas by Basement Jaxx, the exciting beats were distinct and present, without drowning out the clean nature of the rest of the sound. While the mid range is audibly restrained a bit by the earphones, this doesn't significantly affect the listening experience.
Moving on to Ven Pa Ca by Croatia Squad, we were expecting to hear a bit more punch in the sound than what the Boat Bassheads 100 was able to provide. There isn't much bass tightness with these earphones. That's not to say that bass isn't present; it's simply a bit laid back and subtle, rather than exciting and driven. We feel that bass lovers would be better served by options such as the Ant Audio Wave 702 or the more expensive Boat Bassheads 225.
This pair of earphones is largely geared around music, and the somewhat dull mid-range did affect sound quality when watching content with dialogue. We watched a few TV shows and movie clips on a smartphone with these earphones providing sound, and while the experience was satisfactory and workable, it wasn't quite as enjoyable as we'd have liked.
We also used the Boat Bassheads 100 as a hands-free headset for voice calls, and performance was acceptable. We did find the microphone to be a bit weak, but this was only really a problem in noisy environments.
The Boat Bassheads 100 is an uncomplicated pair of earphones that does exactly what it's supposed to do — play music directly into your ears. It does a decent job at this, with a clean sound that works for most popular music genres. This is the most affordable pair of decent-sounding earphones you can buy, and in our opinion, there's nothing else that can match it at its price.
However, if you can increase your budget by even Rs. 100, there are better options such as the Ant Audio Wave 702, which offers better build quality and sound.
Price: Starting Rs. 399
Ratings (out of 5)
Realme Buds, Mi Earphones, or others: Which are the best headphones under Rs. 1,000 in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.