We're always on the lookout for a good, affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones because we hate dealing with cables while commuting. If you take a crowded bus or train every day, you're bound to have struggled with tangled wires at some point. When the MEE Audio M9B showed up for review, we took it out to use on our commute to work and for a bit of exercise as well.
If you're expecting great sound from affordable Bluetooth headphones, you're in for a disappointment. Audio quality is usually much better with wired headphones, but if portability and convenience are your top priorities then Bluetooth is the way to go.
MEE Audio M9B design, specifications, and comfort
The MEE Audio M9B is slightly less portable than most in-ear Bluetooth headphones you'll find in the market. This is because the housing for its three-button remote is unusually large. It adds a bit of weight to one side, which is especially noticeable while exercising.
The plus side is that the plastic housing for the headphones is quite small. Some manufacturers choose to put the battery in the housing while others put it in the remote. MEE Audio's choice makes the M9B unsuitable for exercise. If you need a pair of headphones just for commutes, then you won't have as much of a problem.
On the specifications front, the M9B features a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz, with 9mm drivers and an operating range of 10m. The cable between the two earpieces is 58cm. The M9B ships with four sets of tips and an extension that lets you wear the cable over your ears. While we didn't have problems with comfort, we found that the weight of the remote made the M9B loosen a bit after a while. We'd have to keep adjusting it to ensure a reliable fit.
MEE Audio M9B performance
We paired the MEE Audio M9B with an iPhone 5s throughout the duration of this review. We used Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes as a focus track for our audio tests.
The first thing we noticed is that the M9B renders excessive bass. Seven Nation Army begins with low thuds that set you up nicely for the anthemic track to follow. These lows sounded excessive to the point of being fatiguing. If your library has a lot of bass-heavy tracks, this will bother you a lot. The highs are a bit shrill as well. The only good thing is that the M9B's sound is clean, with no distortion. We could clearly pick up on individual elements in music tracks.
We listened to many other songs with the M9B but our impression remained the same. It's a bit too fatiguing on tracks with heavy bass or highs. However, it worked fine for voice calls. The people we called never had trouble hearing us and we didn't have trouble hearing them either. The thick remote means that the M9B has unusually large buttons with enough space between them which it easy to find and use them by touch alone. We spent a lot of time listening to podcasts as well, and our impression of that experience was positive. If you need a portable pair of in-ear Bluetooth headphones for conversational rather than musical listening, the M9B is a good choice. The battery lasted us around four and a half hours of continuous use, which is good.
From a sound quality standpoint, the MEE Audio M9B was a disappointment. Fatiguing lows and shrill highs made us avoid it for listening to music and the bulky in-line remote made it unsuitable for exercise as well. The only thing we really enjoyed using the M9B for was podcasts. At Rs. 2,999 we can't really recommend it. If you must buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones, go for the Brainwavz Blu-200 instead. It costs Rs. 500 more but delivers better sound.
Ratings (out of 5)
Value for money: 2