These days, Rs. 2,000 is enough money to buy a pair of wireless headphones or earphones. While products from top brands will usually cost a fair bit more than that, there are plenty of smaller ones that are hoping to make an impact on the segment with competitive pricing. One such brand is Sound One, which has a wide variety of audio products, power banks, chargers, and accessories for smartphones available at affordable prices in India.
The latest product from the company is the Sound One X60, a pair of Bluetooth earphones priced at Rs. 1,990. The earphones feature a neckband-style design and promise a lot by way of performance and features. We review the Sound One X60 to find out if these wireless earphones are worth the price.
The most affordable wireless headsets are usually of the corded variety, and the Sound One X60 is just that. It features a neckband-style design with the two earbuds, each connected by a slim cable. Each cable is less than a foot in length, and a unique sliding mechanism on the neckband lets you retract them to some extent, as per your convenience. The neckband itself is light and flexible, with the ends holding the buttons, microphone, Micro-USB port, battery, and Bluetooth hardware.
Apart from the three buttons on the right that control playback, power, and volume, a fourth button on the left side of the neckband activates the voice assistant on your paired phone or tablet. This function works as expected with Siri on iOS devices and Google Assistant on Android devices. All four buttons feel a bit cheap, and very occasionally didn't react to being pressed during our review.
The earbuds of the Sound One X60 are well designed and feature metal casings. We liked their shape, which made them fit comfortably in our ears. We had no trouble using these earphones for long listening sessions, and the convenience of the corded neckband design means that we could remove them from our ears and put them back quickly and without too much effort.
The backs of the earbuds are magnetic, and the two can snap together when not in use to reduce the chance of the wires getting tangled. However, the magnets are weak and the earbuds separate too easily.
The Sound One X60 features Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, has an IPX5 water resistance rating, and has a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz. Only the SBC codec is supported, which is expected from a headset in this price range. The earphones ran for about eight hours on a full charge, which is decent for an affordable in-ear option.
We used a OnePlus 6T (Review) and a MacBook Air for our testing, listening largely to popular genres of music such as electronic and pop, which are well suited to a V-shaped sonic signature. The Sound One X60 sticks to this profile, but the bass often came across as excessive which got tiresome for us very quickly. There's a boomy characteristic to the sound which might appeal to some, but didn't go down too well with us.
Indeed the sound was a bit too warm and aggressive for our liking. Listening to Didi by Khaled on the Sound One X60 made us hear the bass notes of the tracks much more clearly than on more balanced pairs of wireless earphones such as the OnePlus Bullets Wireless. The sub-bass tended to overpower every other sound in the track, and this was particularly audible with the low-end-favouring electronic track Pasilda by Afro Medusa. As earlier, this led to listener fatigue very early for us, even at reasonable volume levels.
While the low end has a definite punch to it, the highs did occasionally manage to get through the excessive warmth in the sonic signature. Turning the volume up made it easier to hear the highs and mids, with the latter once again tending to sound more pronounced at the lower end. The excessive bass also tends to take away from sound imaging and the soundstage. Our music barely had any perceivable width or depth.
This kind of sonic signature might suit certain use cases well. Listening to music while working out or commuting tends to be more casual and in the background. However, if you are looking for earphones that give you more detail, the Sound One X60 isn't your best option. The sound is marginally better than that of the similarly priced Stuffcool Monty, but the convenience of wireless listening does seem to come at the cost of sound quality here.
The Sound One X60 does have good build quality, comfort, and style going for it, but sound quality is disappointing. There can indeed be such a thing as too much bass, and the Sound One X60 is an example of earphones that can tire you with excessive thump.
Powerful sub-bass might suit some situations, and in those cases the Sound One X60 might work well for you. However, if you're looking for a more balanced sound and the advantage of better codec support, consider upping your budget a bit and getting the OnePlus Bullets Wireless for Rs. 3,990 instead.
Price: Rs. 1,990
Ratings (out of 5)
Which are the best budget Bluetooth earphones and headphones 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.