«

»

Phiaton BT 110 Bluetooth Headset Review

PAGE INDEX

<< PREVIOUS            NEXT >>

Testing and Results

Testing Methodology

In testing the Phiaton BT 110, I listened to various audio streams including FLAC files obtained by ripping CDs and their corresponding mp3s (encoded at 320Kb/s), music videos on Youtube, and shows and movies on Netflix. I also tested some higher quality 24-bit 192KHz FLAC tracks.

Test Hardware:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Custom ROM and Stock Touchwiz)
  • LG G3
  • Ipod earpods

Test Software:

Windows 10:

  • Media Monkey
  • Windows Media Player
  • Netflix (UWP app)
  • Microsoft Edge Browser

Android:

  • Poweramp Music Player
  • Youtube
  • Netflix
  • Chrome

Results

Comfort
Out of the box, the BT 110 comes with the larger ear tips and supporting wings attached. Initially, I found this setup somewhat uncomfortable, so I immediately switched to the second smallest earbuds and the smallest supporting wings. This arrangement was definitely was more comfortable but didn’t fit tight enough to create a seal around the ear canal and sound suffered greatly as a result; there was absolutely no bass to be heard. After consulting the manual that suggested only gently inserting the earbuds into the canal (not quite what I did) I decided to switch back to the second largest ear tips. When wearing the earphones in the directed manner, they are a lot less fatiguing on the ears and I was able to wear them for hours without any significant discomfort; unlike traditional earbuds, the BT110 comes with supporting wings that keep the earphones in place and eliminate the need to insert the earpiece deeper into the ear canal. The earpiece may appear bulky and looks like it will dangle out the ear, but it fits quite snugly, and is flush when inserted properly, the entire assembly is also very lightweight. Compared to the Apple earpods that I use with my phone, the BT110 fits securely and comfortably in the ear, and does not fall out while walking or running, excellent.
PhiatonBT110_07

Functionality
The BT packs many features into a form factor that enables hands-free communication and listening of Hi-Fi stereo audio. The headset is not marketed strictly as a sport headset, but includes features such as RightFit+ supporting wings to improve stability and comfort, and water resistance, it is therefore suitable for use in such an environment. Multiple audio codecs and Bluetooth profiles are supported to ensure compatibility with a broad range of devices, but you probably want to use at least a middle-tier device to really enjoy the sound of the BT110. I was unable to get the microphone to register general Google Now commands, but it did work for the voice-dailer, allowing phrases like “call Rob”. In Windows, setting the mic as the default recording device eliminates any such problems it simply works as expected.

Performance
To establish a baseline, I first tested the BT110 at its lowest streaming quality using a Samsung Galaxy S4 with the default low complexity SBC codec. It is not possible to select a streaming method, the headset simply uses the best codec supported by the source. In this case my phone was running a 3rd party ROM and the proprietary aptX codec was not enabled. To double check I verified that the earphone light was flashing blue, indicating SBC mode.

For listening of general videos and mp3s, the low-bitrate SBC codec honestly isn’t bad at all. Performance is roughly similar to standard iPod earpods in this scenario. Playing FLAC files over SBC however, is a much less pleasant experience: There is occasional cracking and popping accompanying an overall low quality sound. For immediate comparison, I tested a LG G3 handset running the manufacturer’s stock ROM. The improvement in sound quality was tangible; FLAC files, and even music videos on Youtube sounded vastly better running over aptX.

The listening experience afforded by aptX is really quite superb, especially where high bitrate audio is concerned. FLAC files sounded much richer and clearer. Even while listening to my standard collection of mp3s, I noticed detail in tracks that were not obvious to me while using the Apple earbuds. The best experience however came from listening to 24 bit FLAC files, I have yet to test a pair of wired headphones with my cellphone that provide a richer audio experience. The sound is rich and clear and intricate, subtle effects are easily heard. The earphones themselves are of a high quality as well, utilizing aptX won’t guarantee good sound, Phiaton ensured the hardware was up to the task of reaping the benefits of aptX, the low-end boom produced by the small drivers is especially surprising.

Despite draining  battery equally as fast, the aptX codec seems to be superior to AAC in terms of sound quality. My Surface Pro 4 lacks aptX support, but the earpiece light flashes purple during operation, meaning the alternate Hi-Fi AAC streaming mode is active. Generally, everything sounded noticeable better playing from the smartphone using aptX.

The only issue encountered with the BT110 is a subtle static noise that accompanies the playback of any audio; it will actually linger for a few seconds when the playback is terminated. It is not noticeable while listening to music, but while watching X-Files on Netflix, in sections of sparse dialogue, and otherwise silent scenes, it could be heard just a little bit. There was also no perceivable latency when watching videos, the video and audio seemed perfectly in sync.

After many hours of listening, I’ve concluded that the headphone amp in my S4 is not outstanding, and it is indeed possible to get a better experience using quality Bluetooth earphones that support aptX such as the Phiaton BT110.


SKIP TO PAGE:

<< PREVIOUS            NEXT >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*