Bluetooth is all the rage nowadays, especially with the rapidly evolving pace of the Bluetooth spec. Bluetooth 4.1 brought about some improvements in a number of areas and as such newer products have been updating to the new spec, carrying with them these improvements and battery life enhancements over previous generation products as well. Bluedio's latest premium headphone package, the UFO Faith as it's oddly called, is a pair of folding, solidly built Bluetooth headphones with metal hinges and comfy pads for your ears. Let's take a look at this newest pair and see how it fairs against the competition in this price segment.
Specs & Inside the Box
The Bluedio UFO Faith headphones seem to tick all the right marks at this price range, including a quality build with a foldable and adjustatible headpiece that compactly fits into the included case. Inside the box you'll find the headphones themselves, a microUSB charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable and the user manual all inside a nice carrying case that zips up. This carrying case has a built-in handle as well as a carbiner included for convenience in attaching it to bags and suitcases. These are made for travel and it shows in the packaging, which all feels incredibly high quality and packed with value.
- Al-Ti alloy build
- 337g weight
- Bluetooth 4.1
- 32ft operating distance
- A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP compatible
- 50mm*2, 20mm*6 drivers
- 3D DSP
- 5-25,000Hz range
- 32 ohms impedance
- Total Harmonic Distortion rated at 0.3-3%
- Sound Pressure Level rated at 120dB
- 24Bit @ 48KHz sound resolution
- 25 hour rated music time
- 28 hour rated talk time
- 1,300 hour rated standby time
- Built-in rechargeable battery, usable without battery via 3.5mm headset jack
Hardware & Design
Bluedio touts the build quality and design of the UFO Faith's, and for good reason. These are made of a super lightweight Al-Ti alloy material which both feels incredibly light and yet strong. Bluedio says that these are "unbreakable, durable and drop resistant," which all suggest that you're not going to be busting these puppies anytime soon. In testing the durability of these headphones I can bend them completely back and even twist them nearly 90-degrees and they don't feel like they would break. While I'm sure the metal frame of the headphones would survive a drop just fine the plastic pieces on the outside would likely chip and crack after a few encounters with the concrete. That's not to detract from the quality of the headphones in any way, just saying the claims by Bluedio seems a little extreme. Even so these are incredibly well built and super lightweight, never really feeling like they were resting on my head outside of resting on my ears.
The ear pieces themselves are covered in a super cushy leather that's soft and comfortable. They not only keep your ears from getting fatigued since there's something resting on them, but also keeps external sound out of the equation. The earpieces extend and retract about an inch on each side in order to fit different sized heads, and the earpieces themselves tilt to better fit the shape of your head as well. Even the band that goes around the top of your head is super padded with the same leather material used on the earpieces, ensuring these are super comfortable no matter how long you wear them.
My particular unit is the black/silver color, which is mostly black with a few chrome bits on the trim around the earpieces. The design is sleek and looks premium without looking gaudy, although the gold pair could certainly run into that description. Bluedio makes the UFO Faith headphones in 9 different colors in total, ranging from black to red, white to purple and a few in-between. On the outside of the right headphone sits a set of controls; volume up, volume down, skip, previous and a multi-function button (MFB). Pressing and holding the multi-function button acts as an on/off switch, while holding it brings the device into Bluetooth pairing mode. Clicking it a single time while connected to a phone will dial the last number called from the phone. Pressing and holding either the left or right arrows will toggle 3D audio on or off, which we'll go over below.
Performance & Battery Life
Any mode change, including turning on, off or entering pairing mode will give an audible voice prompt letting you know what the headset is doing. In my experience this voice was horrendously loud, so I wouldn't recommend putting it on your head phone toggling. Thankfully there's a multi-colored LED ring around the MFB that blinks blue when the device is connected, stays steady blue when in pairing mode and blinks a blueish-purple color when disconnected.
As was said above 3D audio can be toggled via the arrows on the outside of the headset, and Bluedio says this should make you feel like you're in a concert hall. Indeed I found in my usage with the headphones that this worked best for music, where it would spatialize the audio and make it feel more "broken apart" in layman's terms. You can more clearly identify the individual audio channels, instruments and other nuances in the audio, creating a more full effect that makes even the most familiar of music feel new again. I preferred using this mode to listen to music with the headphones and would recommend turning it on, or at least trying it out for a while.
Disabling 3D audio made the sound feel a tad bit flat, with the bass overpowering some of the experience and muffling other tones. While you can adjust these sorts of things on an equalizer it's worth noting that music doesn't sound quite as good without 3D enabled. Movies and games were hit or miss with this function and will probably require you toggling it on and off to get the best experience for each application, something that might be annoying if it weren't so quick and easy to toggle the mode in the first place. This is a great added value that really adds a lot to the experience.
Overall audio quality is phenomenal, although anything bass heavy can get overwhelming if not adjusted via an EQ. There are 8 sound drivers in these headsets that are designed to deliver an unparalleled experience, and for the most part I would completely agree with that statement. Audio output is going to depend on the device you use, and in general I found that the equalizer on my OnePlus One worked better than the one on the OnePlus 2 and some other devices I tested. As can be expected from audio output your mileage may vary with quality, but overall these delivered superior sound from any other headphones I own, including deeper bass and a wider range of sound.
While volume could probably be louder at its max this is likely to help keep users from going deaf, and the leather material used to shield outside sound should make this a non-issue for most people. I also experienced zero audio skipping during the entirety of my testing period, something that can't be said about most Bluetooth devices. The Bluedio UFO Faith headphones are equipped with the latest in Bluetooth 4.1 technology, aimed to bring better battery life to both the headphones and connected device, as well as better audio quality. It's this new chipset that allows for up to 24-bit high resolution sound at 48Hz.
Battery life is absolutely superb and lasted practically forever in my usage. Battery life is rated at 25 hours of constant music listening, something that certainly held up in my testing, and standby is rated at a massive 1,300 hours. I also found that the battery on my phone seemed to drain less quickly than with other Bluetooth headsets and speakers, although it's possible that could be a placebo effect. Afterall it's difficult to measure exactly how much drain this particular headset caused on my device with an Android Wear watch connected as well, however Bluetooth only registered at max of 3% of my overall battery usage in any given day I used them. Those worried about the headphones dying can rest assured that these charge via a standard microUSB port located underneath the left earpiece right alongside the microphone. Even still if you don't have quick access to an external battery or charger you can plug these in with the included (or other standard) 3.5mm headphone jack that you likely already own anyway, as these will work without the battery via that cable.
Those looking for a high-end premium wireless headset likely need to look no further than the Bluedio UFO Faith headphones. These are made out of an incredibly strong and lightweight Al-Ti alloy that keep the headphones light and comfortable all while keeping them sturdy and able to withstand abuse. They are super comfortable thanks to the ample padding provided on the earpieces and headrest, and most importantly the sound quality is beyond phenomenal. Battery life is beyond excellent, and even when you run out of battery these will still function via the 3.5mm headset jack. The 3D audio effect adds an extra dimension to music, although its performance with games and movies was hit or miss when it comes to actually enhancing the audio. At around $200 these certainly aren't the cheapest pair of headphones on the block, but if you're looking for a quality pair this is definitely a product we can recommend.
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