The headphones, earphone and headset market is one which is growing at a considerable rate. There is constantly new options popping up and all boasting a decent product at a very decent price. The upside of this is that the market is one which is seeing prices become a lot more stabilized and you can seriously find a good pair of headphones now at a very affordable price. The Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headset is an example of the type of headphones that is coming through and looking to cater to the fast-growing sports-focused market, while also ensuring the price is right and affordable to most. These are headphones which come with an MSRP of $42.99 and here we are taking a quick look at what you can expect for that price.
In terms of the specs, the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headset is one which establishes a connection with Bluetooth-enabled devices over Bluetooth 4.1 and can maintain a connection up to a distance of 33 ft (10 metres). This is a headset which also offers hands-free calling and comes with a battery which is said to offer up to eight hours of usage between charges or 240 hours of standby time. A battery which is also listed to be capable of recharging in two hours.
In the box
In terms of what you get when you purchase the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones, this is a rather standard affair. Inside the box, you get the headphones which comes rested in a plastic tray. Beneath which, you will find the rest of the usual suspects including a small black microUSB charge cable, two pairs of changeable ear tips and a small user manual.
Design & Hardware
A number of headphones have come through lately that all look to cater to one specific market, the gym user/runner/exerciser and the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Headphones are no different. While you can use this for ‘normal’ use, they are specifically designed to ensure that those who like to exercise, can do so without being hindered by wearing them. This does mean that in terms of their design, there are some very notable traits. The first of which is their size. As the Mpow Antelope Headphones are Bluetooth headphones, there is little need for a long cable and this is a very small cable indeed. On a positive note, this is a cable which certainly is not too intrusive when heading to the gym or running. While on the downside, there is not much give with this cable with the distance between its maximum points measuring about one foot.
What was slightly surprising is just how sturdy the cable is. If you are someone who often finds the cable on your headphones snapping or causing a break which affects the sound quality or consistency, then this is unlikely to be the case with the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Headphones. The cable joining the earbuds is extremely thick and a little stiff. The assumption being that the inner gauge will be protected from the normal issues earphones often encounter. While some may find the cable a little too stiff, the other benefit is that due to its thickness. when running you don't have to worry about any movement in the cable. This pair of headphones tend to stay in a very fixed position. Again, another trait which is likely to be intended for those who are looking for stability when running or exercising.
Moving on to the actual ear tips and these are also on the larger side. They are not massively large, but are noticeably large and if you are not used to a pair of headphones like this, then you might find them a bit daunting at first. However, they are designed this way and their larger size does look to offer both stability (again when running or at the gym) as well as a place to house the controls. Which as a byproduct, frees up the cable from any additional weight and further adds to its stability.
Besides their size, the earbuds are generally quite consistent with what you might encounter on similar products. There are no major issues noted with their comfort and on the whole, they were very comfortable to wear. The left earbud remains largely untouched with the exception of the microUSB charge port, while the right earbud houses the entirety of the controls, including the volume up, down and multi-functional (play/pause/power/call answer) buttons. It is worth noting that these are more tactile buttons which is a good thing. While this does mean they could be more prone to wear and tear, the placing of these controls does mean that you will want to be able to feel where the buttons are and with the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Headphones, you do feel them.
Overall, the design of the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Headphones falls in line with what the general trend of sports-oriented Bluetooth earphones and there are no major criticisms to note. They are very lightweight and their stiff cable does mean that they sit nicely and stay in place even during more vigorous activities. It is also worth pointing out that their overall design is one which is meant to ensure that these earphones are sweat-proof earphones and while you cannot go swimming in them, you are unlikely to encounter any major problems when exercising or sweating. For those looking for a new pair of sports-focused headphones, these do contain all the hallmark design points that you would want and should expect.
Sound Quality & Performance
Headphones, earphones and headsets which boast an ‘affordable’ price tag, often come with the assumption that maybe they do suffer in the sound quality department and with a product like this, this is the area where you would certainly not want to be compromising too much. Thankfully, this is not an issue with the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones. These are surprisingly very nice sounding headphones and easily offer a better sound quality than you will likely encounter from similar-priced and market-positioned headphones. In particular, the mid-range is where this headphones excel the most and this does result in an overall nicely balanced sound.
That said, in spite of the mid-range frequencies excelling, there is very little to complain about with the top and bottom ends. The bass side is not massive and you could find more bassy headphones if you are willing to spend more. But the truth is, at this price, the base is more than sufficient. More importantly, they do not seem to be headphones which suffer at higher volumes. This is normally an area where an audio product’s true nature comes through and at higher levels, the sound (and especially the base) can be extremely compromised. This is not an issue with the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones. Although the bass end is not massive, it is not at all affected by higher volumes. Speaking of which, if there was one complaint to be made, these are not the loudest of headphones. They are by no means quiet and do provide a nice and sufficient level of volume, however, if you are someone who likes to pump music at a much higher level of volume, then these might be a little on the lighter side. For everyday usage though, there are no issues with the volume, the distortion, or in fact, the sound quality in general.
Battery life & Connectivity
According to the paperwork, this is a headset which is said to offer up to eight hours of playback usage. In truth, that is a little on the optimistic side and you certainly should not expect any more than eight hours. More often than not, the battery life encountered was in the region of six to six hours and thirty minutes, which seems to be a much more reliable and consistent level to expect. It is worth mentioning that those figures are relevant to higher volume levels, so it is more than likely that you could extend the battery life somewhat at lower levels. Although, based on the testing, it would not be expected that you will get much past the seven-hour marker. Either way, with a solid 6-7 hours of playback on offer, there were no notable issues and this is a fairly good level of battery life and especially when taking into consideration the price. In terms of recharging, the paperwork suggests about two hours to fully replenish the battery and that proved to be pretty accurate with the headphones never needing more than two hours to charge from fully empty to charged enough to last another 6-7 hours.
Another key concern with any Bluetooth-enabled headphones is the level of connectivity. On the whole, the connectivity experienced was reliable and consistent. The Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones are able to maintain a connection and without disconnection over very long periods. So this is not a headset that you will have to worry about constantly reconnecting to. However, there was one slight issue noted and that is the headset’s connection does suffer a little when you are close to multiple Bluetooth devices. At which point, it seems to pick up a bit of interference and can be a little intermittent. However, this was very rarely encountered but for disclosure, was noted. Another big positive though was the level of connection over far distances, which can sometimes be an issue for Bluetooth headphones. In this respect, this was actually one of the better headsets tested. The paperwork states a distance of 10 meters (which is pretty average for this sort of headset), however, normally you will start to see a drop in connection before you reach that kind of distance. This was not the case with the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones which proved to be very stable over longer distances and even able to maintain a connection beyond 10 meters.
The Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Sports Headphones is one which is designed to offer a very lightweight and comfortable level of usage, without compromising on sound quality or battery life and generally speaking, these are all points which are achieved to a very good degree. The battery life is sufficient to get through an average daily level of usage and the sound quality on offer is pretty good. Not to mention, these are very comfortable headphones. When you then factor in that this is a headset which can typically be picked up for about $40, suddenly the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth headphones become even more appealing.
Should you buy the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Sports Headphones?
If you are in the market for sports-focused headphones and one which is available at affordable price, then the Mpow Antelope Bluetooth Sports Headphones is certainly worth checking out. They are very comfortable headphones and do stay in place during more vigorous activities and will be a perfect fit for the regular gym-goer or runner. Likewise, if you just in the market for a new affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones then these are also worth checking out. The sound quality, battery life, level of comfort and price all make these a very nice option to consider. For those interested, they are currently available for $35.99 on Amazon.