The truly wireless earbuds are fast gaining in popularity thanks to their ever declining prices. While the likes of Apple Airpods still remain out of range for the masses, the Indian market has seen a wide variety of affordable options lately. Once such reasonably priced option was the Toshiba RZE-BT800E that we reviewed a few weeks ago.
Today we will closely examine the Boat Airdopes 411 wireless earbuds that sell for half the price of the Toshiba. Let’s see what we get for that price.
Boat Airdopes 411 - Build and Design: 7/10
I got the white variant for review. The earbuds are made of good quality plastic and sport a neat design with a mix of matte and glossy finish along with a red Boat logo on each bud. However, they are a bit on the bulkier side and stick out from the ear. There’s a tiny rubber fin for a better lock. The company hasn’t specified the weight, but if I have to guess, I would put each bud around the 7.5 grams mark. Each earphone has just one button that can perform multiple tasks. More on that later. They are fitted with a 6 mm driver and a 50 mAh battery. The company has also bundled a charging pod with 500 mAh capacity and can charge the Boat Airdopes fully 3 to 4 times.
These earbuds are IPX4 rated for sweat and water resistance. Some of the listed specifications of this set are vague and those on the company’s website do not match what you see on the box. For example, the box says these earphones can produce HD sound while the site says otherwise. The product page also has some random features listed like gold plated 3.5mm jack. Seriously? True wireless, remember? If someone from the company is reading this, you may want to fix that page asap.
The company has bundled two pairs of ear tips of different sizes in addition to the one preinstalled. As always use one that fits your ear perfectly and is large enough to provide reasonable isolation from outside noise. The pre-fitted medium-sized tip worked best for me from the three. You also get four rubber rings with different sized fins along with another couple without them in case you aren’t comfortable with the fins.
Speaking of comfort, it wasn’t so great. As I mentioned earlier, these earbuds are a bit bulky for normal sized ears and also felt a tad heavier than a few other wireless earphones I have used in the recent past, including the Toshiba. But it’s more the size than weight that causes the slight discomfort, I suppose. It didn’t give me an earache but I found myself re-adjusting them every 10-15 minutes to feel more comfortable. They do fit well in the ears thanks to the tiny adjustable fin and don’t accidentally pop out even during jogs. But the overall pressure on the ear is a bit more than I would have liked.
Boat Airdopes 411 - Performance: 7/10
The sound quality of the Airdopes 411 is average at best. It is nowhere close to that of the wired earphones selling at half its price or even the standard wireless ones (with a band) that you get for close to 3K.
These ear pods are pretty high on bass. There’s ample bass to please the bassheads but it isn’t tight enough to please those who like balanced sound. The excessive bass eats into lower midrange frequencies and as a result, makes the mids sound muddled. The highs aren’t excessively sharp but are better reproduced than some of the midrange frequencies. The sound stage is fairly narrow too.
Having said that, one has to look at things with the right perspective. These Boat earphones aren’t wired or wireless with a neckband. These are fully wireless earbuds that give you complete freedom from cables and bands. That technology does come at a premium. And for such earbuds priced under Rs 3,000, the sound quality is more than acceptable. The extra bass is not a bad thing as you will be predominantly using these earbuds outdoors, and since there is no active noise cancellation, it somewhat compensates for the loss of low-end frequencies due to outside noise. The overall loudness is satisfactory even in a noisy environment.
Each of the buds has a soft press button that can be used to perform multiple tasks. You can switch them on or off (keep it pressed for 5 seconds), play/pause a track or answer/end a call (single click) and reject a call (long press for 2 seconds). You can even long press it to bring up the virtual assistant on your phone, but your ears may not appreciate the method due to the extra pressure on them. Unlike its Toshiba counterpart, you get an option to go to the previous or next track and also control the volume. You can double click the button on the left bud to increase the volume and triple click it to decrease the volume. Similarly, you can double click the button on the right bud to go to the next track and triple click it to go to the previous one. The methodology isn’t the most ideal but at least the options are available and they get the job done. The Bluetooth pairing went pretty smooth and there was nothing out of the ordinary to report.
Boat Airdopes 411 - Call quality: 7/10
The call quality was decent but not in the same league as the Toshiba. It was pretty good indoors with the person on the line able to hear you clearly. But the microphone would pick up some ambient noise when outdoors and the other person would occasionally have a tough time grasping some parts of the conversation.
Boat Airdopes 411 - Battery life: 7/10
The Airdopes 411 lasted for a shade over three hours on a full charge during my testing. I believe it’s pretty standard for this category. The charging dock provided in the bundle has a 500 mAh battery of its own that lets you charge these earbuds three to four times before you have to go looking for a charging point. A micro USB cable is bundled in the package to charge the docking station.
Boat Airdopes 411 Verdict and Price in India
The Boat Airdopes 411 can be purchased for Rs 2,999 with a one year warranty. That makes them one of the cheapest true wireless earphones around. While they don’t sound spectacular, you get your money's worth and also some flaunt value. So if you are looking to go fully wireless on a tight budget, this pair is a decent option.
However, if sound clarity and comfort sit higher on your list of priorities than the total absence of wires, then you have wireless earphones from Sony like the WI-C300, WI-C-400 or from JBL like Endurance Run BT or E25BT that sell for Rs 3,000 or lower and sound way better.
All images shot by the author.
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