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Brainwavz BLU-100 review: Bluetooth headphone brilliance for £30

Cliff Joseph
28 Sep 2016
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30

These are the best £30 in-ear wireless headphones you can buy - the BLU-100 really are something special

Pros 
Good sound quality
Cheap
Memory-foam ear tips
Cons 
Short battery life
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Brainwavz may not be a household name like Sony or Bose, but if its little BLU-100 in-ear headphones are anything to go by that’s all set to change. For £30, these Bluetooth headphones could well be one of the biggest bargains going.

Accessories

The BLU-100 makes a good impression straight out of the box. Despite the modest £30 price tag, you get a sturdy little carrying case to help keep the headphones safe when you’re travelling. That case contains three sets of ear tips with different sizes – this helps to ensure a good, snug fit, which is vital if you’re to get the best sound quality with in-ear headphones.

What’s more, you even get a set of the superb Comply memory-foam tips that mould themselves to the shape of your ear canal for an even better fit. I’ve spent a small fortune on Comply tips over the years, so getting these with the BLU-100 at such a low price is a real bonus. One last added extra is a pair of plastic "hooks" that fit into the outer ear to help keep the headphones in place, which come in handy when you’re out running or hurtling around on a bicycle.

Design

The headphones themselves are also nicely constructed given their bargain-basement pricing. The earpieces are a bit bulky, but they’re solidly built, which gives them a nice, sturdy feel. The cable connecting the two earpieces can be adjusted with a cinch to avoid it getting snagged when you’re on the move, and it includes a three-button remote control as well as a microphone for voice calls.

Read also: Best headphones 2016

Brainwavz hasn’t skimped elsewhere, either. Voice prompts help with the Bluetooth-pairing process, and the rubber provides some welcome weather-proofing for the USB charging connector. The only slight worry here is that the size and weight of the earpieces do mean that you need to get a really good fit with the ear-tips in order to keep the headphones firmly in place when you’re moving around.

Sound quality & battery life

These budget headphones produce a surprisingly refined sound. The mid- and higher frequencies have a rich, detailed quality that works just as well with the acoustic strummings of Damien Rice as it does with the breezy disco of Jimmy Somerville. The deep bass could be a little firmer, but it's still highly impressive for such an inexpensive set of headphones.

The one real disappointment is the limited battery life. The compact earpieces don’t leave much room for a battery, so you’re limited to a modest four hours at a time. To be fair to the BLU-100, though, that’s only an hour less than Apple’s £150 wireless Bluetooth earphones, the AirPods.

Verdict

The BLU-100’s battery life means that they won’t last through long journeys on a train or plane, and will need regular topping up when you get home each day. Even so, they’re still excellent value for money, and provide sound quality and features that rival many headphones costing twice the price – if you’re looking for in-ear Bluetooth headphones on the cheap, then the Brainwavz BLU-100 are the best out there.

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