I need to ask a favor of you.
Please, promise not to laugh.
My first experience with Bluetooth headsets was a Motorola earpiece which I used with my Motorola Razor. The sound quality and battery life were garbage, but, at the time, it was an amazing leap forward in technology. This was not my only experience with using Bluetooth audio devices, but it is my earliest and a formative one. With that in mind, when offered the opportunity to check out the Mpow Flame, I was very curious just how far Bluetooth headsets have come. In this review, I will be sharing about my experiences with the Mpow Flame, their best use-cases, and whether or not this pair of headphones is right for you.
Before we begin, let’s break down some details.
- MSRP: $19.99
- IPX7 Waterproofing
- Bluetooth 4.1 via CSR chip
- Quick-charging lithium polymer battery (1.5 hour charge for 7+ hours of use)
- Replaceable ear tips with three replacements in different sizes
If you aren’t familiar with the brand, Mpow is a Santa Clara, California-based designer and manufacturer of bluetooth audio accessories, specifically for use with smart phones. Their products are mainly sold on Amazon with a variety of Bluetooth headphones, transmitters, and receivers. You may have taken note of this above, they are surprisingly affordable.
Do not let the price fool you, these headphones have the feel of quality to them which, frankly, has me a little perplexed as to why I have not tried a pair of these before now. While I wouldn’t classify them as a high tier product, these headphones don’t feel cheap. The Mpow Flame is treated with IPX7 waterproofing, so they are the perfect gym companion. I just would not recommend taking them into the pool with you! These headphones also comes in a zippered protective carrying case with replacement ear cushions with three sizes to choose from.
Build quality aside, one of the most important questions is this: how do they sound?
In order to figure that out, I have a battery of tracks that I run products through to test their high, mid, and low end responses. This selection includes everything from musical selections including symphonic scores, technical rock, and EDM to the spoken word. After running those tests, here is what I found.
In tracks where there is a clear differentiation between instruments, each instrument is decently defined. The highs are crisp and clear with good definition in the mid-range. The low end is another thing entirely. While Mpow boasts that deep bass response, it feels like it is lacking something that I can’t quite put my finger (or eardrum in this case) to. It feels like the low-mids are compensating for the lower register responses. It doesn’t sound terrible nor is bass absent – that it hardly the case. Something within the low end is somewhat lacking. I guess it is true that if you give a bass player a little bass, they’ll simply want more of it!
Looking at battery life, the Mpow Flame advertises 7 – 9 hours worth of use. I can confirm that this is pretty close to the usage that I got out of it. Those 7 – 9 hours were not simply having the unit powered on, but many of them were “in-use” hours which involved listening to music, trips to the gym, and phone calls on long drives. From the latter standpoint, while using the Flame for calls, I did ask the parties on the other end about the sound quality of my voice. They were complimentary on how it faired.
Unfortunately, for the Mpow Flame, its Bluetooth capabilities seem to be limited to the mobile and Bluetooth enabled PC platforms. When trying to pair it with my Playstation 4, while the Playstation saw the device, it informed me that it was not capable of pairing with it. This is a bit of a bummer if you were looking for an inexpensive alternative for console gaming.
While its uses are limited to the mobile platform, if you are a gamer on the go, the Flame could be a potent pairing for you. If you are looking for a set of Bluetooth earbuds which will deliver a warm sound without touching the contents of your wallet, Mpow delivers an affordable offering, proving once again that you can have technology on a budget if you are willing to make some minor sacrifices in range of performance for the access to it.
Note: The product in review was provided by PR.
- Highly accessible price point
- Great battery life
- Zippered carrying shell great for transport
- Overall sound quality is decent
- Long term use is not the most comfortable
- Volume buttons feel backward
- Not compatible for use with consoles