There are so many audio products out there, it is extremely difficult for me to review all and recommend. For unknown brands without reliable reviews, the chances of a consumer purchase may be slim. But whatever that reaches my ears, I can safely recommend. Thanks GearBest for sending me a review unit of the Antelope Bluetooth headset with mic by Mpow. Here is my assessment.
The product was packaged in a simple box, with the headset stored securely in a plastic mould. The package also comes with 3 eartips, USB cable and manual.
Most part of the headset is coated with silicone that prevents slipping from your sweaty skin. The only area that is not coated is the area facing out where the “MPOW” logo is.
The overall design is tried and tested, and nothing starkly different from most other headsets in the market. The neckband cable is flexible enough yet stays in shape confidently, while firm enough to hold the headset in my ears without feeling any strain.
The cable length is just nice for my head, but when I move my head left to right, the cable did rub against my hair, causing minor cable rub sound, but not that audible when music is played loud.
The Mpow Antelope connects via Bluetooth 4.1 to your audio device with standard SBC codec instead of aptX. You can pair up to 2 devices to it, and the devices must support the standard Bluetooth audio protocol, which most smartphones do. When 2 devices are connected, the Antelope will play audio from one device at a time. To switch the source, just stop the audio from one device and start the audio from the other. There are occasional dropouts but I consider the connection to be one of the better ones. During poor connection, the audio does not produce any cracking or breakout sounds, but merely disconnects cleanly and reconnects back promptly.
The headset supports voice calls when paired to a smartphone. The CVC 6.0 noise reduction helps to reduce ambient noise to deliver cleaner sound from microphone.
Listening to it in the dead of the night, my ears can pick up some low-floor noise from the wireless transmission, which goes to show the the headsets are rather sensitive. The earbuds are tuned with flat response, with good bass feel (depending on how snug you fit the eartips against your ear canals), warm and detailed mids, rounded treble. It is a comfortably balanced tone when listening at moderate volume.
When pushing the volume higher and playing heavy music, the speaker begins to show strain. Sibilance turned out slightly unrefined, bass sounded muddy, the frequencies blended together and lack distinction. Playing solo or light orchestral instrumentals, I enjoy the intimacy of the headset where it delivers rather detailed instrumental breath and reverb.
But you don’t buy this headset for critical listening but for workouts. Bringing the Antelope out for jogging, the headset stays in-ear throughout the run securely. Overall comfort is good on me, and the 3 hardware buttons are easy to press. Due to sweat and movements during run, the earbuds might lose the seal against the ear canals, which resulted in loss of bass impact. So occasionally I would press the earbuds in to get better seal. For those who do not like the tightness, you could go easy on the seal, though that would give you a skewed audio balance.
Mpow claims the Antelope can offer up to 8 hours of music and voice call, and 10 days of standby. The headset would auto shut-down to save power when no Bluetooth device is connected. However, when the voice prompted “battery low”, the Antelope would shut off within 2 minutes. It takes less than 2 hours to charge from empty to full, and as always, I recommend not letting the battery go flat before charging since lithum-ion batteries do not have memory effect and works better if charged regularly. Plus, charging time would be shorter.
The manual did not specify the detailed product specs other than the battery life.
The Mpow Antelope scores well on fit and comfort for me. Audio quality might not get the nod by audiophiles, though instrumental tracks do rather well for my ears. I even wear them in office with the earbuds hanging outside the ear canal so that I can hear the music faintly while interacting with my colleagues. General consumers should like the audio balance, which gives a tight sound stage and motivating drive on your exercise routine.
I would recommend the Mpow Antelope for workouts and for listening to light music. If you are interested to get a set, head over to GearBest. Currently selling for US$34.99, available in blue and black colours, with free shipping worldwide.