True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds are a dime a dozen. With so many TWS flooding the market, consumers are so pampered for choices. In many cases, a good pair of TWS can be had for below S$200, while some models are between S$200-300 because of the brand premium and marketing costs. If an unknown brand sells above S$200, it better be something special. Mavin Air-X retails at S$249 and it is special.
Mavin is founded in Arcadia, California, USA, and it caught my attention for its claim for 30-metre Bluetooth connection. Unfortunately, I do not have a smartphone with Snapdragon 845/855 to test the range. Another claim is its long battery life of 10 hours per earbud and additional 4 charges on the dock, totalling 50 hours. Again, without compatible Qualcomm smartphones, I suspect I would not be getting the full potential, hence in this review, I would not dwell on these two – until I purchase my very own unit in a month’s time. Why do I want to buy the Mavin Air-X? Read on.
The review unit I received was in glossy black colour. Much to my expectations, the case is a grease magnet, but ironically it gives me reasons to caress it within my palm, like what you would do with a smooth pebble. The position of the earbuds make them easily accessible, though I need to get used to the way they are docked. Usually, the eartips go inside the dock, but for Mavin Air-X, the eartips face upwards. Also, both earbuds are symmetrical, so you could charge them in any side of the dock.
The Air-X includes silicone ear fins that wraps around the exterior of the earbuds to improve grip during workouts. I prefer to leave it permanently as a form of protection against accidental drops. The earbuds are IPX5 rated for sweat resistance.
The earbuds operate by click button on each unit, and with different action depending on whether you click the left or the right unit. The controls are different from the usual: short click changes volume, double click pauses and plays, and long click changes tracks.
Some earphones make me spend time analysing the qualities to write a decent article. Marvin Air-X shows me very clearly the sound quality it is capable of, leaving me the rest of the days enjoying the sound exclusively instead of studying the sound. While the earbuds support Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus mode, I did not have any smartphones running on Snapdragon 845/855, so I tested on Huawei P20 Pro connected via aptX, and already the sound quality is impressive.
Air-X delivers airy and revealing treble sound but well-balanced with the bass energy. The transparency allows me to hear the echo effects for hair-raising sound staging. I find the treble has some grain, but somewhat achieves a less clinical outcome. The midrange offers sufficient support to provide warmth and fullness to the mix.
One thing that lacks is that the sound staging is not as natural like a room. The left and right channels are heard close and wide to the sides, and the mono vocal mix is positioned to the front.
Compared to the RHA TrueConnect, the Mavin Air-X delivers less V-shaped sound, less coloured, more naturally clear. It is also not as full and crowded as Jabra Elites.
I like headphones that let me hear all aspects of the music without overpowering one another. The Mavin Air-X delivers clear musical treble that does not sound too pushy, thin, or fatiguing, while the bass achieves the boom and warmth without clouding. I find the Air-X achieves that balance that makes me love wearing it and listening music with it. The audio quality is also superior despite connecting only via aptX, without any distracting compression – except for the grainy characteristic.
Another aspect that I love is that the earbuds power up instantly and connects to the smartphone to either earbuds, whichever is removed from the dock first. The whole connection process is so seamless and fast, that by the time I inserted both earbuds into my ears, the Air-X is ready for music.
Finally, the silicone jackets provide protection for my earbuds, like a smartphone casing. Who doesn’t want protection for their gadgets?
I plan to order a unit for my own enjoyment, and if any Snapdragon 845/855 smartphones come in my way, I will update this review with more findings.
- Easy to remove and insert on the magnetic dock
- Comes with additional silicone jacket
- Good isolation
- Forthcoming details that my ears pick up without resorting to high volume levels
- Any earbud can be connected to the smartphone, there is no permanent master.
- Push click button hard to operate
- Button controls are not conventional
- Glossy casing, fingerprint magnet
The Mavin Air-X is available in Singapore at S$249, at authorized retailers, AV One, AV One on Lazada, Connect-IT, Gadget Plus, Gadget Solution, Gain City, Headphones.SG, Stereo Electronics, Treoo.com and XGear.
Update 15 April 2019: an earlier version indicated that Mavin was founded in Taiwan in 1999. This was corrected by the PR agency. We apologise for the incorrect information.