Brainwavz is no stranger to us here on PAR. We’ve covered several of their products in the past and come away impressed each time. Today we’re looking at the Brainwavz BLU-300 Wireless Sports Earphone.
While it’s not the company’s first Bluetooth IEM, it’s their first sports-oriented one. What makes this earphone interesting is its IPX7 rating which means it is sweat and water resistant – perfect for running or going to the gym. Retailing at only $39, this earphone offers a lot of great features but is it any good?
The IPX7 rating means it’s sweat and water resistant
Good battery life and quick charge
Lightweight and comfortable
Value for money
Thick and dominant
Supplied eartips are all very small
Brainwavz BLU-300 Specifications
Drivers : Dynamic, 10mm
Rated Impedance : 16Ω
Frequency Range : 20Hz ~ 20kHz
Sensitivity : 102 dB at 1 mW
Rated Input Power : 5 mW
Bluetooth Version: 4.1
Pairing : Single & Dual Pairing
Operating Range : Up-to 10 meters
Voice Prompt : Yes
Play Time : ~6-8 hours
Standby Time : ~250 hours
Charge Time : 1-2 hours
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Package and Accessories
We are greeted with a rather large white box with an image of the Brainwavz BLU-300 earphones on the front. I assume the box is so big because Brainwavz didn’t want to fold the neckband contained inside.
Over on the back there is a list of included accessories, some specifications and features, along with a brief description of the earphones. Inside is, of course, the BLU-300 earphones seated in a white, molded, plastic insert.
Under the plastic we find the rest of the accessories, consisting of some extra eartips and a USB charging cable. So, that’s a pretty basic bundle but exactly what is expected for something in this price range.
Just a single glance told me that all 3 pairs of silicone eartips were far too small for my ears; disappointing considering that the tips provided with most of Brainwavz’ other earphones were great.
Build Quality and Design
This earphone features the now familiar neckband design, but the Brainwavz BLU-300 has the slimmest and lightest neckband I’ve seen thus far. It’s roughly the size of an average shoelace and is extremely flexible but holds its shape well.
All the controls and the USB port are on the right arm of the neckband. There are 3 buttons in total and they are all multi-functional. You’ve got your playback and volume controls as well as answer and end call buttons all in one place.
Just to the side of the buttons is the USB charging port which has a protective rubber seal. In-between the plus and minus keys is a discreet LED indicator that flashes when the earphones are turned on.
The earphone housings are quite small and made from a tough and durable plastic. They’re fairly low-key except for the Brainwavz logo on the back end. Speaking of the back end, the BLU-300 earphones also have magnets that clasp together so you can safely wear them around your neck when not in use.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
With its short, cylindrical housings and angled nozzles, the BLU-300 is a very comfortable earphone. I had to dig into my personal eartips stock because the included ones were all way too small but once I got a good fit the earphones sit really well in my ears. I can easily run and work out just fine and the fit always feels secure.
Noise isolation is above average, despite the small size of the housings. I guess that with the IPX7 designed to keep water out, the BLU-300 keeps external noise out pretty well too – great for the gym. Similarly, there is very minimal sound leak even at high volume.
Bluetooth and Battery
Connectivity is solid and I was consistently able to walk around the corner and into my kitchen without any cutting or drops. Pairing was straightforward and fast on my Android phone and the Shanling M0 (review here), especially with the handy voice prompts.
Rated at 6-8 hours of battery life the BLU-300 should last through a day for the average person. The low impedance and high sensitivity of the earphones mean that they get pretty loud so I didn’t have to turn up the volume much most of the time. This meant that I was getting around 8 hours rather than 6 and for me, that’s pretty decent. It’s great that you can also get a full charge in just 2 hours.
The Brainwavz BLU-300 has an L-shaped signature that focuses on a beefy bass and rich midrange with the high frequencies tapering off somewhat. While it’s not the most Hi-Fi signature it is very well suited for the earphones’ intended purpose i.e. sports and physical activities.
There’s no shortage of bass here and the low frequencies are the BLU-300’s driving force. The single 10 mm dynamic driver has got the juice to shake things up. The mid-bass has an average attack and slow decay that has a lot of impact but can sound a bit woolly.
There’s not a lot of texture but a lot of power that is great for keeping you motivated during those intense reps. Sub-bass has a nice deep and well-controlled rumble that’s perfect for hip-hop, drum and bass drops and songs like Tech N9ne’s “No K”.
A fairly forward midrange is necessary to contend with the large bass of the BLU-300 and that’s what you get. Vocals are syrupy and smooth, very forgiving and musical. There is an abundance of warmth that makes the midrange thick, lush and velvety – it’s not very technical but it sure is emotive.
The BLU-300’s treble is extremely laid back and smooth – again exactly what you would expect for an earphone designed for sports. It’s rolled off but has good solidity and timbre. The subdued 7-10kHz range results in that overall warm tonality which is not great for detail retrieval but a blessing for the treble sensitive.
As you might expect for a bass-oriented sound signature, the soundstage is fairly intimate. I wouldn’t call it confined but there’s not a great deal of space to move around in. Vocals are very upfront, as if you’re sitting in the first or second front row. Imaging is about average for a bass oriented IEM in this price range.
When it comes to audio quality the Brainwavz BLU-300 won’t blow you away but it certainly isn’t offensive either. If you’re looking for a very affordable Bluetooth earphone for sweating it out or jogging in the rain this is just what the doctor ordered. For the $39 asking price, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better, especially something with an IPX7 rating.