Inexpensive, waterproof and with an appealing sound, the BLU-300 are fantastic running headphones
- Easy to use
- Excellent value for money
- Sound can be too bass-heavy
- Rivals offer better value and balance
If you’re looking for Bluetooth earphones that can survive a good drenching, the Brainwavz BLU-300 might be just the model for you. Weatherproof and sweatproof, they’re water-resistant to the IPX7 standard, which means they can be submerged in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes. It seems unlikely anyone would need to fully test these credentials, but you can at least be sure they’ll endure the wettest of outdoor activities without skipping a beat.
Brainwavz BLU-300 review: Design
Their design is well suited to being used on the move, too. That’s because they have a neckband that ensures the full weight of the Bluetooth receiver never ends up tugging the earbuds from your ears. This is handy when walking and working out alike, but with no wing locks to secure the earbuds in place, it’s still important that you find a good fit from the three silicone tip sizes included.
Indeed, despite the neckband, it wasn’t uncommon for the BLU-300’s earbuds to lose their airtight seal in our ears when we performed more vigorous exercise.
This is easily fixed by carefully adjusting the earbuds, but one downside to cheap Bluetooth earphones (at least compared to their wired counterparts) is that the driver housing often tends to be larger, which can have an impact on how easily you achieve an optimum fit.
Another neat design feature of the BLU-300 is that the reverse of the earbuds attach magnetically, effectively turning the earphones into a necklace when they’re not in use. It might seem trivial, but with no cable tethering them to your music player, this ensures they never slip unintentionally from your shoulders.
Brainwavz BLU-300 review: Features
Apart from the additional silicone tips, the BLU-300 come with no extra accessories. All you’ll find in the box is a Micro USB charging cable; there’s no carry case, for example. That’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a shame if you want to be able to chuck the earphones in a bag without them becoming entangled in your other possessions.
Otherwise, there are no major surprises. The headphones are charged via a port on the main control unit, where you’ll also find three buttons for changing the volume and powering the earphones on and off.
These buttons are easy enough to find with your thumb thanks to the way the neckband sits, and they also provide other useful functions such as letting you pause playback, skip tracks, and even summon Google Assistant.
In terms of battery life, Brainwavz claims the BLU-300 last up to eight hours between charges. Overall, that tallies with what we experienced, and their stamina is only a short way behind similarly priced rivals such as the Creative Outlier One (£30), which boast a ten-and-a-half-hour battery life.
Best of all, the BLU-300 take only two hours to charge from empty, so you can quickly add enough juice to get you through a short walk or workout. They also have an impressive 250 hours of standby time, so if you forget to turn off the earphones, chances are they’ll still have plenty of charge when you come back to them.
Brainwavz BLU-300 review: Performance
As you’d expect from Bluetooth headphones that cost a little over £30, you’re not going to find audiophile-level sound quality here. Apart from anything, the BLU-300 don’t support the hi-res aptX audio codec offered by more expensive models (and indeed some cheaper ones), but that doesn’t mean they’re completely disastrous from a sonic perspective.
Our only major criticism, considering the price, is how bass-heavy they are. On rock tracks in particular, this can result in a sound that’s excessively boomy and imprecise, but for other genres such as dance, you can just as easily make the case that it helps bring the music to life.
There’s also slightly less detail in the treble frequencies than you’ll find with the excellent Creative Outlier One, which have a more neutral sound signature overall. Having said that, there’s good mid-range presence, with vocals and guitars never sounding too far from the forefront.
Brainwavz BLU-300 review: Verdict
As is so often the case with earphones, whether the Brainwavz BLU-300 are the right model for you comes down to what you’re looking for. If you want Bluetooth earphones that are as well suited to spoken-word podcasts as guitar anthems, you might be happier with Creative’s Outlier One earphones.
However, if you primarily want fun-sounding earphones for walking or running with, the BLU-300 fit the bill perfectly. They’re easy to use, waterproof and simply excellent value for money.