A general rule that has applied to me for many years is that me and headphones do not get on. At all. Whether it be one headphone dropping sound altogether, wires becoming frayed and broken or headphones straight up falling apart, I’ve seen, and been frustrated by, it all.
It may be overuse, it is rare for a day to go by without me rocking a pair of headphones and an AC/DC album, it may be the type of music I listen to and the volume in which this is blared out, which for the record always stays slightly under the maximum, but the longest a pair of headphones has lasted me is about four or five months.
My last pair went the same way as so many others, with one earphone working sporadically and on the basis of how much I wriggled and played with the wire. This got me thinking, maybe it’s finally time to go wireless?
I’ve toyed with getting a pair of wireless headphones for many years now but I was always held back by the fact that I like having two arms and two legs, and I didn’t really want to sacrifice one of each for a pair of headphones.
That’s when I spotted the Avantree Hive wireless headphones, for under £30 it seemed that I would be getting a solid pair of wireless headphones that included controls, a mic and some favourable customer reviews.
Over the years I’ve been a massive endorser of cheap bits of tech, often it can backfire and I’ve been lulled into a false economy but on numerous occasions I’ve got a steal of a deal on a product that has both long life span and good functionality, with the Avantree Hives I was expecting to get in the same gamble.
After just over a week of heavy of use it seems that the Hives will be one of the gambles that will pay off, they’ve very quickly become my favourite pair of headphones I’ve owned and, despite some drawbacks, tick all the boxes any good pair of headphones should.
The first thing that struck me about the Hives was how they didn’t feel like a budget pair of headphones, considering their wireless capabilities and the fact most headphones in this category go for well over £100 I believe the ‘budget’ description is a fair one.
As soon as I took the Hives out of the box they felt plush and well made, they did not suffer from the same plastic feel that can let other bits of cheap tech down, they look and feel robust and it would be easy to mistake the headphones for a more expensive pair, in fact I challenged someone to guess the price-tag after they had a quick feel and listen, they punted with £60-£70.
This robust build was let down in one tiny aspect however, as the control wheel that is used to skip tracks and control the volume feels slightly flimsy, which is an unfortunate but rare drawback to the headphones. It should be noted that this did not effect functionality, and much like the other control buttons the skip track wheel worked well, and was a welcome function of the headphones.
The sound quality of the headphones was another thing that surprised me, they weren’t stellar performers on this front but they do deliver a decent sound with plenty of bass and depth, which are a few areas that are normally sacrificed by headphones that aren’t offensively expensive, so it’s good to see the Hives don’t conform here.
It is a shame that the headphones do not boast any fancy noise cancelling technology and the lack of this feature was painfully clear when I used the headphones on a packed London tube, I could still hear my music at a good level, but a lot of background noise did get in. I think this can be defined as another expected trade-off for the price however, and the lack of noise cancellation shouldn’t take away from the quality of audio that this pair of headphones produce.
When testing these headphones they were primarily used wireless, however they do come with a wire in case they run out of juice, when they are connected with the wire sound quality does improve slightly, again this is not to say the wireless quality is bad, rather the quality improved when connected via the wire.
Syncing the headphones to a device using bluetooth is simple and effective, and reconnecting to them after they’ve been turned off isn’t the headache that I’ve faced with some bluetooth products.
The headphones are adjustable and will fit all head sizes, if they can comfortably reach over my big head then I’d be surprised if anyone else runs into any problems, but they can be a bit of a pain to fit snugly on your ears.
When the headphones were first donned they felt instantly uncomfortable and I thought that they were going to be ruined before they’d even began, however with some adjustments and persistence they eventually made some steps towards to becoming comfortable.
I’ve had comfier over the ear headphones, one of the biggest drawbacks to the Hives were how they seem to take a while to settle, but after a while they do feel okay. I wore them almost non-stop for a much delayed four hour train journey from London to Birmingham and they grew on me, to the point where I could barely feel them on my ears.
An added extra to these headphones, and one that I didn’t expect, was the fact they come with a mic, meaning you can use them for phone calls. This came to my aid for a while as the speaker on my phone has become muffled and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get through a phone conversation.
The sound quality on the call was brilliant and the person on the end of the line could hear me perfectly, however due to the mic being located on one of the earphones, rather than on a wire in front of your mouth, any surrounding noise can also be heard by the person on the other end of the line, which isn’t really a problem if you’re taking a call in the privacy of your own home but taking a call in public could pose a problem.
All in all Avantree’s Hive wireless headphones are great on most fronts, they work and sound great and have a sturdy feel to them, but their low low price means there are some drawbacks. Considering these are at least £100 cheaper than any other wireless headphones on the market the minor disadvantages to the Hives should be overlooked and it should be stressed that these are a brilliant piece of kit, available at a rock bottom price.
If you fancy grabbing yourself a pair of Hives, or are stuck for stocking fillers this Christmas, you can pick them up over at mobilefun.