03 Oct

Under $30 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds? Dudios! Yes Please!

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Most of you know that I am already a fan of Soundpeats Bluetooth headsets, but as Eastern sages remind us, “all things are temporary”—especially headphones. I had two sets and lost one while wearing out the other after 3 or 4 years of hard use of almost constant travel (50+ flights per year), and use in environments from the gym several days a week to the beach to high in the Andes Mountains.

I was about to order more of the same but then became aware of the Dudios Freedots Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds. Previously I used wired sets: they were Bluetooth but each earpiece was connected via a wire that went around your neck. At the price, currently $19,99 I was extremely skeptical, thinking they couldn’t be very good. But I decided to take a chance, knowing Amazon has a generous return policy, or at least I could pawn them off on my wife: “Look honey I got you a gift!”

But no, these are a keeper! I am a former audio engineer, so I am picky about my sound. Now to be clear, these are not going to replace a pair of $400 studio headphones, but they aren’t designed to.  What they do very well is punch way above their weight. I have had wired earbuds that cost over $100, and these Freedots outperform them hands down.

The sound quality is very clear, and the bass is excellent. The maximum volume is enough, but not overpowering. The package comes with different size ear seals to fit different anatomies, and when snugly placed in the ear canal, they are comfortable, and block out external noise without noise cancelling circuitry. In fact, if there is a downside, they insulate so well that I found myself taking them out to have some conversations.

Some Bluetooth devices are tricky to set up. These come in a little black charging case that connects to a micro USB cable for charging. When you open the lid, the earbuds go into pairing mode. Look on your mobile device, and the earbuds show up. Connect and you are done. Very easy.

Sound quality is great. The bass is strong. The highs above 12,000 Hz seem to taper off and you miss some of the subtle harmonics up in the audio stratosphere, but if you are using these in their intended environment—travel or workout, you will never notice. Again, it is not fair to compare $20 Bluetooth headsets to $400 studio earphones, but the fidelity is plenty good. They sound fine and are far better than the kit most people use with mobile devices.

The earbuds are ambidextrous and work well for both left and right-handed people. The tap system, activating a button on each earbud allows you to answer calls, activate smart assistants such as Apple’s Siri, or to advance or repeat musical or podcast selections.

I took phone calls with the Freedots and they worked fine, even through the thick interior stone walls of my country farmhouse. The construction feels solid, durable, and they even feel a little heavy when taking them out of their charging case but once in the ear, they are all-day comfortable. I took a day trip to run errands for several hours and the battery lasted with plenty to spare. I was mostly listening to an audiobook during that trip. If you have thumping club music playing at maximum volume, expect a little less battery life—but at this price, buy two or three sets and keep them charged! That’s what I’m going to do.

A definite buy recommendation, and a great gift idea!

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