FlowFonix Buddies wireless earbuds review
The FlowFonix Buddies wireless earbuds are an acceptable option if you want simple entry-level wireless earbuds.
- Solid fit during workouts
- Good value for money
- Some intermittent connectivity issues
- Sound quality is only average
The FlowFonix Buddies wireless earbuds come with three different-sized ear tips to suit most people. That's a common way for many buds to ship so that they can fit different ear sizes. While your experience may vary depending on your ear shape, I found them comfortable while testing and never worried about them coming loose.
FlowFonix also supplies a small portable charging case. The idea here, similar to many other wireless earbuds such as Apple's AirPods or Jabra's Elite Sport, is that you charge the case, then place the FlowFonix Buddies inside to charge while they're in your bag.
The charging case claims to recharge the FlowFonix Buddies five times over. As part of my testing, I used them for one hour at a time while on the commute to/from home for a week and never had to recharge the case. Not having to plug in the individual earbuds each night is a very nice feature.
Dropping the Buddies wireless earbuds into the case is easy every time because they snap into the charging case with a magnet. The FlowFonix Buddies were always fresh and ready to go with a full charge when I went to use them.
The FlowFonix Buddies feature a low-profile in-ear design. The nice low profile looks natural on the ear when compared to others, such as Apple's AirPods, because there's no protruding section to deal with. If you're self-conscious about wearing any of the larger Bluetooth earbuds, these could be a good compromise.
FlowFonix Buddies are available in either black or silver, with a matching coloured charging case.
Both the left and right earbuds have a large button on the side. I found operating it to be very natural, with one press for play/pause, a double tap for voice commands via Siri and a long press for power off. Most actions were confirmed with verbal feedback.
Each earphone has a status light for power, battery level and connection. The charging case also has status lights for each earphone to indicate charge status.
The FlowFonix Buddies also include microphone capabilities, so you can make and take calls from your smartphone while using them. Even though the mic was nowhere near my mouth, when I tested it, the call recipient could hear me well in a quiet environment as it picked up the vibrations of my voice. In loud environments, such as in the street, call recipients did have some issues making out what I was saying.
Set-up and sound quality
Initially the set-up for the FlowFonix Buddies was a little troublesome, but once I got the pairing mastered, it worked well.
The trick is that the left and right earphones need to be paired to each other before you attempt to pair them to your device. There is audible feedback to confirm the device has paired; however, the feedback does not specify whether you're pairing to the other earphone or to the device. The good news is that with a little practice, it becomes second nature to pair successfully.
There was a bit of an issue with connectivity after pairing which was rather distracting. The left earbud is the "master" which connects to the right, and then to your device. When walking and moving the device around only a little, the right earbud had a very intermittent connection problem. The sound would drop out and fade back in at random intervals. The left earphone did not have this problem, so I suspect the issue lay in the connection between the two earbuds. I tested out two sets of earphones and the problem existed in both.
I would describe the sound quality of these earphones to be acceptable but not exceptional, taking price into consideration. Overall I was happy with the quality, but when comparing with a higher end model, such as Shure 215 headphones, the difference was noticeable.
I tested the earphones with a variety of music, including Flume – Wall F**k for low frequencies, AC/DC's Back in Black for mid frequencies and Darude's Sandstorm for high frequencies. The low-frequency (bass) response was quite average and washed out. When the bass dropped on the song, the experience was disappointing. The mid and high frequencies were better; however, they were noticeably lacking full "colour" in the music. Apart from the lack of bass, the sound of most songs was acceptable.
For situations where convenience is key, such as commuting, they're ideal, but for longer term appreciation of music, you might be better served seeking out a better pair of headphones, even if you do have to eschew the wireless feature.
FlowFonix's values are "to deliver a simple wireless earphone that delivers what you need without all the fancy bells and whistles and without the hefty price-tag."
What that means in pricing terms is that you'll pay $146.95 for a pair, marking them as a low-cost option given they're smaller Bluetooth buds. Competing headphones in this category typically retail north of $200, so they're very much playing to the budget crowd.
The Buddies are a solid option for those who are looking for a pair of wireless earbuds at a budget price point.
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