iClever provides their lightest headphones, without sacrificing sound or comfort.
Our ability to enjoy music has come a long way, in the last few decades. I remember listening to records with my parents, specifically listening to Christmas music around the holidays. My father had a very large stereo/receiver, turntable, cassette deck etc. We had room speakers that were very powerful but took up so much room. There was a headphone port, that required a very large 6.35mm Stereo adaptor. Additionally, the headphones were a large pair of over-ear style headphones. I can remember listening to CCR, Dr. Hook, ZZ Top, Alabama and many other artists. The sound was incredible, but the systems were stationary. Technology advanced steadily through tapes, CDs, MP3 and now many of us do not even have an MP3 player, as our phones do the work of a plethora of devices. Now, we have devices like the iClever Bluetooth headset to fulfill our portable listening needs.
The iClever headphones arrived in a black cardboard box with a very classy white outer slip cover. The cover displays the headphones in slightly larger than life-size quality. You can clearly see the single in-ear style earphone with ear hooks (retention). I really like that the image wraps around towards the side of the packaging. This quality packaging is a very pleasing change to many of the iClever products. This case does a great job at improving the curb appeal of the product. In fact, I feel that this is one of the better product packages I have seen from the company. Within the package, you will find the solid black headphones, a 12-panel manual, a reasonable 21-inch USB-A to micro-USB cable and an accessory bundle (medium/large ear hooks, medium and large foam earbuds, cable S-hook).
The headphones are a seemingly perfect length at 23 1/2 inches long. Each end has a single flange earbud with a silicone ear hook. The “L” and “R” are clearly visible on the underside of each of the earbuds. You will find the two-inch in-line control remote, located just at three inches from the right ear hook. This is a good location for the controller and really did not add any weight to the right ear. At 23 1/2 inches in length and 13 grams, these headphones are lightweight and perfect for everyday use. The length of cable will work well for either in front of the neck or behind-the-neck usage. The included S-shaped hook does a great job at shortening up the cable, to reduce flopping. This ultimately reduced the downward drag placed upon the ears. One of the strengths and weakness of the in-ear style earphones is that head movement can cause the wire to sway. This tends to pull the earphones out of the ears. The included ear hooks help to improve the fit and iClever has included several options for optimal fit. Once you find the right sized fit for your ears, there really should be no reason not to use these headphones. With the water resistance and sound (as shown below), I would say that these would be ideal for exercise, the gym, rainy climates, etc. This set may be a very reasonable option for an everyday use set of in-ear headphones.
There are two major reasons to consider when choosing a pair of headphones. First, you must consider the fit. Personally, this is the most important feature, as an uncomfortable pair of headphones will get little to no action. It really does not matter how good the sound quality is if you do not want to wear them. The second feature then becomes the quality of the sound. Whenever a pair of headphones passes my first fit test, I navigate to Audiocheck.net to test the specs of the device. I will run a channel test, to make sure that the Left/Right and Center channels are programmed correctly. Occasionally, the channels are reversed. It does not make that much of a difference, except for those of us who know how stereo songs are supposed to sound, it will be inverted and weird. The subsequent tests are conducted using the same website. I will check the Low-Frequency Range Test (10Hz to 200Hz) and then the High-Frequency Range Test (22kHz to 8kHz). With the typical human being able to hear from ~20Hz to up to 20kHz, I want to make sure that the range of the speakers is not a limiting factor. It is important to note that by young adulthood, most of us have lost the ability to hear above 15kHz. I personally can hear to 16kHz, but often 15kHz is my limit. Protect your hearing, be careful not to listen to music too loudly. Unfortunately, hearing is a sense that will only deteriorate with time.
When these tests are complete, I turn to the Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test and listen to a Binaural recording of knocking. This is a really neat test that shows how tech and the human brain can work to stage a sound (soundstage). If you have not heard the recording, be prepared to look over your shoulder as it sounds like knocking is coming from behind you. Staging is a really neat topic and one that separates higher quality from lower quality systems. This concept is essentially being able to see the sounds in space based on the recording. Some great examples include Depeche Mode “People are People,” and the Horikawa Wandering album. The opening drum sequence to the Depeche Mode song is amazing. You have alternating sounds between the ears. Make sure that the seal of the headphones is good. Otherwise, you will lose this feature. With the Wandering album, you will notice ping pong balls, animals etc., depending on the song you choose. My favorite of them is “Bubbles.” The iClever Bluetooth headphones did a great job and will make you feel like you are involved in the song.
Most people would agree that Bass is probably the next most important feature, as a weaker bass leads to a very tinny and awkward sounding experience. The audio check above showed that there was a high pitched buzzing from 10-20Hz, but the sound was audible starting at 20Hz. My test tracks tend to be repeated. My go-to tracks include CeeLo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City,” Dark Knight Soundtrack Joker Theme, “Why So Serious,” and the opening to the Gladiator Soundtrack. If you play the opening to Star Wars Attack of the Clones, you will get a really strong bass feel as the ships enter onto the screen (after the crawl). This type of in-ear headphone requires a good seal to get a strong bass experience. You may need to turn down the sound and make sure that you have a good seal with your ears. I was more than satisfied with the bass of these headphones. It is not the strongest that I have heard, but it is very well balanced for the weight of the set. Honestly, for the price and the weight, I was actually quite surprised. The upper range, instrumental sound, and overall fullness are by using the “Far and Away Soundtrack,” the “Braveheart Soundtrack,” Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Hooked on a Feeling” Blue Suede, and lately anything by Pentatonix and Anthem Lights, two amazing Acapella groups. I found the sound was perfect at no more than 50% iPhone volume. Turning up the volume beyond that point was uncomfortable. I did not really appreciate a tinny sound, even at the short time that I listened at higher volume. Again, protect your hearing.
The functions of the device are very intuitive. Hold the center MFB (Multi-Function) button and you will hear “Power on.” Hold the button for a total of 4-5 seconds and you will hear “pairing.” Navigate to “Settings” on your smart device, select Bluetooth and then choose “iClever BTH20.” You will then hear a female voice audibly state “connected.” This was a very quick setup and there was no need to enter a password or any other setbacks. Once connected, listening to music is incredibly easy. A single press of the up button (closest to your ear), will adjust the volume up and a single press of the down button (furthest from your ear), will lead to volume reduction. A single press of the central MFB button will play/pause the song. Holding the volume up/down buttons will change the track forward and reverse. If you have an incoming call, you can press the MFB button to answer. There is a microphone in the in-line controller, which does a good job at reducing ambient sounds. With the microphone closer to your mouth, you can expect fewer wind sounds. My wife typically hates it when I use headphones, for our conversations, as she feels I am in a cave/tunnel. She felt that these were some of the better headphones that I have used for audio quality. To end the call press the MFB button again, to redial the last number called, double press the central button. You can also reject a call by holding the center button for 2 seconds. These features are typical of similar devices. As an added feature, you can use the voice dialing feature by pressing the central MFB button and the Volume Up button simultaneously. During a call, you can transfer the sound to your phone by holding the central MFB button until you hear a beep (2 seconds). To mute the microphone during a call, you can press the Volume up and down buttons simultaneously.
The device uses Bluetooth 4.1, with many of the profiles that we have come to expect, for improved communication between your smart device and headphones: HFP, A2DP, HSP, AVRCP. The range is standard and proved to be about 30feet/10meters. Solid surfaces will interrupt your sound and reduce this range. You will get about 6 hours of playing time, with a listed time of 8 hours in the manual. I used these over the course of the last week and I was able to hit 6.5 hours if I left the buttons alone and just listened to music. Pressing buttons, using the MFB features, voice features etc., did reduce this by about 30-45 minutes. With a 2 hour charge time, this really did not matter as you can quickly get back to listening to your music. When the battery is low, you can see the Widget on your iPhone, you will get a voice prompt and a flashing LED on the headphones to remind you to charge your device. They access multiple senses to get you to re-connect to power. Wait the 2 hours and then enjoy your music again. I did find a warning within the manual. It is recommended to only charge this using a 5V charger as higher voltage and quick charge adapters may damage the headphones.
It is important to note that these are not designed to be Audiophile-quality headphones. If you are looking for a good pair of affordable, balanced sounding in-ear headphones, the iClever brand will provide this to you. I really tried to find something about them that I could complain about. Sure, they could have more bass, they could have more battery life, they could have more sound. They are incredibly light, weighing less than half an ounce (0.45ounces), and will last you an entire music session. I did not experience much ear fatigue with these earphones. If you have trouble hearing or feel it is uncomfortable, change out the ear hooks or simply use the supplied tips. For the price, you get a very responsive Bluetooth, easily accessed in-line remote. The buttons are very responsive, the in-call features are good and again, for the money (sub $30), I do not think you will find more bang for your buck. I would rate these 5/5 stars.
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