Worlds Smallest Earbuds with a complex! Rowkin Bit earbuds provide sound beyond their size. Lightweight and comfortable with an enjoyable sound.
I have been a fan of music since childhood. It is amazing to think about the changes in headphone technology in the past 15-30 years. I remember listening to music on my father’s record player and tape player with the huge ear muff style headphones. Eventually, these moved to smaller earphones, on-ear/in-ear/around ear. The drivers got smaller and more powerful with time. As tech advanced through tape, CD, MP3 player and now specifically with our phones and iPods, headphones have stayed relevant. The 3.5mm jack has been a staple of technology for the last 20 years, until the iPhone 7. Some may have company loyalty to specific brands. My opinion supports the product and not the brand. I have examples of headphones from just about every one of the brands that you can find. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I have two major factors that I hold above all others. First, are they comfortable, and second do they sound good?
I have received a Rowkin Bit Stereo wireless stereo earbuds to review. The packaging is rather bland with brown cardboard appearance and the logo Rowkin on the front. The box is rectangular, measuring 4 5/8″ long by 3 3/4″ wide and 1 3/8″ thick. The sides are devoid of markings/information and the bottom contains a yellow sticker with information about the device. The packaging promises that the headphones are the “WORLDS SMALLEST BLUETOOTH STEREO EARBUDS,” BT 4.1 technology with HFP, HSP, AVRCP, A2DP and SPP profiles. These seem pretty standard with current BT devices. Furthermore, the packaging promises 27 hours of standby time, 120days standby in off mode, 2 hours of music time, 3 hours of talk time and a rechargeable Li-Po 55mA battery in each earbud. The case contains a 250mA battery and the devices have built-in noise reduction and echo cancellation.
The box is a little difficult to open as it fits together rather snugly. When you finally get it open, you will not be disappointed in the product. Along the top of the packaging, you will notice two 1/2 inch black circles with a grey bar through them and “Rowkin” written across them. In the middle of the cardboard is a metal cylinder and beneath this is a pull tab. The two small circles are the ear buds. I did not believe this at first, because of the size of the device. Removing the ear buds you will notice 1/2 inch diameter and 13/16″ in size. Each earbud weighs a remarkable 0.15 ounces for a total of 0.3 ounces combined weight. They came installed with large earbud tips, which were too big for my ears. However, they did include other sizes and the smaller tips fit, like a glove. The cylinder is the charger for the device. This may actually be the most interesting part of the entire device. The cylinder charger measures 3/4″ diameter and 3 3/16″ long. It will split into 2 parts, a smaller portion at 1 1/4″ long and the larger at 2 1/4″ long. When you separate the components, you will notice the hidden USB micro charging port for the battery charger. There is a small metal bead which allows for the magnetic charging. The entire case is magnetic and will attract metallic objects, such as USB chargers. The magnet is very strong and secure. Additionally included is an 8″ USB A to USB micro charging cable and the instruction manual.
To charge the earbuds, simply place the earbud tip side into the holes of the charger and you will notice a red LED illuminates on each of the earbuds. The two halves of the charger must be connected to charge both devices. If you remove the smaller piece, of the charger, you will still charge the one earbud attached to the larger half. As stated, this is very cool and unique. I have not seen another charger like this, so far. It allows for a convenient way to charge the earbuds, and dually serves as a storage mechanism. Ideally, the magnetic attachment charges and holds the device tight, to reduce the chances of losing them. They are incredibly tiny earbuds and will be easily misplaced. The earbud size really is impressive and I find it hard to believe that these would be able to produce any kind of quality sound. However, after my sound tests, I was very sorely mistaken. They sound incredible and are comfortable.
The instruction manual is provided in an 18 panel folded accordion style booklet. The manual details the contents and the function very well with words and with diagrams. This is well written and easily understood. Charging is completed through plugging the Micro USB into the larger port and an LED will illuminate. When completed, the LED will extinguish. I can say through experience that this is accurate. Additionally, plugging the earbuds into the charger, a red LED will illuminate on each bud that is charging and will extinguish when completed (~1.5-2 hours). It takes approximately 2.5 hours to charge the case as well. To turn on the devices, place them into your ears and press the Rowkin silver button for 4 seconds. You will hear “Power on” and then “left channel,” “right channel” from each device. I found that you can turn on a single device or stereo paired. The master device is the left device and the slave is the right device. You can choose to use just 1 device or to simultaneously press the buttons for 6 seconds and turn both on. One flaw, that I have found so far, is there is no listed L/R on the devices. You have a 50/50 shot of guessing, and more often than not, I have to switch them around. Holding both buttons, you will notice pairing within about a 6-10 seconds. The manual notes 10-30, but I never had any more time pass than 10 seconds. The buttons are incredibly responsive and the pairing is quick. Navigate to your phone settings, Bluetooth and note “Rowkin Bit S” and select this option. I really like that they named the Bluetooth device with a useful title.
After the first installation, both buds are paired, you only need to hold the on/off button on each device for 4seconds and you will hear the same “Power on,” “left channel,” “right channel” again. This should automatically pair. While in stereo mode, the left device is the control device. If you get a phone call, you can press the left button once and answer the call. Interestingly the microphone is located inside of the left earbud. The sound is some of the best I have found so far. It almost sounds like you are using the phone. There is not that much background noise or wind noise, likely because the device is protected by the helix of your earlobe. My wife really liked my ability to talk to her on hands-free with this device, finding it to be much better than others I have tested previously. Press the left button again to hang up the call. While in calling mode, there is no sound from the slave device. As another really cool and useful feature, both headsets can play/pause music while in playback mode. Again, this is very responsive and works amazingly well. The buttons are multi-touch, double tapping will active the voice control mode/SIRI access.
To test the sound of my earbuds/earphones I use the same tracks and internet sites. One of the first places I tend to navigate to is audiocheck.net. I love their Audio Tests and typically run the “Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200Hz) followed by “High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8kHz).” The typical human hearing is around 20Hz-20kHz. Over the age of 18 years old, you will be lucky to hear much above 15kHz. Using these tests you will find that these headphones will provide about 30Hz to 15kHz. This is not bad but does leave a little to be wanted in the bass end. This is likely due to size and honestly in songs/music I only barely noticed it. My typical go to fullness tests and bass tests are to listen to “Why so serious, Joker Theme” from Dark Night rises and to listen from 3-4 minutes. Additionally, the Gladiator soundtrack and opening sequence to Star Wars Attack of the Clones serves as a great bass tester. Between audiocheck.net and my typical sources, I would give the bass quality a 4/5. I have definitely had speakers with better bass. In regards to treble, the fullness/sound is quite good. I like to use Far and Away and Braveheart soundtracks to evaluate the fullness and instrumental quality. Additionally, I have a few songs that I just like to listen to such as “Paradise by the Dashboard light” by meatloaf, “For the Longest Time” Billy Joel. I am a sucker for harmony and intonation and absolutely love instrumental brass/woodwind instrumental music. To test the stereo nature of the headsets, I tend to use “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Country Roads” by John Denver. The device fared very well in these last 2 tests earning a 5/5 in this test.
I listened to an audible book for 2.5 hours before I had to charge the device. The time limit/battery capacity is a little disappointing, especially if you are not directly near a charging device. However, this is tempered by the charger having an internal battery. I do not mind 2 hours of listening with the ability to charge while waiting and not requiring power. I am not certain how many charges you will get before having to recharge the case. It appears it will be around 2 charges based on the capacity of 250mAh. With the devices in your ears, you will really not hear outside noises. This is likely completed through blockage of the ear canal.
I wanted to love this device and give it a glaring 5/5 stars. Unfortunately, this review cannot be all rainbows and unicorns. There is some popping/cracking that is heard in quite spots, which is intensified based on the distance to your device. The BT 4.1 features seem to work really well, but there is an intermittent defect in the range. Sometimes you will get the full standard ~10meters or about 30 feet. Other times, you will only get about 5-10 feet of range before you experience dropped signal and extra noise/clicks/crackles. If you have a wall in between you, this seems to become more frequent. If you search the amazon page, you will see multiple people with this same complaint and thus I do not think my device is defective. I have also had 1-2 events that my phone could not pair with my device, it would not detect them. I had to forget the device and repair by holding the power button for 6 seconds. This is a nuisance, but not a deal breaker.
Overall I am really impressed with the power from these “Smallest” Wireless Bluetooth earbuds. I absolutely love the charging method and the idea of the travel charger case. I am scared that I will lose them as they are very tiny earbuds. Placing them into your ears, you will not be able to see them. Do not be shocked if someone thinks you are talking to yourself as these hide very well inside of your ears. The bass is just above average but not excellent. The treble is above average to excellent. The battery life is average, the weight is extremely above average. The comfort may make up for the sound. After about 10 minutes of use, I forgot that they were in my ears and I thought I was just listening to the radio. It was not until my wife tapped me that I realized she was calling my name. For those of you married folks, consider these a marriage enhancer as well. Alas, I kid.
Overall these headphones did meet and exceed my initial expectation. I miss not having a next/last feature on the earbuds. It seems that a long press on right or left could serve this purpose. This is not a feature that is present. If you wish to change tracks, you will have to do it on your phone. The charger/battery is ingenious and really appreciated. Perhaps the second generation could aim for 3-4 hours of use and a means of attaching the USB power cord to the device for easier portability. You have to have the charger to actually charge these. This is a downside if you lose the charger, you have nonfunctional earbuds as they have no other way to charge. With other headphones, you can use any USB Micro charger lying around. Overall I would rate the device at 4/5 stars and I would buy these again.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
BUY FROM AMAZON