Apple introduced the AirPods back in 2016, and true wireless earphones frenzy broke out. While initially it seemed like the technology (like any new technology) would remain only in the high end segment, it did not take the true wireless fever to get to the budget segment of the earphones as well. And of the brands that has recently launched a new pair of true wireless earbuds is Boat. The Indian brand has launched Airdopes 211, priced at Rs. 2,499. But just how many corners have been cut to get that price tag?
Airdopes 211 are budget segment earbuds and they look like it. Built mainly out of plastic, the capsule shaped buds themselves are pretty small in size and unlike some buds that poke out of ears, the Airdopes blend in well. The back of the earbuds comes with a capacitive touch panel that is used to carry out all the functions. The back of both the buds also has the logo of the brand and LED light in the shape of a bluetooth logo that indicates connectivity. The insides of the buds are home to the tips and the two gold connector pins that charge the buds when the earbuds are placed in their case. To keep them stable in your ears and to keep the ambient noise out, the buds also have a small wing that you twist and fit in your ears. The Airdopes generally fit snugly in our ears and did not fall out as often as some other buds do when we tested them during a workout.
The case of the Airdopes 211 which is both, the home and the charger to the earbuds is also a little ordinary looking. The thin, translucent plastic front holds the brand name. The front of the case has a small capsule shaped button which when pressed clicks open the case. The back of the case four small LED indicators that indicate the battery level of the case and right next to these lights is a micro USB port, that charges the case. Click open the case and you will find the Airdopes shaped holes in the case with two golden pins poking out of each. You just have to put each one in the right slot and they will magnetically get attached to the case and will start getting charged. The case itself is slightly bulky as compared to true wireless earbuds cases. You can carry them in your trousers’ pocket but they will definitely bulge out. The Airdopes are light and weigh about 11 grams each. The earbuds come with IPX64 rating which means they are dust and water resistant, which is extremely impressive, especially when you consider the price of the buds and how even some very expensive true wireless earphones lack water and dust resistant.
Connecting the Airdopes 211 with your device is not a tricky business. All you need to do is press lightly on the back of both the buds for 5-7 seconds until the bluetooth shaped LED starts blinking in red and blue colour alternatively. Once that happens, you need to bring your earbuds close to your device and search the name of the earbuds on your Bluetooth list. Select the earbuds from the list and voila! The connection is complete. That said, each bud has to be turned on separately in order to connect them to your device. Also, the connection between the buds and between the buds and the paired device often broke up for no apparent reason, after which we had to turn both the buds off and then start again, connect and use. Tedious.
Audio quality: A-
When it comes to audio quality, Boat has tried to add a bit of oomph to the buds but sadly the result is not great. The buds come with Bluetooth 4.1 and offer clear sound if you listen to music on about 70 percent volume. Once you go past that, the noise starts to creep in. The company has added a bit of bass to the experience which makes the output a little multidimensional and not as flat as we have heard on some even very expensive true wireless earbuds. However problems started popping up when we watched videos with the Airdopes 211 on as there was often a clear lag between the video and audio. The earbuds did not do all that great in the calls department as well. The receiver often could not hear us clearly.
Ease of use: B-
Ease of use has been a problematic area for most true wireless earbuds and it remains a tough nut to crack for the Airdopes as well. We appreciate how the company has tried to add capacitive touch to the buds instead of putting tiny buttons on them. But the surface of the buds often did not detect our touch and sometimes it even mistook our command and did something else instead. The buds would often turn off when we tried to stuff them in or fix their position in our ears, which was very annoying.
Each bud comes with 45 mAh battery that can easily last you for about 1.5 – 2 hours on a single charge which is very close to the company’s claim, which is 2.5 hours. The case of the Airdopes come with a 450 mAh battery that can charge the buds back for about three to four times before running our juice itself. You can charge the case via the micro USB port present on the case and because it is a small battery, it does not take a lot of time to get charged. That said, we were a little disappointed by the amount of battery on the buds, as they cannot even last for an entire movie on a single charge.
Price is one of the biggest USPs of the Boats Airdopes 211. The earbuds are priced at Rs. 2,499 which is one of the most budget friendly prices for the true wireless buds from a known brand.
Overall grade: A
We are giving the Boat Airdopes 211 an A simply because of the combination of price and the features that the earbuds bring along. At just Rs. 2,499, the buds come with IPX 64 rating and the audio quality on them is very decent. The Airdopes are a great option for anyone who is looking for a super budget friendly truly wireless earphones.