I know what you’re thinking: “Great 😕 … another pair of in-ear headphones”. Fear not, the EP-B40 by AUKEY are not just another average, budget friendly pair of “wireless” in-ear’s – no no. These earbuds have a few tricks in their wires to make them stand out from the crowd.
- 8mm drivers
- Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX, A2DP, AVRCP, HSP or HFP
- CVC 6.0 noise cancelling dual microphones
- 3 built-in EQ presets
- Magnetic earbuds for safe around the neck storage
- 8 hours of music playback or 240 hours of standby time on a single
- 1.5 hour full charge time
- IPX4 certified (aka “sweat resistant”)
- Lightweight (13g / 0.46oz)
- 24 month warranty
As with most headphones at this price, design and build quality aren’t typically amongst the stand out features. Whilst AUKEY have done a relatively good job in terms of build quality with the EP-B40, the styling, however, remains simple and indistinguishable from all other headphones in this style/price bracket.
These headphones are the “wireless” type (note the quotes), as each earbud is tied together by a cable. Fortunately, this cable feels like it’s built to withstand some wear-and-tear, as this thing is rather chunky and has a matte black, rubberised finish. Thus far, I’ve not managed to get these headphones tangled into an untie-able bundle – every time I take them out of my pocket or bag, they’re exactly as I put them in.
Pairing the EP-B40’s with your phone/Bluetooth enabled device is an incredibly simple task. If it’s your first time setting them up, just hold the multi-function button until the device turns on. As it’s the first time pairing, the LED will be flashing red and blue. At this point, pull out your phone, head into your Bluetooth settings and tap on the displayed “AUKEY EP-B40” under the devices available for pairing – et voila! 🙂 Re-pairing with another device is just as simple – hold multi-function button down for around 5 seconds, until the LED flashes red/blue and repeat the rest of the pairing process
Now your phone is paired, you can hit play on your favourite playlist and then roam anywhere up to 33ft/10m away, provided you still have line of sight to your phone. If there are obstacles (such as walls, machinery/electronic equipment etc) between you and your phone, expect that distance to shorten rather significantly. In my house, I managed to get around 4m with two plasterboard walls between me and my phone before the audio started dropping.
Once paired up, the first thing that crosses my mind is: I wonder how long these are going to last. Well, according to the EP-B40’s spec sheet, you can expect to get around 8 hours of music playback time and 240 hours of standby time out of a single charge.
In reality, I typically get around 9 hours of mixed use (music and phone calls), with the volume set anywhere between 50% and 75%. Whilst this may not seem like a lengthy amount of time, bear in mind that these headphones are incredibly compact, yet still somehow cram 2 x 60mAh batteries in.
In terms of recharge time, you’re looking at between 1h15m to 1h30m for a full 0% -> 100% charge (dependent on your charger), which isn’t too bad in my book. During my three weeks of regular, daily usage – I think the fastest I’ve personally seen my pair of EP-B40’s charge is around 1h20m, whilst attached to one of the QuickCharge ports on AUKEY’s 10 port charger.
The first time I used the EP-B40’s, I was horrified at the tinny, flat, lifeless sound being pumped out of each earbud. Personally, I thought they sounded absolutely awful, but couldn’t believe this was correct and immediately grabbed the manual from the box.
It was at this point, that I realised there were 3 x built-in EQ presets, which includes:
- Vocal Mode – This mode is designed to boost vocals in your music, but the bass takes a massive dive. Otherwise, the overall sound is incredibly flat and tinny.
- Treble Mode – Does what it says on the tin: treble levels are boosted and a little of the bass is returned to your ear, whilst vocals sound much better and the overall sound is significantly less “tinny”. This mode is a minor improvement over the Vocal Mode, but not by a huge amount.
- Bass Mode – Again, does what it says on the tin: Bass levels are boosted rather significantly, but not so much to over power everything else. Vocals are still clear, but you do lose a little clarity/detail when compared to the treble mode.
I find myself switching between the Treble Mode and Bass Mode, dependent on the music I’m listening to and whether I’m on the phone, although you have to make sure you’re in your preferred mode ahead of a phone call, as trying to change modes during the call will result in you hanging up.
In terms of sound leak, which is always a concern for me with earbuds, I found the EP-B40’s to have minimal leakage even when the volume is cranked high. This is likely due to the fairly decent noise isolation, thanks to the snugly fitted ear tips and ear hooks. Again, for optimum fit, comfort and noise isolation I’d personally look at switching the tips out for some nice Comply Memory Foam tips (T-500/TX-500 are fully compatible).
Honestly, for a £20 to £25 pair of earbuds, the sound quality is far better than I was expecting. Granted, the initial shock of flat, tinny audio wasn’t ideal, however once you pick your preferred EQ preset, these headphones can definitely provide a pleasant listening experience no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Having worked out the EQ settings and used the EP-B40’s for a few weeks now, I can safely say that as a budget pair of in-ear headphones – these things are pretty darn good. Remember though, these are a budget pair of headphones. Currently, you can get them on Amazon for around £25/$25 (live pricing: $24.99), which is great value for money.
I’ve reviewed some similarly styled/budgeted in-ears before (SoundPEATS Q30, TaoTronics) and in comparison I much prefer the sound signature of these headphones. For gym use, non-audiophile listening or a basic, backup pair of on-the-go “wireless” earbuds, I have absolutely no problem recommending these headphones.
The listening experience is pleasant (once in the correct mode), the fit is comfortable and the headphones are incredibly light weight. Battery life is longer than expected, and should last you a full working day/a good few gym sessions and ultimately: the price is very wallet friendly. The EP-B40’s have now made their way into my bag as my backup pair of headphones or for when I go to the gym.
AUKEY’s website: https://www.aukey.com/
Please note: AUKEY sent me a pair of the EP-B40’s in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This review is 100% honest and the fact that the product was sent to me has not influenced or swayed any of my opinions or findings.
I have worked with many companies previously (both large and small) and the first thing I mention to any company requesting a review is that anything I find will be noted in my review, whether it be positive and negative.