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Review: Mpow Flame 2018 Special Edition

Christmas brings with it plenty of “Limited” or “Special” edition products. Usually it’s just a colour scheme change, but Mpow have also included some nice upgrades (alongside the festive colouring) in their Christmas season Flame update!

Features

  • Built-in ear-hooks
  • Memory foam tips included in the box (THANK YOU!)
  • Bluetooth: v4.1
  • Range: 10m (33ft)
  • Water/Dust-proof rating: IPX7
  • Talk/Music Time: 7-9 hrs
  • Standby Time: 220 hrs
  • Charging Time: 1.5 hrs
  • Battery Capacity: 100mAh/3.7V
  • Charging Voltage: DC 5V

Audio Quality

Mpow Flame 2018 Limited Edition - Internals

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… the most important aspect of any pair of headphones is how they sound. They can be the most beautiful works of art, but if they sound atrocious there’s not much point in having them!

As the Mpow Flame 2018 Limited Edition (here-on-in referred to as the “Flame LE” as the product name is a mouthful!) are towards the more “budget end” of the spectrum, I’ll be completely honest – I wasn’t expecting decent audio quality. However, I was rather pleasantly surprised.

Note: When testing headphones, I use my standard “Audio Testing” playlist on Spotify.

Towards the top end of the volume range, things do start to distort a little with noticeable hissing between songs or when snares/hi hats were present. However in the mid-volume range, bass was pleasant, audio was clear and the overall listening experience is actually quite nice!

Coupled with the included memory foam tips, noise is isolated very well making the listening experience all that much better!

Moving on to phone calls, I experienced absolutely no issues with any calls coming in or going out. Using the multi-function button to answer or reject calls worked every time and whoever I was on the phone with never had any idea that I was talking to them through headphones! It’s worth me noting, usually, my wife complains that I sound like I’m in a fishbowl when I make calls to her using any pair of Bluetooth headphones – so hat’s off Mpow!

Battery Life & Charging

Mpow claim that the Flame LE will last 7 to 9 hours between charges. My experience so far has been at the lower end of that range. At about 75% volume, I’m seeing anywhere between 6.5 and 7 hours of mixed use (music and calls).

Pairing is quick and simple, thanks to Bluetooth v4.1 and an upgraded CSR chip which enables quicker connectivity, but most importantly lower powered connections!

The Flame LE’s spec list notes that it takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge (via MicroUSB) the unit and I’m happy to confirm that this is pretty much spot on! With only the slightest variance, I’ve timed 0 -> 100% charges completing anywhere between 1hr 20m and 1hr 35m! 👍🏼

Build Quality

The Flame LE’s are a bit chunkier than the earbuds I’m used to. They’re by no means the largest, but they are big. This is because the battery and multi-function buttons are all in the earbud as opposed to an inline power box.

The headphones are made of a solid feeling plastic and are a bright red colour. The headphones have a rubberised finish, resulting in a matte red colour and soft feeling.

The headphones are coated with a formulation that results in an IPX7 water-resistant rating. Mpow themselves market this as:

Mpow IPX7 Water-resistant Nano-coating efficiently protects sports headphones from sweat and ensure more guaranteed lifespan, perfect for running, jogging, hiking, yoga, exercises, gym, fitness, travelling and etc.

The headphones have integrated ear hooks, however they are unfortunately a fixed size. I, personally, am not a fan of ear hooks – but if they’re going to be built into the design they at least need to be resizable.

On the headphone that houses the multi-function button and charging port, there’s a small blue LED that flashes (every 10s or so) when the unit is charging or when the unit is turned on and connected to your paired device. This is great, however, it’s forward facing… so if you wear glasses, it’s possible that you’ll have this blue light reflect when it flashes (as it does for me) which can become annoying.

As noted above, on the right hand headphone there’s a:

  • Multi-function button (answer/reject calls, redial last called number, pause/play music, power on/off)
  • Volume up button
  • Volume down button
  • Charging/Connectivity indicator

Range

As the Flame LE’s are making use of Bluetooth v4.1, you’re limited to around 10m of line-of-sight range (with your paired device). This is fine in most scenarios, however a more realistic range (such as in an office or at home) is around 5m with a wall or two between the headphones and your paired device.

This is fairly standard when it comes to the more “budget” oriented headphones – hopefully during 2019 we’ll see Bluetooth v5.0 become the standard (it’s already trickling into the selection)!

Giveaway results

Mpow actually offered to sponsor a post on my site, however I asked them to hold a giveaway instead (it’s Christmas after all – it’s a giving time of year!). If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you will have been in with a chance of winning 1 of 5 pairs of Flame LE’s. Congratulations to the following 5 people!!!! The guys at Mpow will be. getting in touch with you shortly to arrange shipping! ☺️

Mpow & Will Stocks US and UK Flame 2018 Special Edition Giveaway Winners
Congrats guys!! 😆🎉

Summary

The Mpow Flame 2018 Limited Edition Bluetooth “wireless” headphones are undoubtedly a budget buy, coming in at around £25/$25. However, the audio quality is very pleasant at standard listening levels, the build quality is more than satisfactory and the battery life will definitely last you a few extended workouts!

I would have liked to have seen the ear hooks being adjustable (not necessarily removable, but tension resizable) as it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal!

I’d also like to see a future revision where the ear-pieces themselves are a little thinner and lighter, as the 80g (2.82oz) total weight is actually surprisingly noticeable… maybe it’s placebo due to the size/fit of the earpieces?

You might be out of luck finding the 2018 Limited Edition headphones now, as the production run only consisted of 3,000 units, however the standard Flame’s are similar in terms of build quality and performance.

Useful Links

Mpow’s website: https://www.xmpow.com/

Flame LE’s product page: https://www.xmpow.com/album/088dr.html

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JDVM8H8

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JDVM8H8

Disclaimer

Please note: Mpow sent me a pair of the Flame 2018 Special Edition 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.

I also worked with Mpow, where we ran a giveaway and put 5 pairs of the Flame 2018 Limited Edition’s up for grabs!

Will Stocks

As a career "IT person" and technology enthusiast, I've been around technology for over 8 years now. From enterprise-grade hardware to consumer equipment, IT Support to Systems Administrator - I'm passionate about all forms of tech, learning how it works, integrates and the scenarios in which different people would use them. I started willstocks.co.uk in 2017 and have also contributed to other websites around the Internet.

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