Wireless earbuds are the talk of the century after Apple’s announcement of their AirPods. The market is growing as more Kickstarters popup with the goal of developing the greatest wireless earbuds. Apple’s AirPods are priced at $159, which is competitively priced when compared to Bragi Headphones or Here One. However, the $159 price is still relatively expensive for headphones. At least, more than most folks are used to paying. There is a cheaper option; the Rowkin Bit earbuds are some of the smallest ones and priced at a moderate $109 they undercut Apple’s option by $50.
Wireless earbuds have been plagued with problems from connection issues to limited battery life, and high prices. While Rowkin addresses the issues of price, they still have a lot of hurdles to jump with other problems.
In this review, we’re going to see if buying the $109 Rowkin Bit is worth the pain points to get truly wireless earbuds.
Setting up Bluetooth headsets aren’t always the easiest thing to do. The Rowkin Bit, however, was a smooth and straightforward experience. After a little fiddling, and not reading the instructions I found pressing and holding the button on each earbud sends them into pairing mode. They then connect to each other, and then you’re able to connect the two devices (one Bluetooth device) to your phone.
It was one of the easier setups I have encountered and made using the device easy.
Style and Comfort
The headphones are bullet style earbuds without the extra wires, of course. When they’re in your ears, they feel great, and with the noise reduction, everything sounds amazing no matter what’s going on around you. They also stay in your ear as you run, go shopping, or do just about anything.
They’re one of the better fitting options, and they’re able to stay in your ear, unlike Apple’s AirPods.
The big issue with wireless earbuds, across the market, is connectivity; when you have a small receiver, it’s hard to stop interference from affecting music playback. Anything from a cereal box placed just right to placing your hand over your ear can affect the connection. The Rowkin Bit isn’t immune to this problem either, and frankly is one of the biggest problems for the earbuds.
I tested the Bit while working out, shopping at the grocery store, and around my house. Workouts were one of the best times to use the Bit because your phone is in your pocket and there’s not a lot of interference that can happen. I rarely experienced dropouts while walking or running around, making for a seamless experience, while the grocery store was a less pleasant experience. When I would kneel down, move close to the shelves, or place a box in front of my body, the earbuds would drop out. At times one would stop playing music and sometimes both would stop playing music. The problem could have been my phone in my pocket was too far away from the earbuds, but besides holding the phone up to my head, there wasn’t much I could do. At home, the same problem of connection dropouts would happen. A lot of that dealt with keeping my phone in my pocket and placing my laptop on my lap or sitting down at a desk and having my phone still in my pocket.
All-in-all, the Rowkin Bit may have had little dropouts that were annoying and an inconvenience, but the earbuds maintained the Bluetooth connection to the phone. I never had to stop what I was doing and reconnect the earbuds to the phone or start playing my music again.
The Rowkin Bit comes with a charging case that’ll provide two solid charges that give you a combined listening time of 4 hours of music. The two hours of music playback is limiting, but I frequently managed to squeak out 3 hours of music listening most days. I would regularly use the Bit earbuds for a run or some work where I didn’t want any wires on me and then would switch to wired headphones for listening during a commute or longer period of music listening.
My excitement for wireless earbuds is still there, but I understand the space has a lot of growth and work to do. Interference from the outside world causes music to stop playing briefly but still caused an annoyance when it was constantly happening. As I said, beyond holding the earbuds closer to the phone there isn’t much you can do to prevent dropout. The limiting battery life, even with the case, is another major downside. For many, 2 hours of music playback isn’t enough. However, if you’re using the earbuds as a way to supplement regularly wired (3.5mm or lightning connected) headphones, then the Bit may be a great product. It’s perfect for when you want to go for a run, and not have to worry about wires. You will have to remember to charge it. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with two bullet earbuds that don’t do anything.
So are the Rowkin Bit earbuds worth it? Well yes. If you’re okay with a few hiccups here and there, the product is one of the best wireless earbuds yet. While Apple’s AirPods supposedly fix the connection issue, they’ll likely be plagued with the same problems as Rowkin has encountered. While I’m not using the earbuds for all my music listening, I do carry them around with me constantly; in case I need to use headphones and don’t want a wire getting in my way.
Tell us what you think about the Rowkin Bit in the comments below, and tell us if you’re going to pick up a pair for yourself.