3SIXT Bluetooth Studio Earbuds
Great value, comfortable, good sound
Fiddly charging, ineffective noise cancellation, fall out during some activity
With the advent of the iPhone 7, wireless headphones have taken up a new level of importance in the Apple universe. Many people are questioning whether investing in a wired headset, replete with Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector, is the best option or whether Bluetooth headphones are a more flexible alternative.
3SIXT (three-sixty in case you missed the reference) makes some great Apple accessories such as cases and headphones. Their Bluetooth Studio Earbuds have an interesting design and deliver good sound. They connect via Bluetooth 4.1.
Initial setup was straightforward – Bluetooth has certainly come a long way. Pairing is initiated the first time the Studio Earbuds are activated or by holding the central button on the inline controller for a few seconds.
The two earpieces are magnetic and stick to each other. When separated, the headphones turn on automatically; reconnect them and they power off. When they’re not used for three minutes they automatically go into stand-by mode. Battery life is rated at several hours and charges via a micro-USB cable.
If you enable the Batteries widget on your iPhone, the Studio Earbuds will report their battery level so you can keep track of when you need to recharge.
The charging port is hidden under a rubber cover and a small door, which were troublesome and I had to pry them open. It’s a small annoyance but one that got on my nerves a little.
The two buds are joined by a thin cable that has an inline controller for play/pause control, volume up and down, and answering calls through the integrated microphone.
The Studio Earbuds weigh just 16 grams and come with five sets of rubber tips of varying sizes, in order to fit various ear canals. These, along with the USB charging cable, fit in a small solid pouch used for carrying the earbuds when they are not required.
I paired the Studio Earbuds with two devices: my iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2.
Sound quality was pretty good but I did find they lacked solid bass response. One of the playlists I loaded to my Apple Watch was some workout music. This is mainly rock music and I found it sounded a little too thin for my liking.
In contrast, the same music through the iPhone 7 Plus was far more to my liking, suggesting that Apple needs to do some work on music output from the Apple Watch.
3SIXT claims the Bluetooth Studio Earbuds use “CVC6.0 noise-cancellation technology”. This is a suite of algorithms for acoustic echo cancellation and noise suppression. I did not find the noise cancellation to be particularly effective. For example, I could hear my fingers tapping on the keyboard while working and wearing the headphones. Low pitched ambient sounds were also audible unless I bumped the volume up.
One of the main uses of wireless headphones is for exercising. I found it very hard to get the Studio Earbuds to stay in place when moving around. It only took a few seconds of running in place or a couple of Jumping Jacks for the buds to fall out. Although they aren’t touted as being specifically designed for use during exercise this is something worth considering.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice: At under $80, the 3SIXT Bluetooth Studio Earbuds represent great value. They are easy to use, offer great sound quality – assuming your output device pumps out the sound at a reasonable level – and are comfortable.