Bluetooth earbuds are available on a budget to help keep you moving during workouts.
I enjoy listening to music on my morning walks and runs, but I have a problem: Earpods don't stay in easily. I recently tried some gadgets to keep the Earpods in my ear, and they work great, but I was still getting tangled in cords. So I started shopping for Bluetooth earbuds. I'm on a tight budget, so the inexpensive Soundpeats Qy7 caught my eye. I picked them up on Amazon for $29.99 and have been running with them for a couple of weeks now. They sound great and can't be beaten for the price.
- $25.99 - Buy now
Soundpeats is a Shenzhen, China-based manufacturer of sports headphones, wearable electronics, and wireless speakers. It's a brand formed by the dubiously long-named Shenzhen SoundSOUL information technology Co., Ltd. I wasn't familiar with their products before ordering the Qy7.
The Qy7 arrives with a zippered hard case with webbing inside to keep the earbuds safe when you're not using them. Soundpeats also includes a variety of different apparatuses to help keep the earbuds securely in your ears. Three different sizes of earcup are included, to fit differently-sized ear canals, loops and hooks to help you find the right fit for your ear anatomy specifically.
The Qy7 supports Bluetooth 4.1 and also supports the aptX audio codec, which is not yet supported on iOS devices. AptX converts say that the codec provides better audio quality over Bluetooth. Regardless, the Qy7 paired effortlessly to both my iPhone 6 and my Apple Watch. I went out on runs with the Apple Watch alone, once I'd loaded a playlist on it.
Both earbuds are connected by a flat ribbon cable that rests behind the neck. The right earbud sports a multifunction button that powers up and down, pauses and plays; a volume toggle on the same earbud also doubles as a track forward and rewind button. The left earbud has a micro USB connector underneath a hideaway rubber stopper.
An LED shows you when the headset is being charged and when it's powered up. It's tough to see in direct sunlight, as it's underneath the same multi-function button you press to power up, power down, pause and play.
A pleasant female voice recording informs you when the headset is powered up and down, when it's connected to a Bluetooth source and when the battery is low. The Qy7 lasted for me for about six hours of active use before needing to be charged again. Soundpeats includes a micro-USB cable, which you can connect it to any USB power source. An open port on your computer will work, or the wall block you use to charge your iPhone or iPad, or whatever.
The sound quality of the Qy7 is excellent. There's plenty of bass, too — great for the driving dance music and hard rock I prefer to listen to when I work out. Bear in mind, however, that these are in-ear earbuds. If you don't like that feeling of "fullness" you get with an in-ear device, you probably won't like these.
There's a safety consideration too: If you're exercising in public, you probably don't want your ears completely blocked off to outside sounds: You want to be able to hear vehicles, dogs and other things that might be a threat. So use at your own discretion.
Soundpeats is generous with the accessories to customize the fit of the Qy7 to your ear specifically. Several different sizes of earloops and ear hooks are provided, along with different cup sizes, so you can almost certainly find a shape that's right for you.
The documentation included with the Qy7 has occasional anachronisms that read as poorly translated English, but it was clear enough. I was left to my own devices a bit to figure out how the ear loops and hooks worked, though, and how, exactly, the earbuds were supposed to fit in my ear. It had taken me a couple of days of workouts before I found a comfortable fit.
Soundpeats makes the Qy7 in a variety of different color combinations. I opted for the red and black model though I noticed Amazon had an even better deal on the black and green model.
The Qy7 is bulkier than some Bluetooth earbuds I've seen, but it's also a fraction of the price. You can spend hundreds of dollars on high-end earbuds, especially when you get into Bluetooth. So it's amazing that the Qy7 costs less than $30. I've been using the Qy7 for a couple of weeks, and it's held up well. Whether it'll hold up for the long-term is another question. But at the price I paid, I can afford to take a chance.
- $25.99 - Buy now
Have you tried the Qy7? Or is there another inexpensive Bluetooth earbud you prefer? Sound off in the comments. Want more accessories to help make your summer more fun? Check out our Summer Accessories roundup!