With the 3.5mm headphone jack slowly fading into history, wireless headphones are becoming a standard item in our kit bags. And while there are lots of completely wireless options, like the Apple AirPods or Sennheiser Momentum True Wirless Earbuds, I'm not especially good at not losing stuff.
That's why having the left and right sides of earbuds tethered appeals - two buds, connected by a cable, are a little harder to lose. The Audiofly AF56W headphones are now in their second iteration. I've been listening to my tunes and podcasts through them for a week or so. Here's how they fared.
Australia-based Audiofly ships the AF56W with four different sets of silicon ear-pieces so you can find the best fit for your ear canals. The default, medium sized set worked all for me. They sat comfortably in my ear and didn't shake loose while I was walking, jogging or working out in the gym. One of my main use-cases for wireless headphones is for when I take my new puppy for a walk or run and I haven't had any trouble with them falling out.
I'm in the process of trying to reduce my dependence on my smartphone so I paired the headphones to my Apple Watch. One of the things Apple has improved with the Series 4 Apple Watch over its predecessor is sound quality over Bluetooth. While it's still not quite as good as an iPhone, the Apple Watch is decent playback device and its 16GB of storage is enough to stash a few albums and podcasts.
Paired with the AF56W, I was happy with the audio quality, listening to a variety of different musical genres and several podcast episodes. And while they don't have active noise cancellation, they fit snugly in my ear and blocked out most of the ambient noise. For example, I have a fish tank in my office and the sound of the filter was almost totally removed. It wasn't quite as good at the wired Bose QC 20 buds I use most of the time but it was good enough.
|Driver type||13mm dynamic driver with Neodymium magnet|
|Sensitivity||94dB at 1kHz|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth v4.1 with aptX|
|Battery||8 hours playback, 90 minutes to charge|
The inline controller is easy to use and doubles up with a microphone for taking and making calls. The back of the controller has a pair of small electrical contacts that are used by the magnetic charger, The charger connects to a micro-USB cable for charging.
All those specs add up to a pretty decent listening experience. My only gripe is with battery life. Audiofly rates it at just eight hours of music playback which is fine for commuting to and from work for a few days but won't satisfy travellers looking to avoid charging on longer flights. But, in my case, I use a set of wired headphones with longer battery life and reserve the AF56Ws for less arduous use.
The Audiofly AF56W Headphones retail for $139.95. That's at the pricier end of the market for headphones without active noise cancellation. But given I've had trouble finding wireless headphones that stay in, this isn't too bad a price and far cheaper than losing a pair and having to replace them.