I was walking home pumping Ke$ha on full blast when the wind picked up and one of my earbuds dislodged and flew out of my ear. It landed in a nearby patch of grass, and in my scramble to recover it, I also stepped on it, sinking it deep into the dirt.
BlueAnt Wireless Pump Air 2's are small and mobile, yes, but are they really worth the risk of losing them to the North winds?
Bang and Olufsen has long marketed itself as a prestige brand, calling out its own quality of sound and performance. In that regard, the Beoplay E6 Motion earphones lives up to the name and reputation. The wireless earbuds feature crisp, orchestral sound quality with deep bass, easy connectivity and sleek controls. It's just a shame that they're joined by the world's most annoying cord.
So, what are they?
The Pump Air 2s are the latest wireless bluetooth earbuds from BlueAnt Wireless and come in three colours - plain black, black and rose gold and white.
They're also the world's smallest wireless microbuds. Coming in at $149, they're on the lower end of the wireless earbud market but they still have a lot going for them. It's wild to think that one of their nearest competitors are the Skullcandy Indy earbuds. Despite being priced higher at $180, sound far more tinny, and feel a heck of a lot cheaper. There's also competition from the JBL Tune120s at the same price tier, although I can't speak to their quality. It's a solid rung to be occupying, mainly because there just isn't much competition around the $150 mark. It gives the Pump Air 2s some room to breathe in the market, and it elevates their appeal greatly.
What's good about them?
The BlueAnt Pump Air 2s are absolutely tiny - they're about as small as my thumb. And for that reason they're easy and light to carry around. They are contained in a big boy case, though, so you're not about to lose them easily. Because they're so small, they also fit fairly snugly and hide out of sight in your ear hole. If you're particularly fashion forward, I'm sure this will be a boon.
When not in use, the Pump Air 2s snap neatly into their case and off you go. Simple.
I was using the Pump Air 2s for about a week and a half before they needed a charge. This was mostlybecause I was only using them for one or two hour stretches each day, but the good news is that they retained their charge that entire time.
Each bud is supposed to get 4 hours of playback from a charge, and the case carries an additional 12. Based on my experiences, this is about accurate. 4 hours of continuous bud use might be a little bit lower than the average — my previous pair, the Jaybird Vistas lasted only 6 hours despite being double the price.
How the 4 hour battery life impacts you will depend on the mode of your use. For the average citizen, this will probably be enough. However, if you're looking for something you can flog for longer stints regularly you'll probably want something with a bit more juice.
At $149, the BlueAnt Pump Air 2s are very affordable for wireless earbuds. And despite sitting on the lower end of the price tier, they don't sacrifice much.
What's not so good about them?
At the $149 price point, the Pump Air 2s were never going to sound like a Mozart concerto. They're just 'fine'. So, if you're looking at pumping your favourite tunes in crisp HD, expect something a little bit more crackly. If you're used to sound quality in the upper ranges of the $200 mark, the sound flaws with the Pump Air 2s are going to be more obvious.
At higher volumes, they struggle to produce smooth, ear-pleasing sounds, and they often dip towards the tinny, fuzzy side of music. Overall, they do an okay job, but if sound quality is your deciding factor, you'll want to look elsewhere.
I am not ashamed to admit that my ears are very good at wax production. It's an important skill, and one that I'm sure has helped me to ward off ear infections all my life. But there is one minor problem with being a veritable earwax factory, and that is that all my in-ear headphones are at the mercy of my unholy ear discharge.
I make sure to clean my ear buds after every use, but when I'm sitting on the bus and have no other options for cleaning or disposal, the first place my buds are going to go is back in the case. Unfortunately, the strange design of the BlueAnt Pump Air 2's meant that all of that spare wax ended up shoved down a hole that was awkward to clean out. It got messy pretty quickly and I'm sure it's a problem that I don't face alone. That, coupled with the fact that the case is a little bit on the chunky side, makes me question the design choices here.
As mentioned earlier, they literally flew out of my ear in the wind because they're so small and light. They also wobbled dangerously even during a brisk walk. If you're looking at being active at all with these earbuds, you'll need to keep an ear out (yes, literally) for any oncoming bud-related disasters. They feel light enough that when you do lose them, it's not immediately obvious, and that's concerning.
The earbuds do come with a variety of different sized buds if you've got big ears or small, but even swapping to a slightly larger pair didn't help the Pump Air 2s feel secure.
Should you buy them?
The BlueAnt Pump Air 2s are solid little earbuds. Very little, in fact. The sound quality, difficulty staying in place and weird case leaves a lot to be desired. But for the price, they're an alright option. If you're looking for an entry level set of wireless earbuds and don't mind sacrificing the quality of your tunes, the BlueAnt Pump Air 2s are basic, but worth having a look at.