Music is more widely accessible than ever these days. For starters, most of y’all have a smartphone with a ton of tunes loaded onto it. Riding with music is also popular, although can be a little dodgy if you can’t hear what’s going on around you, and can be particularly dangerous if you’re dealing with cars, trucks and fast traffic. However, if you’re just doing threshold efforts on your smart trainer then who cares? The main issue with most headphones out there, is that they aren’t made for sport or riding, and don’t consider things like sweat, fitting to adapt to movement and, of course, external sound. Kiwi-based Earshots aims to solve these issues and more. Their second-generation product landed on my doorstep a few weeks back, and since then they’ve been put to the test.
Firstly, because first impressions matter, they come in a nice recycled cardboard package with simple detail. Unboxing reveals a solid looking black case which contains the earphones themselves and a cable – with the case also doubling as the charging dock. Super sleek – it gets my approval! The earphones themselves are designed with a Shocklock feature, which basically secures the earphones in place by way of small magnets. I’ve gotta be honest: on the first few attempts it was a little hard to get them in place but, after a few goes, the fitting became much easier. Once on, they do fit well and don’t move about when riding, running or just walking the streets with the pooch. Because they loop behind the ear, they do need some negotiating with the sunglasses arm if you’re wearing sunnies, but both can fit quite comfortably. I found the best way of wearing both at the same time, was to wear the sunglasses arm on the ear and the Earshots around the sunglasses arm. After wearing them for long stints on the bike they didn’t cause my any issue which says a lot.
Pairing with my device was seamless and simple and within no time at all I had my favourite smart trainer tunes blasting into my eardrums. The sound quality is superb even with the hardest drum and bass playing through them. While we’re on the topic of sound, I’m no sound aficionado but I know quality sound when I hear it, and the Earshots have been high quality for my rides and indoor workouts. Also, they allow for ambient sound to come through which is imperative when riding anywhere, frankly, but especially when riding on our roads. They also allow me to hear my wife when I’m mincing around the house listening to a podcast. I have used quite a few varieties of headphones in the past, especially when on the smart trainer, and their sound quality has varied greatly. Some of them totally block out external sounds, which is all good if you’re sitting still but no good if you are out and about riding. What’s more, most have been flogged by the sweat. On the flip side, the Earshots have stood up to the sweat, to date, because they have been designed for sport and, more importantly, riding.
All functionality comes down to two buttons on the base of the earphones. They automatically turn on when you get them from their case. They can be turned on/off, and take a call, by the press of a button on the base. I do like the fact you can have one on and one off – this is great when doing efforts on the trainer with my television playing the cycling, and the Earshots blasting music in my ear. I think that’s what they call ‘multi-tasking’. I would like the volume to be controlled from the earphone, as it’s only controlled from the device that you’re playing music from. This isn’t a major, but it is slightly annoying when riding and you want your favourite jam turned up but you need to rustle through your pockets to turn up the volume.
Lastly, the battery life is ten hours for these, which is a heck of a lot, and you can easily tell where you’re at with the battery level indicator on the rear of the case. What’s even better is that when you’ve forgotten (this is me) to charge them and need to go riding, you can plug them in for fifteen minutes and you’ll get three hours play time! These are by far the best purpose-made-for-riding earphones I’ve ever used. They’re robust, comfortable and do their job incredibly well. These have become a great companion lately, as often I’m riding alone these days when not in the backcountry exploring and documenting rides for this here magazine.
Distributed by Earshots
Reviewed by Liam Friary