There are a lot of headphones on the market to choose from and it can be pretty difficult to determine which one would fit your ears best. From large bulky solutions with lots of bass to compact in-ear solutions that store away in the smallest of pockets. The latter of the options become quite popular when it comes to working out and sports since they have a higher chance of staying in your ears vs in the dirt somewhere. This is where the EEL in-ear headphones by Leophile slide into the picture.
Marketed to exactly that, these headphones are designed to withstand heavy water torture while keeping a comfortable fit and staying around your neck throughout the experience. Since models like LG’s TONE series started really making waves in the industry, the wrap around the neck style ear-bud options became a hit and could be found all over the internet and in stores. Some even completely ripped off the design of some of these other headphones. Thankfully, brands like Leophile took their own approach to design.
The EEL headphones feature a soft rubber design that flexes easily so that they can fit around any size of neck. Compared to the stiffer bands out there, this lays comfortably without any tight grip sensations that can sometimes become distracting or even uncomfortable. They kind of disappear once you’ve been wearing them long enough. The band splits across the top so that the buds can wrap through them to control wire length with and controls are consolidated down to three simple buttons.
Among the three buttons (located on the left side), you have two outer buttons that function as track and volume control. The button in the middle acts as your multi-option, which includes turning them on and off, triggering Bluetooth pairs, pausing or playing the current track, or triggering your smart device’s voice command (ie, Siri, OK Google, etc). Next to the buttons you have your microphone hidden behind a small little hole. On the other end of the left side (same side of the headphones as the buttons), there is a small hatch that opens to reveal a micro-USB port for charging the headphones (cable included).
They do stay around the neck quite well. We thought the lessness of the material would cause it to slide of easier than some of the stiffer band options, but it maintained its position quite well. As mentioned, it is very comfortable, so it blends into your neck nicely. The wires can sometimes cause a little tickle to your lower cheeks, but this can be avoided by wrapping them through the split in the band one time, to shorten them up a bit. A single wrap seemed to do the job perfectly or us. There is also minimal to no wire noise from parts of the headphones moving around as you move yourself.
This whole wrap around your wrist for storing them as you go thing was a little hard to figure out. Sure, you could pull it off by wrapping them around and then running the buds through the band a few times, or using the little in-line clip to snap them together (which doesn’t seem to work as smoothly as we thought it would); but, we felt the process to be a little unnecessary (tedious even). Plus, the more you wrap, tug and pull on the wires, the more wear you are going to place on them anyway. We just felt this was odd marketing, but understand what they were trying to achieve.
The headphones come with an IP67 rating that helps keep them save from dirt, sweat and water exposure. They seem to do a great job at getting wet, but I wouldn’t submerge them too deep or for too long. You can splash them all day however, and they will keep taking the beating without a complaint.
You get around 8-10 hours of playback and talk-time which means the battery is on the better side of average and should get you through a typical day. If you find that isn’t long enough for you, it might mean your days are pretty uneventful, and you may try changing your lifestyle up a little (just a personal opinion).
The microphone works as it should. I wouldn’t say it’s the best in-call quality in the world, but we also couldn’t find anything to complain about. It works, so what else can you ask for?
Sound is the most important variable in the mix right? I would rate these around the average pair of wired earbuds you’d find on the shelf (maybe a little better even). By average though, I mean average 20 years ago and not average today. Today’s average starting point earbud solutions are a bit of a joke. All cheaply mass produced garbage just to make as much profit vs cost as they can. However, 20 years ago, paying $20-$25 for a pair of Sony (or equivalent) earbuds resulted in much better audio than you see in those today, and good bass response. The EEL headphones are similar to some of those, only wireless (and again, maybe a tad better).
The highs are crisp enough for most listeners, allowing vocals and certain instruments to be highlighted as you listen. The midrange is a little average though, as it feels a little muddy at points (and yet the mids sound pretty nice at other points). Your low end (bass) is there but we did have to swap out to the largest of the three sets of tips to really capture it. Keeping the medium set in resulted in an average response similar to the mids (not nearly as impressive). Once you do capture the bass, it’s great. It’s enough to enjoy what you are listening to, regardless of the activity you are focused on. However, these wouldn’t impress anyone who calls themselves a dedicated audiophile. Thankfully, they seems to (again) be marketing these towards sports and fitness. Something to listen to without having to worry about them getting wet or lost. In which case, they seem to pull that off nicely.
They come with three sets of tips (as mentioned): small, medium and large. The headphones have the medium set on by default and they are easy to pop on and off. There is the USB to micro-USB cable for charging them with and a small instruction booklet to get you started (these are easy enough to use that most users will probably skip reading it).
These are comfortable headphones and fit very well around the neck. Since the wires hang out permanently vs retract, this keeps moving parts down to nothing (keeping possible ways of damaging them to a low). They repel water and dirt perfectly so that you can enjoy them in the water without worrying too much and give you enough juice to get you through any day. The sound isn’t perfect, but it’s enough to enjoy what you are listening to as you are focused on something else (like swimming or lifting weights), and easy to rock out with. I am not saying they sound bad. They sound great, really–we just have high standards when it comes to comparing something to other products in the same price range. For these, it will come down to what style and function the user is looking for more than anything else.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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