I know it’s been a long summer with a lot of empty promises but I’m back with a new article on an interesting and pretty darn useful pair of foldable wireless headphones for under 30 dollars! The RIWBOX XBT- 90 Wireless headphones are very affordable portable wireless Bluetooth headphones with some pretty sophisticated features for a bargain price. Let’s take a deeper look, and a listen!
Small Box Big Package
Inside the retail box you will find the RIWBOX XBT-90 foldable headphones along with some useful accessories including a nice vinyl carry pouch, a 1 foot long micro USB charging cable, a 4 foot long cloth-covered Aux cable which includes a microphone separate from the built-in microphone on the headphones and a MFB(multifunction button) for the times your battery is dead and you wish to continue the fun times. As I’ve cautioned in the past: when using an Aux cable on Wireless headphones, the onboard controls no longer regulate volume so use all due caution as volume levels and distortion tend to increase using external amplification devices. The box also contains the ubiquitous instruction manual and the warranty card. Unlike other wireless headphones or earbuds which I’ve reviewed over the last several years, the controls for the RIWBOX XBT-90 are on the left earpiece instead of the right side. There are 3 buttons that perform various functions including Volume +/-, Track Next/previous, Power on/off, and of course play/pause. The Left earpiece is where you will find the 3.5mm Aux Jack, the micro USB charging port, and the microphone intended for phone use. Three is also a tiny LED that indicates power on, Bluetooth status or charging status. Unlike most headphones in this price range, the RIWBOX XBT-90 wireless headphones have a MicroSD slot(TF) with which you can directly access music files of your choice without being connected to anything else. I connected the XBT-90 headphones to various test devices including but not limited to various iOS or Android devices, and my Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8. These RIWBOX headphones use a voice prompt in your ears to alert to power on, power off, pairing and paired mode, or TF mode. Unlike some devices I’ve checked out; in this case, it’s a pleasant contralto voice, I just can’t tell if she’s saying “Welcome to RIWBOX headphones” or “Welcome to Rip Off Headphones”. Let’s go deeper.
As I mentioned earlier: all of the RIWBOX XBT-90 headphone controls, ports, and TF slot are located on the left earpiece. From top to bottom the button functions are Volume +/Next Track, MFB which does power on/off and play/pause, and the last button of the 3 controls Volume -/previous track. A short press is all that’s needed to raise/reduce volume, longer presses will advance tracks or move to previous tracks. The MFB uses short button press to play/pause and the long press will power the XBT-90 headphones on or off. A quick double click on the MFB will transition between TF mode or Bluetooth 5.0 mode. When connecting to your various BT devices the XBT-90 headphones will show a green/blue flashing LED. Next look for XBT-90 on your pairing list then connect. You will hear a voice prompt and the LED will indicate a connection with a steady blue color. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not specified a compatible TF card size, and the TF input is limited to MP3 files only. I’ve used a 16GB card without a problem and my guess is up to 32 GB cards but that’s strictly a guess. With TF cards the buttons operate as usual with volume, play/pause, and track advancement. You cannot advance through folders except track by track. I haven’t noticed any substantive difference when listening to the same tracks whether on TF card, or BT mode. They take about 2 hours to charge and playtime is around 15-18 hours as claimed and tested. They can be on standby for up to 180 hours on a full charge but who wears headphones on pause that long? We tested the Black gold pair but they also come in White gold, White Rose, or even White Purple to help set up your style needs. So let’s talk about what’s really important: Do they sound good?
Do they sound good?
The RIWBOX XBT-90 wireless foldable headphones as tested contain a 40 mm full-range driver. They have an obvious low-end presence which I found very comfortable and pleasing whether listening to the Blues, Pop, Rock, or Classical Music. These headphones are comfortable for long periods of time but the manufacturer recommends removing them from your head every 3 hours for comfort. That’s about all I could stand but that’s a lifestyle choice IMO. The controls function as intended, and are easy to operate once you get used to using your left hand to adjust volume or track instead of the ubiquitous right side as has been practiced in the industry for years. They are very low-end heavy but in a good way while still meeting most of my “full range” needs. I had no major complaints about the audio performance: They don’t really scream in the high end, but there’s adequate coverage of the audible range of human hearing. I noticed that although they get loud enough while playing Mp3s from the TF slot, or streaming music from various BT devices, these headphones will not harm your ears under normal operation. When using the included 3.5mm cable installed the XBT-90 will shut down power and go to passive mode. When utilizing the RIWBOX XBT-90 headphones for phone conversation the buttons change a bit: MFB now will reject or answer incoming calls while automatically pausing the music. Here’s the issue: when utilizing the BT mode for phone calls, the incoming audio signal is clear and concise and in both ears, but everyone I’ve spoken with has said the built-in microphone sounds like I’m in a cave, or my voice was distorted. I actually turned down the volume in the headphones and the reports claimed the sound was “Better.” When using the included 3.5mm cable the reports were “great sounding” and “way better than your cell phone.”
Unlike many many wireless headphones I’ve tested over several years the RIWBOX XBT-90 Wireless Folding Headphones placed the control panel and all input ports and indicator LED on the left earpiece. It takes a bit of time to really wrap one’s mind around that change even if you are left-handed like me. They are fully bass enhanced from my testing but in a pleasing and comfortable manner. The price is great for the bells and whistles and the charging, playtime, and standby time all seem to be in line with the details in the instruction manual. The phone calling utility was less than expected but they are pretty inexpensive for some actually decent sounding, easy to operate wireless headphones. I especially liked the TF card feature, but once again, they came up short by limiting the files to Mp3s. With the included BT 5.0 they easily go anywhere in our 4000 sq ft facility. 8 out of 10 for trying really hard. I’m looking forward to more gear from RIWBOX in the future to see how they improve!!
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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