For the past several years, my iPhone has always had a Bluetooth headset right alongside it. I like having the option of hands-free communication and a good Bluetooth headset can provide that. I’ve had just about every style possible and lately, I’ve turned almost entirely to my Apple AirPods as my Bluetooth headsets of choice. They are a great all-in-one option for entertainment and communication alike. But, at $160 for a pair, they aren’t the most cost-effective option for a functional Bluetooth headset out there. My first few Bluetooth headsets were single-earpiece devices. So, when I started looking into budget-friendly headsets, that’s what I started with. One of the most inexpensive Bluetooth headset’s I found was through online retailer Banggood.com. They offer an ear hook style headphone from Joyroom for less than $15 that gets the job done.
The earphone is made out of plastic and so it is very lightweight (7.98g). Based on the information I’ve found through BangGood and Joyroom, this headset was designed to alleviate the pain that people feel when they wear earbud-style headphones for prolonged periods of time. The speaker of the headset ends up resting just outside the ear canal so that you can still hear what is being communicated, but it’s not causing any damage. It is supposed to provide noise-canceling technology that reduces (not blocks completely) the environmental noise. The P1 Earhook uses Bluetooth 4.1 for stable connection and high-speed transmissions. It comes in three different colors — black, red, and silver.
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Mode: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
- Distance: 10m
- Charge Voltage/Current: 5V/1A
- Talk Time: 5–6 hours
- Standby Time: ~120 hours
- Charge Time: 1–2 hours
The first thing I noticed when the headphone arrived was the extremely generic packaging it came in. You can see from the photos above that it was placed into a very simple single-ply cardboard box. In my opinion, this didn’t really do much for the device’s protection in shipping. Thankfully, it wasn’t damaged, but the point is still the same. I wasn’t too surprised about this sort of packaging since I’ve seen it before with budget-friendly items, but when I went to research the device on their parent company’s website, I found that they offer an alternate form of packaging for the earphone, which I have included below. I have to admit, that I would have loved to see this sort of box rather than the brown cardboard one that simply said “headphone”.
Set-up of the headphone is pretty simple. There is a single multi-function button (MFB) on the back side and a Micro USB port on the bottom for charging. When you press/hold the MFB for around 5 seconds, you will hear two prompts. The first is letting you know that the device is powered on and the second is the pairing notification. Once it’s in pairing mode, the device should appear in your Bluetooth menu. It showed up as “ET” in my list. My iPhone 7 connected to it right away. The instructions that are included with the headset gave some good pointers, but I did find one piece of information missing completely — language modes. I discovered right away that there were two different language modes — Chinese and English. When I started using the headphone it was providing me with the voice prompts in Chinese. I accidentally found out how to change it (press/hold the MFB for 1–2 seconds after it’s already on) and that’s how I discovered there were two language modes. The instructions don’t note anything about this.
The first test I ran was to simply listen to some streaming music through Pandora. I was happy to find that it worked just fine. Music sounded average but a little hollow. I believe this might be because the speaker is outside the ear canal, but I can’t be sure about that. The only thing that was really missing from the music listening experience was volume/track controls. Since the P1 Earhook only has the one MFB, I had to constantly go back and forth to the phone’s interface in order to control the music selections and volume. The sound quality for phone calls was much worse. I placed a test call to Skype’s Echo Recording system and found that I sounded very garbled. I thought that maybe that was due to the internet connection to Skype so I place a legitimate phone call to a person and they said while they could hear me that there were some dropouts and I sounded like I was on speakerphone. He said, “I’ve heard worse but you could sound better.” I also found it a little hard to hear the caller — and my volume was turned up to 100%. I have included a recording of a demo phone call below.
I did find that the P1 was comfortable to wear. Because it’s so lightweight and because it rests outside the ear canal, I didn’t have any problems wearing it for extended periods of time. I also found that it stayed in place remarkably well. I moved around a lot while I was wearing it and it didn’t fall off my ear or away from my ear canal so the sound was constant even if I moved.
One of the last tests I ran with the P1 Earhook was to test out its frequency range and balance. The balance check is something I usually only run on a set of headphones with two earpieces. But I decided to do it with the P1 to see if maybe the stereo output was off. As it turns out both the L & R channels of audio had a steady signal through the P1 and there were no issues hearing either channel’s tone as I played it. The frequency test was a bit more telling in my opinion. I can typically hear between 30–17000 Hz through my iPhone’s speaker without headphones. At 100% volume, I could only hear 80–16000 Hz using the P1. This means there are probably a lot of sounds that I’m not catching when I use the P1.
Even though I have been a bit critical of the P1 Earhook, I am impressed by what it can do considering it has a price tag of less than $15 USD. With that in mind, I feel that this is a really worthwhile investment for someone looking for a budget-friendly Bluetooth headphone option. As long as you aren’t expecting the same quality you would get from something that is higher priced, I think you will enjoy having this for hands-free use. If you need a few more controls, there are several options out there in the $40–50 range that offers high audio quality (input/output) and more controls. Even though it is a $15 headset, I would still like to see a bit better quality with the audio particularly with phone calls because that is its primary purpose.