SMARTOMI Q5 REVIEW Lightweight and Affordable Wireless Bluetooth EarbudsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest
I have a confession; I am a Christmas fanatic. Since I was a young child, I have been mesmerized by the lights, the decorations, the tinsel, the trees, shopping, the hustle bustle and the overall spirit of Christmas. If I had to pick one aspect of the holiday that stood out to me, it would be the holiday music. Even though it seems like there are only a handful of songs, redone by everyone, I still absolutely love the Holiday tunes. Unfortunately, others may not share the same sentiment and that is where modern technology helps. Whether you use over-ear, on-ear or in-ear style headphones, you can enjoy your music, your way, without bothering others. Smartomi has provided a wonderful option with the Smartomi Q5 Wireless Bluetooth earphones. Consider this set of earphones when shopping for stocking stuffers for the on-the-go family member this holiday season.
The Smartomi Q5 Wireless earphones arrived in a 5 3/8 inches tall by 5 inches wide by 1 6/8 inches tall white box. Along the cover, you will find the black SMARTOMI logo brilliantly contrasting the white background. To the left of the logo, you will find a lime green S-shaped icon, reminiscent of the “Stussy S,” that angular S that we all drew in school. Below this, also in lime green, you will find an ink drawing of the wireless headphones. Along the right side of the package, Smartomi included six icons detailing the features of the device: true wireless, two use modes, stereo, Bluetooth 4.1, ergonomic and compact. The remaining sides/back are essentially left white, which makes the product packaging feel incredibly clean.
Removing the lid from the box, you will find the wireless earphones resting atop a black plastic cutout. To access the accessories, lift the thin plastic container away. Smartomi provides a 4 inches wide by 5 1/4 inches tall grey felt drawstring bag, a very short 8 3/4 inches USB-A to dual USB-micro connectors, a multi-lingual instruction manual and a set of small/large ear flanges with ear hooks. Each of the earphones weighs 0.2 ounces and measures 1 7/16 inches long by 15/16 inches wide by 5/8 inches thick. The visible (external) rectangular earphone is roughly the size of the tip of a finger. The top contains the USB-micro charging port and the bottom has a flashing blue LED and either an “L” or an “R.” The front face has the multi-function button, and a small red LED along the bottom.
Before using the earphones, make sure that you charge them fully. Out of the box, this took roughly 45 minutes. The device has a rechargeable, non-removable LiPo battery. To charge the headphones, plug the included USB-micro cable into each of the earphones and notice the red LED on the face will illuminate solidly. Once fully charged, the light will turn blue (~90–100 minutes when fully depleted). The earphones arrived with the medium tip/hook installed. If these do not fit your ear/concha, you can exchange the single-piece ear tip/hook for the included small or large pair. Older versions of this kit did not come with the extra pieces and this is clearly an upgrade. It is important to note that this style of earphones was not designed to be an in-ear system. Rather, the earphones rest just at the opening of the ear canal. They do not provide much noise cancellation but will allow you to enjoy the sounds with the benefit of hearing ambient noises as well. They also tend to have less bass than the in-ear models, which create a tighter seal with your ear canal.
The carry pouch feels like an unnecessary addition in my opinion. The thin felt provides very little protection to the earphones, and I would worry about placing them into a pocket or bag as there is no protective shell. The bag will conveniently house the USB charging cable when many of the shell style cases cannot. These earphones also require charging via USB cable, and there is no included battery case. It is true that a broken charging case means a broken set of earphones. So, this fact may be either a benefit or a negative for some people. Despite the lack of utility for the little travel pouch, it was well stitched and overall well made. My personal opinion is that it provides very little protection to the earphones.
The devices can be paired in stereo (~2–3 hours of use) or can be used individually (2–3 hours each). To start, simultaneously long press the two earphones and you will notice an alternating bluish/red LED. When in pairing mode, navigate to settings on your device, Bluetooth and then select “SMARTOMI Q5.” You will hear a female voice alert you to “power on,” “Pairing successful,” “Connected,” “left channel,” “right channel.” Setup was very straightforward and did not require the manual. I utilized my iPhone X and iPad Air 2 to test the headphones, but the steps on an Android device should be the same. Once the devices have paired, you should not have to repeat these steps, unless you desire to use the earphones on another/separate device. Every time you turn the earphones on, they should automatically pair with the last powered device (assuming you have activated Bluetooth on your smart device). Functionally, the earphones are quite easy to learn. Press either of the function buttons to start/stop a song or answer/hang up a call. To reject a call, you can press the button until you hear “call rejected.” You can mute the sound during a call by double tapping the left function button. To power off the earphone hold the function button of one of the devices for about 4–5 seconds, and the other will turn off as well. The functions are reasonable, but I was a little taken aback that there was no button to control the volume/track from the device.
Earphone Fit/Sound Quality:
I found the medium tips to be the most comfortable and to provide the best fit for my ears. Initially, I did not like the shape/appearance of the headsets as it reminded me of the early 2000’s phone earbud fad. You likely remember seeing everyone walking around with an earbud in the ear having apparent conversations with themselves. Who has not checked to see what they were talking about only to have the person look stupidly at you and point at their own ear? The comfort was much better than I expected, providing very little fatigue. You can rotate the earphone into a vertical or horizontal (my preferred) position. Once in place, I decided to test the secure fit of the earphones. I went on a 1/2 mile road run and I did not even feel that the earphones were present. I was able to hear ambient sounds, which is a must for safety, and the earphones remained securely in place. No matter what land activity I attempted (jumping jacks, turning my head side-to-side, etc.) the earphones remained in place.
There are a variety of uses for earphones, from telephone communications/conferences to music/movie enjoyment, etc. Since my wife does not like my Science Fiction/Fantasy taste in books, my favorite activity is to listen to Audible Audiobooks. As I commute to and from work, I can use my Chevy Silverado Bluetooth to listen to music/books. Unfortunately, if my wife is present, she does not want to hear these and I turn to devices like the Smartomi Q5. Recently on a trip to Nashville (about a 2-hour drive), I listened to Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard Book 3 and was pleasantly surprised with the quality/intonation of the vocals. The speech was clear, crisp and was pleasant to my ear. Once I dropped my dad at the airport, I was able to charge my earphones using my car USB lighter adaptor, and I was able to listen for another two hours on the way back home. I did not experience any ear fatigue and enjoyed using the earphones. If you are looking for an inexpensive, lightweight enjoyable pair of earphones for audible books, this may be the perfect pair of earphones for you. For this style of listening, the ability to hear ambient sounds is not a weakness.
For my next test, I turned to audiocheck.net and used the Low and high-frequency sound tests. The typical range of hearing is about 20Hz to 20kHz, with variability in the upper ranges based on age. Some of the reviews on Amazon talk about weak bass. Personally, the bass of the device was audible down to 30Hz. I did not experience balancing issues with treble/bass, and the drivers are better than many sub-fifty dollar earphones. To further test this, listen to Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City,” and listen to the moving bass line. While testing this, my children were watching Little Mermaid on the TV at a medium sound volume, and I listened to the song at 6 bars on my iPhone X. I was unable to hear the movie at all, sitting 8 feet from the television. I would agree that there are better, more powerful systems for the audiophiles. These are not over-ear HIFI cans but sound good on the go. I completed my usual tests for headphones and earphones and found these to be 3–4/5 stars for sound: Gladiator soundtrack, Braveheart soundtrack, Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Far and Away Soundtrack, Dark Knight Rises “Why So Serious?” Joker Theme and Yosi Horikawa Wandering. To shake things up a bit, I wanted to listen to a few seasonal songs from Pentatonix and Peter Hollens. Enjoying the Pentatonix holiday classics, I found “Hallelujah,” “Mary did you Know,” and “Little Drummer Boy,” were incredibly enjoyable. If you have not heard the Peter Hollens “Mary Did you Know,” I would highly recommend that you listen to this. I have read multiple other reviews stating that there appears to be an issue with the balance/equalization between highs/lows. I did not experience this issue. I found that the bass was full and the upper range was fluid and enjoyable. Whether listening to instrumental music, pop, R&B, etc., I found that the sound was good for most of my needs.
Again returning to the audiocheck.net site, I was able to hear the high pitched sounds between 14Khz and 15Khz, which is on par with my age and ability to hear. I turned to YouTube to watch a few music videos and this was where I found the biggest negative issue with the earphones. Unfortunately, YouTube videos experienced a lag with audio versus video imagery. This was not present when enjoying movies utilizing Movies Anywhere, Amazon Prime Video, nor Xfinity TV app. I was very displeased with the inability to watch videos on my iPad utilizing YouTube. I am sure that you have seen television programs where the video/audio are out of sync. This was incredibly annoying but seemed to be more of an issue with YouTube than with the earphones. To round out my testing of the earphones, I wanted to utilize the call feature. My wife called me and I was able to answer the call, without issue, using the earphone MFB. Only the left earphone will work for phone calls. When the call was accepted, the right earphone stopped playing. The microphone was average when compared to other similar devices. My wife complained that I sounded airy and distant and ambient wind/sounds were picked-up. This was not a deal-breaker, more an issue with the location of the microphone. I was able to easily stop the call and hangup by pressing the multi-function button again. I found the Siri feature to be very useful. Holding the left Multi-function button for 2 seconds, Siri will activate and you can tell the assistant “Volume Up,” “Volume down,” “Next track” “Previous track,” etc. This feature was a refreshing addition.
Based on the utility of the earphones, I would give a 4/5 star rating. They were comfortable, the sound was better than I expected but the battery life was rather short. Until battery technology catches up to the tech, I fear that we will experience this phenomenon.
- Secure fit
- You can use the earbuds as single or dual mode (power drains quicker in dual)
- You can use the right earbud even after the left earbud power is depleted (about 30–40 minutes)
- No power case
- No adjustment for the beeps/system announcements
- 2.5–3 hour use time is too short for 90 minutes charging time
- Left earbud runs out of charge faster than the right
- No volume/track selection buttons
- Audio/video sync issues on YouTube
Originally published at macsources.com on December 18, 2017.