The budget true wireless segment is a rapidly booming market in the audio industry with numerous companies such as Noise, Realme, Boat, and Redmi offering a wealth of options. Boult Audio’s new true wireless offering, the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds is priced competitively at Rs 2,999 and is looking to cement themselves in this category as one of the lucrative options. With features such as aptX support, IPX5 rating, and others, the Airbass Livebuds indeed is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked by the price-conscious consumer. However, how do these earphones perform in the real world and what’s their sound quality like? Let’s find out in our review.
Build and design
Sporting a diminutive and compact design, the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds are quite pleasing to look at. The pill-shaped charging case is one of the smallest we’ve reviewed so far and it is also one of the lightest. Despite the budgetary price point, the materials on the case feel quite pleasing to the touch. They have a rubberised texture along with a textured line design on top of the case. The Boult Audio logo also sits on top of the case, in white.
The back of the charging case features the micro-USB port and the bottom houses a dimple which allows the case to sit firmly against surfaces. The magnets inside the case are strong, however, the plastic hinge mechanism to open and close the case feels slightly flimsy.
There are also four droplet-shaped LEDs that indicate the battery levels of the charging case. The design of these is quite unique and aesthetically-pleasing. The indents for the earbuds on the top lid of the case are covered with a thin foam material while the rest of the insides are also made out of plastic.
The earbuds feature an oblong shape and look quite sleek and streamlined. The eartips are angled considerably which makes the earphones very comfortable to wear, even over extended periods of usage. Boult Audio also provides three extra pairs of silicone eartips that ensure that most users get the best possible fit.
The top of each earbud houses a physical button that are used for music and call controls. So, you can use these multifunction buttons to pause/play music, seek tracks, increase and decrease volume, answer/decline calls and even summon your phone’s voice assistant. The controls are simple and intuitive, however, the buttons do need to be pushed a fair bit which causes the buds to dig inside your ear.
The fit is fairly snug, however, the lack of ear hooks or wings and the overtly angled tips can cause them to slip out when working out or running. However, they stayed put during mild to moderate activities such as walking around the house and even light jogging. They’re also IPX5 rated, so they’re resistant to sweat and light splashes.
At Rs 2,999, you wouldn’t expect these earphones to host too many features. And, they don’t. However, they do come equipped with some of the essential features and even some surprising ones at this cost. Firstly, they are powered by Bluetooth v5.0 and sport a Bluetooth transmission range of 10m or 33 feet. This is impressive for budget TWS solutions since Bluetooth 4.2 is usually found on budget TWS products.
Another impressive feature is the sizable battery life. Owing to the small form factor of both, the charging case and the earbuds, you wouldn’t expect these earphones to sport an impressive battery life. But, they do. As per the company, the earphones come with a battery life of 6 hours on the buds alone, and 24 hours in total including the charging case, which is pretty impressive. In our tests, the earphones played music for about 5 and a half hours on a single charge and the case provided three extra charges to full. The only disappointment on the battery and charging front is the inclusion of a micro-USB charging cable instead of a Type-C cable.
The Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds also come with Qualcomm aptX HD audio support, which is extremely lucrative in budget true wireless earphones. Additionally, they’re also rated IPX5 (as mentioned above), come with physical controls for music playback and calling, and come with voice assistant support.
Featuring a warm sound profile, the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds features pretty decent sound quality for the price point. The Qualcomm aptX support definitely helps, providing the earphones with a fuller and relatively balanced sound. The mids are sufficiently detailed, vocals are crisp and well accentuated, and the highs aren’t too tinny. However, the lows and bass response, while energetic and punchy, can tend to sound quite muddy at times.
In Pull me Under by Dream Theatre, the bass kicks sound boomy and muddled and deteriorate the overall quality of the track, even though the vocals and mid-frequency instruments are very well produced. Vocal-centric tracks such as Hello by Adele are the most well-reproduced tracks on these earphones with sharp and precise vocal reproduction.
Bass response in Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars is very energetic but can cloud the mids due to their muddy nature. There’s also distortion in the bass when the volume levels are on the higher side. Nevertheless, some bassheads might enjoy the boomy thumps the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds produce.
The soundstage on these earphones is surprisingly wide and imaging is also quite good. Instruments in crowded tracks are quite easily distinguishable and tracks such as Hotel California sound divine with the wide staging. Passive isolation is also great due to the snug fit.
Microphone quality, though, is disappointing with the caller sounding muffled and distorted on many occasions. Also, we faced a bunch of connectivity snags even though these earphones come equipped with Bluetooth v5.0. Two prominent connection issues we faced were – the earphones occasionally disconnected from the source altogether and would only connect back again when we manually did it in the phone’s Bluetooth settings, and the earbuds sometimes stayed connected to the phone even when they were put into the case, even though the lid was closed.
There’s a lot to love about these tiny, unassuming pair of true wireless earphones including their compact charging case and buds, aptX and voice assistant support, warm, fresh sound profile and an IPX5 rating. However, they do come with their fair share of hitches such as the spotty connectivity at times, muddy lows and disappointing microphone performance. Still, for a pair of earphones costing Rs 2,999, these issues are acceptable and we quite enjoyed our time with the TWS earphones from Boult.