Headphone Jack Be Damned, the QCY Wireless Sport Earbuds Can Survive a Sweaty Run [Review]

September 12, 2016

9:45 am

By now we’ve all heard the news that the iPhone 7 no longer sports a 3.5mm headphone jack, and instead comes with a lightning port set of earbuds. Alongside the announcement, Apple also released the new AirBuds, a Bluetooth, wirefree pair of buds that go in each ear. Sure, you can spend $160 on wireless earbuds that feature a few extra sensors and only lasts 5 hours, or you can grab a pair of sweat-proof, sub-$20, slightly less wire-free, QCY earbuds.

We tested the QCYs over a month, running in 90 degree weather with humidity pushing temperatures to 104, during a half-marathon, and more miles than a Fitbit could handle. Overall, they conquered even the sweatiest of runners.

QCY earbuds reviews

Features/Specs

Don’t let Apple’s marketing speak confuse you, their new AirBuds are Bluetooth-powered, regardless of their new chip. Bluetooth is not our favorite technology, it’s often laggy and has issues with distances between devices, but it also reduces the battery drain on wherever your music is coming from (wired devices are powered through the earphone jack). Luckily with earbuds, typically you have either your phone or computer within an arm’s reach, so Bluetooth works well in that situation; however, don’t plan on using this, or really any Bluetooth connected devices for video.

The QCY’s are not anything spectacular, but they handle the basics incredibly well. For phone calls, the call quality is great. For music playback, it’s solid, but not as crisp as most would like. And for the price, it’s easier to ignore the short list of negative features, which truly don’t have a huge impact for those looking for sweat-proof earbuds. The battery life lasts for about 6 hours of continuous play time, and it takes a bit over two hours to fully charge.

Although the bass is not super impressive that can be said for most earbuds. As far as treble and volume, overall the QCYs are good but it also depends on the eartips being used. There are two sets, one that improves the audio clarity and removes some outside sound, and another that furthers this. Neither set truly provides noise cancellation though, so you can go ahead and ignore that feature.

What’s in the Box

  • QCY Bluetooth Earbuds
  • Charger
  • 5 different sized ear tips
  • 3 different sized ear hooks
  • Crimping plastic to tighten cord

Specs

  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 6 hour battery life
  • Mic
  • Control on cord
  • IPx4 water resistance
  • 12.7 grams or .03 lbs

Design

The design on the QCY is nothing special, and aligns with the first generation of wireless earbuds. Although they are wireless in the sense that they connect to devices through Bluetooth, each earbud is connected to each other through a wire. Unlike the Jam Transit sport buds, these are even more light weight and had no issues staying in ear.

Like most wireless earbuds, the QCYs also come with a variety of ear tips and earhooks to ensure they fit well, regardless of your ear shape or size. They fit comfortable and can handle even the sweatiest of runs. Not a fan of the long cord? The included crimping tool will allow you to make the cord shorter, although it’s lightweight and doesn’t bounce around too much.

Pros and Cons

Highs

  • Sweat proof
  • Super cheap
  • Generally comfortable

Lows

  • Could be louder
  • Light on the bass

Overall Thoughts

Should you buy the QCY wireless earbuds? Hell yes. If my sweaty ass can run a half marathon with these things and not have them slip out once, so can you. Although they could be a bit louder (and I’m being picky), they fit well, the sound quality is good overall, and they really are sweatproof. We give the QCY wireless earbuds 4 out of 5 due to its battery life, ability to actually stay in during a long run, and overall quality of sound.

Price: $17

Where to buy: Gearbest, Amazon ($26)

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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