A Guide to Semi – Wireless Earphones

Semi-wireless earphones are slowly being phased out of production, but some people are fearful of the true wireless revolution. What if you lose one? What if you break the case? We here at RunWay Running have tested a range of semi-wireless earphones, and if you are considering buying a pair of earphones for exercising, be sure to read on and see what we think of this safer, cheaper option.
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What are semi-wireless earphones?

Semi wireless earphones usually have two ear pieces connected by a wire. The wire sometimes has a clip on it to attach the device to your t-shirt and avoid the wire flapping as you run.

What are the things to consider when buying semi-wireless earphones?
Hooks vs. No Hooks

This is a matter of preference. Do you like having a wrap around anchor on your earphones like the Beats Powerbeats or would you prefer something like the in-ear anchoring on the Bose Soundsport?

We hear at RunWay are a fan of the feeling of safety that comes with the wrap around ear anchors which will confidently secure your earphones should one side come loose as you run. Although we have never experienced any issues with the in-ear anchoring systems such as that on the Bose Soundsport, the wrap-around anchor just feels more solid to us.

Battery Life

Wireless earphones, by nature, are constantly transmitting and receiving data through bluetooth signals when paired to your device.

This is quite a drain on most batteries. Devices in the past struggled in this area but most companies have figured out how to squeeze big batteries in to small devices. Ten hours play time from a single charge is to be expected in wireless earphones.

NFC Pairing

Near Field Communication is a technology embedded in many bluetooth products which allows one to pair two devices which are NFC enabled simply by touching the devices off one another. This is particularly useful if you plan on using your headphones with more than one device regularly.

Unfortunately, NFC has not been adopted by designers of semi-wireless headphones in the same way that it has been adopted by overhead headphone designers.

On-Device Controls

In semi-wireless headphones, there is usually a little box along the wire which has audio controls in it. This is also where the bluetooth transmitter and receiver is housed.

Audio Quality

Nowadays, when a company releases a new product in the world of personal audio, we don’t really discuss the audio quality. When Beats Audio were the king of headphones, you would often hear about how music was being massacred by the bass heavy headphones. We have reached a point where, unless you are a true audiophile, it is difficult to tell the difference between one brand and another. Plus, most wireless headphones on the market can be heavily personalised through purpose built apps. You can do your own audio equalisation, should you find the factory settings to be too heavy on the bass or treble.

So which high-end products do we think do all of these jobs well?

Having tested products from all of the major players in the personal audio world, form Bose to Beats, from Skullcandy to Sony, we have picked some products which we love and broken them down them for you.

Bose SoundSport

These Bose SoundSport earphones are the wired version of the SoundSport Free true wireless earphones. As to be expected with any Bose product, the audio and build quality of these earphones really is industry leading.

The in-ear anchor system is effective and the earphones come with 3 ear tip sizes so you can really be sure that the Bose SoundSport will fit your ear. They also have a cool integrated with Tile feature which allows you to find them through the Bose Connect app if you lose them. They have about 6 hours of playback from each charge and have NFC pairing.

Beats PowerBeats3

Beats made their name in the overhead headphones industry, but have since been acquired by Apple and subsequently moved in to the sports earphones industry, The PowerBeats3 headphones have a true wireless sister called PowerBeats Pro but they are significantly more expensive.

The sound quality on these earphones is fantastic. They are also very sturdy. We here at Runway Running find it hard to justify the extra money that one must pay for these PowerBeats3 over the Bose SoundSport, as they do not have the other great features offered such as Tile and NFC connections.

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