If you’re reading this review, there’s a good chance you’re not considering spending over Rs 20,000 on the new Apple AirPods Pro. In March last year, we put Blaupunkt’s BTW-01 True Wireless Earbuds under the scanner; it surprised us with its cost-value proposition. Blaupunkt’s car audio systems had acquired cult status during a time when many car owners in India indulged in after-market car audio systems. The BTW Pro Ear Buds is a quick follow-up to last year’s ear buds, suggesting Blaupunkt’s range of ear buds and other Bluetooth Audio products are here to stay. It’s the same proposition – a dependable pair of ear buds at a compelling price tag.
The all-new BTW Pro shares quite a few similarities with its predecessor and also makes some useful upgrades. The lightweight form is one of those common threads. The Pro comes in a lightweight case that’s easy to slip into a tight pair of jeans. The buds are featherlight too. They don’t just sit nicely on your ears but also insulate external sound further with a more watertight form. One of our favourite features is the convenient auto pairing. There’s no ‘master’ ear bud; the first bud you pull out of the case automatically initiates a pairing request and you’re good to go. I tested it with an iPhone and an Android (Samsung) device and it worked without a fuss.
Audio controls take a little getting used to but once you’ve mastered your taps and presses, you’re covered. Sound quality is certainly better than last year’s BT-01, pushing these buds into the same league as the AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Ear buds. The BTW Pro’s headline feature is particularly useful for those who use their ear buds extensively for voice calls. Blaupunkt’s dual microphone tech works in tandem – while one shuts external sounds, the other one picks your voice. It’s a clever solution, one that your callers on the other end will enjoy even more than you do. This noise cancellation is not to be confused with shutting out external sounds for the headset while you’re listening to music. That’s a feature you won’t find on the Pro and similarly priced rivals like the Jabra Elite 65T. There’s no wireless charging like the solution offered by Samsung’s Galaxy Buds.
Blaupunkt claims a 36-hour battery life for the case. That’s a big deal and one that frequent fliers will approve of. We think that Blaupunkt missed a trick by sticking to an old-school Micro-USB charger at a time when most Android smartphones have made the switch to USB type-C. We clocked about 6 hours of music playback for the buds which is an hour better than its predecessor. We weren’t able to validate the 36-hour battery life claim during the past few days.
The Blaupunkt BTW Pro is unlikely to elicit those second glances at the gym or when you ride the metro. It’s a design that plays safe focussing on function more than form. It’s the same for the performance, it does the basic stuff right and has some handy frills like an IPX-7 certification for those morning runs through a drizzle. At Rs 6,999, it’s one of the best options (under the Rs 10,000 price threshold) if you’re looking to snap those cords and go wireless.
(Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit and www.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)