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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Pairs instantaneously to smartphone
Lightweight with no bounce during exercise
Long battery life
Quick to charge
Good wireless range
Sound is tinny
EQ presets don’t really change sound quality
Uncomfortable for long periods of wear
AUKEY Wireless Headphones are an affordable and durable pair of wireless headphones suited for exercise and everyday wear, but the comfort and sound quality are lacking.
If you’re a fan of listening to music while working out, you might be fine with plugging wired headphones into your smartphone and chugging along. But if that’s too bothersome and restrictive, the AUKEY Wireless Headphones are an inexpensive wireless alternative.
We wore a pair of AUKEY Wireless Headphones over the course of a week of workouts and commuting and observed how they stood up in terms of comfort, sound quality, and battery life.
It’s the simple things that sometimes provide the most pleasure. And when it comes to diving right in with a new device, a streamlined and nearly-effortless set-up process can tell you a lot about the product you’ve purchased. The AUKEY Wireless Headphones paired right away to our smartphone the moment we turned them on. We appreciated that there was no app to download or additional steps to follow. It was really as simple as charging them up with the included micro-USB cord, turning them on to pairing mode, and then making the connection.
There’s nothing remarkable about the look of the AUKEY Wireless Headphones. They come in only one color (all black), and are made up of materials that you’d expect from this type of accessory: plastic and rubber.
While they’re not particularly flashy, there is one distinctive feature to these headphones—each earbud includes a magnet, which makes wearing and storing them neat and tidy. There’s also a handy pouch to store the headphones in when you’re not using them, along with the charging cord and other sets of ear hooks and tips provided.
Despite the magnetization, these headphones are incredibly light at only 0.46 ounces. They’re also 25.67 inches long from earbud to earbud. Unlike wired earbuds that come with a lot of excess cord prone to tangling, there’s a good amount of length for comfortable movement without bounce during activities. But this length turned out to be just a little too long when trying to adjust volume or tracks during a workout.
Each earbud includes a magnet, which makes wearing and storing them neat and tidy.
The button control panel is pretty basic: it’s a slim rectangle with plus and minus signs used for volume and advancing or moving back on audio tracks. The middle button is an all-purpose button used to play audio, take phone calls, and pair the device to a smartphone. The buttons aren’t exceptionally responsive, and they do require a firm push, especially when turning them on and off and moving forward and backward through a playlist. We found this to be slightly irksome when in constant motion on a run.
Since these AUKEY Wireless headphones are so lightweight, they’re relatively comfortable to wear. The ear hooks sit behind the ear tips on each bud and are intended to rest in the ear for a more secure fit. All the alternate ear hooks are marked with helpful sizing information, like “LL” for “left large” or “RM” for “right medium.” While the tips aren’t marked, it’s not difficult to discern the size differences.
But even though there are three sets of ear tips and in-ear hooks to choose from, we never really achieved a close or comfortable fit. There was a feeling that the buds were floating in the ear canal, and even the smallest tips and hooks felt oddly sized. This also contributed to nearly pulling out the left earbud every time we tried to change a track during a run. We had to be very conscious about not applying any pressure while doing so.
To their credit, over the course of a couple short two to four mile runs in the middle of summer, these didn’t fall out completely when adjusting volume, slip out because of sweat (they hold up to the IX4 water and sweat-resistant rating), or swing around unnecessarily, which we appreciated. But we found the experience of wearing and using them during exercise to be less enjoyable than when walking or commuting.
Most headphones will start to get uncomfortable after extended wear, but after wearing these for only an hour or so at a time, we were always relieved to remove them.
AUKEY included an EQ switch function on these headphones to allow users to choose between three modes: vocal, bass, and treble. The manufacturer also boasts CD-quality audio, thanks to aptX compression technology in these headphones—this standard basically serves to compress audio over Bluetooth for better sound quality.
We played around with the EQ function, but we never noticed a significant difference, especially when switching to bass mode. If anything, the largest issue we had with the sound quality was how tinny every genre of music sounded. We played a range of tracks across genres like hip hop, folk, rock, and R&B, and found that to be the case across the board. Bass tones were particularly difficult to listen to. Songs with a bass emphasis often sounded very shrill.
The largest issue we had with the sound quality was how tinny every genre of music sounded.
On the flip side, we didn’t have much difficulty listening to podcasts with these headphones. In fact, voices seemed to sound much better. There wasn’t the same harshness or tinniness that we experienced when listening to a variety of music.
Beyond sound quality, AUKEY says that these headphones are noise-isolating. When walking on crowded city streets and riding on buses and trains, we didn’t find this to be the case. We were always able to clearly hear traffic noises and background noise, to the point of it almost overwhelming whatever we were listening to.
This could also be an issue with the fit quality since we could never seem to achieve a completely sealed fit with the ear tip. Still, we’re somewhat skeptical that this would make a dramatic difference in blocking out outside sounds.
One thing we did like about these headphones was their long battery life. AUKEY says these headphones will last up to eight hours. During our testing, primarily streaming audio and podcasts, we noticed that the battery was true to that eight-hour time capacity. Charging time was also really fast at right about 1.5 hours, which is what the manufacturer promises.
One thing we did like about these headphones was their long battery life.
The strong, fast-charging battery is certainly a big boon for these headphones. You could easily count on them for a week’s worth of trips to the gym or for daily commuting.
We found the operating range claims to be right on the nose. We tested the 33-foot range limit and only ever noticed static when we started to go outside that limit. Even then, the sound never cut out completely. This made it convenient for moving from one room to another without having to carry the phone with us.
There are many modestly-priced wireless headphones within the $25-$50 range, so AUKEY is certainly not alone when it comes to competition.
Priced at $29.99 MSRP, these AUKEY Wireless Headphones are appealing and competitive primarily because of the magnetic clip feature and the battery life. But other models have the same idea and go a little bit further with features like waterproof capability and even better battery capacity. While these AUKEY Wireless Headphones are not ridiculously priced for what they offer, looking elsewhere in the same price range can lead you to options with just a bit more battery power, ruggedness, and better sound quality.
The Anker SoundBuds Slim Wireless Workout Headphones, which retail for $25.99, have almost everything the AUKEY Wireless Headphones offer—including the magnetic earbuds for easy wear.
For a few dollars less, the Anker SoundBuds Slim claim a 1.5-hour charge time and up to 10 hours on a single charge. They’re also IPX7 waterproof rated and come in a few color options besides basic black, along with a portable travel case with a carabiner. These are small details, but when it comes to weighing the differences between these very similar products, a preference in one direction may tip the scales. What these Anker headphones lack, however, is EQ-mode versatility. While we didn’t find that to be a gamechanger in our experience, it could still be a nice-to-have feature for some.
If you’re still shopping around, compare these headphones to our other picks for the best workout headphones, best wireless headphones, and best wireless headphones under $50.
A budget pair of wireless workout headphones with bargain sound quality.
The AUKEY Wireless Headphones are definitely an inexpensive option for those who want to go nearly wireless for all their workouts. They stay put and the battery will last for a good week of typical workouts, but the sound quality and comfort are lacking enough that most people will want to look elsewhere.