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Simple and fashionable
Decent sound quality
Hours-long battery life
Must re-adjust speakers each time you put it on
Pairing with a computer is a bit complex
Acrylic material mildly irritating to skin
A low price tag goes a long way towards concealing flaws, and that’s definitely the case for this Blueear Beanie. It’s not the most comfortable beanie available, nor does it produce exceptional sound, but for $15-$25 it does well enough on both fronts to represent a solid value.
If you moderate your expectations, the Blueear Bluetooth Beanie Hat is worth considering. It’s not an amazing hat nor a powerhouse audio experience, but it’s a reasonable compromise of fashion and utility. Its discreet appearance makes a good accessory for a winter outfit, and the sound produced by the speakers is good enough to justify the price tag.
The idea behind this Bluetooth beanie is very simple and effective. Take a beanie and stitch up some inexpensive Bluetooth speakers in the seam. The speakers are inserted in a little pouch over each ear. Once the cap is on, you can push the speakers around so they fit your head precisely. You’ll have to adjust the speakers every time you put the beanie on, which gets annoying after a while.
You can get this beanie in six colors and textures. We chose carbon black for our test unit. You can also get it in black, grey, dark grey, H1 grey, and H4 black. When selecting the color you want, keep in mind that the design weave varies from color to color.
The size of the beanie will also change depending on what color you choose. The carbon black option is 10 inches from bottom to top. Unless you have a head the size and shape of a space alien, most of the top will rest on the back of your head. The rest of the options are only 8.5 inches, something to bear in mind when picking which color you want.
The quality of the sound generated by this Bluetooth beanie is listenable, but won’t likely forget that you’re listening by way of tiny speakers in a $15 beanie.
The built-in microphone allows you to use voice commands and take phone calls or other audio communications, but won’t let you access digital assistants like Siri.
The promotional materials and user manual for this Bluetooth beanie highlight that you can easily remove the speakers when you need to wash it. However, it’s not immediately obvious how to do that, nor are there any instructions in the manual.
The Bluetooth range is listed as the standard 10m, or about 30 feet. We found that to be generally accurate so long as you have a direct line of sight to the phone or computer it’s paired to. If walls and other objects get in the way, the range drops sharply.
Anyone familiar with pairing Bluetooth devices shouldn’t run into many problems setting up this beanie. All you have to do is hold the play button down for three seconds to make it discoverable on the device you want to pair it with. The hat will show up as “Magic Hat” on your list of available Bluetooth devices.
Out of the box, it took us less than one minute to start listening to music from our iPhone X on this Bluetooth beanie. All we had to do was pair it via the Bluetooth settings. However, when we paired it with a Mac, we had to pair it in the Bluetooth settings and manually route the computer’s audio to it via the sound settings.
Switching between paired devices isn’t quite as seamless as we’ve seen in Bluetooth earbuds like the AirPods and PowerBeats Pro. During our testing phase, it generally took about one minute to switch from a Mac to an iPhone. It took even longer from an iPhone to a Mac since you have to route the audio manually.
The control panel sewed into the band sits over your left ear. This is an odd place for it for right handed people, requiring them to reach across their torso and face to use it with their dominant hand. Nevertheless, the controls are easy and complete. Controls include volume, pause, play, previous and next track. It only takes a few minutes of using the cap to learn its controls effectively.
Blueear claims a full battery will yield eight hours of listening time from this Bluetooth beanie. However, we never got past six hours of continuous use during our testing phase. That’s more than enough juice to get you through an autumn hike or a winter evening night out, but if you’re going to be outside all day and want your tunes the whole time, you’ll probably want to invest in a pair of heavy-duty wireless earbuds like the Powerbeats Pro.
All of the small foibles of this Bluetooth beanie are forgivable because it’s not an expensive product.
It takes a little more than an hour to fully charge this Bluetooth beanie. You can charge the speakers through a small hole in the fabric via an included USB charging cable. It doesn’t come with wall adapter, but if you don’t have one kicking around you can also plug it into a computer or other USB equipped device.
This Bluetooth beanie is made of 100% acrylic fibers. It’s not as comfortable as you might expect by looking at it. When we tested the product, it felt dry and scratchy and caused mild chafing around the ears and neck. Nothing that will leave a mark or cause blisters, but enough that you’ll never forget you’re wearing the hat.
The quality of the sound generated by this Bluetooth beanie is listenable, but won’t likely forget that you’re listening by way of tiny speakers in a $15 beanie. The volume is adequate to drown out outside noises, but not overpowering even at max volume. Since these are speakers, and not earbuds or headphones, they don’t deliver the immersive audio experience that you’d expect from Bluetooth earbuds like the AirPods.
All of the small foibles of this Bluetooth beanie are forgivable because it’s not an expensive product. Depending on the color you get, expect to pay between $15 and $25, with grey being the most expensive.
We tested this wireless beanie side by side with the Rotibox Bluetooth Beanie Hat and the two are about comparable in design and function. But the Rotibox is a good deal more comfortable, and it produces better sound. The best thing Blueear has going for it is that it’s the least expensive wireless music beanie we reviewed.
If you’re looking for a superior, comfortable winter beanie or a powerful audio experience, this is not the product for you.
However, if you’re interested in an average beanie and decent sound at a bargain basement price, it’s a good pick. It’s a fashionable beanie that goes well with your winter wardrobe, and the Bluetooth speakers provide enough utility to make it more than a novelty.
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