BTS Pro headphones review: Poor ergonomics undercut good audio
- Audio quality is decent
- Not comfortable to wear
Though the audio playback occasionally comes together, the myriad gambles that 66 Audio has made on form factor and design fails to do the same.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
While the branding and lifestyle imagery for the BTS Pro make it look like a snug fit for runners everywhere, the sad truth is that these headphones just aren’t very ergonomic. From the moment I put them on, they felt 'off'.
The buttons feel cheap (though clicky), the frame somehow feels both too rubberized yet also rigid enough to dig into your ears. The BTS Pro’s feel stilted and uncomfortable on your ears when seated, let alone when running. They felt like a poor fit.
That’s not to say there aren’t things about the design I do like. The foldable design makes them a much more compact and easy-to-carry option than many other on-ear sports headphones out there. The USB-C charging and 40 hours of audio playback are another strong-point.
The BTS Pro headphones also integrate with a companion app called MotionControl (available for iOS, Android and WatchOS users). MotionControl allows you to check the battery life of your BTS Pro headphones, act as a substitute for the physical buttons on the headphones, allow you to tinker with the audio output using an equalizer and locate the last place that your headphones were connected should you lose track of them.
66 Audio say that the headphones are sweat-proof and IPX-rated for water resistance. However, they emphatically advise against submerging the headphones in water, using them in the shower, during swimming or in heavy rain (doing so will void the warranty) - which does sort-of hamstring the inclusion’s appeal.
Read more: Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds
The last thing to note here is the absence of any sort of traditional 3.5mm headphone jack as a fallback, which means that you’ll be using the BTS Pro headphones wirelessly or not at all.
The BTS Pros are uncomfortable to wear for two minutes, let alone anything longer than that. However, when we did steel ourselves and wear them for extended periods of use, we found that they did deliver a level of audio which was generally good, albeit inconsistent.
There were no dropouts, but even these gains are diluted by the offbeat design. The earcups themselves didn’t entirely sit on my ears - meaning that a lot of outside noise found its way in.
Still, at the medium-to-low volume levels, audio generally sounds crisp and vibrant enough. This is likely due to the support that 66 Audio have included for Qualcomm’s AptX codec - which allows for nearly lossless audio transmission over Bluetooth. Unfortunately, at higher volume levels, there’s a subtle distortion that creeps its way into the mix, nicking away at the overall quality of the sound.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the BTS Pro leave a lot to be desired. Though the audio playback occasionally comes together, the myriad gambles that 66 Audio have made on form factor and design fail to do the same. What could have been a challenger to Apple’s Beats headphones ends up a looking and feeling like a slightly-more sportish-looking set of aeroplane on-ears.
It’s always nice to have more options in the personal audio world. Unfortunately, not all options are going to be good ones.
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