1. xandros9's Avatar
    AXGIO Spirit Sport Wireless Headphones Review

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    As technology continues its march forward, one piece of technology that I, and many others have not been rushing to replace over the years is the venerable 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. This type of connector is one that dates back decades, used in countless devices. You will be hard pressed to find someone who has never used this type of connector in their life, and attempting to replace it is not something to be taken lightly.

    An interesting trend as of late is the removal of the 3.5 mm headset jack from handsets, usually done in the name of saving space or aesthetics. Notably the Apple iPhone 7, the Moto Z, the Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP, and the HP Veer are devices that are doing without the universal 3.5 mm jack built-in.

    Okay, so maybe two of those aren’t quite recent devices, but it’s still worth noting that losing the headphone jack isn’t as new as some may think and it wasn't too long ago when smartphones had 2.5 mm jacks or other proprietary USB solutions.

    And in perhaps a logical technological progression, here I am reviewing a pair of headphones that also do away with the conventional 3.5 mm jack. The AXGIO Spirit “Premium Sport Wireless Headphones”.

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS (OF EARTH)


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    I am a fan of AXGIO’s packaging here. It’s compact, sleek and I personally find it well-designed. It may just be box, but its a nice box.
    The packaging opened like a book, reminding me of my last set of Noisehush NX80 headphones. Inside I found the following, placed snugly in a foam cutout:

    • The AXGIO Spirit headphones themselves
    • A cylindrical carrying zipper case
    • Extra tips in various sizes
    • A standard 8.5"-long microUSB cable
    • Documentation


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    The headphones themselves are black with red trim which I find quite handsome. They came out-of-the-box with a segment folded over itself with two “cable management clips” to take up slack, but I soon removed them. Those clips would likely prove themselves useful during exercise for some, but I've been using the Spirit without.

    The earbuds wrap around the top of your ear in the same way many sports-centric headphones do. It might seem odd to those who are used to more conventional designs like the Apple EarPods and other stock headphones, but it’s just a matter of getting used to the design. A downside with the design though is that the microphone/control unit is now behind my ear. It's fine as far as ergonomics and control access goes, but it'll hinder phone calls to a degree. I haven't pinned down how much though.

    When I wear glasses, there is sometimes a little bit of awkwardness when my eyeglasses’ frame and the AXGIO headphones try to occupy the same space on top of my ear. Generally its a minor annoyance and a two second fix at most, so I can overlook it. The first couple of inches of wire from the earbud is also thicker and reinforced so that it better maintains its shape around your ear, which is appreciated.

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    A couple inches below the right earbud hangs the microphone and controls. On the remote is three buttons, marked with the icons for volume up, play/pause, and volume down. Pressing and holding the central play/pause button powers on the headphones. Continuing to hold it puts the headphones into a mode for pairing. There are audio cues that tell you when it turns on, off, when it connects to a device and when its in pairing mode. There is also a small blue/red LED between the volume down and play/pause buttons and it offers a visual cue as to what the headphones are currently thinking. They are all a nice touch.

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    Setting up the headphones was a fairly painless process and I have been able to pair them with a wide variety of devices. (one at a time though) I did read the instruction manual just in case, but anyone familiar with Bluetooth gadgets should have no issues getting up-and-running in moments. On the other hand, switching devices is still much more complicated than just physically plugging into the headphone jack into a different device. This issue will rear its head again later when multiple devices enter the picture.

    Clicking volume up and down do exactly what they're supposed to. However, holding volume up also skips a song and holding volume down goes back a song on phones that support that functionality. I have been able to use that functionality on the Nexus, Lumia, iPhone and iTunes on my Windows 8.1 PC. I have not tested it on other devices.

    Sometimes if the device doesn't change its volume when the buttons are pressed, the headphones compensate.

    Pressing and holding the center button again powers the headphones off.

    Overall though, the Spirit headphones seem like a well-made, well-designed and well-presented pair of headphones. I'll get into more detail after the specs.

    ANGLES (Specifications)

    Here are the advertised specifications of the Spirit headphones:


    • Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity


    • Music/Calls up to 8 hours at max volume (10-12 hours at 50% volume)


    • 300 hour stand-by battery life


    • 10 meter wireless range


    • Bluetooth Profile Support - A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP


    • Sound pressure: 91+/- 3 dB


    • 20 Hz to 20 KHz frequency response


    • 15.6 grams


    • IPX4 water-resistance


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    THE MODERN AGE

    The past month I have had the pleasure of testing this pair of AXGIO headphones.

    As rumors flew for the now-confirmed omission of the classic 3.5 mm headphone jack from the Apple iPhone 7, I thought trying out Bluetooth headphones wouldn't be a bad idea. In some ways I can be a bit old-fashioned myself, as it wasn't too long ago that I would've shot down the idea of Bluetooth headphones entirely as an expensive, inconvenient, power-sucking, poor-audio-quality endeavor. After this past month though, I can easily say this pair has changed my prejudices.

    But despite opening my ears to Bluetooth headphones, I've discovered the technology inherently poses a dramatically different set of compromises compared to conventional headphones.

    It no longer has some of the annoyances of a wired headset, but it also brings negatives of its own. But its not the net negative I would have expected. It may very well be a net positive, and the continued existence of these types of headphones on the market appears to mean many agree.

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    Many would complain that it's yet another device to charge though and that's true. It's got a microUSB 2.0 port right on the side, covered by a rubber flap.

    However, I personally believe the Spirit's battery life has been good enough so that it becomes a non-issue. The specifications claim 10-12 hours at 50% volume and I haven't had the need to crank it above two to four notches above minimum on the volume slider. That translates to anywhere between a couple to maybe several days worth of battery life. I think that's definitely leaving it, perhaps ironically, plugged in to charge for an hour or two.

    Interestingly enough, the Spirit headphones turn themselves off when plugged into external power, which is a minor annoyance.

    Another related concern is battery wear and durability, but considering my conventional headphones last maybe a year or two before the wiring starts breaking, I'm not sure it'll be a big concern. Since the only wiring is between the earbuds, it may actually end up lasting longer, assuming no repair and a battery that wears out at a fairly normal rate. Either way, I'll keep an eye on this. If problems arise too soon I'll update this review as well as contact AXGIO if it's under warranty. (12 months if you were wondering)

    On the other end, battery use on the phone's end hasn't been a major issue with these. My Nexus has generally not seen significantly less-mediocre battery life whether the headphones are in use or not. (at least, none that can be attributed to extended Bluetooth use. I can't say for the others as they are secondary devices.)

    As far as sound quality goes, I am not an audiophile. I cannot comment on the finer aspects of the sound quality of the headphones beyond the fact that they have not left me wanting. I did fiddle with the equalizer on my phone after I felt they were too tinny, but switching out the tips for a different size has improved the fit as well as the sound quality for me.
    The tips are very tight on the ends of the earbuds, so I don't anticipate them falling off anytime soon. Especially after my struggle to install the larger set.

    A major sticking point though, is compatibility.
    I tested the AXGIO Spirit with numerous devices and here's the details. It's worth noting that pairing went equally well across the board and I believe the quirks that arose are the fault of the OS and device, and not the headphones. I noticed that when switching devices, the Spirit needs to be restarted and powered back on in pairing mode, in which it'll be connected to by whatever device is around. (I kept Bluetooth off on other devices.)

    Obviously, if the device didn't have Bluetooth though, it wasn't going to connect. Spells bad news for my Sansa Clip MP3 player and my Gameboy Advance. I don't need these devices, but its still worth mentioning that these would be left behind if I went all-in on Bluetooth. And I like my Sansa.

    I will update this section as details arise.

    LG/Google Nexus 5 - Android 6.0.1 (CyanogenMod 13 and Dirty Unicorns 10)
    - Volume control was a bit uneven, but since the issue was not present elsewhere, I believe it's a quirk of my Android install and/or phone. UPDATE: May be an Android quirk, or one because of LG hardware.
    - Battery status was displayed on the phone.
    - Otherwise worked perfectly. (mic, buttons, calls, etc.)

    LG/Google Nexus 5X - Android 7.0 (Stock)
    - Similar volume quirk as above.
    - Battery status of headphones NOT displayed.

    Apple iPhone 5c - iOS 9.3.4 - 10.0.2
    - Worked perfectly.
    - Battery status was also displayed here.
    - Voice calls untested

    Apple iPhone 4 - iOS 7.1.2
    - Worked perfectly
    - Battery status was displayed
    - Voice calls untested

    Microsoft Lumia 640 - Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update/14393.189
    - Volume buttons didn't appear control phone's volume, just the volume on the headphones themselves.
    - Voice calls untested.
    - Buttons untested.

    Palm Pre 2 - webOS 2.2.4
    - Media audio was properly routed to headphones.
    - Voice calls untested.
    - OS did not display battery status.

    palmOne Treo 650 - Palm OS 5.4.8
    - Only paired correctly as a handsfree device for calls, anything beyond that was untested. (including voice calls)

    Palm Tungsten E2 - Palm OS 5.4.7
    - No handsfree or Bluetooth headphone option. So it's a definite no-go here.
    - Fun fact, it's Bluetooth 1.1 complaint.

    Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga S1/1st-gen/2014 - Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit)
    - Worked but sometimes programs needed reminding to switch to the headphones and vice versa like iTunes.
    - However the buttons had full functionality, at least in iTunes.
    - I had to touch the sound settings a couple times to make sure things were routed right.
    - Voice calls untested. Naturally.

    In use, I've enjoyed them and their relatively short cable length, as the only things that need to be connected here are the two earbuds. This actually has been surprisingly beneficial.
    Since there is no longer a cable running to my pants pocket, running is now a bit more pleasant since there is no cable to bounce around. Also, there's now a lot less cable to get snagged or caught on anything. My normal pair of headphones would sometimes get caught on a side pocket-flap on my cargo shorts when biking, sometimes a doorknob, and on rare occasions, a tree branch or shrub. Not anymore.

    And if I want to shorten them ever further, the clips are in the box waiting for me.

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    IS THIS IT


    Primarily, these headphones have been used with my current daily driver, a Nexus 5 and after the time spent, I'm coming away impressed.

    It has been reliable, consistent and has not let me down yet. Of course, I'll be watching carefully. And at $29.99, it's not a bad price at all as far as reasonable quality headphones go.

    Sure, it has the benefit of being my first significant Bluetooth in-ear experience, but if it can convert someone wary of the technology like me, it may just be worth a look.

    AXGIO sells the Spirit Sport Headphones on Amazon for $29.99.

    And yes, the headlines are references to The Strokes.

    TL;DR:
    Bluetooth headphones put my Luddite concerns to rest by being reliable/predictable/bug-free, responsive, long-lasting, solid in quality and not pricey. Jury is out on long-term durability for the time being, but expectations are high.
    Last edited by xandros9; 11-04-2016 at 11:29 AM.
    09-26-2016 04:12 PM
  2. xandros9's Avatar
    Additional Photos

    Attachment 130790
    A new chapter

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    The carrying case

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    The headphones as they came out-of-the-box. (Note the clips)

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    Yup it's Windows compatible!

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    A closer look at the left earbud.

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    Right and wrong

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    It paired but I haven't tried the handsfree yet
    Last edited by xandros9; 09-27-2016 at 12:13 PM.
    09-26-2016 11:15 PM
  3. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Wow, that's dedication on the pairing report. I love the way you still use your legacy devices and keep them rolling.

    I also think BT headsets keep you rolling in many situations and I like the looks of these Axgio Sport models. Great price too. Has me looking sideways at the bulky, not so stylin' pair I own now and thinking it might be time to move on to something sleeker like the Axgio...

    Thanks, xandros9.
    xandros9 likes this.
    09-27-2016 09:48 AM

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