Review: Soundcore Spirit X Bluetooth Headphones
Soundcore Spirit X
The Spirit X Bluetooth headphones from Soundcore are meant to endure your most intense workouts. This simple, behind-the-neck style headset is completely sweatproof and offers all-day battery life for your weekend adventures.
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The rise of Bluetooth headphones has made listening to music during workouts much more comfortable. No longer bound by wires, fitness enthusiasts and athletes can enjoy their tunes without the fear of accidentally ripping the headphones from their ears — which can damage the headphones or, worse, lead to injury.
Soundcore's Spirit X headphones target movers and shakers, those who desire a soundtrack to supplement their sweaty sprints, sets, and reps. These focus on providing the basics at a price anyone can afford.
Before the advent of truly wireless earbuds, the behind-the-neck style of Bluetooth headphones was my favorite form factor. This minimalist style employs two earphones that are connected by a wire that you drape behind your neck. The Spirit X from Soundcore are its latest addition to this category.
Soundcore says the Sound X offer “comfort in the extreme” and “hold fast” while you go fast. There's no question they stay put. The headphones feature a rubber over-the-ear hook that loops over the top of your outer ears. It's soft and flexible. The silicone ear tips come in three sizes, allowing you to fit them firmly in your ear canal. Between the grippy-ness of the ear tips and holding power of the hooks, the Spirit X are in no danger of falling off during even the most vigorous movement.
Hook and Tip
The hook and ear tip are each connected to the main plastic housing, which is perhaps an inch long and half an inch wide. There are no buttons or controls on the housing, but they contain the speaker drivers, batteries, and radio.
A wire connects the two individual earphones. The wire is close to two feet long and has a unique clasp that lets you quickly cinch up the slack behind your head to ensure a better fit. I wish it had a more tangle-free design, such as a flat cord.
The control module is along the wire, closest to the right earbud. The three buttons let you play/pause, skip tracks, and adjust volume, with a series of quick and long presses. The buttons are really difficult to tell apart, particularly if you're moving around. At least they offer good travel and feedback. A microUSB port is on the side edge of the control module. It has a hatch to help protect the innards from sweat. Be sure to seal up the hatch after charging.
Soundcore opted for matte black plastic, rubber, and silicone. The Spirit X are clearly not high-end headphones, but they don't feel cheap. They appear to be well-made. I wore them comfortably during hours' worth of yard work. The headphones handle lots of perspiration with no problem. Soundcore says the Spirit X carry an IPX7 rating for protection against your sweatiest sessions.
The headphones ship with a round, clamshell-style carrying case. The case is covered in a soft leather-like material. It zippers shut and can hold the headphones and the included spare ear tips, ear wings, and USB cable.
There's no associated app to managed advanced features, because there are none. You'll need to look at pricier alternatives if you want a heart rate monitor, voice-assisted workout coaching, or Google Assistant/Siri support.
Soundcore opted for Bluetooth 5.0 in the Spirit X. A long press of the power button puts the headphones in pairing mode. Pairing and connecting to nearby phones using standard Bluetooth controls was a breeze. The Spirit X paired with Android phones and an iPhone equally well.
The radio is good for holding a connection across the normal range of 33 feet (10 meters). I was able to leave my phone on my office desk and walk around both floors of my house without losing a connection. Wandering more than 30 feet will cause the Spirit X and phone to drop the connection. I was very pleased with the strength of the connection, which never wavered when the phone was within about 20 feet. The phone includes the base A2DP profile with support for AAC, but not aptX.
The Spirit X are the best-sounding headphones I've tested at this price point. I was actually taken aback by the sound. Each earphone includes a 10mm driver (many competing devices rely on 8mm, or even 6mm drivers). The Spirit X packs a surprising punch.
Soundcore says the headphones are tuned to be somewhat bass heavy to better help you keep pace during those hard-hitting workouts. Highs are relatively clear, but mids are weak. I would not call the Spirit X the clearest headphones I've tested and yet they didn't come across as muffled. They worked really well for the metal and rock music that I prefer, but also sounded very good with R&B, pop, and dance/electronica. Acoustic, jazz, and orchestral music fell a little flat with the Spirit X. Ensuring a proper fit of the ear tip really helps with Spirit X with the bass and provides passive noise isolation at the same time.
For the money, the sound can't be beat.
The internal battery lasts up to 12 hours per charge, claims Soundcore. I ran the battery through its paces and it routinely clocked about 11.5 hours of play time. That's not too far off the mark. It's still long enough to get you through an ultra-marathon (or a really, really long flight.) This is very good battery life for this form factor.
The carrying case does not include any sort of power or re-charging capability, so the 12-hour limit is what you get. Plugging the Spirit X in for just 5 minutes gives you an hour of music. The battery takes close to two hours to charge fully.
Soundcore sells the Spirit X via Amazon for $40. These sound better than similar headphones that cost twice as much. If you're seeking a durable, behind-the-neck Bluetooth headphone for workouts or other sweaty activities, the Soundcore Spirit X is a spirited option that doesn't break the bank.
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