SoundMAGIC are back at it again with the E10s. But, this time, the company takes one of the best budget earphones and adds Bluetooth, creating the E10BT. Using the E10’s as my throw-away earphones, I was intrigued to see how the E10BT would compare in both value and sound quality.
At £70 the E10BTs ($55 in the US) aren’t as affordable as their non-Bluetooth variants, the £30 E10 (non-mic) ($42 in the US) and the £40 E10C (mic) ($50 in the US). At the time of writing, the E10BT is only available in black. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth earphone that offers good sound quality at an affordable price, the J&L-102 (£23) ($22 in the US), SoundPEATS Q21 (£20) and Sumvision Pysc Espirit (£17) all provide sensational value for money and offer fantastic sound.
Pros: Accessories, build quality, highs, battery life
Cons: Price and value, recessed mids, sub-bass extension, battery design
Packaging & Accessories: 8/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Design & Look: 8.5/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 9/10
Sound Quality: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10 – based on £70 price tag
My final Rating: 7.5/10
Review Date: April 2017
Review Price: £70
Here’s my video review of the earphones:
Read on for an in-depth review of the E10BT earphones.
SoundMAGIC E10BT review: Packaging & accessories
The E10BT’s packaging looks identical to the other SoundMAGIC products. It’s simple and easy to set your eyes on. The package contents are very similar throughout the range too, which is slightly disappointing given the higher price tag of the E10BT.
In the box you’ll find the following:
- E10BT earphones
- M, L dome silicone tips
- S, M, L bowl silicone tips
- XS, S, M, L vented silicone tips
- M double flange silicone tips
- Small semi-rigid carrying case
- MicroUSB to USB charging cable
I would have liked to see foam tips included and a soft carrying pouch, which would have made it easier to transport the earphones in your pockets. The inclusion of ear hooks would have also been a welcome addition, as it would have allowed you to take the E10BTs with you on jogs. I understand they aren’t designed for athletes, but given its cheaper competitors offer it, I’d have expected it from the E10BT.
SoundMAGIC E10BT review: Build quality
The E10BT are well built, as with its housing construction the earphones can survive quite a beating. A right and left indicator can be found on the side of the earphones, and it’ll still be easy to distinguish, as the right-channel has the 3-button remote.
The 3-button remote works flawlessly on Android and iOS devices. You can play/pause, answer/reject calls and can skip/previous songs by long pressing the volume up/down buttons. The included mic works well, but I did find it unable to cope in noisy environments.
The left and right channels terminate in a small rectangular shirt clip, which also houses the battery and the microUSB port for charging. Having this battery pack gives the E10BTs a good battery life. I found it was able to last over 10hrs, which makes it perfect for long-haul flights and better still, its design means you can continue to use it while charging them.
Unfortunately, there is a drawback to this deisgn. You’ll want to use the earphones with a shirt, as without one the battery compartment weighs down on your ears.
The earphones don’t have any noticeable cable noise, and due to their housing design, they can be worn both straight down and over-the-ear, which allows you to completely eradicate any microphonics.
SoundMAGIC E10BT review: Design, looks, comfort and isolation
The E10BTs look the part, and despite only coming in one colour, black, the earphones look stylish and professional. SoundMAGIC have done a good job in designing the earphones. However, its battery design does make the earphones look a little odd, especially if you don’t have a shirt to clip them onto.
Due to the overall size of the E10BT’s housing, they isolate just like the original E10s. They won’t block out a lot of noise in the underground, or in noisy environments, but their passive noise isolation is acceptable.
Its comfort is a two-way street. On one hand I love their lightweight design, comfortable cable and when used with a shirt, you’ll forget you have earphones on. But, due to its battery design and lack of any ear hooks included, I can’t give the earphones a higher rating.
SoundMAGIC E10BT review: Sound quality
The E10BT has the exact same sound signature and sound quality traits as the original E10. Despite this seemingly being a huge positive to some, I actually found it disappointing to hear. At a much higher price tag, the E10BTs compete with a different calibre of earphone. As aforementioned, other earphones that cost a fraction of the price sound fantastic, and non-Bluetooth earphones with an in-line mic can be found for a lot cheaper and provide a far superior sound quality.
Granted, SoundMAGIC didn’t want to alter the award winning E10s sound, but they could have used the E80’s drivers, and actually offered better value for money. With that said, I did notice a slight difference in the mid-bass slam, the mids and the soundstage. Still, these were minor differences (0.5 rating differences).
The sub-bass is almost non-existent. The E10BT’s have very little extension into the lower bass regions, resulting in a cut-off in certain songs. Even in songs like Migos – Bad and Boujee, the bass doesn’t extend.
Its mid-bass has the right amount of slam, but isn’t fully controlled. In certain bass heavy songs, I found the bass to sound a little wobbly. In comparison to the regular E10s, I did find the E10BT to have slightly less mid-bass presence, which is good.
Just like the E10s, the E10BT has a recessed mid-range, which results in a V-shaped sound signature. Unfortunately, despite having an accurate mid-range reproduction, the mids are pushed too far back. Vocals don’t sound as good on the E10BT’s as they do on other earphones, and if you’re into more classical music, you’ll find missing elements in your music.
However, I did notice the mids to be slightly more forward sounding, and that comes from the slightly toned down mid-bass slam.
On the plus side, the E10BTs have a good high-frequency extension. They have the right amount of sparkle and aren’t sibilant. They do have a roll off at the top end, but I can’t be overly critical of them.
Its soundstage is a little closed, with it lacking width and depth. I’d have wanted a wider soundstage. Instrument separation, tonality and imaging are relatively good. In comparison to the regular E10, I did find them to sound slightly more open, which did lead to an overall better experience.
Sound Quality Ratings
SoundMAGIC E10BT review: Verdict & closing thoughts
Overall, the E10BTs aren’t anything to shout about. Unlike the extremely good valued E10s, the E10BTs price tag is just too high for it to become one of the best value Bluetooth earphones money can buy. With the same untouched sound signature and drivers as the regular E10s, you’re essentially paying an extra £40 from the E10 for a mic and £30 from the E10C for Bluetooth. Is it worth it? Not in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the E10BT, but at £70 these, to me, are no longer classified as a throw away pair of earphones. I see most using Bluetooth earphones as a secondary pair, as most have a wired alternative as their primary choice.
I know times are changing and some are favouring wireless solutions, so I can understand the appeal of the E10BTs. In that respect, I haven’t come across a set of Bluetooth earphones like the E10BTs that offer a complete package for under £70. But, if you’re willing to sacrifice looks and battery life, get the £23 J&L-102 instead.
Hope you enjoyed my review!