The budget true wireless segment is a fast-growing market in the audio industry with numerous companies such as Noise, Realme, Boat and Redmi offering a wealth of options. Boult Audio’s new true wireless offering, the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds, is competitively priced at Rs 2,999 and aims to bolster itself in this category as one of the lucrative options. With features such as aptX support, IPX5 rating and others, the Airbass Livebuds is indeed an option that the price-conscious consumer should not overlook. But how do these earphones perform in the real world and how is their sound quality? Let’s find out in our review.
Build and design
With a small and compact design, the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds are quite pleasant to look at. The pill-shaped charging case is one of the smallest we’ve tested yet, and it’s also one of the lightest. Despite the budget price, the materials on the case feel very pleasant. They have a rubber texture and a textured line design on top of the case. The Boult Audio logo is also on the top of the case, in white.
The back of the charging case features the micro USB port and there is a dimple at the bottom that allows the case to sit firmly against surfaces. The magnets in the case are strong, but the plastic hinge mechanism to open and close the case feels a bit flimsy.
There are also four teardrop-shaped LEDs that indicate the battery level of the charging case. The design of this is quite unique and aesthetically pleasing. The earbud notches on the top case lid are covered with a thin foam material, while the rest of the inside is also made of plastic.
The earbuds have an elongated shape and look quite sleek and streamlined. The earbuds are significantly angled, making the earbuds very comfortable to wear, even with extended use. Boult Audio also offers three additional pairs of silicone ear tips to ensure that most users get the best possible fit.
The top of each earbud contains a physical button used for music and call control. So you can use these multi-function buttons to pause/play music, search for songs, increase and decrease the volume, answer/reject calls and even invoke your phone’s voice assistant. The controls are simple and intuitive, but the buttons have to be pressed down quite a bit, causing the buttons to dig into your ear.
The fit is fairly snug, but the lack of ear hooks or wings and the overtly angled tips allow them to slip out during exercise or running. However, they remained seated during mild to moderate activities, such as walking around the house and even light jogging. They are also IPX5 rated, so they can withstand sweat and light splashes.
For Rs 2,999, you wouldn’t expect these earphones to pack too many features. And they don’t. However, they are equipped with some of the essential features and even some surprising ones at this price. First, they are powered by Bluetooth v5.0 and have a Bluetooth transmission range of 10 meters or 33 feet. This is impressive for budget TWS solutions, as Bluetooth 4.2 can usually be found on budget TWS products.
Another impressive feature is the significant battery life. Due to the small form factor of both, the charging case and the earbuds, you wouldn’t expect these earphones to have impressive battery life. But, they do. According to the company, the earphones have a battery life of 6 hours on the buds alone, and 24 hours in total including the charging case, which is quite impressive. In our testing, the earphones played about 5 and a half hours of music on a single charge, and the case delivered three additional charges. The only disappointment on the battery and charging front is the inclusion of a micro USB charging cable instead of a Type-C cable.
The Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds also come with Qualcomm aptX HD audio support, which is extremely lucrative in cheap true wireless earphones. In addition, they are also IPX5 rated (as mentioned above), come with physical controls for music playback and calls, and come with voice assistant support.
The Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds have a warm sound profile and offer a pretty decent sound quality for the price. The Qualcomm aptX support certainly helps, giving the earphones a fuller and relatively balanced sound. The mids are sufficiently detailed, the vocals are clear and well accentuated and the highs are not too tinny. The bass and bass response, while energetic and punchy, can sound quite muddy at times.
In Dream Theater’s Pull me Under, the bass kicks sound thumping and muddled and degrade the overall quality of the song, even though the vocals and mid-frequency instruments are very well produced. Vocal-focused tracks like Hello by Adele are the best reproduced tracks on these earphones with crisp and accurate vocal reproduction.
The bass response in Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk is very energetic, but can cloud the mids due to their muddy nature. There is also distortion in the bass when the volume levels are on the higher side. Nevertheless, some bassheads may enjoy the booming thumps that the Boult Audio Airbass Livebuds produce.
The soundstage on these earphones is surprisingly wide and the imaging is pretty good too. Instruments in crowded tracks are quite easy to distinguish and tracks like Hotel California sound divine with the wide staging. Passive insulation is also great because of the snug fit.
However, the quality of the microphone is disappointing as the caller sounds muffled and distorted on many occasions. We also faced some connectivity issues even though these earphones are equipped with Bluetooth v5.0. Two prominent connection issues we faced were: the earbuds would occasionally disconnect completely from the source and would only reconnect if we did it manually in the phone’s Bluetooth settings, and the earbuds would sometimes stay connected to the phone even when placed in the case , even though the lid was closed.
There’s a lot to love about these small, unassuming pair of true wireless earphones, including their compact charging case and buttons, aptX and voice assistant support, warm, crisp sound profile and an IPX5 rating. However, they come with quite a few issues, such as the spotty connectivity at times, muddy bass and disappointing microphone performance. Still, these issues are acceptable for a pair of earphones costing Rs 2,999 and we really enjoyed our time with Boult’s TWS earphones.