The success of Apple's AirPods has opened the door to competitive, truly wireless alternatives. These range from models that cost a fraction of the performance of Apple's products to models that go far beyond that. While well-known audio brands like Bose, Sennheiser and Sony are busy producing premium, truly wireless earbuds, the budget segment has also exploded last year and there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you look at the entry-level segment, the Leaf Pods are only worth 5 euros. In our opinion, 3,999 are the truly wireless headphones to beat. The popular audio producer Boat is known for its affordable headphones and earphones and has recently launched a new, truly wireless model called the Airdopes 411.
The company currently has a number of different truly wireless offerings, all priced under Rs. 10,000, but the airdopes are particularly attractive because of the properties you get for straight Rs. 2999. Do they sound good enough to be recommended? Let's listen.
Boot Airdopes 411 design and specifications
Each earphone of the Airdope 411 is made of plastic, whereby the inside is slightly shiny compared to the outside surface. The earplugs are angled so that they slide easily into your ear canals and create a good seal. Each earphone has a single button with the boat logo and a multi-colored LED underneath. The latter is used to check the charging and pairing status of the earphones.
The Airdopes 411 earphones are well made and don't weigh much
The earphones have rubber wings that are pre-assembled for a better fit, and you get two additional sizes (small and large) in the box. The same applies to the earplugs. The physical button on each earphone can be used to turn the headphones on and off when you don't have the bag near you. You can also use the buttons to control playback and answer calls.
Pressing one of the buttons once will pause or resume the music. Pressing the left button twice increases the volume and decreasing it three times. Pressing the right earbud twice skips the track and pressing the previous three times plays the previous track. Pressing three times is not the easiest to pull, as the tactile response of these buttons is not the best.
Like all truly wireless headphones, the Airdopes 411 comes with a charging case. It is compact, has a beautiful matt surface and has four blue LED lights on the outside, which indicate the current charge status of the housing each time the lid is opened. The earphones are easy to insert and remove and are held in place with the help of magnets. The case has two contact points for each earphone. These are automatically charged when you put them in position. There is a micro USB port on the back for charging. A cable is included in the scope of delivery.
The right earbud is the primary one and is automatically synchronized with the left when it is removed from your pocket. You can use the right one on its own, for example for voice calls, but not the left. If you want to use the left earbuds as earbuds, you will need to pair them separately with your phone (press and hold until "Airdopes 411 L" appears in your device's Bluetooth list). The earphones can be connected to two devices at the same time, but we did not find this to be very reliable. There were times when the earphones were automatically connected to a previously paired device, but most of the time they refused to connect to a second device if one was already paired.
The Airdopes 411 comes with a compact charging case
The Airdopes 411 uses Bluetooth 5 and has a range of 10 m. Both earphones are equipped with 6 mm drivers with a frequency range from 20 to 20,000 Hz. The earphones are also said to be IPX4 certified, which means that they should withstand light water splashes. They offer a battery life of around three and a half hours per charge, whereby both earphones can be charged three more times. Last but not least, the Airdopes 411 only supports the SBC audio codec.
Boot Airdopes 411 performance
The Airdopes 411 have a comfortable fit and do not protrude too much from your ears. We found the medium sized wings and earplugs to be the safest fit for us even when we run or jog. The earplugs also offer very good passive noise isolation, which is particularly useful if you are traveling in high-traffic areas such as a subway station. As soon as you put the earphones in your ears, you will receive a small voice message informing you that they are ready to pair or are already connected to a device. The same applies if you turn them off.
We tested the Airdopes 411 with various devices for about a week, from a MacBook Air to an iPhone XR (test) to a Samsung Galaxy S10 + (test). We also used multiple music sources, including Spotify, Apple Music, and our own high-resolution FLAC files.
The Airdopes 411 sound clean even at the highest volume, without distortion or sibilance. The bass is subtle and doesn't have a good punch, but it is there. Vocals sound clear, but not particularly sharp, and mid-range instruments are somewhat distinguishable, but overall the sound can at best be described as average. The volume doesn't get very high either, so we had to do most of our listening at around 90 percent, especially outdoors.
The Airdopes 411 have a comfortable fit and do not move even when running
The Airdopes 411 can handle complex routes pretty well. It was fun listening to Michael Jackson's Black or White. The vocals were clear and didn't shrill even at high volumes; The mids had a good presence and the bass was only a little weak. In vocal tracks such as the acoustic version of Linger by The Cranberries, the song was subtly balanced with a good emphasis on the vocals and an appropriate separation in the mid-range. Bass heads may not like the sound of the Airdopes 411 because they cannot deliver a satisfactory punch in the lower frequencies.
We also used the headphones to watch movies and games and found no audio delay. However, these headphones are not particularly suitable for voice calls. Although the caller had little difficulty hearing us, the calls on our side sounded a little muffled with little clarity.
The antennas in each earphone are also slightly susceptible to external radio interference. The moment we walked into an area with some wireless congestion, such as public places, the link between the left and right earbuds was broken. This happened quite often until it got frustrating. We have never had this problem with AirPods or even the Leaf Pods in the same places we normally commute through. The Airdopes 411 have a good range indoors without major interference. We managed to make a stable connection when we use it some distance from our source device, even if there is a wall in between.
The Airdopes 411 lives up to the promised battery life. On average, we have a little over 3.5 hours of runtime per charge. At times, we managed to walk around 4 hours, and the lowest we recorded was around 3 hours and 20 minutes when we played music at high volume. The case can charge the batteries three times from zero to full, with a fourth charge of up to 40 percent remaining. This gives you a total lifespan of just over 17 hours, including the first full charge and all the resulting charges, which is not a bad thing.
The Airdopes 411 boat is available online for Rs. 2,999, despite the official listing on its website that claims an Rs. Maximum retail price 7,499. For so much money, you get a range of appealing features like the latest version of Bluetooth, sweat resistance, a compact charging case and a comfortable fit. The audio quality is decent for occasional listening, but these headphones lack the excitement and drive of others, such as the Leaf Pods, which are not much more expensive. However, the bass is weak and we would have preferred a higher volume level. The disconnection between the earbuds is also very annoying, especially if you use them when commuting.
For Rs. 1,000 more, you can choose the Leaf Pods instead, which are probably still the best truly wireless headphones you can get at Rs. 5000. Aside from its slightly tortuous charging case, the headphones themselves offer excellent battery life and excellent audio quality, making the award for the Airdopes 411 absolutely worthwhile.
- Light weight, good finish
- Decent battery life
- IPX4 splash-proof
- Clean sound for casual listening
- Sync issues between earbuds in congested areas
- The sound is not exciting, a little weak bass
- Poor clarity for voice calls
- The volume could be higher
Reviews (of 5)
- Design / comfort: 3.5
- Audio quality: 2.5
- Battery life: 3.5
- Value for money: 3.5
- Total: 3