Really wireless earphones are still exciting for us, but they are certainly not very fresh anymore. It's not just the big brands that really have wireless headphones in their range now. Even smaller companies, many of which we may not even have heard of, sell such products. The benefit of all of this is that prices are falling and Rs. 5,000 is enough money to buy a decent pair of really wireless headphones today, which was not the case less than 15 months ago. Included is Stuffcool, a manufacturer of inexpensive audio equipment and smartphone accessories.
The Stufcool Stuffbuds are the company's first truly wireless earbuds. 4,999 in India. The main selling point, of course, is the design itself, but the market is crowded and stuffcool won't be easy. Are these affordable, truly wireless headphones good enough to challenge our current budget champions, the Leaf Pods? We check to find out.
Stuffcool Stuffbuds design and specifications
Some of the better known truly wireless earbuds have an iconic or unique design that makes them instantly recognizable, e.g. B. the Apple AirPods and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. Many of the affordable options available today are better described as functional, with the Stuffcool Stuffbuds falling into this category.
While some others have a hint of styling, the Stuffcool Stuffbuds look very nondescript, with simple shiny plastic outsides on which the Stuffcool logo is printed. Each earphone has a button that can be used to control playback. Pressing either side once will play or pause the music, press twice to go to the next track, and press three times to go to the previous track. The buttons can also be used to answer and reject calls or to call the last number dialed, but cannot be used to adjust the volume.
The Stuffcool Stuffbuds are light, well made and comfortable to wear when used with the right earplugs. However, we have not received a very secure fit, which resulted in poor sound insulation when using the earphones. The left earphone serves as the primary earphone that is connected to the source device and can be used alone. The right earphone is connected to the left and can only be used when the left is in use.
We occasionally had problems connecting the right earphone, which sometimes caused the right earphone to go silent while the left continued to play. This was fixed by turning the headphones off and on again, which was a little tedious.
The charging case of the Stuffcool Stuffbuds is small and like the headphones made of plastic and holds them securely in place with magnets. The power controls of the earphones are synchronized with the housing. By inserting them into the case, they are switched off and the charging process starts automatically. They are switched on by removing them. Once we went through the first pairing process, using the headphones became very easy.
Other really wireless headphone charging bags have hinges, but the lid of the stuffbuds bag is completely removable, which we didn't like at all, as it caused it to be misplaced. The case is charged via a micro USB connection. The scope of delivery includes a cable for this purpose as well as a carrying case and two additional pairs of earplugs.
During our test, the earphones were operational for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes when fully charged, with the case offering two and a half additional charges, which corresponds to a total lifespan of approximately 9 hours per full charge. These are below-average figures, also taking the price into account.
The SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs are supported by Stuffcool Stuffbuds that use Bluetooth 5. We found that the connection was more stable when using the former codec, while the latter had a slightly better sound quality, but at the expense of connection stability and occasional latency problems between the source device and the headphones.
Stuffcool Stuffbuds performance
Not too long ago, a lower price for a pair of truly wireless headphones meant a compromise in sound quality. However, the Leaf Pods are an example of how good a product can be without exceeding the limit values. 5,000 marks. Unfortunately, the Leaf Pods remain a rare offer in this price segment, and the Stuffcool Stuffbuds don't offer exceptional sound quality.
Our experience with the Stuffcool Stuffbuds was mostly normal, with a sound that was boring and without drive and attack. When we heard Romeo from Basement Jaxx, we found no blow to the bass, no sparkle in the treble and absolutely nothing exciting to report on the sound overall. The midrange speakers were perhaps the only redemptive feature in the acoustic signature, as they were fairly clean and suitable for vocals that we could hear clearly enough.
When switching to Magic by Moon Boots, this lack of pressure across the frequency range was emphasized again, although the track's own acoustic signature was not strongly distorted. The Stuffcool Stuffbuds produce a fairly balanced sound that is pleasant to hear but simple. It doesn't go beyond the borders and instead smoothes the edge a bit in most tracks. As a result, the sound of the Stuffcool Stuffbuds seems lazy and underdeveloped.
In our experience, while the sound stage is decent, poor sound insulation has lost some of its qualities. This lack of isolation may be a good thing if you want to use these headphones outdoors or even in a workplace where you need to keep your ears open as it doesn't affect the sound quality. Subtle details in the beautiful Nuits Sonores by Floating Points were pretty much lost even when the volume was turned up.
The Stuffcool Stuffbuds have built-in microphones and can be used for voice calls. The conversation quality was acceptable in quiet environments, but reports say that our voice is lost in the noise of louder, crowded areas. At higher volumes, we could clearly hear voices on the other end of the calls.
Stuffcool is known for its cheap products and a popular option when it comes to things like laptop bags and smartphone chargers. However, our experience with the company's audio products was overwhelming – just like the Stuffcool Monty wireless headphones, the Stuffcool Stuffbuds aren't quite up to date.
Although the design and build quality are functional and acceptable, the Stuffcool Stuffbuds are inadequate in terms of sound quality, battery life, and value for money. While Rs. 4,999 is not a lot of money, the stuffbuds only provide the core functionality of truly wireless headphones and may only be acceptable for occasional listening in rooms where you need to hear your surroundings. It would make more sense to check out the Leaf Pods at this price, which are still our pick for the best affordable, truly wireless earbuds available today.
Price: Rs. 4,999
- Light and convenient
- Easy to use
- AAC codec support
- Poor sound insulation
- Some connection problems
- Average total battery life
- Dull, simple and not exciting sound
- Poor voice quality in noisy areas
Reviews (of 5)
- Design / comfort: 3.5
- Audio quality: 2.5
- Battery life: 3
- Value for money: 3.5
- Total: 3