As TWS earphones become affordable, and affordable TWS earphones get better, we are gradually reaching a point where it is becoming both confusing and easier at the same time to find a pair of earphones that meet most of our requirements. While there are already a plethora of options available out there — from some of the popular audio-device manufacturers, as well as renowned smartphone makers — we have new pairs of earphones emerging almost every other week.
And the latest entrant, to add to the already crowded TWS space, are the all-new AirBass Propods from Boult Audio. The newest TWS from Boult were announced alongside three other TWS earphones in India last month, all of which target different price segments and cater to the needs of different customers. We have been testing the AirBass Propods for over a week now, and here is what we feel about the earphones.
Design, Build, and Fit
The AirBass Propods come in a small and compact box packaging. Inside the box, you get the earphones themselves, sitting inside the case, along with a small accessories box that includes a USB Type-C charging cable and two pairs of soft silicone ear tips.
Moving to the earphones, the AirBass Propods come in a boxy, rectangular-shaped charging case with curved edges all around. The case is built of plastic and has a matte finish. In terms of in-hand feel, the Propods do not feel too bulky and are comfortable to hold and also pocketable. Although, they could take some of that excess width chipped-down to have an overall slim profile. Right up front, you get the Boult Audio branding on the face, with four LEDs below that, to indicate the battery levels. The LEDs light up during charging and represent a full charge with all four LEDs turned on. Similarly, the LEDs also turn up when the earbuds are put back in the case after use, to indicate the charging status.
Boult AirBass Propods Case
Moving down towards the bottom of the case, there is a USB Type-C charging port. What’s unusual (and worrying) about the port is that, when the charging cable is connected, the connector does not completely ingress into the port cavity. As a reason, the connector does not sit flush with the case’s body, causing some part of the connector to stick out. While this might not be a big deal, the extra bit sticking out certainly induces unusual play in the port. And that does not exude confidence.
When opened, the earbuds sit in the case in their molded cutouts and have magnetic holdings to keep them in place. The magnetic holding is pretty solid, and it prevents the earbuds from falling off of the case. Moving to the rear, the hinge on the case makes the lid opening and closing feel just fine. Although, the top lid does sometimes make a creaking sound around the corners. Moreover, with the lid open, it is sometimes quite a task to keep the case upright, especially with the earbuds taken out of the case, possibly be due to its top-heavy lid.
On the inside, the case comes with charging pins in each cutout to charge the earbuds. Talking about earbuds, the design appears to be inspired by Apple’s AirPods Pro, with stem-like, angular in-ear shaped buds. The in-ear style offers a comfortable fit in the ear canal, and it also aids with sound isolation to cut down on the ambient noise. Similar to the charging case, which includes four LEDs, the earbuds also feature small LEDs on the stem to display the connection status.
Among other things, the AirBass Propods come with IPX5 certification, which means you can comfortably use them during workouts, without having to worry about damaging the internals. The snug fit offered by the earbuds ensures that they stay in your ears while performing activities and do not fall off easily. Besides, similar to most TWS earphones, there are the usual set of touch controls on both earbuds to perform different functions and summon the voice assistant.
Boult AirBass Propods: Performance and Features
The AirBass Propods utilize Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity. Connecting them the first time is fairly straightforward, and so is the auto-connect functionality, which instantaneously connects to the saved devices, with no connection issues whatsoever.
Boult AirBass Propods Bluetooth connectivity
In our testing, the earphones offered a pretty impressive range when used with both Android and iOS devices on the mobile side of things, and Windows and macOS on the PC side. At no point did we notice them struggle to keep the connection intact. However, the connect/disconnect alerts on the earphones are too loud and unpleasant — to a point where it gets terrifying if the volume levels are moderately high.
Talking about other features, the earphones come with touch controls on each earbud, which allow you to perform a few different operations, such as:
- Double-click – to play/pause
- Single-click – to answer/end calls
- Long press (2 seconds) – to reject calls
- Long press (3 seconds) – to trigger the voice assistant
Even though there are a bunch of operations that the company recommends you can perform on the Propods, the controls offered on them are nowhere close to perfect by any stretch. During our testing, a lot of the times, the earbuds did not even register a touch gesture. While at other times when they did, we noticed that they registered accidental touches on numerous occasions — to a point where it became annoying since the accidental touches, in some instances, caused the earbuds to go into mono mode. As a result, the situation required the earbuds to be placed in the case before they could be used in stereo mode again.
Call quality on Boult AirBass Propods
When it comes to calls, the AirBass Propods perform decently well. They offer clear audio of the person talking on the other side of the call, and the mic quality is also clear and audible to the person on the receiving end of the call. In no instance did I, or the person at the other end, face any noticeable issues during calls.
Multimedia and Gaming
In terms of content consumption, the earphones display no noticeable lag between audio and video and deliver a seamless experience. However, when gaming, there is an ever-so-slight delay (latency) in the response time, which is particularly noticeable on titles like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty. One of our biggest gripes with the Propods is that they lack the auto-play/pause functionality, which is something that is elementary and should have been provided. As with the feature missing, every time you need to pause a video or music, you are required to go the manual route to pause and resume the playback yourself.
Boult Audio AirBass Propods: Sound Quality
Talking about the core essentials of any audio equipment — the audio — with the AirBass Propods, you get just what their name suggests: a bass-heavy sound signature. So if you are someone who is all about such a sound signature, you will definitely like the thumping bass on these earbuds. However, for those who like a neutral (or even the slightly nuanced, balanced) sound signature, the Propods are not something that might interest you. And for fairly valid reasons.
For starters, the earphones emphasize too much on the low frequencies and offer bass that sometimes feels overwhelming and potentially tiring to listen to for long durations. The highs are not well pronounced — treble sounds mushy, and while the mids do crop out in some titles, the two are not easily discernible, which takes away the fun of listening to some of the instrument-heavy titles. Moreover, the instrument separation is also something that is not very clear and distinct. So if you are getting the earphones, do not expect a well-rounded sound quality.
In our testing, we fiddled around with the equalizer to bring some of that extra oomph factor (bass) down a bit and give the other frequencies — mids in particular — a little bit of tweaking, to reduce the mushy tonality. Once the changes were applied, the earbuds produced a much better listening experience and brought the frequencies that were otherwise getting muffled due to the over-punchy bass into life.
As for codec support, there is support for SBC and AAC codec, which is as basic as it gets.
The AirBass Propods offer a 400mAh battery inside the charging case and include a 36mAh battery inside each earbud. Without beating around the bush, we will say it out loud that the battery life on these earphones is very impressive. During our testing, in a single charge, the earbuds offered more than 4 hours of playback time at anywhere between 60-70% volume. When put inside the charging case, the 400mAh battery on the case managed to charge the earbuds 4 times. And on average, the earphones offered around 24 hours of total playback time, which is pretty good. When ran out of battery, the USB Type-C charging managed to charge the earphones completely in under 2 hours.
Boult Audio AirBass Propods Review: Verdict
The Boult Audio AirBass Propods carry a price tag of Rs 2349. For its price, the earphones offer a decent combination of good connectivity and solid range, fairly decent call quality, and lastly, an impressive battery life, which also happens to be its USP. While the audio department is something that the Propods do not shine well in, if you are someone who does not mind (or rather cherishes) the bass-heavy signature, you will be satisfied with the earphone’s performance. Moreover, if you are familiar with the know-how of equalizer and frequency tuning, you can tweak them a little to get an overall better sound experience. However, if you are alien to this category, you are better off with some other pair of TWS earphones, like the company’s very own AirBass LiveBuds (review), which come in at a similar price point and offer a somewhat balanced sound signature along with support for the aptX codec.
- IPX5 rating
- Good for workouts
- Impressive battery life
- Reliable connectivity and range
- Good noise isolation
- Overpowering bass
- Tiring to wear for long durations
- Average case build
|Build & design||
Boult Audio has, of late, introduced a slew of audio products in India, and the AirBass Propods are their latest offering in the TWS earphones space. Are they any good? Here's our review.