As a passionate developer, I hear lots of podcasts (mainly programming & tech but other subjects too) and I do it all the time. On my commute, when I ride my bike, when I run, even when I do the dishes or doing any other boring activity, as it enriches my knowledge and makes me feel I’m not just “wasting time”. That’s why good earphones are a must.
See these earphones in the picture? They look like the Beats brand (Dr. Dre) but they’re not. These are fake Beats, which I bought in the famous MBK Center at Bangkok.
I was absolutely aware to the fact that they were fake, and if you’d ask the sellers they seem to not even try to lie (the same applies to the other ninety-something percent of products sold in MBK). That’s fine – I just wanted decent bluetooth earphones since my beloved Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 ones were smashed by cars on a highway (don’t ask me why. I’m not willing to get into it and I’ve already disclosed too much).
Anyway, these earphones cost about 1/10 the price of genuine Beats ones. So I bought them since there was really nothing to lose. I did try them on at the store though and the sound was great. What could go wrong?
Well, apparently several things can go wrong that you can’t quite see at the store:
- They speak Thai. Yes – you’ve read correctly. Bluetooth headphones need to speak to you – when you turn them on and off, when the battery is low, when they’re pairing. These ones speak, but in Thai. OK, so with a bit of common sense it’s not much of a drama – you figure it out by yourself. You’re just wondering how could they come up with quite sophisticated electronics and not get an English speaker (via Fiverr maybe?) to say about 4 short fragments.
See that long unit in the middle? That’s the “brain”. That’s where the battery and the Bluetooth chip are. The earphones are just “dumb” in-ear units. So far not a problem. What you find though when you walk with them is that since the weight is on that unit, the wire on that side of your head (right side) pushes down in the expense of the left side, so it’s not “balanced” nicely around your neck. And you always have to pull the left side until it’s balanced, just to have it get out of balance again 5 seconds later. Very annoying. That’s just lack of engineering. With the Plantronics ones I mentioned before, the “brain” is inside the right-side earpiece.
The cable is thin – not the tangle-free type. So the wire gets tangled and never comes back to its original shape.
After a few weeks, one earpiece stopped working. A week after – the second earpiece stopped working. Adios, fake Beats.
So, I didn’t invest a fortune but – they’re retired and even when they worked it wasn’t a great experience.
You get what you pay for. There’s a phrase in Hebrew that in free translation says something like “I don’t have enough money to buy cheap”. This is so true. Do yourself a favor – when you want to buy something you want to enjoy from – especially long term – don’t buy cheap substitutions. YOLO.
p.s. and what I did eventually? bought another pair of BackBeat Go 2. Trusted quality.