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[The Lab] Bullets Wireless - as seen by adrnjgr

  1. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 5, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 5, 2018 :
    lab bullets.jpg

    The sound you need

    I remember reading this article some time ago, The psychological functions of music listening. Why do we have this enigmatic behaviour? What are the reasons and the benefits of it? Turns out, quite a lot. And not only psychologically, but neurologically as well. We achieve self-awareness, but we also enhance our cognitive abilities.

    Music is a major part of past and current cultures and it’s a major part of our culture. We hit play at home, at work and on the go. So when the urge to listen to that Gojira, Rachmaninoff, or Nick Cave song kicks in, you go with the flow. And this is where the Bullets Wireless step in.

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    First things first. Specs

    Featuring AptX technology, the Bullets have a frequency range of 20 - 20.000Hz with a 32Ω impedance and a Sound Pressure Level of 97dB, with Energy Tubes. As far as the battery goes, a quick 10 minutes charge should give you up to 5 hours of listening time, with an 8 hours battery life when fully charged. But I’ll tell you more about specs and sounds these next days. I’ll be going more through how they look and feel now.


    Design & build quality


    OnePlus’ philosophy about great design and materials has carried on to these headphones. They look and feel amazing. The neck band is soft to the touch, with a smooth, velvety, but robust feel at the same time. An unobtrusive logo flanks the USB-C charging port on the left side of the band. The power button makes its way to the same left side. Further down you get the in-line controls, with volume keys at the top and bottom and a multi-functioning key in the middle. This is used to control music, answer and end calls and also to trigger the Google Assistant. There’s nothing on the right side battery pack - it’s quite convenient having all of the controls on the left side.

    For the actual ‘bullet’, OnePlus have gone with an aluminium build - robust, sturdy, but lightweight. The color is similar to the Mirror Black OP6 with some extra red details. You gotta love OnePlus’ attention to detail, it strikes me every single time. Here are some close-ups.

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    In the pack there’s this lovely, soft, bright red pouch to keep your Bullets safe, so you don’t throw them straight in your backpack when you’re not using them. A small charging cable is also included. Now, I do love the idea, the pouch feels great and it has little magnets at the opening that snap together to close it. Lovely. My issue, though, is that I’m not sure it’s large enough to fit the Bullets properly. I feel like I have to squeeze them in and I don’t know how the cables will hold to all that maneuvering.

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    Also in the pack, 3 different sized earplugs and two pair of fins, with another one already in place. I didn’t like them in the beginning , but a couple of days in I quite enjoy them, they do make the earplugs stay in place, especially while running.


    Quick setup

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    It actually is quick. Power on the Bullets, turn on Bluetooth on your phone and you’ll notice this ‘TAP TO PAIR’ pop-up. Click on it and it’s done. Nice and fast. You can adjust some settings in the Earphone mode, such as Auto Play and Call Information Broadcast (which is quite handy) and you’re good to go.

    And so am I. Thanks for going through all of this and catch you these days, for the second part of the review.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018

    #1
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  2. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 6, 2018

    Stickied Post
    adrnjgr , Jun 6, 2018 :
    Part 2 - Convenience

    So far I’ve been through the materials, build quality and feel of the Bullets. All of them important, all of them great. So that made for a great first impression. But it will never be enough to have a nice shiny product if it doesn’t work properly, or it’s very limited in its use. I’m happy to say that, in the time I’ve spent with the Bullets, I’ve come to learn that these are not just about the looks, but also about the brains.

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    Type-C everything

    One cable for all of your devices, that is the dream. I remember OnePlus putting a type-C charging port on the 2 in a time when micro-usb was still king. It didn’t really do much, but you had a future-proof charging port. Nowadays more and more devices use it and it makes so much sense to have it on the Bullets Wireless too. Convenient and future proof. Not to mention tangle proof, no more cables lying around. Plus, the Bullets do support fast charging with any USB-C cable. 10 minutes of charge give you about 5 hours of music. And a full charge, up to 8 hours. That’s what OnePlus claims, anyway. Now, I’ve been using them for a while and, so far, these are the stats. They do charge really fast and 10 minutes of charging actually gave me about 5 hours of use. Maybe more like 4, but I’d say something in between 4 and 5. They didn’t get from 0 to 100% in 25 minutes, more like 30-32, but I’d say that’s pretty on point, maybe it will need some more charging cycles to get there. As far as the 8 hour listening time, I’d say that’s accurate enough. I haven’t been using them for 8 hours in a row, more like 6-7 hours in a 4 day time frame, which for me, is just fine, considering the fast charging bit. There’s one thing I don’t like, though, the battery percentage shown on the phone. It seems to be decreasing by 10% increments, so when it hits 10%, you better make sure you’re near a plug, because they’re gonna go flat shortly.
    Anyway, back to the good bits.

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    Magnetic control & Google Assistant


    One of my favorite parts of the Bullets is the automatic play/pause when detaching/attaching the earbuds. I use it all the time - when I’m in a Sainsburry’s and I have to pay for my energy drink (do any of you have the Dash one? A collectible, by now), whenever I have to quickly chat to someone, or when I want to hear the city, not the music. A new Automatic Answer will be available in a short while for the OP 5/5T and 6. This will allow you to automatically answer the call by separating the buds. Sweet.

    A few things about the Assistant. For starters, I love it. I use it daily for quick things like reminders, weather and transport notifications, I ‘Shazam’ without Shazam, I can check if the lights are on in the bedroom (I tend to forget them like that), you name it. Having the Assistant built-in means that I can do all these without taking the phone out of my pocket. Just long-press the middle button on the in-line controls and you’re in. Ask it questions, tell it to play a song from Google Play Music, send text messages or make calls.
    The day to day use has been good, so far, although, sometimes, the volume of the Assistant is quite low. It’s not an usual thing, but it does happen. Maybe it’s just me.

    Anyway, making the Bullets compatible with GA was a smart move from OnePlus considering they will compete with the Google Pixel Buds which are twice as expensive. So, yes, another win. I guess the last one is about sound quality, but I’ll leave that for the next part of my review.

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    Water-resistance


    To wrap things up, yet another convenient thing - the Bullets Wireless are water resistant, for normal use, anyway (no IP certification). I don’t know about you, but whenever it started to rain I’d make sure I’d take my headphones off just to make sure they won’t get wett and, well, it is annoying, especially when you’re off for a run. These being water resistant and having the fins that keep them securely in place make them my all-time favorite headphones for sports activities. Next up, I’ll see if they can be more than that.
     

    #8
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  3. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 7, 2018

    Stickied Post
    adrnjgr , Jun 7, 2018 :
    Part 3 - Sound

    I have this vague memory of my mom having a music box. It was an old one, or so it seemed, made of white crystal with these red flowers surrounding it. It would play ‘Beethoven’s Fur Elise’ in a simply delicious way, like having small bells tumbling down the stairs into my ears. I’m not entirely sure, but that might have been my first music-related memory. So I ended up loving classical music. I then discovered the ‘laissez-faire’ of jazz and the utterly calming, ironically maybe, sensation of metal - I still fall asleep to Sepultura and Tool. These Wireless Bullets turn out to be great for this kind of music, and not so great for dnb or any other bass oriented genres, because, well, they kinda lack this. Sort of.

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    Now, I’m not going to say I’m this musical aficionado with impeccable taste and a spot-on music ear. So, I guess this review won’t be much about tech and numbers, Hz and decibels, but about feelings and sensations. I did point out some specs on a previous review (please, do read it) so I won’t be going to much into that.

    Powered by Qualcomm aptX. This is what pops-up on the screen when the Bullets Wireless get connected and start playing something. This should give you a comforting feel of quality. There’s LDAC too, if you’re into that. To select it, just make sure you enable Developer options, head on to ‘Select Bluetooth Audio Codec’ and pick your weapon. The thing is, I can’t seem to make it remember my option, it resets itself to default. A bug, presumably. Bummer. Either/or, as I was saying, these have a top-notch (I had to) sound quality, especially on classical and jazz, and, well, genres that tap more into treble, rather than bass. They actually sound pleasing on these specific types of songs, nice and clear. And those energy tubes OP is talking about, they actually do create a proper isolation. Less reverberations, more sound. Plus, there’s close to nothing sound leakage and this is good for two reasons. One, you can go into ‘ignore the world mood’ without disturbing anyone and, two, the better isolated they are, the lower you have to set the volume, so you're less prone to damaging your hearing. Science.

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    Bullets Wireless VS Bullets

    In case you have been using the wired Bullets and because I've been asked to (@Sebilion :) ) here's a short comparison between the first gen and the second one. I’ve been using the regular Bullets for about 6 months now, and they’ve been reliable. Lightweight, dependable and with a proper sound, they replaced my Marshall on-ears quite a few times on my morning commute. And I will still use them, even after testing the Wireless ones. But you have to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. OnePlus have been working on this wireless version for two years and you can see, well, hear, the improvements. You get a clearer, rounder sound, overall. On this song I’ve been playing both on B and WB, Hugh Laurie’s rendition of ‘Swanee River’ I can properly hear all the instruments, all the notes and, particularly the double bass (funny, huh?) on the wireless version. Hugh’s voice is less gritty, more natural, and the piano notes just melted into my ears. That’s my take, anyway. So, yes, if you ask me, the Wireless Bullets have a better sound quality over the old Bullets. Not to mention the other advantages they have such as, well, being wireless (kinda, anyway), water resistant, having an intuitive magnetic control and having Google Assistant build-in.

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    Conclusion

    Now, keep in mind, the quality of the sound isn’t a headphones only thing. You do get a better sound when listening to the same song in FLAC on various player (I use BlackPlayer) rather than in Google Play Music, let’s say. But I do enjoy convenience, so with about 35 million songs at my fingertip, I tend to go with that over my music in Black. So, yes, this is another thing to consider when making a purchase. If you are that music aficionado who invests massively in various sound systems and is extremely rigorous about sound specs, you might wanna get a different pair of headphones. But when you are paying $69 for the Wireless Bullets, you get a well-balanced, more than decent sound quality, a stylish and weatherproof design, the smarts of Google Assistant and the amazing integration with your OnePlus phone. And I call that a win.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

    #15
    Nick 59, Romain Cudon and Sebilion like this.
  4. HBP87
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 5, 2018


    #2
    adrnjgr likes this.
  5. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 5, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 5, 2018 :
    Well, I guess it depends on the type of music you listen.
    They're not the 'bassiest' earphones out there. By default, anyway. But it's a clean base, you can hear it properly. Especially the guitar one, not the electronic.
     

    #3
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  6. outpin
    Honeycomb Jun 5, 2018


    #4
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  7. fragargon
    Jelly Bean Jun 5, 2018

    fragargon , Jun 5, 2018 :
    What music app are u using for testing these earplugs? It turns out that I'm using Poweramp and sounds through apt-x are overloaded.
     

    #5
  8. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 5, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 5, 2018 :
    I'm mostly on Google Play Music, but I use Black Player for FLACs.
     

    #6
    fragargon likes this.
  9. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 5, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 5, 2018 :
    Apparently it requires root permission. I don't think we're allowed to root these review phones just yet.
     

    #7
  10. Martin_VN
    Ice Cream Sandwich Jun 6, 2018


    #9
    adrnjgr likes this.
  11. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 6, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 6, 2018 :
    Thank you, Martin, I appreciate it.
     

    #10
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  12. Sebilion
    Eclair Jun 6, 2018


    #11
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  13. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 6, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 6, 2018 :
    Hey there, thanks for dropping by. I'm actually writing my review just now and I'm covering this point too. Well, I'll tag you so you can remember to come back tomorrow and read about it. :)
     

    #12
    Sebilion likes this.
  14. Sebilion
    Eclair Jun 6, 2018

    Sebilion , Jun 6, 2018 :
    Thanks! I really appreciate it! I will buy the tempered glass for my OnePlus 6 and I want to know whether to buy it alone or with the bundle. Thank you for your reviews [e]1f603[/e]
     

    #13
  15. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 6, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 6, 2018 :
    Glad I can help and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. :)
     

    #14
    Sebilion likes this.
  16. Sebilion
    Eclair Jun 7, 2018

    Sebilion , Jun 7, 2018 :
    Thank you so much for the comparison! Very nice review!
     

    #16
    adrnjgr likes this.
  17. adrnjgr
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Jun 7, 2018

    adrnjgr , Jun 7, 2018 :
    You're quite welcome, I hope it's helpful.
    Thank you again for going through my reviews :)
     

    #17