Reviews

Awei A980BL (Review)

Written by Adrin S

The Awei A980BL is one of various Awei in-ear earphones aimed at sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Like its other siblings, the A980BL is priced below $20 which makes it very affordable. It’s one of those models that don’t feature a wrap-around headband design that press the earpieces onto your head. The A980BL instead features a flat noodle-shaped cord that hangs loosely at the back of your neck, partially supported by a small clip which is supposed to be attached to whatever clothing you’re wearing.

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Somewhere along that flat cord is a small pill-shaped control module which houses the power button, volume up (previous) and volume down (next) buttons. It also houses the microphone and micro USB port for charging the battery. The earpieces feature built-in magnets that lets you join them together when they’re not in use. This is a nice feature to have when you want to store the earphones away or just let them hang securely around your neck.

Highlights
  • Sweat and splash-proof
  • CVC 6.0 intelligent noise reduction
  • 4 to 5 hours battery life (200 hours standby time)
  • Power display (iOS only)
  • Support multi-point connection (multiple devices)
Specifications
  • Bluetooth version: V4.0
  • Workable distance: 10m (barrier-free space)
  • Charging time: 1 hours
  • Charging voltage: DC 5V
  • Sensitivity: 110dB + / – 3dB
  • Frequency response: 20-20000Hz

Awei markets the A980BL as sports earphones and claims it is “sweat-proof”. However, it is important to note that moisture-proofing on the A980BL is not as good as on the A880BL. This is because the micro USB port does not have a rubber seal that prevents moisture from entering it. In other words, the port is fully exposed to the elements.

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If you use the A980BL for workouts in the gym or for running on dry sunny days, then the exposed USB port shouldn’t be a problem unless you sweat so profusely that a lot of sweat gets into the port. If you’re involved in activities that involve plenty of exposure to moisture then you might want to seal off the port with an electrician’s tape or maybe just get the A880BL which has a rubber seal for its USB port.

Fit is a bit tricky with the A980BL unless you know the correct way of placing them in your ears. The ear bud hole diameter on the A980BL is about 1mm bigger than most other in-ear earphones that I have tested. This means the A980BL will have problems staying put in your ears if you have smaller than average ear canals. I find that after a minute or two, the earphones tend to slip out slowly before getting completely dislodged.

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This problem can be solved if you tuck the rear of the earpieces (the area that has that round circular aluminum shape) against the inner part of your ear lobes (refer to the image above). This helps provide the earpieces with pressure to stay put and not get dislodged after some time. It’s a bit difficult to describe in words how to do this but the key idea here is to understand that the earpieces need some form of external pressure to keep them gently pressed into your ear canals — this can be done by using the inner surface of your ear lobes.

The incorrect way of wearing your A980BL earphones.

The incorrect way of wearing your A980BL earphones.

When properly lodged in your ears, the A980BL won’t come off easily unless you’re into some kind of extreme sport. I’ve used them in the gym and on long runs and they hardly get dislodged. Don’t forget to secure the cord onto your clothing using the supplied clip as the weight of the control module can yank the earpieces out over time.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is where the A980BL shines the most. The bass may not be as punchy as what you’d get from the A880BL but it is tight and well controlled. The lows are not sloppy and they sound a lot better than the A880BL‘s. They are what truly separates the A980BL from its more expensive sibling.

With that said, the A980BL is a better all-rounder when it comes to sound quality. If you’re looking for earphones that pump out audio that sounds natural, the A980BL is a great choice. Sound quality is reasonably clear and crisp throughout the frequency range. For a pair of Bluetooth earphones that cost just $16 shipped, the A980BL produces some incredibly good sound.

Due to the slightly subdued bass, these are not the earphones that you want if you like your music punchy with a strong V-shape sound signature. For that, the A880BL does a better job. However, if you want something that sounds warmer and not too extreme on any part of the frequency range then the A980BL is the better performer.

Conclusion

The A980BL makes a great all-rounder pair of earphones. It performs reasonably well outdoors and for sports and it is also great for any couch potato pursuits you might have in mind. Without a rubber seal for its USB port, exposing the A980BL to too much moisture may not be a good idea. Fit can also be a bit tricky, especially when they’re not placed properly in your ears.

The best part of the A980BL is its sound quality. These are earphones you want to get if you need sound quality that is clean and crisp throughout the frequency range. Though not as punchy as some other earphones, the bass on the A980BL is tight and well-controlled.

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After several weeks of using the A980BL, I conclude it’s great for both indoor and outdoor use and although it doesn’t exactly excel in any particular situation, it doesn’t disappoint either. For sports and fitness activities, it may not be as good as other earphones such as the A880BL which were designed for active physical pursuits but bear in mind that the A880BL is meant for more general purpose use.

For extreme outdoor pursuits, it’s better to just get earphones that feature a headband design or hooks that wrap themselves around your ear lobes to secure the earpieces in place. With that said, if you’re looking for good all-rounder earphones that cost less than $20 and feature a natural sound profile, the A980BL is an excellent option.

The Awei A980BL can be purchased for $16 with shipping at GearBest.

 

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Adrin S

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