6 hour battery life + additional 6 hours from charging case
What are the Philips Bass+ True Wireless Headphones?
More and more ‘true wireless’ earphones are hitting the market from familiar brand names, and the Bass+ are Philips’ first entry. At £99.99 they join the likes of the Motorola Stream (£80) in providing more budget-friendly alternatives to the Apple AirPods.
While these true wireless buds sound respectable for the money, and they have decent battery life off a single charge, their unusual design isn’t going to win most people over.
Philips Bass+ True Wireless Headphones – Design and comfort
When the Apple AirPods were first unveiled, they invited a certain degree of ridicule for their design. Admittedly I was among those poking some fun.
Well, the Bass+ now take the crown as the goofiest looking true wireless earphones around. The sheer size of them and amount they protrude from your ear make them look ridiculous. I actually felt self-conscious wearing them out in public.
The Bass+ use silicone tips that insert into your ear canal, and these are joined by a stability fin to help lock the headphones in place. The problem is the exterior casing, which extends another centimetre out of your ear and has another fin-shaped extension.
I think there’s a reason Philips hasn’t got any side-on official photos of the Bass+; they’re all conveniently framed straight-on, masking how big they are. With them in your ears it looks like you have a pair of antennae sticking out the side of your head.
Each of the exterior fins has a Philips logo and there’s a ‘+’ emblazoned on the outside of each earbud, too. These are actually multi-function buttons that support single, double and triple presses to carry out different actions, such as adjusting volume and skipping tracks.
The buttons don’t require much to press, with only a bit of travel, meaning you can push them by accident if you’re adjusting the fit.
While these aren’t running headphones, I actually found them relatively OK in terms of comfort and fit when taken out for a jog when I had no other headphones with me. They’re not designed to deal with sweat, so it’s probably not a good idea to run regularly with them.
Like most true wireless earphones, these come with a charging case that tops up the battery while also stowing them away. You get about six hours of use off a single charge, which is more than you get with most true wireless options, perhaps owing to their larger size.
While this is impressive, the amount of charge from the case isn’t. You only get an additional six hours’ top-up, totalling 12 hours of use. It’s not a massive issue, but it’s disappointing considering just how big the charging case is. It’s a similar size and shape to a fun-size can of Coke.
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The Bass+ use Bluetooth 4.1 for their wireless connection, and I found it reliable, never dropping connection or introducing any annoying digital blips that other true wireless options have been prone to.
Annoyingly, though, the Bass+ don’t automatically turn on when removed from their charging case. You have to hold the button to turn them on and then it takes a few seconds before they connect to your phone over Bluetooth. Also, be sure to power on the left earbud first.
Initially I made the mistake of powering on the right bud first, which I’ve found is the default ‘primary’ bud on most true wireless options. Doing this will require you to turn the left one on manually. If you turn on the left bud, it’ll power up the right bud for you.
Inside each Bass+ is an 8.2mm driver and, as you might expect considering the name, these are tuned towards the low end. It makes for a fun if unrefined listening experience. There’s plenty of bass presence, but it’s well controlled and doesn’t become flabby or too overpowering. If your playlists consist predominantly of hip hop or electronica, you’ll probably enjoy the extra energy and warmth.
Why buy the Philips Bass+ True Wireless Headphones?
If you can look past the goofy design, there’s a decent amount to like with the Bass+. Six hours of continuous use is impressive, and the sound quality is very respectable as long as you’re not after much subtlety.
For me personally, I couldn’t get past how they look in my ears. I was also disappointed by the limited charge provided by the oversized charging case. If you’re in a similar boat, the Jam Ultra or Motorola Stream are slightly cheaper with less of the foibles.
Decent sound quality, but these true wireless headphones aren’t lookers.