Rock Jaw Avant Air Review
Odd looks but satisfying sound
Not the flashiest earbuds, but the Rock Jaw Avant Air are assured performers for an affordable price as a result of their balanced sound, decent battery life and rugged design.
- Measured, balanced sound
- Plenty of battery life
- Rugged design
- Look a bit odd
- Beaten for dynamics
- Inconvenient process for pairing with other devices
- UKRRP: £74.99
- Battery lifeTwelve hours per charge and 39 in total
- Bluetooth streamingSBC, AAC and aptX for compatibility with Android and iOS devices
- Water resistanceStronger IPX5 resistance against sweat and rain
The Avant Air are Rock Jaw’s first entry into the true wireless market. A small, British family-run audio brand that started in 2012, they’re in a true wireless sea where there are plenty of sharks looking to gobble them up.
And so, perhaps wisely, the Avant Air eschew features such as ANC and Transparency mode for a stripped-down experience. And given they initially launched at £119.99, the drop to its current (and seemingly permanent) price of £74.95 appears wise, the Avant Air carving out a niche between the oh-so cheap options and budget heavyweights.
- Odd appearance
- Rugged design
- Swappable wing-tips
The Avant Air aren’t lookers by any means. Their shape is like Cambridge Audio’s Melomania Touch, but the Avant Air take on a more rugged, insect-like appearance.
Perhaps that’s harsh, but the antennae-like protruding fins serve to keep the earbuds in the ear. While I’ve not found time to take them out on runs, their shape suggests they have the qualities required for such use.
In general use, the earbuds sat tightly in the ears, although they did become slightly loose over the course of long walks. So, some tweaking is required; overall, though, the design’s passive isolating effect works well to smother most external sounds. A snug fit also has the effect of boosting bass, with the selection of ear-tips offering further means of finding the best fit.
Either one of the wing-tip and boarder ring can be pulled off to give the earbuds a more ‘normal’ appearance. You may want to consider taking the silicone underside off for a clean, too – my review sample seemed a magnet for dust.
The Rock Jaw employ touch controls, and oftentimes with earbuds less than £100, that can cause anxiety; but the Avant Air perform well, covering all the bases. A tap controls playback with a quick double-tap for volume on either earbud. Three taps on the left side activates a mobile device’s voice assistant, while three taps on the right launches Game mode. Track skipping is handled by a hold. When it comes to responsiveness, if the first tap didn’t register, the second usually did.
The charging case supports USB-C, wireless and fast-charging, and there’s a button around the back that resets the earbuds for pairing to another device. The only misstep is that the charging lights are inside the case, so you can’t see the current charge without having to open the case.
- Long battery life
- Good water resistance
- Can’t use with two devices at once
There’s no control app accompanying the Avant Air, which means there’s no no way to fiddle with the earbuds’ sound profile. The T5 Ultra Connect had tuning filters to customise sound, but the only real means of tweaking audio will be experimenting with the ear-tips.
Battery life is 12 hours per charge and 39 hours in total – although 39 isn’t exactly divisible by 12. In any case, it’s a distance ahead of some bigger brands at this price. I used the Avant Air as my main pair, and if you include the 11 or so hours to ‘burn’ them in, it took a week to run the battery down. That’s good going, so longer than a week is eminently doable.
Bluetooth connectivity is v5.2, with SBC, AAC and aptX onboard for streaming audio. No issues were had with signal strength in busy areas, but in more normal situations the Rock Jaw were prone to some drops – and I’m not entirely sure of the reason.
The Avant Air don’t support connection to two devices at the same time. In fact, to pair with a new device requires the earbuds to be reset. A few attempts didn’t work, so it was easier to hit ‘forget’ in the smartphone settings to put them into pairing mode. Nevertheless, it’s a bit of an inconvenience.
There’s no built-in voice assistant but Alexa, Google and Siri can all be called upon via touch controls. Water resistance is IPX5, which makes the Rock Jaw more capable of handling wet weather than IPX4 rated earbuds.
Game mode puts the Avant Air into what’s described as a “super-low latency”. Activation may come at a cost to audio quality, but while playing Sonic Racing on an iPad Pro, I heard no difference. A nice feature to have, but essential? I’m not sure. Playback was at least smooth.
A last word on call quality, which was average for a true wireless. Pick up of voices was faint at times, and the Rock Jaw appear susceptible to picking up background noise in busy areas.
- Balanced, measured sound
- Beaten for dynamism
- Smooth vocal delivery
It could be said the budget true wireless market suffers from an overwhelming amount of choice, so my first thought was to judge the Avant Air on how they stand out. But that’s not the vibe they go for. If anything, the focus is on getting the basics right in a solid, unflashy way.
With a stream of Massive Attack’s Teardrop playing, the Avant Air handles the bassline fine, although there’s a tempered aspect about how strongly bass is conveyed at normal listening levels. Flick up the volume and the Avant Air exude more confidence. Compare them to the one of our favourites around this price – the PurePlay Z3 2.0 (in LDX mode) –– and the transmits more depth and power with low frequencies.
Pushing up the volume helps the Rock Jaw find surer footing. There’s a reserved aspect to them at normal listening levels, their feel for dynamism best described as fair. But they open up and become more fluent, although compared again to the Lypertek with a listen of Joe Hisaishi’s Water Traveller, the Lypertek earbuds are more expressive performers.
At the top end the Lypertek earbuds edge the Rock Jaw with a sharper, brighter and more refined approach. And their sense of energy and rhythmic ability sees them ahead, too – but that’s not to discount the Avant Air’s approach.
The Avant Air’s more measured and composed approach showcases a nice, even-handed sense of tonality. Definition is broadly described, but that’s par for the course at this price – and, in general, detail and clarity are solidly conveyed. Their balance makes them a good option across a spread of music genres, neither overplaying nor underplaying the music they’re fed.
Vocals are delivered smoothly, the tuning of the earbuds keeping sibilant tones away. There perhaps isn’t as much emotion in the delivery of Hannah Reid’s voice in London Grammar’s Lord It’s a Feeling, but there’s a better sense of space awarded to vocals than the Lypertek grants them, with more care in the balance between vocals and instrumentation.
The Avant Air offer solid timing, along with a detailed, clean delivery (noise is minimised). They’re not the last word in dynamics – but, in other regards, they’re a consistently enjoyable listen.
Should you buy it?
If you value the simple things There’s little that’s complicated about the Avant Air: their audio output is balanced for the price, with lengthy battery life and solid fit. They’re a more assured pair of earbuds than cheaper true wireless.
If you want more control over the sound At the original price the Avant Air were mixing up against efforts with their own control apps, so if you’re someone who likes to tweak the sound to their tastes, consider going up a price bracket.
Get past the odd appearance and the Rock Jaw Avant Air are polished performers. In terms of features, there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, but the Avant Air put in a solid and reliable performance that isn’t to be underestimated.
Given the price – currently £74.95 on the Rock Jaw site – the Avant Air find themselves in bargain territory. If smarts aren’t of interest and noise cancelling isn’t needed, the Avant Air’s focus on the simple things appeals, especially for those looking for a pair of buds for personal use and workouts.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested with real world use
Test over several weeks
Tested with music streaming services
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No, these earbuds can only connect to one device at a time.