Rowkin Bit Charge Touch

Rowkin’s claim to fame is having “The world’s smallest true wireless Bluetooth headphones” and the company’s Micro Touch and Bit Charge Touch are indeed very small and compact. Unfortunately, however, that's not the only thing they have in common: both pairs of headphones suffer from the same frustrating fit, overwhelming bass, and finicky touch controls. 

What is different between the two is the Bit Charge Touch’s massive charging case battery, which doubles as a phone charger in a pinch. And while it’s nice to have such a big battery on board, they’re not worth the frustration especially when the competition has gotten so good. 

Overall, for their $130 (around £100, AU$180) price point, there are much better alternative true wireless headphones for only slightly more money.  

Design

What's good about them is that the Rowkin Bit Charge Touch are very compact, bullet-shaped earbuds that don’t stick out very much. They’re not the most low profile earbuds (the honor goes to the Crazy Baby Air) but they certainly look sleeker than more mainstream earbuds like the Bose SoundSport Free

Unfortunately that means there aren't any physical controls, and instead the Bit Charge Touch feature capacitive touch controls on each earbud. 

We found these controls to be frustrating to use as not every tap registered and tapping harder would unseat the earbuds. They’re also incredibly slippery thanks to their round shape and glossy plastic. 

Thankfully, the charging case is where the Bit Charge Touch differentiates itself from the competition: It features a huge 2,100 mAh battery, which can charge the earbuds to achieve a total of 50 hours of music playback. The charging case doubles as a phone charger in a pinch, which is a nice feature. The charging case uses microUSB, which is a bit annoying considering most phones have transitioned to USB-C. 

Also neat, the case also features a unique, “push-up” style mechanism that allows the earbuds to be picked up. Strong magnets hold the earbuds in place so even though they’re exposed to the elements while in the charging case, you won’t lose them. This design works well but it’s a little worrying that the earbuds aren’t enclosed. 

Performance

In terms of sound, the Rowkin Bit Charge Touch are bass-heavy and loud. 

While that makes the Bit Charge fun to listen to for EDM enthusiasts, the bass does overwhelm the mids and highs, forcing vocals to the background and obscuring the detail in the highs - making them less ideal for other genres of music. 

The powerful bass hinges on having a tight seal and getting a proper fit is nearly impossible with the Rowkin Bit Charge Touch. The driver tubes are quite large in diameter, making them stiff and bulky in the ear. Simple things like chewing or smiling will also unseat the earbuds because they don’t have anything bracing them in the ear canal. We found ourselves adjust and readjusting the earbuds constantly during our testing, even after trying all of the included eartips. 

While the earbuds themselves are only rated for 3.5 hours of music playback (and our testing showed closer to 3), the massive battery case can charge the earbuds to a total 50 hours of combined playback and allowed us to go over a week without charging the case using the earbuds 6 hours a day. 

The batteries inside the the earbuds themselves aren't class-leading - especially compared to Jabra Elite 65t, which lasts up to 5 hours on a single charge - but the 50-hour battery case more than makes up for that shortcoming.

Verdict

The Rowkin Bit Charge Touch feature fun, bassy sound and a long-lasting battery case but, unfortunately, these pros aren’t enough to offset the earbud's cons. The frustrating fit and touch controls drove us crazy throughout our testing. 

Compounding those issues, the competition has gotten so good that you can get better earbuds for around the same price or for slightly more money - if you’re on a budget, the Optoma NuForce BE Free5 are a great entry-level pair of true wireless earbuds and, if you can spend more, it’s hard to beat the Jabra Elite 65t.  

If you're after small, long-lasting true wireless earbuds and don't care about sound or fit, the Rowkin Bit Charge Touch might work for you. Otherwise, there are plenty of other options out there worthy of your hard-earned dollars instead.



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/rowkin-bit-charge-touch