Ameya DalviMay 17, 2022 12:49:51 IST
Price: Rs 4,695
– IP55 dust and sweat resistance
– Excellent battery backup and standby time
– Fast charging support through USB-C port
– Above average sound quality
– Foldable design makes them easy to carry
-Can be used as wired headphones with an Aux cable
– Narrow soundstage and below par detail in audio
– Only supports SBC codecs
– Average call quality
Most of the true wireless earbuds as well as wireless neckband earphones flaunt an IP rating for fluid resistance. That feature is yet rare when it comes to good old on-the-ear or over-the-ear headphones. While quite a few users still prefer the big boys, they refrain from wearing them during workouts to save them from sweat damage. Philips is looking to target this very crowd with their new TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones that offer IP55 dust and splash resistance, and make an ideal gym buddy. Let’s take a closer look.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Build, design, comfort: 7/10
The Philips TAA4216BK is solidly built out of good quality plastic with a smooth matte finish. The weight has been kept in check too at a little over 200 grams. The gel-filled ear-cups sit well on the ear with slightly extra pressure than ideal. The tighter grip is understandable given that this is a sports headphone, and one wouldn’t want it to wobble during jogs or workouts. The headband has a rubber padding that eliminates discomfort at the top of your head.
The earcups can be turned and folded making the product easier to carry around, and it doesn’t take much space in your bag either. A carry pouch is missing here which would have been a useful addition. The right ear-cup hosts all the playback control keys and connectors. A 3.5 mm aux input and a USB-C port are located under a rubber flap next to a microphone and a status LED. A USB charging cable and an aux cable are present in the package.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Key features: 6.5/10
The USP of this sports headphone is its IP55 rated dust and fluid resistance. So one can stop worrying about sweat or a light drizzle damaging this product and wear it during workouts. Beyond that, the Philips TAA4216BK is a basic pair of Bluetooth 5.0 wireless headphones with support for only SBC codec. Forget aptX, the company hasn’t even bothered providing support for AAC here. There is no multipoint support either.
Yes, this product can also be used as a wired headphone using an aux cable. The right ear-cup hosts three physical buttons that include the volume rockers and a play/pause button that doubles up as a power switch as well as a Bluetooth pairing button. Long pressing the volume up and down keys lets you jump to next and previous tracks respectively. This headphone is uncomplicated to use even for a novice.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Performance: 7/10
The wireless range on these headphones is quite good up to the advertised 10 metre mark with a clear line of sight; no complaints there. Pairing this device with a phone or a tablet is also a standard and straightforward process. You don’t get a companion app to configure this product or update its firmware. Each ear cup hosts a 40 mm dynamic driver and the overall battery reserves stand at 350 mAh that claim to deliver 35 hours of play time; a claim we will verify shortly.
Typically when you think of an audio product for the gym, bass-heavy sound is something that comes to mind straight away. The Philips TAA4216BK is not a typical product in that sense. The bass here is adequate and tight but not over the top, which is a good thing. Bassheads can look elsewhere. About 60 to 70% loudness range suffices in most cases. The overall sound quality is perfectly fine for casual listening or during workouts, if you are not one to focus on finer detail in audio.
It is also a good option for watching web series and movies. The latency is low enough and there was no noticeable lag between the video and audio when watching content on various OTT platforms. There is ample clarity in the dialogues and there is considerable thump in action sequences. In music, the lows are reproduced well and do not overstep their boundaries. Thanks to that, the midrange response is quite clean, mainly the vocals. The highs are decent but roll off a bit sooner than they should.
The detail in audio is not this headphone’s forte, nor is the instrument separation, which is average at best. That is probably a result of a narrow soundstage that makes the output feel crammed in a smaller place. If you mainly listen to Bollywood, EDM or Pop, the Philips TAA4216BK sounds pretty good, and you won’t have many reasons to complain. Genres like Rock, Metal and other instrument heavy types aren’t too enjoyable here. But let’s not forget, we are looking at a sports headphone, and the overall output is perfectly fine for that purpose.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Call quality: 6/10
Like most on-the-ear headphones, the call quality is just about acceptable in quieter areas. Things are generally fine indoors, and the people on either end of the call are audible to each other with reasonable clarity. In noisy environments and windy outdoors, the clarity drops significantly as the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise as well as wind noise. The person on the call complained a lot about it. So when outdoors, it is best to move to a quieter corner or answer the call on your phone directly.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Battery life: 9/10
Battery life is where this Philips product shines. The company claims that the TAA4216BK’s battery can last up to 35 hours, and the estimate is not too distant from reality. It lasted over 30 hours of playback at 60 to 70% loudness for the better part of my testing. So if you use them for approximately 3 hours daily, you may not have to go looking for a charger for 10 days. The standby time is even better, which I accidentally stumbled upon.
Due to certain unforeseen events, I couldn’t use this headphone for two to three weeks after I started testing it. To my surprise, there was hardly a drop in the battery level in that period. I checked the battery level again after an hour of use to check for incorrect reporting, but no, it does have a great standby time. This headphone takes about 2 hours to charge fully using a standard USB-C charger.
It supports fast charging too; a 15 minutes charge can give you 2 hours of playback, as per the company. In reality, it lasted close to 3 hours after 15 mins of charging. That is a great option in case they are out of juice just before you head to the gym. A few minutes of refuelling should suffice a full workout session.
Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Price and verdict
The Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphone is officially priced at Rs 8,999 with a one year warranty. But worry not, it can often be spotted for as low as Rs 4,695. Who should buy it? If you are looking for the best sounding wireless headphones under Rs. 5,000, this is not a product you should bother with. But most of the better sounding headphones do not have an IP rating, and you run the risk of sweat damaging them.
This Philips product can relieve you of that anxiety thanks to its IP55 ingress protection. I cannot think of any other on-the-ear headphones in this budget with that feature and comparable sound quality. Let’s not forget its excellent battery backup and standby time, fast charging and sturdy build. So if you are looking for a gym-proof pair of headphones, the Philips TAA4216BK makes a strong case for itself.
All the wireless alternatives I can think of in this budget belong to a different form factor – either wireless neckband earphones or true wireless earbuds. As for the latter, two options come to mind straight away under Rs 5,000. The OnePlus Buds Z2 and Realme Buds Air 3 both offer IPx5 splash resistance and significantly better sound and call quality. You also get active noise cancellation if you like to isolate yourself from the world around you at times.
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