I’ve never actually used true wireless earbuds before - the closest I've tried were earphones that pair wirelessly to your phone, but are wired from each end and hung around the neck.
With the slow but steady demise of the 3.5mm headphone jack however, Erato is cutting the cord completely to give us the true wireless experience with the Apollo 7.
And they're not alone - with the Apple AirPods and Samsung Gear IconX delivering the exact same concept, Erato's up against some tough compitition this holiday season. Let’s see if the crowdfunded underdog takes this one home.
One my first day with these earphones, I was a little hesitant on switching over to wireless and kept a wired pair in my bag just in case. But after the second day, I never wanted to be bound by wires again.
From the moment I placed my phone in my pocket, I instantly felt a sense of freedom and space which I never knew existed.
While you might find security in the tangibility of wires, it’s not that easy to lose a pair of wireless earbuds. As long as you don’t leave them lying around, they won’t go missing. And it didn’t take very long to get into the habit of putting them back in their case whenever I wasn't using them.
Though pairing through Bluetooth is not as straightforward as plugging a wire into your phone, connecting them is still fairly simple. Each earbud has a button on its side for you to switch on when pressed once, and to pair when held down. Pairing only needed to be done once because after that, the phone automatically connects once the Apollo 7s are switched on.
Which brings me to my first complaint, I wish they could’ve stayed switched on longer.
Three hours are all you get on a single charge. The Apollo 7's battery life isn't the best out there, with the AirPods outlasting them with 5 hours.
The solution to counter running out of juice? The case.
In addition to keeping your earbuds safe, the case also doubles as a portable charger. It’s able to hold two full charges and takes about an hour to fully juice up.
While battery life is a little shortlived, it's undoubtedly enough to last you a few days if you're using them mostly for commuting.
The charging case is the size of a box of tic-tacs so it fits perfectly in any pocket. There are two LED lights on the side that indicate when the earpiece or the case is charging, as well as a micro-USB port.
Push one end of the case and you’ll find a tray sliding out of the other. That’s where your earbuds sit but unfortunately, they’re not magnetic as I initially thought. Instead, you’ll have to exert a bit of force to snap them into place.
I assume the click you hear when successfully locking in the earbuds was meant to sound secure, however, clicking them in and yanking them out gave me this uneasy feeling that something might chip off.
The buds themselves are rather large, and perhaps not a perfect fit for tiny ear holes even with the smallest tips equipped. However, I’ve never had an issue with them falling off even whilst when running.
Speaking of running, I particularly enjoyed using them the most during workouts. The stabilizers that come in the box hold the earbuds firmly in place when you are moving around. They are also waterproof, so sweat and rain won’t be an issue.
What could be an issue though, is how they look on you. During my first few days, I got strange looks from people probably wondering what the heck was in my ears. But since wireless earbuds will eventually be a thing, might as well embrace them by happily blasting Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off.
Audio quality is crisp and clear and if you enjoy deep bass as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed. The Apollos however suffer from some latency issues.
While I can live with them taking a second to respond to volume adjustments, watching videos was another story. The audio almost never syncs with what’s on screen, making everything I watch seem like an English dub of a Japanese anime.
Each earbud also comes with microphones built into them, but after hearing what the audio quality is like, it might be better to stick with your phone’s mic. For starters, you will sound faint as if you are talking from a distance. I’m not sure if it’s because of the space between the mic and your mouth, the insensitivity of the mic or maybe both. Occasionally, some callers also mentioned my voice was being accompanied by a static noise.
All in all, is it worth your money? It’s a good sounding pair of earbuds that does the truly wireless job well. Though it won’t endure your continuous day-long music marathon, it holds up well for your daily commute and is a great companion during workouts.
So, if your priority is the sound and wireless experience, these are the earbuds you have been looking for. Headphone jacks are slowly facing their extinction in the smartphone realm, but the Apollo 7 moves forward cutting the cords, without compromising on sound quality.
The Erato Apollo 7 is available here for S$499