Over the past few years, Bluetooth headphones have become a bit of an obsession of mine. As a geek, wires have become the bane of my existence. However, as an audiophile, scratchy or hollow playback irritates me to no end. Together, these elements have led me on a potentially endless quest for the perfect set of Bluetooth headphones. Most recently, I picked up the AF32s by MEElectronics. I've had the chance to play around with the AF32s for a few weeks now and, while my quest will continue, they scratch a couple important itches of mine.
First thing most people will notice, these are some stylish headphones. The AF32s come in three color palates: red/black, white/grey, and black/grey. No matter which set you choose they look fantastic but I had to settle on red/black to match my gaming PC. Unlike most Bluetooth headphones I've actually received a few compliments regarding the AF32s. However, all such compliments have occurred while they rested around my neck. It's a real shame but I can't say these headphones look as good on as they do off. The AF32s do nothing to hug your head and create an awkward looking halo that, admittedly, is kind of dorky. Now, I've had headphones that don't fit my head before, but it seems this set doesn't fit anyone snugly. I've had a few friends try them on and it seems to be universally loose (even the models on MEElectronics website sport the halo to some extent). In terms of style I can certainly say the AF32s will be a fantastic accessory if you're going to the movies or, well, anywhere you won't actually use them.
The AF32s definitely sound great, especially for their price range. They support stereo surround and do a great job of producing heavy, resonating bass notes. However, they don't do much to block out noise. The AF32s are on-ear headphones rather than over-ear and the sound purity does suffer some because of this. Sadly, the audio quality is damaged by the occasional pop or skip that tends to come with Bluetooth decides. That aside, the AF32s are the best sounding headphones I have owned for under $100.
Bluetooth paring is easy enough. By holding down the power button the headphones will become discoverable. The phone button [pictured] serves three roles as the pause button, a Siri (or other voice services) button, and the power button. This can be a little awkward when trying to separate taping quickly for pause, holding for a few seconds for Siri, and holding for a few more seconds to power down. I often find that I've accidentally turned the headphones off when I want to tell Siri to send a text. I can't be entirely sure why the phone button also serves as a power button, seeing as a dedicated power button is directly next to it. The other functionality buttons cover what you'd expect: skip, rewind, and volume. In addition to Siri functionality, the AF32s also sport a concealed microphone. Directly below the right ear, the concealed microphone seems to function alright. After playing around with it for a while, most people I conversed with said my sound quality was "good but not great", which is a step up from my expectations of "horrible". However, the mic often does have trouble dictating my speech to Siri. On average, I've been getting about 8 hours of listening from the AF32s. One of my favorite things about these headphones is that they support (and include) a two way headphone jack. If they ever die while I'm on the go, I can just switch to an wired connection instead. The headphones also charge through the same port, which is nice for reducing bulk.
The AF32s are not my go-to Bluetooth headphones. They don't fit on my head well and they can fall off if I'm not careful. However, the sound quality is great for their price. When I'm at home I might throw on the AF32s to listen to music while I work. There are better headphones out there, but for under $100 its hard to beat the AF32's. If you don't mind a loose fit and somewhat clunky controls, these may be the cheapest way to get high quality wireless audio.
Written by: Samuel Strickland