Review: Panasonic BTS50 headphones

Bluetooth earphones, a good pair, are life changing when it comes to training. The trouble is, a good pair designed for training is hard to find. The neck band type, with the guts of the electronics in the band, are useless and tend to slip off during any exercise that requires you to lie down or any vigorous activity, like the rower, bench press, sit ups, etc. And don’t even think about attempting burpees.

So when we were offered Panasonic’s new Bluetooth sports wireless earphones, the BTS50, we had high hopes.

The press release blurb promises a host of features, notably a 12mm driver. The driver is element inside an earphone that converts an electrical signal into sound. A 12mm driver is big for earphones.

And they have a water resistance rating of IPX5, which means you can get them pretty wet. Not submerged, but seriously wet, like running in heavy rain, or washing them under a tap.

First off, out of the box they look pretty flash. They aren’t easy to get on. The hook-around-the-ear “sports clip” type takes some manoeuvring of ears and clip, but once on they aren’t going anywhere. We took them on ride, a chest workout, a couple of kays on the Concept 2 rower and finally some burpees and KB swings. Didn’t budge.

The sound is solid, clear and crisp and the BTS50 can pump out some serious volume, with clarity. The phone can control volume and track selection, obviously, or all can be controlled by buttons on the strap. The problem is, the buttons on the strap are on the small side, and require a deft touch or a fingernail. You do get used them, but it takes some practice. The earphones do illuminate with a blue light, for running at night supposedly, but it’s a bit gimmicky and sucks battery life. And while night illumination is good, the two little LEDS are going to do much. The feature is easy to turn off.

They earphones have a microphone so you can take calls easily and the range of the Bluetooth boasts 10 metres. We measured  and it we had clear reception 15 metres, which means you can leave your machine walk over and fill your water bottle and still tunes blaring clearly. The battery claims to last 6 hours of playback, which seemed about right. It lasted several workouts before recharging via the supplied micro USB. It also claims it can take a quick 15-minute charge for a 70 minutes of play time if it’s dead and you’re heading out the door to the gym. A handy feature.

All up, Panasonic’s BTS50 are a solid offering to the sports earphone market and would make a great Christmas present for the lover of fitness and music.

Cost: $140.00-$199.95

Available from good electronic retailers

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