by | September 21, 2015 | Reviews

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THE GOOD: The Astrotec BX50 In-Ear-Monitor offers nice wireless sound via Bluetooth, a comfortable fit, and easily connects to your smartphones, tablets, laptops or any device which has Bluetooth.

THE BAD: It doesn’t beat wired systems of similar price in terms of bass and overall sound quality, and the battery life of the BX50 isn’t very promising.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Astrotec BX50 is easy to set up and delivers decent performance for both movie watching and music listening, it is arguably the best Bluetooth IEM under $50 and an especially worthy investment for those who enjoy gym and jogging.

It’s not easy being a Chinese headphone brand, with stiff competition from internationally leading brands such as beats, Monster, Sennheiser and Bose, as well as domestic rivals such as Sound Magic, Somic and Dunu, many Chinese brands just couldn’t survive after struggling for a few years.

However, Astrotec manages to survive and even thrive in the headphone industry, releasing a wide range of IEMs and headphones every year, from entry-level models such as the $26.5 AM700, to the premium models such as the $628 AM1000, they just seem to have a solution for everyone.

 

Retail Package

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Despite the entry-level price, the Astrotec BX50 has a very beautiful and premium packaging.

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Inside you will find a BX50 IEM, two charging cables, and five pairs of eartips.

 

 

Design and build

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Astrotec IEMs are known for their designs. The GX-40, AM900 and AX60 were all among the most fashionable in-ear speakers out there. Instead of chopping it into another pair of fancy showy earphones, Astrotec took the simplistic approach with the BX50, well, that’s by Astrotec’s own standards.

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Don’t get me wrong, my fellow fashion lovers. The BX50 looks a lot fancier than your average Bluetooth speakers. It comes in either shinny green or red cable, with a pair of streamline earbuds, as well as many exquisite eartips.

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A volume rocker and a power button can also be found on the cable, with the Astrotec branding on the other side.

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The earbuds look much bigger than those on wired IEMs, they have to be this size to house the Li-Po rechargeable battery. But they are pretty light and won’t give your ears too much burden, thanks to the plastic material the BX50 employs.

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The overall build quality of the BX-50 is good, although the plastic earbuds may not feel as solid as those metal ones on the AM700, they are still very resistant to pressure and scratches, and will definitely survive some occasional falls.

 

 

Comfort and isolation

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In ear, the BX50 is reasonably comfortable and fits quite well. As a pair of full closed IEM, the BX50 could easily isolate 95% of the sound from the outside world, which is essentially important for joggers and those doing sport in gym.

 

 

Devices used for the tests:

– LG G3
-HTC One M8
– Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4 (LTE Version);
– Acer ICONIA W700
– Cube i7 Stylus

 

Compatibility

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The BX50 is using Bluetooth technology, so as long as your mobile phones have Bluetooth connection then it is good to go, let it be Apple IOS, Google Android or Windows Mobile, all of these will work well. But to get the most out of the sound quality, your device is best equipped with Bluetooth AptX technology, which allowed lossless Bluetooth streaming, so do take note on this.

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Pairing is fairly easy for the Astrotec BX50. You need to turn on the Bluetooth on your phone first then press and hold the power button on the cable of the IEM for approximately 5 seconds. This way you’ll turn on your BX50 and can see the model name on your smartphone display.

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After finishing the pairing you don’t need to go through to the pairing process again. They will find each other and pair automatically as you turn the Bluetooth for the ON position in each device consequently.

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You can also use the EasyClick app, which can now be found in Google Play, to maximize the functions of the BX50.

 

 

Sound Quality

Test tracks:

“Heaven” by Emeli Sande
“Dream World” by Robin Thicke
“Life is Cinema” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
“One” by Ed Sheeran
“Ready for Love” by India Arie
“Roll with it” by Oasis
“Sing” by Ed Sheeran
“Brown Eyes” by Destiny’s Child
“Dirty Laundry” by Kelly Rowland

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The Astrotec BX50 has the same character as the GX-40 but with less bass quantity. It’s still not entirely bass flat but is definitely not as boomy as the other Astrotec headphones such as the GX-50 and AM700.

When I first put it on, I was quite impressed by its sound. But as I spent more time listening to it, I started realizing that the sound is not very well-balanced. The mid bass seemed not as present as the lower and upper bass and the entire midrange area except the lower midrange was withdrawn. It didn’t make the vocals sound distant, but the overall perception that I was getting wasn’t good. Some muddiness was also present when I turned up the volume.

The treble was recessed and while it’s not sibilant, the overall bite of the high frequency notes tended to be missing greatly. I would categorize the treble here as slightly below the quality of what we usually get in similarly priced wired systems.

The overall signature of the BX50 reminded me of one of my first earphones, the Creative MA350. I probably would be satisfied with the BX50 if I owned it during the same time but as I owned better-sounding IEMs and headphones in the last couple of years, I may not be able to stand using the BX50 as my main earphone.

However, compared to entry level sports IEMs like the Maya S6, the syllable D700 and the DACOM Athlete, the Astrotec BX50’s superiority in sound quality is quite obvious. Although there is less bass, but the sound stage is better, and instrument separation is also much more accurate. Like I said, I won’t use the BX50 as my main IEM for music, but I wouldn’t hesitate before taking it out for a jog.

 

 

Charging

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The BX50 comes with two charging cables: one with a full USB plug at one end and a Micro USB plug at the other end, and one with one Micro USB plug at each end. Which means you can charge the BX50 with your computer USB port or your smartphone’s Micro USB port.

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It took around 2 hours to fully charge the BX50 from a USB port on the laptop, and even a longer period of time with the Micro USB port of a smartphone.

 

 

Battery Life

It is stated that the battery life is 100 hours for standby or 4 hours for music playback. According to my own experience with the BX50, using it for making/receiving calls as well as some music listening (around 2 hours of music listening and with 30 minutes of making calls) it lasts only for approximately 1-2 days. So the active using time is a little short for this kind of device.

 

 

Final Verdict

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Just like the fact with many Bluetooth speakers, sound quality is not the BX50’s true strength, instead the super cheap price point and convenience that it bring are the major selling points of this IEM. Congrats to Astrotec for their first attempt in Bluetooth IEMs, however if there is version 2 or higher-end version, they should improve the battery life and also the audio quality, in my opinion they shouldn’t be too conservative on sound tuning this time, they could do more on the bass. However for regular gym-ster or those who listen music while jogging, the Astrotec BX50 is 100 times more comfortable that any of the wired IEM on Earth, as it is quite convenient and hassle free.

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