Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones review: Affordable wireless earbuds

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews
Altec-Lansing-Sport-In-Ear-Headphones-review

The fit, comfort, and battery life coupled with the low price make these a decent, affordable pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

TA-ratings-93Altec Lansing has been around for awhile now and just recently made some of their products available in Canada. Our Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones review takes a look at one of those, a pair of affordable Bluetooth headphones.

Specifications

The Altec Lansing MXZ399 Sport In-Ear Headphones have the following features and specifications:

  • Drivers: 7mm
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Waterproof Rating: IP67
  • Wireless Range: 30 feet
  • Battery Life: 6 hours

What’s in the box

  • Altec Lansing MZX399 Sport In-Ear Headphones
  • S/M/L Freebit Ear Tips
  • S/M/L Ear Caps
  • Carry Pouch
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • Quick Start Guide & Warranty Information
  • Altec Lansing Sticker
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What’s in the box…

Design

The Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones don’t differ much from a lot of other sport earbuds in design. Being Bluetooth wireless earbuds, the headphones are connected to each other with a flat, reflective cable roughly 23 inches long. About two inches from the right earbud is a three button remote with a plus, minus, and power/MFC button.

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The three button inline remote.

Each earbud consists of a golf-club shaped plastic outer casing with the Altec Lansing icon printed on the outside. Just below the icon, on the section of the casing that attaches to the cable, is an R or L to indicate which ear each earbud goes into. While most earbuds have the LED indicator on the remote control, the power and charging indicator is located on the right earbud.

The inside of the casing has a rather large bump around which the Freebit ear tip attaches. Once attached, a smaller piece is exposed which is where the ear caps themselves attach to. On that note, these earbuds cannot be used without the Freebit ear tips, but being sport headphones you definitely want to use the Freebit ear tips to keep the earbuds securely in your ears.

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The Freebit ear tips go on first, then the ear cap.

While many sport earbuds house the Micro-USB port inside the remote control unit, the charging port on the Altec Lansing earphones is located near the bottom of the right earbud casing. The port is protected by a rubber cover which is a bit difficult to flip back, but that also means it’s not going to easily come off accidentally.

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The charging port is located on the right earbud.

Given the right Freebit ear tip and ear cap combination, the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones are fairly comfortable and have a very secure fit. When inserted properly, excessive shaking of my head couldn’t dislodge them from my ears at all.

The earbuds are also IP67 rated meaning that you don’t have to worry about the outside elements or sweat damaging the headphones while wearing them when you work out.

The included carry pouch is pretty decent quality as well and nicely sized. It will easily house the earbuds and the extra eartips and has a nice soft velour finish to the outside.

Ease of Use

To turn on the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones, press the power button on the remote for roughly 3 seconds. A voice prompt also indicates the earbuds are turned on. The first time you power up the earbuds, they will enter pairing mode and are easily paired with your smartphone through its Bluetooth manager.

Once paired, you can easily control the volume by pressing the + or – buttons, skip to the next or previous song by holding down the + or – buttons, and play/pause tracks with the power button. You can also answer an incoming call using the power button. Pressing and holding the power button will reject the incoming call, while quickly tapping the power button twice will redial the last number you dialed.

Overall, these couldn’t be easier to use and respond to the various button presses on the remote as one would expect.

Sound

Whenever I get a pair of headphones or a speaker to test, I like to test them in their default state without any equalization added. Unfortunately, in the case of the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones, the default sound is very tinny and lacks any kind of bass or balance whatsoever. In fact, I’ve heard phone and tablet speakers that sound better than these do. If I was rating the default sound, these would barely squeak by with a 5/10.

Fortunately, most smartphones these days offer some sort of equalizer mode or app to help you fine tune the sound. Also fortunately, that makes all the world of difference for these Altec Lansing earbuds. Once enabled, the sound was nice and balanced, and bass levels could be achieved to my liking. It’s odd though as the earbuds are capable of producing decent sound but don’t do so natively.

A definite plus to the sound on these earbuds though is the inclusion of independent volume control. With most headphones and speakers, changing the volume on the headphones also adjusts the volume on your smartphone. In this case, adjusting the volume on the earbuds does not adjust the smartphone volume which allows you more control over getting the exact sound level you desire.

Reception/Call Quality

Reception is pretty decent on these but tends to cut out starting around 20 to 25 feet away. While it’s not the roughly 33 feet that most Bluetooth headphone should get, it does depend on your environment and having a clear line of sight for maximum distance.

As far as call quality is concerned, as is usually the case the other party was easy to hear but I did have to speak up a bit for them to hear me clearly during the call.

Battery Life

Altec Lansing claims a battery life of 6 hours between charges on these earbuds. During our testing, we were able to get just over 5 hours when used at around 65% volume. While that’s pretty decent, it isn’t the 6 hours you could be getting but as we know by now, the volume you listen to a pair of wireless headphones at does affect battery life.

Once drained, the headphones take about two hours to fully recharge.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of $49.99USD, the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones are a pretty decent value. However, they are currently selling for $29.99USD on Amazon which is a steal for these sport earbuds. In Canada, they are available at Best Buy for $39.99CAD.

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The Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones offer decent value for the price.

Wrap-up

While the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones aren’t perfect in the sound department, that can easily be rectified with an equalizer. Other than that, the fit, comfort, and battery life coupled with the low price make these a decent, affordable pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

*We were sent a sample of the Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones for the purposes of this review.

Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones

$49.99 USD
Altec Lansing Sport In-Ear Headphones
9.3

Design

10/10

    Ease of Use

    10/10

      Sound

      9/10

        Reception/Call Quality

        8/10

          Battery Life

          9/10

            Price/Value

            10/10

              Nailed it

              • Easy to use
              • Comfortable secure fit
              • Decent battery life
              • Great sound with an equalizer enabled
              • Reflective cable
              • IP67 rated
              • Affordable price point

              Needs work

              • Default sound seriously lacks balance or bass
              • Reception cuts out before standard 30'
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