Phiaton Bolt BT 700 review: Great sounding true wireless earbuds with decent battery life

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Top Picks
Phiaton-Bolt-BT-700-review

The Phiaton Bolt 700 BT true wireless earbuds sound great, offer decent battery life, and are affordably priced.

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True wireless headphones are definitely becoming more popular for various reasons. With each new release, not only does the sound get better but also the battery life. Our Phiaton Bolt BT 700 review takes a look at a pair of true wireless earbuds with a charging case that has the added bonus of doubling as a portable Bluetooth speaker. Read on to see just how these true wireless earbuds perform.

Specifications

The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 true wireless earbuds have the following features and specifications:

  • Communication Network: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Driver unit: Balanced Armature
  • Impedance: 40 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
  • Driver Unit Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 KHz
  • Max. Input Power: 40 mW
  • Operating Range: Within 10 m / 33 ft.
  • Call Time: 5 hrs Max.
  • Music Play Time: 5 hrs Max.
  • Standby Time: 94 hrs Max.
  • Full Charge Time: 2 hrs (2.5 hrs including Charging Speaker Case)
  • Fast Charging: Support 15 min. Charging= 1 hr Playing
  • Audio Codec: SBC, AAC
  • Operating Frequency: 2.4 GHz(2.402 GHz – 2.480 GHz)
  • Earbud Weight: 6.5 g
  • Charging Speaker Case
    • Input Power: DC 5V / over 1A
    • Battery: Lithium Ion, DC 3.7 / 750 mAh
    • Full Charging Time including Earphones: 2.5 hrs
    • Number of ‘BOLT’ charging with ‘Charging Speaker Case’: 3 times (4 x 5 hrs + 20 hrs with fully charged earbuds)
    • Speaker Output: 3W Max.
    • Music Play Time via Bolt & Speaker: 8 hrs Max.
    • Standby Time(BT OFF): 220 hrs Max.
    • Dimensions(L x W x H): 3.70 x 1.45x 1.41 in
    • Weight with BOLT Earphones: 93 g/0.21 lb
    • Operating Temperature: -20 ~ 45 °C/-4 ~ 113 °F

What’s in the box

  • Phiaton Bolt BT 700 Earbuds
  • Charging Speaker Case
  • MicroUSB Cable
  • 4x Pairs of Ear Tips
  • Instruction Manual
  • Warranty Leaflet
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What’s in the box…

Design

True wireless earbuds seem to fall into one of two camps: the super slim and discreet or the larger, chunkier style. Generally speaking, there’s a good reason for this as the larger ones tend to have slightly better battery life. The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 fall under the latter camp without being unwieldy so.

Each earbud is roughly 7/8-inch tall, 3/4-inch wide, and 1/2-inch deep. Slightly oval in shape, the touch pad is glossy black with the Phiaton icon printed in white near the bottom and an LED centered near the top. The rest of the earbud is a matte black finish. Two volume/playback control buttons sit at the top of each earbud. A pair of microphones is on each one as well, one just behind the back button and one towards the bottom of the earbud.

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The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 True Wireless earbuds and charging speaker case.

On the inside of the earbuds is an ear wing near the top which fits into the upper part of your ear canal (the cymba conchae if you want to get technical) for a nice secure fit. The ear wing cannot be removed but it really is rather comfortable and adds to the secure fit. When inserted, I shook my head vigorously back and forth and the earbuds gave no sign of moving. Below the ear wing is the charging interface terminal, and below that is the angled ear tip. In my case, the default ear tips fit fine but Phiaton includes three other sizes so fit shouldn’t be an issue for most. Each earbud also has an L or R on the ear wing and beside the ear tip so you can easily tell which ear it should go in.

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The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 earbuds.

The charging speaker is cylindrical in shape with a flat button, roughly 3 3/4-inches by 1 1/2-inches. The Phiaton logo and wordmark is printed across the top lid. Centered on the middle of the front of the charging speaker is a button which releases the lid. The lid pops open and at first it seems like it’s open all the way but a little push and a slight snap opens it further, allowing for easier access to the earbuds and inside of the case. On either side of the button are status LEDs for when the earbuds are inside the case and charging.

Opening up the speaker exposes three hollowed out compartments, two labelled L and R and a middle one centered near the back. The earbuds slide easily into these compartments with the ear wings sharing the back compartment. When placed correctly, the interface terminals on the earbuds line up properly with the interface terminals on the speaker charging case. When connected, the earbuds will charge from the speaker case.

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The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 charging speaker case.

On one end of the charging speaker is the Bluetooth on/off button (more on that below), charging speaker case status LEDs (four), and a USB cover which covers the Micro-USB charging slot.

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The right side of the charging speaker case.

The other end of the speaker is where you’ll find the speaker grille and speaker from the case. The speaker portion of the case is about 1/2-inch thick so the speaker isn’t exactly symmetrical. 

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The left side of the charging speaker case.

Ease of Use

The right earbud is the master earbud but when removed from the charging case, the earbuds automatically turn on and pair with each other so there is nothing to do on your part. When in pairing mode, the LED on the earbud flashes blue and red, find BOLT BT 700 on your smartphone or other device, pair, and you’re good to go.

There are two ways to turn the earbuds on or off. You can either remove or insert them in the speaker charging case (removing turns them on, inserting them turns them off), or you can press and hold the Vol+ button for two seconds to turn them on or for more than three seconds to turn them off. When using the Vol+ button to turn them on, you’ll have to turn both on. When using the Vol+ button to turn them off, you only need to turn off the right earbud and the left will turn off as well. The right master earbud can be used without the left earbud, so this is why they manually turn on and off this way. Unlike other earbuds which pause or turn off when one is removed from your ear, I personally prefer being able to use one earbud without having to use the second as well.

At any rate, when listening to music through the earbuds, you can control the volume with either earbud by pressing the Vol+ or Vol- buttons. Unfortunately, these earbuds do not have independent volume controls meaning that when you control the volume through the earbuds, you’re adjusting your actual Bluetooth volume control on your phone.

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Volume, power, and playback control is done via the buttons on top of the earbuds.

A longer press of these buttons will skip to the next or previous track. To play or pause a track, double tap on the right touchpad. Double tapping on the left earbud will activate or deactivate the audio transparency feature. When activated, it is supposed to all you to hear surrounding sounds while playing music or in standby mode. When you double-tap either touch pad, a double beep will indicate you’ve been successful. There were a couple times I had to double tap twice but once you find that sweet spot, you shouldn’t have any issues. To answer or hang up a call, you can double-tap the touch pad on either earbud.

When the earbuds are in the speaker case, holding the Bluetooth button on the case for two seconds will turn the speaker on and you will hear a voice prompt indicating as much. The speaker will then connect to your device and music will start playing through the speaker. There are no playback controls on the speaker. Once you’re done listening, pressing the Bluetooth button for a couple seconds will turn the speaker off.

I was unsure of the mixed button/touch pad design at first but it’s really intuitive and you don’t have to remember how many taps on which touch pad does what. Volume and playback control works the way most people are used to with wireless headphones.

Sound Quality (earbuds)

There’s definitely been some debate as to the quality of wireless and true wireless headphones compared to their wired counterparts. Unless you’re a serious audiophile, you probably can’t tell much of a difference between wired and wireless for the most part.

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Not only do they have a comfortable fit, these true wireless earbuds sound fantastic.

In the case of the Phiaton Bolt BT 700 true wireless earbuds, the sound here was top notch. The balance between highs, mids, and lows, was pretty much bang on and there was just the right amount of bass for my liking. I felt no need to have to use the equalizer on my phone to tweak the sound to my liking. I tried everything from classic hip hop to rock to EDM and everything in between and each song that played through the headphones sounded great.

In the previous section, I mentioned that audio transparency mode is supposed to allow you to hear your surroundings when enabled. To be honest, when listening at 50-75% volume, I really couldn’t tell the difference between the two modes. While the music was paused, however, I could definitely tell the difference between the two modes. Once I tested it with the music paused and turned it back on, I could hear a bit of a difference between the two modes, just not quite as much as I expected.

Sound Quality (charging case)

It’s rare you’ll see two sections for sound quality in the same review but here we are. The speaker charging speaker case has a single 3W speaker. While it is loud and crisp at full volume, as one would expect there isn’t much in the way of bass here. That being said, it’s definitely an interesting “value add” that I’ve yet to see on any other true wireless speaker and it’ll do in a pinch if you’re wanting to share your music or watch a video with others. 

Reception/Call Quality

As far as reception range is concerned, Phiaton is being conservative with their 10m/33 feet claim. I could leave my phone on my desk and walk a good 50 feet away in the office, including through the outside glass door, before the audio started to skip.

During our test call, the audio was as clear and crisp as music was. I did find myself having to speak up just a little bit due to the placement of the microphones but for the most part, the other party during our test call didn’t mention audio issues aside from the initial remark.

Battery Life

Phiaton claims up to 5 hours of battery life between charges. During our testing, we achieved right around that 5 hour mark consistently with each use at about 75% volume. Additionally, when the earbuds do run out of battery, you can charge them up for 15 minutes and get about another hour of battery out of them, something we confirmed multiple times.

When using the speaker to listen to music, we got about 7 hours with the speaker case at the same 75% volume — which was a bit on the loud side. That being said, you should be able to get closer to Phiaton’s claimed 8 hour mark with a slightly lower volume.

Once depleted, it takes about 2 hours to fully recharge the earbuds from the case. We were able to get just over 3 charges before we had to recharge the case, bringing your battery life on the go up to just under 20 hours. When the case is depleted, it takes about 2 1/2 hours to fully recharge the case and the earbuds.

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The earbuds charging in the charging speaker case.

Once inserted in the case, the earbud LEDs should turn red to indicate it is charging. Once charging is complete, these LEDs won’t be lit. To check the charging status when the lid is closed, press the Bluetooth button on the side of the speaker charging case and the LED lights on either side of the cover button will flash red if the earbuds are still charging or blue if the earbuds are fully charged. 

To check the status of the remaining battery in the charging case, press the Bluetooth button and the four LEDs will light depending on the amount of charge left. When charging the case, the lights stay lit based on the current charge in the case.

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It’s easy to check the remaining battery life left in the charging speaker case.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of $139USD, the Phiaton Bolt BT 700 true wireless earbuds offer great value for the price considering the sound, battery life, and charging case that doubles as a portable speaker.

The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 Kickstarter recently finished up at 153% funded and backers should be getting their earbuds in December. Hopefully, they should be available for sale through Phiaton and other sources after that time. We’ll be sure to update you on availability once we hear more.

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If you’re looking to go the true wireless route, the Phiaton Bolt BT 700 are an excellent choice.

Wrap-up

True wireless earbuds are slowly coming into their own and each iteration typically seems better than the previous round. The Phiaton Bolt BT 700 sound great, offer decent battery life, and are affordably priced. As such, they are well deserving of a Top Pick of 2018 Award here at Techaeris. Don’t let the 9.4 rating (which is decent enough) fool you, if you take the speaker charging case sound quality out of the equation, these true wireless earbuds would get a 9.7/10.

*We were sent a sample of the Phiaton BOLT BT 700 True Wireless earbuds for the purposes of this review.

Phiaton Bolt BT 700

$139 USD
9.4

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

10.0/10

Sound Quality (earbuds)

9.5/10

Sound Quality (speaker)

8.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

10.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Comfortable, secure fit
  • Easy to use
  • Physical buttons and touch interface
  • Fantastic sound
  • Great battery life for true wireless earbuds
  • Charging case doubles as speaker
  • Fairly priced
  • Extra 1 hour battery life with 15 minute charge

Needs work

  • Audio transparency mode isn't that great
  • Charging speaker case sound mediocre
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