I’ve been doing headphone reviews for a few years now, and every time I get my hands on a pair of Focal headphones, it’s a good day. The last pair I reviewed were the high-end Elegia and they were absolutely fantastic. Now, the company sent a more affordable pair in the Focal Sphear Wireless.
The Focal Sphear Wireless is the Bluetooth version of the company’s successful Sphear headphones. Will we be impressed with what the company has to offer with the Sphear Wireless? Read on for the full review of the Focal Sphear Wireless headphones.
The Focal Sphear Wireless have the following features and specifications:
- Type: In-ear headphones
- Bluetooth: 4.1
- Frequency Band: 2402 MHz – 2480 MHz
- Codecs: SBC / aptX
- Range: 10m
- Battery: up to 8 hours
- Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
- THD @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL: <0.3 %
- Driver: Electrodynamic (01/4″), Sandwich Diaphragm
- Microphone: Omnidirectional
- Weight: 15g
What’s In The Box
- Focal Sphear Wireless headphones
- 3 pairs of silicone tips
- 3 pairs of memory foam tips
- Battery clip
- MicroUSB cable for charging
- Carrying pouch
- Manuals and documentation
Jumping right into this, I think it best to address my issues with the Focal Sphear Wireless design before delving into the good bits. Generally, I start with the pros and leave the cons towards the end of a section. In this case, I want to start with the cons because I expect more from Focal.
Now, don’t panic, the cons aren’t horribly bad, they’re just not living up to the expectations I normally have for Focal. Let me address the biggest issue, build quality on some components, namely the cable, inline remote, and battery construction quality.
I’m used to high-quality materials and build from Focal, even in their more budget-oriented headphones. Sadly, I don’t see that with the cable construction, battery cover, or inline remote. They feel very much like a cheaper pair of headphones in this regard. I wish the company had used a better cable, perhaps braided or flat. I would have also liked the housings on the battery and inline remote to be made of better plastics. It’s just not what I am used to with Focal.
That being said, the actual headphone bits are made of high-quality materials and feel very solid. But the things they are connected to just don’t fit the feel or quality of the headphones. My second gripe on the Focal Sphear Wireless, and it’s a minor gripe in comparison to the build, is the lack of USB-C for charging. At this point, accessory makers should be using USB-C and not MicroUSB for charging. It’s a minor nitpick, but a valid one.
Now that the cons are out of the way, these headphones look good. The focal points are those beautiful in-ears, which are very well made. They have a nice feel to them with the Focal logo on the outside. The inline remote is your standard setup with controls for playback, pairing, power, voice assistant, and EQ, which are all controlled through a series of presses. The headphones are lightweight, and you can’t even feel you have them on. The pre-installed silicone tips worked perfectly for me and were very svelte and comfortable.
I was pretty rough in scoring these headphones on the design portion, mostly because I expect a higher-quality standard from Focal. Even though these are in their affordable range, they should strive to maintain high-quality standards across their SKUs.
Overall, the Focal Sphear Wireless look great, they’re comfortable in the ear and very lightweight. My two major gripes are build-quality of the inline remote, battery, and cable. I’m also not a fan of not including USB-C for charging. Those gripes don’t diminish the design all that much, many users may be just fine with the design as it is a very subjective thing.
Okay, if that first section has you down, don’t sweat it because the sound section more than makes up for the design shortfalls. If there’s one thing Focal does exceedingly well, it’s creating some of the best sounding headphones on the planet. The Focal Sphear Wireless are no exception.
These little earbuds are lightweight and small, but they pack bigger than life sound. First, the silicone ear tips I used provided excellent (above average) noise isolation which is essential in in-ear headphones.
The default EQ setting is where I found these headphones to be their best. The included EQ option isn’t really an EQ that you can tweak, it’s basically two settings you can toggle between. The first setting is the balanced sound we’re used to from Focal. The second setting is basically a volume boost. It boosts the loudness, in case you’re in an area where the sound is getting through the isolation of the ear tips.
Focal does an amazing job of staying true to the artist’s original intentions, and the Focal Sphear Wireless really elevate the music. If you’re a big fan of bass, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Focal has really tuned these to be natural with every frequency playing on the same level field. The bass is rich and it is certainly there, but it does not overpower the other frequencies at all. It is there when it needs to be and reserves itself when it needs to.
I felt that the sound on the Focal Sphear Wireless was ample considering the size of these headphones. Listening to all types of music, the spatial clarity was spot on, exactly what I expect from Focal. I’ll mention noise isolation one more time because it’s really amazing here.
Overall, this is the sound I expect from Focal and it really redeems my issues with the build quality.
Bluetooth reception on the Focal Sphear Wireless was excellent. I was able to go into adjacent rooms and still remain connected. When I drifted into a second room connection started to sputter and any further connection was dropped. Reception is solid with a clean line-of-sight to the source device. I was able to get 100 feet before the signal sputtered.
Call quality is solid on the Focal Sphear Wireless, I think the excellent noise isolation offered by the tips is part of why it’s solid.
Overall, performance in this category was excellent.
The Focal Sphear Wireless are rated up to 8-hours of music playback time. Battery life will vary depending on distance from source and the volume. I was able to use these headphones for 3-days for about 2.5 hours per day (give-or-take) so that falls just under the advertised battery life. Overall, I think the battery life is solid for such a small unit.
Focal headphones can go for thousands of dollars, but the company made the Focal Sphear Wireless for us normal folks who don’t have deep pockets. These are priced at a more reasonable US$128 which is a decent price for Focal headphones. I think there would be more value here if Focal priced these at US$99 and I think they’d move far more units at that price. Still, US$128 isn’t horrible, especially given the sound on these.
The Focal Sphear Wireless is certainly a win for Focal when it comes to the sound department. They sound amazing, they sound like Focal headphones which is what you want. I was disappointed in the build quality of some of the components. While they’re not K-Mart cheap, they are cheaper than I would have expected from Focal. This doesn’t make these headphones bad, it just makes them not live up to what I expected from Focal. Even with the build issues I have with the Focal Sphear Wireless, I’d have no problem recommending these headphones to someone in the market for this particular style of headphone.
*We received a sample of the Focal Sphear Wireless for the purposes of this review.
Focal Sphear WirelessUS$128
- Signature balanced Focal sound
- Great noise isolation
- Great battery life for this size of in-ear
- Competitive price
- Some components feel cheaply made and not very premium
- No USB Type-C