Trying to keep wired headphones from falling out at the gym sucks. Even when you successfully keep the buds in your ears, you’re constantly trying not to move too much or hyper-aware any movement of the buds.
I considered getting an armband that would bring my phone closer to my ears so that would lessen the tension, but that seemed like way too much work and it felt like it would be uncomfortable. I quickly decided that the convenience of Bluetooth earbuds — why add more equipment with an armband when you could remove the wires that are causing the problems in the first place?
The problem is I wasn’t familiar with the technology out there. How good was it? What should I be looking for? After a few days of research on Bluetooth earbuds on Amazon, I eventually landed on Eargo’s RIF6 model. With a no-slip ear grip, these Bluetooth earbuds from Eargo were advertised as in-ear headphones designed for running, going to the gym or for people on the move. That description, along with the attractive price point ($16.99) and almost 1000 positive reviews at a 4.5 star rating, was enough for me to give these little black earbuds a shot. Here’s a quick dirty review of the pros and cons of the Eargo:
Benefits of Eargo RIF6
Easy Setup: You charge up the earbuds via the USB, hold down the power button to pair, once you hear “power on” in the headphones. you’re all set to connect.
Easy Connection: Once you’re all paired, connecting the earbud to my Samsung S6 phone has been seamless every time. Update: The easy connect suffered significantly as time went on.
No Slip Ear Grip: Eargo says the “anchor hooks curve around the inside of your ear to keep in ear headphones secure even during intense exercise” My experience is that the little rubber “anchors” (or hooks) not only do the job of keeping the buds in your ears at all times, but their surprisingly comfortable in the ear.
Battery Life: These things advertise a 4 hour lifespan. On more than one occasion, I’d had the Eargo earbuds all day; using them for approximately 2-2.5 hours on and off, and didn’t run into any problems with the battery.
Price: For $17, it seems like a steal, but you get what you paid for — which is apparently a couple months of it working.
Issues with the Eargo RIF6
Bluetooth Stability/Range: I’ve found that the Bluetooth sometimes breaks up when I’m walking (or biking) with my phone in the pocket. It take a while for the Bluetooth to adapt to the movement, but when it does, the connection is good. A tip is to place your phone in the pocket that’s on the same side as the Eargo’s Bluetooth receiver (the side where the power/volume buttons are).
Color: It’s a stretch that this is a con, but it was something I considered when making my decision. The fact that they only offered black in this model didn’t excite me.
Too Early to Tell:
Sweat Proof: I’ve sweated with these on, but not enough to test these suckers.
Microphone: I haven’t used the microphone so can’t speak to it (no pun intended).
Sound: I’m the first one to admit that I’m not an audiophile, so can’t really speak to this. That said, I had my share of headphones and the sound, though not mind-blowing, is pretty good.
The final word on these Bluetooth headphones is that they’re great entry-level earbuds for a non-audiophile looking for a good pair of wireless buds for the gym, riding a bike, or taking a run. I’ve had these headphones for a little over a week now and the Eargo RIF6 stay in your ears, have decent battery life, work as advertised and for $17, they’re a fantastic value.
UPDATE November 15, 2017: I unfortunately have to report that the pair that I have now is basically completely dead. After fewer than 60 days, the battery life of the fully-charged Eargos lasts about 3 minutes before it starts dinging to alert you of a low battery. After about 5-6 minutes, it makes a buzzing noise before completely shutting off. It’s too bad, if it wasn’t for this, I was quite excited by the headphones otherwise. I’ll have to update the review to 2 stars.
UPDATE: July 07. 2018: These things barely work. One of the earbuds completely stopped working and it’s a crapshoot whether it will even connect. Updated this review to 1 star.