FiiO FB1 Bluetooth earphone review - expatinjapan

FiiO FB1 Bluetooth earphone review
 - expatinjapan

When FiiO first approached me to review the FB1 I said ok. I don`t really run, more like a brisk walk and was not sure if I would be the right person for the job. I figured I could check the sound quality, jump about a bit to make sure they stayed in ones ears and also do the walk away slowly test like a gunfighter on a dusty street until the signal dropped to check the Bluetooth reach.

Later I found an old red cap I had been given as a promotional piece and was going to do a unboxing then pan to me dressed as  Forrest Gump running away. But then the summer heatwave hit and no way was I going outside in long pants and running in 35 degrees plus! also I could not local the perfect back drop in heavily concreted Tokyo.
So sorry reader we are reduced to a vanilla review with no amusing video.

In the end I was able to run the FB1 through its paces and ended up quite satisfied.

Unboxing, specifications and extras

Supported audio formats: aptX, SBC and AAC Bluetooth chip: CSR8645
Bluetooth version: 4.1
Transmission distance: About 20 meters                     (at open area connecting to phone)
Battery capacity: 110mAh
Battery life: About 8 hours
Charging time: ≤2 hours
Charging port: Micro USB
Weight: About 20g

Enough different Bluetooth protocols to please. `where is LDAC?` some might ask.

A nice soft case. Good for storage. You don`t want a hard case in ones pocket when running.

Accessories. A wide and varied bevy of them. First the top row goes on, with ear guides to hold the earphones in place, then the tip goes on top. The tips are silky smooth.

See below the bulbous oblong shape that contains the 13mm driver hangs down and gives a bit of lower weight that helps hold the earphones in place,

A simple set up and strangely alien design. my ears? I was at first perplexed being a Bluetooth exercise earphone noob. But later on it all made sense.

On/off button. Volume adjuster.

"What if you get a call while enjoying your music? No problem – with just a push of a button you can switch from music to voice calls within a second. The FB1's built-in high-definition microphone ensures the person at the other end catches every last word you say.

Switch between tasks instantly

*Main (●) button functions: On/off, enter pairing mode, play/pause track, connect (after disconnecting from a Bluetooth device, press this ● key once to connect to a previously-paired device). Volume keys functions: Increase/decrease volume, skip to next track and skip to previous track. "

"The FB1's body has been coated with nano spray, making for a smoother feel while allowing for enhanced resistance against scratches and stains. In fact, the nano spray coating means you can literally wipe to clean the FB1 after getting it dirty."

It certainly is smooth. One could regard as cheap compared to other models surfaces, but this is part of the design. A smooth surface to protect against irritation whilst exercising and also to allow for easy cleaning after heavy work outs.

"The FB1 uses a large 13mm dynamic driver, specially tuned for popular music so that you get those sweet highs and awesome bass in an expansive soundstage, letting you feel all of the ups and downs in the rollercoaster that is your music."

"*Before using the FB1, you need to pair it with a Bluetooth device, in the following steps: 
1. With the FB1 off, press and hold the ● key for 5 seconds until red and blue lights start to flash, signifying you have entered pairing mode. 
2. Turn on Bluetooth of your source and search for Bluetooth devices. Select "FiiO FB1" to pair to the Bluetooth earphones."

This was a very simple experience and it paired quickly and easily with a variety of daps I tried. Currently I am using the iBasso DX150 as I type.

"Charging: Red light flashes till charging completes Working: Blue light flashes Pairing: Red light and blue light flashes alternately Low battery: Red light flashes "

Searching and `ping` - connectivity.

Sound and overall

The FiiO FB1 is a simple device, light and inexpensive and does what it is supposed to.

The sound from my ipod touch 6G was more clearer and enjoyable than expected with an emphasis on upper bass, mids and vocals,  the bass and treble not far behind. This sound signature was largely similar across other devices tested such as the pictured FiiO M7.

The emphasis on (upper bass) mids and vocals gives a rich, warmth and smoothness to the sound. Make no mistake there is enough lows and highs to please. The bass hits hard when needed and is overall fast.

The sound stage is surprisingly quite wide, with excellent crisp separation. It sounded clean to my ears, i did not experience hiss with my ipod touch 6G with music off or playing.

I did not get much noise from the cable unless I really shook my head, or jumped about. the cable is perhaps a bit too long. a rubber band at the right place as a cinch might be an easy fix or tucked into ones t-shirt to prevent it flapping.

Fit was easy for me, I put on the big hooks, and one large tip in my left ear and a medium in my right (different sized ear canals - more common than you might think) and easy peasy. I did not even have to do my usual tip swapping. If I had I would have gone for the Ortofon tips as they are another smooth tip.

From my jumping about, running around and star jumps and shaking my head vigorously to see If the FiiO FB1 remained in place the sound signature was one that is pleasing for exercising where one can push their limits, get tired and having a sound signature that isnt fatiguing is a good call.

The FiiO comes in at around $30 - $40. A good price on which are ultimately a disposable set of earphones If one is going to submit them to a heavy rotation of sweat, exercise and punishment.

Drop outs were minimal and I experienced more on my DX150 than I did with the more exercise friendly devices and smaller daps.
I was able to walk 30 - 40 feet (10-13 meters) until the signal dropped off.

In summary I did not know what to expect and honestly my expectations were low, I am still a luddite and prefer my cables dangling done looking all nice and braided and pretty and the world of bluetooth is generally kept at arms length save for a speaker on my bike for long commutes.

Well color me surprised, this $30 - $40 BT earphone from FiiO is quite the cats pyjamas.
Not to say its going to go on my regular rotation along with my TOTL IEMs, but purpose, keep in mind purpose. This being a BT earphone designed for exercising first and foremost.
And it does that function quite simply and beautifully.

Thank you to FiiO for sending the FB1 for review.

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