truly gym-proof with solid battery backup

Price: Rs 4,695

Rating: 3.5/5

Advantages:
– Resistance to dust and perspiration IP55
– Excellent battery backup and standby time
– Support for fast charging via USB-C port
– Above average sound quality
– The foldable design makes them easy to transport
– Can be used as a wired headset with an Aux cable

The inconveniences:
– Narrow soundstage and subpar audio details
– Only supports SBC codecs
– Average call quality

Most true wireless earphones and wireless neckband earphones have an IP rating for liquid resistance. This feature is still rare when it comes to the good old over-ear or on-ear headphones. While many users still prefer the big boys, they don’t wear them during workouts to protect them from sweat damage. Philips wants to reach that audience with its new TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones that are IP55 dust and splashproof and are an ideal companion for the gym. Let’s take a closer look at that.

Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones – Construction, design, comfort: 7/10

The Philips TAA4216BK is sturdy made of high-quality plastic with a smooth, matte finish. Weight has also been kept in check at just over 200 grams. The gel-filled earplugs sit well on the ear with slightly more than ideal pressure. The tighter grip is understandable, considering this is a sports headset, and you wouldn’t want it to wiggle during runs or workouts. The headband has a rubber padding that eliminates discomfort at the top of your head.

Philips TAA4216 headphones review

The ear cups can be rotated and folded, which makes the product easier to carry and also does not take up much space in your bag. A carrying case is missing here, which would have been a handy addition. The right earcup houses all playback controls and connections. A 3.5mm auxiliary input and a USB-C port are located under a rubber flap next to a microphone and status LED. A USB charging cable and an auxiliary cable are included in the package.

Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Key specs: 6.5/10

The USP of this sports headset is its IP55-rated dust and liquid resistance. So you no longer have to worry about sweat or a light drizzle damaging this product and wear it while exercising. Furthermore, the Philips TAA4216BK is a basic pair of Bluetooth 5.0 wireless headphones that only support the SBC codec. Forget aptX, the company hasn’t even bothered to support AAC here. There is also no multipoint support.

Philips TAA4216 headphones review

Yes, this product can also be used as a wired headset using an aux cable. The right earcup contains three physical buttons, including volume buttons and a play/pause button that doubles as a power switch and a Bluetooth pairing button. Long press the volume up and down keys to skip to the next and previous tracks respectively. This helmet is easy to use even for a beginner.

Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones – Performance: 7/10

The wireless range of these headphones is pretty good up to the advertised 10m mark with a clear line of sight; no complaints there. Pairing this device with a phone or tablet is also a standard and simple process. You do not have a companion app to configure this product or update the firmware. Each earbud has a 40mm dynamic driver and total battery reserves are 350mAh, which claims to deliver 35 hours of playtime; a claim that we will verify shortly.

When you think of a gym audio product, you usually think of rich bass. The Philips TAA4216BK is not a typical product in that sense. The bass here is adequate and tight but not overdone which is a good thing. Bassheads can look elsewhere. A loudness range of about 60-70% is sufficient in most cases. The overall sound quality is fine for casual listening or during workouts, if you’re not one to focus on finer audio details.

Philips TAA4216 headphones review

It is also a good option for watching web series and movies. The latency is sufficiently low and there was no noticeable delay between video and audio when viewing content on different OTT platforms. There is great clarity in dialogues and there is a lot of noise in action scenes. In music, the bass is reproduced well and does not exceed its limits. This makes the midrange response quite clean, especially the vocals. The highs are decent, but fade a little earlier than they should.

Audio detail isn’t this headset’s strong point, nor is instrument separation, which is average at best. It’s probably the result of a narrow soundstage that makes the output feel like it’s been crammed into a smaller place. If you mainly listen to Bollywood, EDM or Pop, then the Philips TAA4216BK sounds pretty good and you don’t have much to complain about. Genres like rock, metal and other kinds of heavy instruments are not so much fun here. But let’s not forget that we are dealing with a sports headset and the overall output is perfectly adequate for this.

Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones – call quality: 6/10

Like most in-ear headphones, call quality in quieter areas is just about acceptable. Inside, things generally run smoothly, and people on both sides of the conversation can get along with reasonable clarity. In noisy and windy outdoor environments, the clarity decreases significantly because the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise and wind noise. The person on the phone complained a lot. So when you’re outside, it’s best to move to a quieter corner or answer the call directly on your phone.

Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones – Battery life: 9/10

Battery life is where this Philips product excels. The company claims that the battery of the TAA4216BK lasts up to 35 hours, and the estimate is not far off. It took over 30 hours of playback at 60-70% volume for most of my tests. So if you use them for about 3 hours a day, you may not have to look for a charger for 10 days. Standby time is even better, which I came across.

Due to some unforeseen events, I was unable to use this headset for two to three weeks after I started testing it. To my surprise, there was hardly any drop in battery level during this time. I checked the battery level again after an hour of use to check for false reports but no, it has excellent standby time. It takes approximately 2 hours to fully charge this headset using a standard USB-C charger.

Philips TAA4216 headphone review Charging and aux input

It also supports fast charging; a 15-minute charge can give you 2 hours of playback time, according to the company. In fact, it lasted almost 3 hours on a 15 minute charge. This is a great option in case they run out of juice right before you hit the gym. A few minutes of refueling should be enough for a full workout.

Philips TAA4216BK Wireless Sports Headphones – Price & Verdict

The Philips TAA4216BK wireless sports headphones are officially priced at Rs 8,999 with a one-year warranty. But don’t worry, it can often be spotted for as low as Rs 4695. Who should buy it? If you are looking for the best wireless headphones under Rs 5,000, then this is not a product you need to worry about. But many of the best-sounding headphones aren’t IP rated and you run the risk of getting damaged by sweat.

This Philips product can alleviate that fear with its IP55 rating. I can’t think of any other on-ear headphones in this budget with this feature and comparable sound quality. Let’s not forget the excellent battery backup and standby time, fast charging and sturdy construction. So if you’re looking for gym-ready headphones, the Philips TAA4216BK is a tough case for itself.

Every wireless alternative I can think of in this budget comes in a different form factor: neckband wireless headphones or true wireless headphones. On the latter, I immediately think of two options below Rs 5,000. The OnePlus Buds Z2 and Realme Buds Air 3 both offer IPx5 splash resistance and significantly better sound quality and call quality. You also get active noise cancellation if you sometimes want to isolate yourself from the world around you.

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