You can't argue with the convenience Bluetooth headphones offer. The freedom from a cable is wholly beneficial and the Runaway Air-Fi AF32 headphones from MEELectronics emphasise this greatly throughout the product's branding.
They're appearance is sleeker than some Bluetooth headphones we've reviewed. They employ a subtle design utilising a thin headband and small on-ear pads. The vinyl black glossy exterior plastic and red interior padding colour scheme we have on our pair look the business but do need cleaning frequently. Many more brighter colour schemes are available. They're comfortable to wear and have a very secure fit, even on smaller heads. The fit is adjustable via metal sliders which, when pulled, will extend the ear cushions, and once adjusted they stay firmly in place when worn. The padding used on the ear cushions did, however, lead to making our ears sweat in mild heat which became uncomfortable and slightly irritating. So they're not really ideal for using whilst running and exercising.
The overall build of the headphones is rather impressive. We initially thought these would be a flimsy pair, that wouldn't take much of a beating due to their compact design, but we were totally incorrect with this assumption. The headband is highly flexible and the entire construction is solid and rugged. This is especially important as the headphones can be folded up to become very compact and we wouldn't want to see them easily damaged when stored inside a bag with heavy objects. The headphones are supplied with a carry bag for such scenarios.
On the right side of the Runaway Air-Fi AF32 headphones are an abundance of control buttons. The layout as shown within our photo is simple, allowing for the adjustment of volume, skipping of tracks, power button and a button for answering calls which also doubles as a pause and play button too, but doesn't work to activate Siri when held down. We familiarised ourselves with the button layout in a matter of days, but initially it did seem very foreign and we did feel the buttons could be slightly more distinguished. A microphone is built into the headphones to use when in a phone call. The quality of the microphone is OK and picks up the mouth's audio well considering the microphone is not in direct alignment with the mouth.
Bluetooth within products can be troublesome to setup and generally misbehave in the way of movement and distance. The setup process of the Runaway Air-Fi AF32 headphones was thankfully a breeze, all of our bluetooth enabled devices found and connected to the headphones without a hiccup. The Bluetooth implemented is 2.1 EDR. MEELectronics claim the range of these headphones is 30 ft, in a wide open area and this claim is valid. Indoors the claim falls short; walls and floors hinder the range and we found the range at our studio through walls to be around 20 ft. When in range and moving the audio transfer is stable and generally doesn't breakup in anyway. A cable for use with auxiliary connections is also supplied within the headphone's box.
Battery life lasted around the ten hour mark from our tests with high volume. Ten hours is more than enough to get even the most avid music listener through the day. Standby time is claimed to be 100 hours too. No battery indicator exists on the headphones themselves, a feature we sort of assume to make an appearance with Bluetooth products that rely on a battery and this is something we would like to see in future iterations if they come. Charging the battery is achieved through using the supplied USB 2.0 cable.
Now on to the audio quality produced from the MEELectronics Runaway Air-Fi AF32 headphones. Included within each ear cup is a 40mm driver capable of dishing up a frequency range of 20Hz-20KHz. Bluetooth audio devices of any nature seem to have a stigma stapled to them with regard to inferior quality when compared to their wired counterparts and we'd have to extinguish this thought pattern. These may not perform as well as many wired headphones surrounding the $79.99/£79.99 price bracket we've reviewed, but a premium is being established because of the Bluetooth technology inbuilt. Audio quality pumps an easy listening style suitably for most genres of popular music. Listening to Jake Bugg's 'Two Fingers' is a great demonstration track of these headphone's deep acoustic abilities. The bass leans to being slightly over inflated, but still doesn't disrupt other frequencies. The mids have a floating, free character generally, which doesn't take away from the marvellous highs these can reach. The mid-highs are utterly incandescent. We genuinely couldn't hear any loss in transfer rates or clarity due to the connection being wireless.
As we already noted, but feel we should emphasise, these are a very well balanced pair of headphones with a foundation of hearty bass that doesn't massacre other frequency ranges. Volume doesn't become excruciatingly loud but when fully cranked it definitely more than satisfies our needs and doesn't reverberate or crack under the pressure either.
The sound stage achieved is small but distinguishable. Individual elements within musical tracks can be individually focused on and even exceptionally busy tracks don't sound muddled either. The overall audio performance easily trumps more expensive Bluetooth headphones and headsets we've reviewed.
One fault we spotted almost immediately on using these headphones was severe sound leakage. This is almost definitely due to their compact on-ear design, in opposition to over-ear headphones which direct the sound into the ear and therefore minimalise sound leakage and pollution. So if you don't want others also tuning into your music collection this might be off-putting. Because these headphones cling to the head, they do optimise the directness of audio travelling into the ear canal and do a reasonable job in deterring exterior sounds creeping into your music, but again the compactness of the on-ear design means they do not stop loud sounds. This is particularly unfortunate when commuting and listening to music within busy and noisy built up areas.
The MEELectronics Runaway Air-Fi AF32 Headphones are a full package that are definitely competitively priced within the wireless headphone market.