Soul X-Shock Review: How Good Are Wireless In-Ear Headphones Really?
Wireless in-ear headphones were initially a niche product that received little attention. It was Apple that freed these headphones from their shadowy existence, which were particularly advantageous for athletes. Since the US company launched such headphones on the market, they have been known and loved by prospective customers all over the world. Numerous manufacturers followed suit and also launched wireless in-ear headphones on the market. Soul also presented such headphones with “X-Shock“. We’ve put them through an extensive test to determine what the X-Shocks have to offer and who they’re suitable for.
Design and Workmanship
There is not much to say about the design of these headphones. These are classic wireless in-ear headphones. In this respect, Soul does a lot right: the headphones are not particularly eye-catching and are practical. Compared to wired in-ears they are of course a little bigger, but not yet so that they would attract attention negatively. We classify the workmanship as good. We cannot find any real weaknesses or points of criticism here.
Soul has created quite robust headphones with the X-Shocks and exclusively used high-quality materials. Both headphones are equipped with blue flashing LEDs. These light up regularly during operation and are intended to make the athlete quickly visible even in the dark. With this function, the manufacturer shows that he understands the needs of his target group. They can also be switched off, but are active again the next time the headphones are switched on.
The sound quality is also important for such headphones. Anyone who wants to listen to music during a training session is certainly not interested in being dissuaded from their actual activity by a bad sound. So wireless in-ear headphones like the X-Shocks are expected to deliver impeccable sound quality.
In the test the sound proves to be good. If the headphones fit correctly, they convince with deep bass and – depending on the genre of the music being played – a balanced sound experience. The sound can’t be described as outstandingly good, but it’s quite pleasant to hear and if the songs aren’t too dynamic, the drivers also come along.
The headphones can also be used as a hands-free kit. To do this, press a key on the side of the handset – the advantages and disadvantages of this key will be explained later in the section “Wearing comfort”. The sound quality during the call is weak. The conversation partner is hardly audible, which means that the volume of the headphones has to be turned up enormously. Only then can every spoken word be understood without problems. In addition, the words spoken by the wearer of the headphones are barely understood by the partner – the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise, so you have to speak loudly to be understood. In addition, pleasant telephoning is only possible in quiet environments. Otherwise, both parties will hardly understand a word. However, it should be added that this function is only a nice extra. The headphones are mainly intended for music playback.
Battery and Charging
Battery life is also an important criterion for wireless headphones. Especially during long training sessions and daily use, it is annoying when the headphones need to be recharged after a short time. Even long charging times often cloud the joy of the users.
In this respect, Soul’s wireless in-ear headphones are a convincing choice. The fully charged battery lasts for about three hours – with continuous music playback. This should be sufficient for the average user. But you can’t get over a day’s work like that. However, they can easily be recharged using the charging station with integrated power bench. All you have to do is place them in the portable charging station. Thanks to the magnets installed in this station, the headphones sit very securely and do not fall out.
The charging process is relatively slow in the test. The charging station has 3,000 mAh and can withstand sixteen charges before it needs to be charged. So you can calculate that the batteries in the in-ear headphones are very small. Nevertheless they need about 90 minutes to be fully charged again. Fast loading in between is not really possible.
The wireless headphones are connected via Bluetooth 5.0. This did not work without problems in the test. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 the connection was perfect. The signal could be maintained over distances of seven to ten meters. With the Huawei P20 Pro, however, we had strong connection problems. Even though we haven’t had any problems with the smartphone with other Bluetooth devices yet, it seems that there are often problems when connecting Bluetooth devices with the Huawei P20 Pro. Since the connection with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was flawless, it seems to have been the smartphone.
Once the headphones are removed from the cradle and turned on, they can be found on other Bluetooth devices. The smartphone displays the headphones directly as a nearby device. Once a connection has been established, this is done automatically as soon as the two devices are close enough to each other. If the headphones are placed in the charging station, the connection is automatically disconnected. The in-ears are then in a kind of standby, because when they are removed they switch on again immediately.
In the test we had no problems with establishing and disconnecting the connection.
Despite the rather clumsy design, the Soul X-Shock are easy to use and sit quite firmly and comfortably. When used for the first time, they don’t look so clunky when worn.
I was stuck with the in-ears, and I wasn’t afraid to lose them. That happens quite rarely with me, because in-ears usually sit rather badly with me. Since each person has a different ear shape, however, no general recommendation can be made here and you simply have to try it yourself.
Suitability for Everyday Use
The headphones should be suitable for everyday use primarily because of their water-repellent properties. So sweat and rain should not cause them problems. The test showed that the headphones can actually withstand these stresses. However, since the manufacturer recommends letting the handset dry for 24 hours afterwards, there is no feeling of security here either. The receivers are also not suitable for swimming. So if you really want absolutely waterproof headphones, you should look elsewhere.
In addition, the headphones were noticed negatively in everyday life due to hardly any noise shielding. Of course, it makes sense – especially as a sportsman – to get a glimpse of the surroundings. After all, noisy cars, sirens and the like should not simply be faded out. However, it is rather unpleasant to be distracted from one’s own music on the street by other people’s conversations. The Soul X-Shock offered almost no noise shielding in the test, which is a pity.
Result of the Soul X-Shock Review
Soul’s X-Shocks offer a very good sound where listening to music is fun. The battery lasts about three hours, then the small in-ears in the power bank must be recharged. That takes too long with 90 minutes, I’m afraid. The workmanship of the Soul X-Shocks leaves no point for criticism and due to their water-repellent construction they are also suitable for use in the rain. Altogether the Soul X-Shock can convince, but are only suitable for the fast use in between and not for the productive working day over 8 hours.
Value for Money
Unfortunately, headphones are hardly suitable for everyday use. There is potential for improvement above all in the wearing comfort, noise shielding and sound in the highs.