Not a day goes by where I don’t miss the headphone jack on my phone. Since the latest iPhone and Android devices have ditched the universal 3.5mm connector, manufacturers like Strauss and Wagner and Apple have had to compensate for the absence. Now consumer earbuds offer straight to lightning or USB-C options for their required devices. The Bolle & Raven V100 is one of these Type-C earbuds, and you can get them for the generous price of $26.99. These types of earphones aren’t just ways to enjoy music listening, but they’re also a utility for making phone calls, and using voice assistants to interact with your device. How does the V100 work on those fronts?
What You Get
The box is thin and doesn’t offer many notable accessories. All of the contents can be found in one plastic bag, which supplies the V100 Type-C earbuds themselves along with a single set of large and small additional ear tips.
Look and Feel
While the V100 might have a rather standard appearance, I prefer the aesthetic this has over many other earbuds. Most Type-C earbuds have a more bland look, but the V100 features a more stylish housing, with a rounded triangular shape and silver outlining. This also works to add a considerable amount of comfort and support to the ear cavity. The shaping of the V100 adds an ergonomic quality to the fit, which is appreciated in any set of earphones.
It doesn’t appear like the drivers inside the V100 are very notable considering the limited technical specifications. However, it’s noted that they use RVRB-8 digital tuning that’s present in Apple earbuds except with a much fuller frequency response. The most significant aspect of the design is the attached remote supplied on its cable. This in-line remote has a built-in microphone for voice calls, as well as a set of buttons for volume control and playback.
I don’t expect a ton of width or depth from an earphone like this, making the least bit of competency in the soundstage surprising. For the price, the positioning and separation are actually quite nice. The V100 steers away from a tight, mono-like image, and at least do the minimum of offering a clear sense of placement in the stereo field. Unfortunately, the spatial imaging is mostly surface level. The sounds emanate clearly but can’t articulate themselves well enough to produce detail and immersion.
Although the bass immediately makes a presence, it isn’t a very clear one. The timbre of these frequencies tend to stray into the muddy territory, even when they have discernable impact. There’s more power in the mid-bass, but it effectively clouds the tone rather than add texture.
On a whole, the mids are where the timbre shines, but it still suffers from some cloudiness in certain ranges. Like the mid-bass, the low-mids tend to get muddy, and bleed into some of the other ranges making for what sounds like a lower resolution sound. However, there are spikes of detail that are able to make it through the muddiness. The extended low-mids are also superior to that of the bass in that they add a more textured response. Warmth soothes a lot of those frequencies, sometimes making you forget about the level of clarity actually on display. Upper-mids feature most of the earphones clarity, highlighting vocal ranges and certain instrumentals.
I found some detail to enjoy in these highs, but they mostly fall into bland territory. The frequencies just don’t offer much clarity aside from a few sparks from treble centric instruments. Otherwise the highs falter into a hollow shell of tonality.
I’m torn on whether I’d recommend the V100 to a casual listener. No matter the budget, I’ve heard plenty of earphones that impressed me for only a little bit more. Selections from Strauss and Wagner come to mind, or the Kinera BD005 Pro. With models like these in mind, the V100 doesn’t make any form of impact to me other than its extremely low price point. Whether that makes them worthwhile is up to the listener, but for my experience I can’t imagine myself even remembering what these sound like in a few days time.
Pros and Cons
- USB Type-C connection
- Remote mic for calls
- Comfortable in ears
- Good separation
- Muddy bass
- Weak treble
The Bolle & Raven V100 is available on Amazon.