HAKII is a relatively small Chinese brand that has started gaining some attention at a number of international headphone expos for delivering affordable, yet solid quality true wireless sound. The HAKII ICE Light is one such model, and it has been rapidly growing in sales over a short period of time. So, we at MajorHiFi were curious about what the HAKII ICE Lite could deliver for around 75 bucks. What can you expect from the ICE Lite in terms of sound signature and performance?
In the Box
HAKKI ICE Lite Earbuds
Look and Feel
As the name suggests, the HAKII ICE Lite earbuds are indeed very light and sit comfortably in the ear. They sport cool blue pastel colored stems with grey plastic shells, and sit in a smooth, shiny pale blue plastic case, which is reasonably small and easy to slip in a pocket. They appear to be modeled after Apple’s AirPods in terms of physical design, in that they forego a silicone attachment for a universally sized ear tip. So, don’t expect a super snug seal with any sound isolation. Rather, these earbuds are meant to feel open to the outside environment with a casual fit that’s easy to insert into the ears.
The ICE Lite is a step up from the brand’s lower tier, HAKII ICE. It employs the newer Bluetooth 5.3 and is able to connect to two devices at the same time, while also boasting lower latency. I found it relatively easy to pair to my phone with no drop-out issues. Curiously, it has less battery life than the other model, offering 5 hours of single use and 20 hours of total charge in the case. It takes approximately 2 hours to fully charge the case, which uses a USB-C connection. With a few taps one the earphone stems you get command of a host of controls, including play/pause, track skipping, call answering/ending, music/game mode switching and voice assistant activation. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of the controls before I could comfortably navigate through the functions. The call clarity is particularly impressive, and I experienced no drop-outs or excess ambient noise.
At this price point, one usually don’t expect a particularly vast soundstage. But there was a nice amount of spaciousness, as well as a good deal of dimension. You’ll sense more depth than height, though instrument placement on the horizontal plane feels precise. And the listening experience feels as immersive as you could hope for in an earphone of this caliber.
The lows are juicy and generous. The seem great for pop music, as bass guitars and kick drums reveal a good deal of punch and thickness. It also lends a warmth to the higher frequencies, giving the sound signature a lush feel. And acoustic instruments in this range, while not remarkably transparent, do have a richness and color that give majesty to strings, such as cellos and double basses.
The low mid and higher mids get equal attention, making for a very warm and full bodied sound in this range. And this characteristic lends itself well to big rock and pop rock tracks. At the same time, the level of separation is decent, allowing for sufficient definition with respect to guitars, for instance, even in the low mids. And yet, that ever-present fleshy profile gives a pleasing roundness and softness to acoustic tracks, like folk and jazz music.
Given the darker sound signature, it’s not surprising that the highs fail to reach any sparkle or snap. Rather, these earbuds are for easy listening, and the high frequencies avoid the kind of extension that would cause any fatigue or discomfort. On the flip side, vocals in this range have a pleasing weight and color to their timbre, and lend a velvety feel to the overall performance.
If you prefer a neutral, very detailed sound signature with crispy highs, these earbuds may not be for you. But if you love a warm and meaty sound, you’ll probably love the ICE Lite, especially given the low price point. With respect to modern genres, the big bass response and hard hitting kick drums definitely amp up the fun. Also, if you are into more acoustic music, the rich character will certainly add to the emotiveness of the sound. In fact, at the end of the day, the HAKII ICE Lite may a better sounding and more affordable alternative to the Apple AirPods.
You can find the HAKII ICE Lite at HAKII’s website.