The Otium PowerPods are a budget Bluetooth 5.0-enabled pair of true-wireless earphones. At $35, they’re meant to be an option for cost-conscious earphone users. But, in terms of sound and comfort, do they hold up?
IN the BOX
- charging dock
- 5 pairs of eartips, in assorted sizes
- USB-to-microUSB adapter
- user manual
The PowerPods don’t lack visual appeal, with a smart-looking little logo on the front (what is this logo, exactly, though? I can’t find it anywhere else on the packaging, but it looks nice!) on top of a nice-looking metal button.
The charging dock is likewise pretty smart-looking, with a handy screen showing what percentage of its charge the dock is currently holding out of 100. It’s a really handy way to keep track of your battery. As a chronic battery worrywart, this is an especially useful feature for me, and I wish it would pop up on more products. The surface of the charging dock sure does attract fingerprints, though.
As far as other features go, you don’t get much, as one would expect for $35. However, they’re IPX7 waterproof, meaning you could theoretically drop them into a 3-foot pool of water without any damage. I wouldn’t suggest it, nor would I suggest washing them off under water, but they’ll certainly be able to handle the sweat resulting from your daily workout.
The PowerPods weren’t the best-fitting earphones I’ve ever tried, but they do the job. They stayed comfortably in my ear, and they didn’t seem like they had any inclination to escape. I would imagine with prolonged use, they would eventually grow slightly tiring, but it’s not a big deal.
While I’d love to see a little bit more stabilization here, like an earhook or something, the fit is certainly adequate, all told.
I’m going to be really, really honest here: the Otium PowerPods sound bad. Like, really bad.
I like to hear things in a positive light. Sometimes I think things are overpriced, or maybe a tad shouty, or a little dark for my taste, but the PowerPods are different. For most products, I can find something, anything that they excel at. I was beginning to wonder if I was too tolerant of colorations, too uncritical, too eager to like the headphones I review day in and day out. With the PowerPods, there is no such worry. If they have one strength, it’s reminding me what truly bad audio sounds like.
They are somehow bassy, dark, muddy, nasal, tinny and sibilant all at the same time. The bass is lifeless and plodding, while simultaneously loud and muddy enough to render detail in the mids inaudible. Those mids are incredibly thinned-out and recessed, robbing all instruments and voices of their presence and body. Compared to the mids, the treble is relatively inoffensive, but goodness, it’s certainly not good!
I will say that through aggressive equalization, I eventually managed to get these earphones to sound almost as good as their similarly-priced competitors. But was it all worth it? Not really, no.
PROS and CONS
Pros: Comfortable fit, nice charging dock
Cons: Poor sound quality
The Otium PowerPods have a relatively comfortable fit, support Bluetooth 5.0, and come with a nice charging dock that displays the current charge. Unfortunately, they just sound too bad for me to recommend them.