A week ago, I had the opportunity to check out the new Strauss and Wagner True Wireless Earbuds TW401, my new favorite IEM. Now I’m looking at the TW401’s less expensive sister model, the not-so-true-wireless SPW301 sport earbuds. Utilizing a lanyard-style design, this wireless earphone offers 8 hours of battery life and IPX4 sweat resistance. Additionally, this earphone sits at a highly-affordable $49. But just what can you expect from this budget Bluetooth ‘phone?
Strauss and Wagner Bluetooth Sports Earbuds SW-SPW301 Review
The SPW301 comes in a slim, no-frills cardboard box. Inside, you’ll find a charging cable, three pairs of eartips, three pairs of ear-hooks, and a cable cinch.
Thanks to the earphone’s magnetized faceplates, this model can be connected to create an ad-hoc necklace when not in use. In addition to making you look tougher, this may also prevent you from losing or misplacing the earphone.
Once placed into my ears, the fit appears relatively comfortable. There’s some good isolation, here, too. I can’t even hear my coworkers debating about the best Karaoke bar in New York (it’s Planet Rose, dammit).
Call quality also appears fairly decent, with no real issues hearing a call or being heard. This is no doubt assisted by the placement of the mic relatively close to my mouth.
In addition to the mic, the same plastic housing holds controls for adjusting volume and playback, or accepting or rejecting calls on the go.
Under the hood, the SPW301 runs on Bluetooth 5.0 with support for HSP, HFP, and A2DP codecs.
Battery-wise, this earphone offers 8 hours of playback time on a single charge. Charging the unit from 0% battery will take you about 2 hours, and is accomplished via the included micro-USB cable.
Build-wise, the Strauss & Wagner SW-SPW301 seems relatively resilient. Encased in an aluminum shell, this earphone also features a relatively thick and heavy duty cable.
In the lows, the Strauss and Wagner SPW301 offers some detail, but not a whole lot. There’s some bass impact, and this makes the low end sound relatively fun. While the lack of detail prevents me from loving this earphone, the bass does a good job of keeping most tracks at least listenable. Especially in exercise scenarios, this may be the saving grace of the SPW301, as most listeners will be focused more on the task at hand than analyzing audio quality.
Unlike the lows, there’s actually some okay detail here. While still not incredibly resolving, the mids still manage to feel present if smooth. Vocals on any kind of track – whether we’re talking hip hop, rock, or even croony jazz tracks – all sound very clear and present. This quality, combined with the lows, works well in keeping the sound fun and engaging.
Rolled off and smooth, the highs don’t exhibit the kind of harshness I would normally expect from an earphone at this price. Instead, vocals feel relatively tame, while instrumentation feels just detailed enough. The result is a fairly relaxed high end that does justice to instruments, but sounds great with female vocals. While probably not the best high end for classical jams, it’s the perfect sound for blasting electronica or pop music.
Not much to hem and haw over, the soundstage herely exists. Sure, there’s some depth, but placement is narrow. This leads to a very shallow sense of space in most tracks. To be honest, though, this comes as pretty much par for the course when considering the SPW301’s in-ear wireless design. For $50, I’d still take the lackluster soundstage in stride.
Pros and Cons
Pros: The SPW delivers good audio for what it is – namely, a budget wireless sports-ready earphone. Durability and fit also rank pretty high, making this a solid purchase for folks who don’t want to waste hard-earned money on rubbish.
Cons: A lack of detail in the lows and a somewhat-shapeless soundstage prevent this earphone from sounding perfect.
At $49, the Strauss and Wagner SW-SPW301 constitutes a bargain any way you cut it. While audio could be technically better from this reviewer’s standpoint, casual listeners will find this sound more than acceptable. And, in addition to the decent audio, this earbud offers a relatively robust build with plenty of creature comforts.
Snatch the Strauss & Wagner SW-SPW301 for the best price here: