Price is the biggest selling point of the boAt Airdopes 201.
It offers decent sound quality but there are some connectivity issues.
The battery life is acceptable and overall the product stays far from limelight.
Every industry has one company that can be labelled as a disruptor. In India, Xiaomi is the disruptor in smartphone space. In the audio space, that crown has to go to boAt. These disruptors generally have limited exposure initially and then they grow to become something big. It is true for boAt and its audio products. In the past few years, boAt products have become commonplace. If Xiaomi entered Indian households with Redmi, then boAt became commonplace on Indian ears with Rockerz.
I was shocked to see a lot of Rockerz in Mumbai local train last year. This year, I know that this brand has become a keeper. One of the reasons behind the success of boAt is its price, and the fact that smartphone makers don’t bundle headphones in the box anymore. If you bought a new smartphone then there is a fair chance that it didn’t have a headphone in them. There is also a possibility that you went ahead and bought a boAt headphone. In fact, the brand calls those people ‘boAtheads’, and it is now trying to transition to true wireless listening experience. The newest product from the brand is boAt Airdopes 201. Is it a great true wireless earbuds in budget? Check out our boAt Airdopes 201 review.
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Design and Battery Life
The first thing you notice with the boAt Airdopes 201 is the sleek look. While Noise Shots X-Buds and Fingers Audio Pods have a stem design, the boAt Airdopes 201 are all about their earbuds. These earbuds themselves have a clean look that stays comfortably in your ears. It comes in only one color, which is a mixture of black and grey. boAt also includes extra ear tips and fin to securely keep the buds in your ears. With these, you will be able to find a comfortable fit without any issue. When placed next to other budget true wireless earbuds, the boAt Airdopes 201 is simple and unassuming. On the exterior, it has a button that acts as a control to play or pause music or accept phone calls followed by boAt logo.
On the inside, there is an indicator for left or right earbud and two magnetic pins for charging. Among all the budget true wireless earbuds that we have tested in the past few weeks, these are the most minimal in terms of overall footprint. This minimal design also extends to the case. The case is not like that of Noise or Apple but rather has a square bottom with bulging circular lid at the top. There is a boAt branding at the top, and the case opens without any issue. When the earbuds are charging, there is an orange LED on the earbuds. When you remove them from the case, there is a white LED to denote that it is ready to be paired. At the front, there are four LED lights to denote the charging capacity held by the case.
On the back, the case has a microUSB port for charging while bottom is home to regulatory details. The case is black in color and it shows that there is not much needed to build a minimal and cheap true wireless earbuds right now. The company is known for designing minimal and affordable audio devices. The boAt Airdopes 201 build on that fundamental ideology of minimalist design that does not compromise on user experience. The company also includes a USB Type-A to microUSB cable for charging the case. In comparison to Fingers Audio Pods and Noise Shots X-Buds, the boAt Airdopes 201 seems to be finding a middle ground with respect to design and overall usability available with the device.
Sound Quality, Battery Life and Connectivity
As observed in my review of Fingers Audio Pods or Noise Shots X-Buds, the sound quality takes a back seat with true wireless earbuds. While that remains the case with boAt Airdopes 201 as well, it does offer a perfect balance between convenience and audio experience. These earbuds, which pack 10mm dynamic drivers, are great for listening to Indian music. Everytime I played A R Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan or even Arijit Singh, the sound was natural. The bass with these tiny earbuds are not punchy but there is a subtle element to it nonetheless. They do come into their own when you listen to music suited to these form factors.
When you listen to pop or rock, the genre comes alive without much effort. Whether you are listening to Carly Rae Jepsen, Lizzo, HAIM, you go along with the beat of the music. When you play John Meyer, Don Henley or good old Beatles, there is the dynamic range that comes out really well. The earbuds struggled the most when I played music with a lot of percussion. Some of the instruments sounded coarse to me. However, in the case of some ensembles, the vocal part stood out from the rest. It definitely seems like boAt decided to find a middle ground with respect to sound quality as well. After using them, I am sure that they have found that middle ground with ease.
In terms of battery life, I averaged between 2-2.5 hours with the earbuds alone. The case was able to provide another three rounds of charging. Once the earbuds and case are charged, you can easily get between 10-12 hours of juice. These earbuds do create a nice seal, resulting in decent noise isolation. The only issue for me was with connectivity. To know whether Airdopes 201 are working fine, you need to follow the audio cue. As soon as you take the earbuds out of the case, you will hear “Power ON, you are plugged into Nirvana”.
After that you must look out for “Left Channel, Right Channel” sound to confirm it’s properly started. After this message, the earbuds will either connect to previously connected device or play “Your device is ready to pair” sound. There were instances when the previous message did not playback through the earbuds. In such a situation, the only solution is to put these buds back in their case. Close the case and pull them out again. While it supports Bluetooth 5.0, I did observe occasional drop in connection and shunted playback of music. These issues are intermittent and don’t happen very often, but I was not expecting such an experience from a brand like boAt. There is room for improvement and this could be one of those areas.
boAt Airdopes 201 Review: Should you buy?
The one thing that works in favor of boAt Airdopes 201 is its price. At Rs 2,499, it is hard to find true wireless earbuds in the same price or from a reputable brand. The only other product that comes to mind is Detel Di-Pod but they don’t offer similar quality, which is the second best thing about boAt’s offering. These true wireless earbuds offer quality that punches above its price segment. The third thing that works for boAt Airdopes 201 is the sound quality. It is not great or peculiar in any way but it is not built to sound like budget wireless earbuds. They are perfect for listening to music on the go. It also seems good enough for listening to podcasts or watch your favorite on-demand video content.
The only issue with the boAt Airdopes 201 is the not so reliable connection. It is something that one can overlook, but it is something you should know about if you plan to buy these true wireless earbuds. The battery life is also lacklustre in comparison to other budget true wireless earbuds tested by BGR India. So, if you are in the market for true wireless earbuds and your budget is not a penny more than Rs 2,500, you should buy the boAt Airdopes 201. There is a trade-off but it is not something that would hurt your experience. boAt does not offer gesture controls for music playback because they don’t work well. This is a smart company and its true wireless earbuds are not smart but they are not impractical either.