We all have a wishlist and for me, the top on that list is to step out and see my friends and relatives. Another one on that list is to get the best of true wireless earbuds across price points. This is the segment that is growing in multiple folds every quarter. The growth is astounding to say the least. While Apple, Sennheiser, Jabra and Samsung are introducing new technology in the premium price segment, there is a lot happening in the affordable price segment as well. Xiaomi, Realme and Oppo have introduced new models but Indian brands are not far behind. Hammer is one such brand and we have been using the Hammer Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds for a few days now. Also Read - OnePlus Buds design, battery life and other key details confirmed ahead of July 21 launch
The important thing to note about the true wireless earbuds market is that it is not a winner takes all market. There is a lot of opportunity for each and every player to gain market share. Indian audio brands, mostly independent, are trying to compete vigorously with established smartphone brands. We have already seen brands like boAt, Noise and others not only challenge Chinese smartphone brands but lead them in key segments. Hammer wants to be among these players and as a startup, it has a decent product portfolio. However, the prominent product in this lineup is the Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. Here is our review. Also Read - Vivo TWS Neo launch teased, expected to debut alongside X50 Series on July 16
We have seen an array of designs in the true wireless earbuds market. However, two designs that have stood out are in-ear and half in-ear design. Hammer Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds come with in-ear design as well. The earbuds snugly fit in your ears and stay there for a really long time. However, I did notice a little discomfort after a few hours wearing them. This is mainly because these earbuds feel a lot more heavier than the Redmi Earbuds S. It felt like these earbuds were pushing my earlobes to react to force after some time. Your experience might be a lot easier than mine. Also Read - Boult Audio Tru5ive Pro true wireless earbuds launched in India for Rs 2,799
I replaced the included eartips with another one and they offered better comfort. Despite that, I had to remove these earbuds after a point to give my ears some rest. Another thing to note is that these earbuds create a really tight seal and it definitely limits ambient sound without noise cancellation. This is not a flawed design but it is definitely not the most comfortable design out there. Again, I want to highlight that we all have ears shaped differently and your experience might be much better. While comfort was not excellent, the ability to stay in my ear was perfect.
They stayed in my ear whether I was cycling, running or just doing “walk and talk” thing at home. They come with a case which has an open design. JLabs is another brand that has tried this design and I’m not a fan of it. Firstly, you miss out on satisfaction that comes from the “thud” sound of closing the lid of the case. Secondly, the open case design means that there were instances when the earbuds stayed connected to my phone even after I had placed them in the case. I missed an important call because the earbuds stayed connected and I could not hear the ring. For this reason, I would recommend you look at the Solo 2.0 with lid instead.
Sound Quality and Battery Life
While the design is not the biggest advantage of Hammer Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, it makes up for it with sound. Hammer is not confirming the drivers used here but they do offer a vibrant sound profile. The mid-range from these earbuds is really strong, which makes it ideal for listening to Bollywood or any genre where vocals take the center stage. I recommend listening to Fool’s Errand by Fleet Foxes and you will notice that Robin Pecknold’s voice comes out soaring on these TWS earbuds. It sounded so good that I realized that this is the kind of remedy we need during this pandemic.
Xiaomi has tuned the Redmi Earbuds S for bass experience but Hammer is going for overall balance. The clarity in bass is good but these are not designed to make your earlobes wobble at the low-end of frequency. When it comes to frequency range at the high end, the sound can get coarse. At treble, the Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds maintain instrument separation but I found saxophone to be coarse in some sample audio. While looking for a new pair of audio devices we generally see balance, mid-range, bass and treble response. However, it is also important to see how they produce details that trace back to its creator.
The easiest way to test details is to play any music with lots of orchestral pieces. In the case of Hammer Solo, the details were there and reaffirms that detail is not an issue for audio devices anymore. These true wireless earbuds also impressed me with subtlety and there was a drive that usually ends up missing in the budget price segment. This means that regardless of the genre, these earbuds will deliver good sound output. Whether you listen to Beyonce’s Black Parade or Jason Derulo and Jawsh 685’s Savage Love, which has become a TikTok sensation.
I also used these true wireless earbuds for listening to podcasts and since they are good with vocals, most of them sounded excellent. You could experience the depth in voice and isolate the speakers easily. I also binged on Breathe: Into the Shadows on Amazon Prime Video and those suspense and curiosity were prominently delivered by these earbuds. Another area where Hammer Solo TWS earbuds worked really well is with voice calls. I tried using them for voice calls across phone, tablet and laptop and there wasn’t any issue. Those on the other end of the call heard me clear and I was able to hear them clearly as well.
I even joined a few Zoom and MS Teams calls with multiple participants and none of them noticed that I was talking through true wireless earbuds. I got between three to four hours from the earbuds and the charging case is capable of adding another four recharge. This is inline with other products in this price segment. While the battery life is good, the overall process is somewhat cumbersome. For instance, twice it happened that I placed the earbuds in the charging case, it showed white on the earbuds after sometime to indicate that they were charged. In reality, the battery life was just around 20 percent. These false positives left a sour taste on the overall experience with these earbuds.
Should you buy
There is no such thing as a perfect true wireless earbud in the market right now. We all need to find something that provides the best balance between cost, comfort and performance. In my opinion, Hammer Solo Truly Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds also tried to achieve a balance. However, that balance is not something everyone could enjoy. I, for one, could not use these earbuds comfortably but my colleague found them easy to use for a really long time. Even when I look at cost, the Solo is more expensive than Redmi Earbuds S, Realme Buds Q, Noise Shots X1 Air and boAt Airdopes 201. For the additional price, these earbuds don’t really bring anything extra to the table.
However, it really has an edge when it comes to the audio output. The sound stage is perfectly tuned for Indian consumers and there is vibrancy when you listen to music. They also deliver good responses while making phone calls and that for me, is an important feature while looking for these earbuds. These earbuds also have buttons to control the music playback and I think they are on the stiff side. When you press them, it feels like you are pressing the ear canal. If you are against buying products from companies with Chinese origin then you should definitely look at Hammer. There is a small tax associated with these local brands but I do think it is fine in the long run.