The Xech Speaker Pods price starts at Rs 3,500.
Its highlight is the 3W speaker in the carry case.
You can get total playtime of up to 9 hours.
Ever since Apple released its AirPods, the true wireless earbuds segment has seen a growth of over 180 percent. And the best part is, you can get a decent pair of true wireless earbuds for as low as Rs 2,500. Of course, you can’t expect exceptional audio quality, and features like wireless charging. But, there are some interesting options for budget-conscious users. The Xech Speaker Pods is one such product. Also Read - Best True Wireless Earbuds launched in India in 2019
Available for Rs 3,500, you can buy the Xech Speaker Pods from Amazon India. While this price is for the medium variant, there is also a large variant (Speaker Pods XL) for Rs 4,999. The highlight of Speaker Pods is that the carrying case comes with built-in 3W speaker for audio playback. Sure, the idea sounds good, but is it worth spending your money? Read my review to find out. Also Read - Detel Di-Pod Review: Terrific sound meets stellar battery life
Xech Speaker Pods: Design and build
The Speaker Pods come in a pill-shaped case and are easy to carry around. Made from plastic, and housing a 2,100mAh battery, the case also comes with a 3W speaker and the earbuds. Also Read - Syska EarGo Review: Another great value-for-money proposition
You get a nice fabric material above the speaker grill on one side, and Xech branding with rubber finish on the other. This gives it a dual-tone look. Turn to the back and you have an LED light indicator for charging. Just beside that, you have the micro-USB port for charging.
Now, as you open the case, you can see the speaker grill on one side, and the earbuds on the other side. As you remove the earbuds from the case, they get connected with the smartphone for audio and phone calls. And when you want bigger sound, simply insert the earbuds back in the case and you can listen to music on the Bluetooth speaker. But what about comfort and performance?
Comfortable for long hours of listening
The earbuds, in particular, are a bit larger than some other options you find in the market from Syska, Samsung, Detel and more. You don’t get any fins on the earbuds, yet they fit perfectly in the ear canal. Even if you move your head or go out on a run, the buds won’t fall off. I tried this, and I found the fit to be perfect.
The company is offering three silicon tips (small, medium and large). You can choose to use the one that fits your ears. These are good quality silicon tips that also offer good noise isolation. And you don’t have to worry about fatigue as the buds are very comfortable. During my testing period, I used to wear them for at least 2 and a half hours at a stretch and didn’t feel any discomfort.
The outer part of the earpods come with touch-sensitive control that lets you play/pause music with a single tap. A double-tap lets you skip tracks, triple tap lets you talk to Google Assistant / Siri / Bixby to give voice commands. And while most true wireless earbuds don’t let you control volume, the Xech Speaker Pods give you the ability. Simply tap and hold the right earbud for a second and leave to increase volume, whereas the same on left earbud decreases the volume. These need a little getting used to, but it works well.
Xech Speaker Pods: Performance
The Speaker Pods come with Bluetooth 5.0 EDR connectivity. The Bluetooth range is about 10 meters, and the connection is pretty stable. My primary source was my smartphone, and I streamed high-quality music from Spotify and Apple Music. I played music across different genres – from Indipop to Bollywood, Pop and EDM.
The overall audio quality of the earbuds is on the neutral side while not being too sharp. However, with some songs, I felt the bass to be slightly heavy, which also caused reverb effects. This was prominent on songs like Starboy from Daft Punk, and Rock DJ by Robbie Williams. On songs like Diamond by Rihanna, the vocals were sharp, while the bass was moderate.
Now, when you put the earbuds back in the case, you can enjoy the music on the 3W speaker. It has a sharp audio profile, and it can get pretty loud. In fact, the volume levels are good enough when sitting in your bedroom or in an office cabin. The shift of music from earbuds to the speaker and vice-versa is seamless.
If I have one issue, it would be a missing button on the case to activate or deactivate the speaker. One day, I was listening to music on the earbuds, I reached office and paused music. But while putting the earbuds back in the case, I accidentally touched the touch-sensitive panel, and music started playing loudly on the speaker. Having a button could have saved that embarrassment.
One way to avoid this is to touch and hold the touch-sensitive panel on the earbuds, and turn them off before putting back in the case. Failing to do so, the Speaker Pods will always be connected with phone. So any music you play, or calls you get, will directly route to the speaker. Also, if you disconnect the Bluetooth, the case still remains on for 10 minutes before powering off. Having an on-off button at such times would have really made sense.
Talking about battery life, the company promises up to nine hours of total playtime. On a single charge, I was able to use the earbuds for about four hours, and the case can fully charge them once. In total, you get about eight hours of music playback time. When playing music on the 3W speaker, I was able to get playback time of about 4 hours and 15 minutes, which is not bad. Charging takes around three hours.
Verdict: Should you buy the Speaker Pods?
The Xech Speaker Pods are an innovative pair of true wireless earbuds that try to solve two problems. The audio quality is good for its price point, there is support for voice assistant, and touch-sensitive controls work well too. Xech has also added IPX4 certification, which makes it sweatproof and a good option to wear during workout sessions. There are a handful of other true wireless earbuds in this price range, but for the features Xech is offering, the Speaker Pods are worth considering. The USP is the speaker in the carrying case, not something that others are offering.