I spent one busy week putting the Phiaton BonoBeats Lite through its paces, testing its capabilities on the go, at home, in coworking spaces, and more. At a relatively low price point of just $69.99, the over-ear headphones deliver a polished final product in a lightweight finish, ideal for frequent travellers, remote workers, and on-the-go use.
My schedule for the week was varied, featuring video editing projects, a number of video-conference meetings, and a few long journeys where my only entertainment was podcasts and music. If there was ever a week when my headphones needed to perform, it was this week – and BonoBeats delivered.
BonoBeats Lite review: Key specs
|Full charge time:||2hrs|
|Battery life (with ANC):||Up to 30hrs|
|Standby time:||Up to 40hrs|
|Operating frequency:||2.4GHz (2.402 ~ 2.480GHz)|
|Audio codec:||SBC / Qualcomm aptX HD aptX / AAC|
|Dimensions:||18.2 x 18.5 x 5.3cm|
The BonoBeats Lite doesn’t come with a case, instead arriving with a thin cloth bag to protect them. The initial feel to the headphones themselves is telling of the lower cost but you’ll quickly forget the feel of the plastic as soon as you experience the sound quality hidden in the lightweight frames. What’s more, the admittedly budget feel of the headphones also keeps them light and easy to transport, as suggested by the ‘Lite’ in the name.
There’s plenty of padding through the ears and the crown, making for a comfortable fit, plus the ability to adjust the headband to suit both my pea-sized head and my partner’s larger size. I tried the BonoBeats Lite in beige and liked the pale pink accents, but they also come in black for a more neutral appearance.
For extra customisation, the ear cups turn fluidly, a feature that too many headphone producers don’t utilise enough. The headphones can mould themselves easily to the size and shape of your head, part of the reason why I was surprised by just how comfortable they were to wear, even for long periods of time.
Tactile buttons on the ear cup allow you to adjust an impressive array of settings, including volume, enabling ANC, and controlling music and phone calls remotely. A big plus point for me is multipoint Bluetooth technology so you can connect to two devices, a feature that not enough modern Bluetooth headphones have as standard.
For extra fine-tuning of audio quality, you can also experiment with the Phiaton app. I played around with saving presets for phone calls, podcasts, music, and editing, making it far easier to seamlessly switch between the various different activities of my jam-packed week.
The long battery life of up to 30 hours with ANC enabled means that you’ll easily be able to enjoy the headphones with near-constant use for a couple of days at least. Quick charging also means that you won’t be left without a quality audio experience for long, even if you’ve run them down during the day.
Even before enabling ANC, the sound quality is impressive and crisp, particularly in picking up bass tones while listening to music. After switching ANC on with the quick press of a button, however, you’re pulled into a world of your own.
Whether working in a crowded workspace or walking down a busy street, nothing will hinder your audio experience. I experimented with on-the-go music, podcasts, and video editing and the compact headphones delivered in every location, particularly helped with the aforementioned presets.
The difference when enabling ANC is impossible to miss, creating the effect of a seal around each ear. The effect was much more obvious than other over-ear ANC headphones I’ve tried and it took some getting used to, sparking the urge to yawn as though I’d entered a different pressure zone. Once I’d gotten over it though, I was struck by the quality of the ANC and the lack of feedback even when sudden noises (like a particularly bumpy bus ride on one of my journeys) asked more of them without warning.
In every situation, the audio stayed crisp and clear. While the audio performance was virtually flawless, the microphone did pick up quite a bit of background noise when used in public, so you might find them tricky to conduct phone calls on when you’re out and about.
With many quality ANC options on the market sitting at around $100, I was expecting a drop in performance to reflect BonoBeats Lite’s lower price point. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The lower budget seems to have gone towards slightly cheap-feeling plastic, but it’s a dip that I’m prepared to embrace, with the payoff coming in audio quality and comfort, both of which are far more important than the appearance, in my opinion.
Should I buy the BonoBeats Lite?
Overall, I was very impressed with how big of a punch BonoBeats Lite could pack for its $60 price. Quality audio performance, comfort, and powerful ANC capabilities make for a compelling buy and a way to enjoy high-quality headphones at a relatively low cost.
Phiaton has chosen to skimp in all the right places, not including a headphone case or proper sleeve and downgrading slightly on the feel to the plastic of the headphones, freeing up budget space that clearly went in all the most important places: audio quality, comfort, and battery life.
All in all, BonoBeats Lite packs a lot into a compact product and a low budget, so you’re sure to be impressed with them, either on the go or at home.