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Why Wait For The AirPod? These Three Truly Wireless Earbuds Work Great And Are Available Now

Why Wait For The AirPod? These Three Truly Wireless Earbuds Work Great And Are Available Now

FORBES - Ben Sin

With Apple's AirPods delayed until who knows when, iPhone 7 owners looking for truly wireless earbuds have few options. The earliest releases (2015) from the likes of companies big (Samsung) and small (Earin) suffered from broken connections and inelegant designs. Bragi's Dash is probably the most famous one (I haven't tried those) but they're pricey due to its ambitiousness (it wants to be a fitness tracker too).

What if you want just clean looking wireless earbuds, and nothing more? Crazybaby's very cool looking Air isn't ready for release yet. But three start-ups from China and Taiwan have respectively released its own take. I got the chance to test all three recently, and they're all pretty good.

The Erato Apollo 7 (left); Jabees BTwins (middle); and Axgio Dash (right). Photo: Ben Sin

The Erato Apollo 7 (left); Jabees BTwins (middle); and Axgio Dash (right). Photo: Ben Sin

Let's start with the Erato Apollo 7, the best overall of the bunch and probably the best true wireless earbuds overall on the market right now. Several other reviews, including CNET and the Verge, have concluded that these earbuds have the strongest and most reliable connection in the industry, and my own testing came up with the same result. It took a few tries to connect both earbuds together (you start by turning on one to connect it to your phone/computer as the "master device," then you turn on the other to connect the two buds), but once it connected, I never came across problems again. The earbuds just worked every time: I take them out of its premium-feeling/looking metal charging case, turn on my phone's bluetooth and within a second the earbuds are paired.

Sound quality, obviously, falls short of any good set of wired headphones/earbuds, but it's great for wireless earbuds, and more than enough to probably 90% of the population. There's a lot of clarity during podcast sessions and the bass is strong -- very noticeable when listening to Nas' Illmatic -- on this, more so than on any other wireless earbuds I've tried. That's due to the Apollo 7's 5.8mm micro-sized dynamic driver, whereas most other wireless buds (including Bragi's and Earin's) use the weaker armature drivers. The mids are also very clear, but the highs come out quite muffled.

The included charging dock is made of metal and slides out (and clicks shut) in a satisfying way. Photo: Ben Sin

The included charging dock is made of metal and slides out (and clicks shut) in a satisfying way. Photo: Ben Sin

Speaking of muffled, though the Apollo 7 includes a mic for making phone calls, but unfortunately, the caller on the other end said she couldn't hear me clearly over several test calls using different smartphones. But I must conceded -- I have a deep and "mumbly" voice to begin with. Perhaps a better speaker wouldn't encounter these problems. I also did hear the caller clearly though.

Taking calls and pausing music are all done withe Apollo 7's multi-functional buttons. There's one on each bud, which seems overkill, but it's there because the Apollo 7 can work as just a single earbud if you so choose.

At 4 grams each, the Apollo 7 are considered light, but the bullet-shaped earpieces are quite big and the other end sticks out enough that I was worried about them falling out. The Taiwanese start-up does, however, offer additional earpieces, including one with a sport wing, that should hold them in place more securely.

Oh, and if they do fall out and, say, fall onto dirt. It's okay -- these earbuds are fully water resistant so you can rinse them off and it'll work fine. You can't wear them to swim -- but it's good to know sweat and rain and faucet water won't damage them.

The charging dock that comes with the earbuds, as mentioned earlier, is very well-built and feels very high-end, like something you store jewelry in. It offers two additional charges to the earbuds. The Apollo 7 lasted an average of three hours per charge, so you're looking at nine hours of use before you have to top up. The earbuds come in different colors (black, gold, pink, silver) and the charging dock matches the look. As always, I like black the best.

At $300 though, the Erato Apollo 7 is actually pricier than the AirPod, but these are truly wireless earbuds that offer arguably the best sound and connectivity on the market right now -- and it's not ugly like the AirPods.


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Travelocafe - Erato's Apollo 7- Best Looking, Truly Wireless Earbuds

Travelocafe -  Erato's Apollo 7- Best Looking, Truly Wireless Earbuds

Travelocafe - Laura Iancu

Long live the wireless earbud trend that is shaping up to be the next revolution in the audio wearable. I always hated cables, especially the cables of my headphones. Every time after taking my seat on an airplane or train, I used to spend the first moments fighting with my headphone cables. But no more.
Gone are the days when I tread along my morning jog with a cable dangling in front of me. Enter the new wireless buds that connect to the phone via Bluetooth, but also don't have any physical connection between them to worry about.
After so many years of waiting, it finally happened. Out of the many startups and big-name companies that are trying to make truly wireless earbuds, a small company called Erato made a pair where the Bluetooth connection doesn’t continuously drop out. This has been the most consistent problem with just about every other pair of wireless earbuds.

But with Erato’s earbuds, known by their catchy name, Apollo 7, I don’t have to pay attention where I place my phone when I use them. Handbag, backpack, front pocket, back pocket, it really doesn’t matter where my phone is. The Apollo 7 offers a truly wire-free earbud experience that actually works perfectly.
Battery life
Firstly, let's get out of the way the two questions that most people will ask:

Are the buds easy to loose?

And how good is the battery life?
I thought the new wireless buds would come with a different set of problems, that I will have to worry about  - losing one of them. But that was only until I got my hands on Erato's Apollo 7. The buds come with a dedicated carry case that also acts as a charging device. Once I finish using the buds, I just place them into the carry case and drop it into my handbag or pocket.

They have up to 4 hours of battery autonomy, but once in the case the buds will get recharged by the case, and they will be ready for me to use them again. Due to the compact charging case, I can go on using them all day long. The battery in the case can charge them two full times before I need to find an outlet or use my portable power bank.
Design and Features
I'm sure you'll all agree that Erato's Apollo 7 are the best looking wireless earbuds out there, right? I mean, look at this excellent design! It offers waterproof audio enjoyment for the active types without any cable hassle. Plus, the Apollo offers standalone touch controls for switching tracks or answering phone calls with the built-in omnidirectional microphone.
Weighing just 4 grams, these buds support the advanced AAC, SBC, and aptX audio standards, and lock into your auricle securely with an inventive horn system, while looking good on the outside. Each bud has a small button so you can control tracks, change volume and answer calls.


Those little buttons actually work surprisingly well, given the lack of available real estate. A long press will switch each bud on and off and activate Bluetooth pairing. A single press answers calls or pauses music. A double press, meanwhile, will increase or lower volume depending on the side. Just press the left ear for volume down, right for up, or activate Siri/Google Voice. They are amazingly easy to use!



While wearing the Apollo 7 you will notice that they stick out just a bit. They do not hang down from your ears like Apple's Airpods. They are comfortable to wear, and never feel like they are going to fall out, not even during jogging. 
Even so, for the tiny bit that people might notice in my ear, I wanted the right color for me. I am happy to say there are four colors to choose from, which happen to match the colorways of the iPhone - dark gray, light gray, metallic pink and gold. Coincidence? The buds are so small that there's not really a lot to judge them on, but if you are paying attention to every little detail, these buds will not disappoint. They look amazing in your ear.



So is it time to join the truly wireless club? If Apple has its way, the 3.5mm jack will be a thing of the past, and you'll want to consider wireless headphones even if right now you're not interested. I am not usually an early adaptor, mostly due to the costs that come with this type of life choice, but I hate cables so much, I had to go wireless. And Erato's Apollo 7 gives the opportunity to go truly wireless!
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9to5 Mac - Review: Can the Erato Apollo 7 fill the wireless earbud void before Apple’s AirPods?

9to5 Mac - Review: Can the Erato Apollo 7 fill the wireless earbud void before Apple’s AirPods?
9to5mac - Greg Barbosa
I discovered the Erato Apollo 7 a few months ago during its Kickstarter campaign and nearly immediately knew it would be a pair of earbuds that could fit into my life nicely. It really looked like the first pair of true wireless earbuds that included all the functionality I wanted, without sacrificing any distinct feature. With the AirPods being delayed potentially as far out as January, is there a possibility that the Erato Apollo 7 ($299) is ready to fill the void that Apple left with the iPhone 7?

Design | Charging Case

When I first picked up the Apollo 7s charging case, I felt as though I was holding a futuristic version of a contact lens case, or a compact eye-glasses case. It’s a small, smooth, and tough package that feels solid in the hand all the way around. It’s got a firm weight to it that includes a slide out tray where the earbuds sit in to charge.

Placing the earbuds into the charging tray feels much simpler and more secure than Earin’s own as each piece lodges into place when charging. The individual earbuds have a charging LED to help indicate when each earbud is charging and an external LED on the case itself to show the same.

The charging LEDs on the Erato case are an unobtrusive soft white that simply turn off when the case and buds are fully charged. I’m not a fan of large colorful LEDs on tech products and Erato hit the nail on the head in terms of balance here.

Design | Earbuds

The Apollo 7 earbuds have a dichromatic design, one color for the main body of the earbud, and another one that surrounds the charging contact point and control. Looking at them today I still can’t quite tell how I feel about the design choice. It could be choice of using two colors, or just the paint on the earbuds themselves, but sometimes they just appear…cheap. I think I may have preferred a pair of earbuds that had an all around consistent color.

I do like the torpedo style design, akin to what Earin did with their earbuds. The blinking LED on the earbud is very welcome too as it becomes obvious when the earbud is running out of battery, and whether or not it’s charging once placed in the case.

The button control on the Erato is my favorite part of the earpieces. When not in the ear, the control is an obvious, click-centric button. It presses nicely and sounds great in the ear without producing an annoyingly loud pop every time it’s pressed. Having the ability to control my audio and have feedback that I actually pressed the button is very welcoming.

The earbuds come with a pack of different ear tips and this time around I decided to stick with the smallest Comply foam earbud tips. I found myself liking them substantially more than I thought I would have. Although the Earin included Comply ear tips, I couldn’t quite ever get them to sit in my ear properly. I have to think the difference here is because the Erato Apollo 7’s ear tips design juts straight out versus resting at an angle away from the earbud.

I did notice that after about a week of using these every single day my left ear started to experience some pain along the ear canal and some overall sensitive hearing to sounds. I still haven’t quite settled on whether this is my fault by not allowing my ears to relax after having music blasted into them near millimeters away all day, or that the Apollo 7 earbuds go pretty far into the canal to get a secure hold.


As soon as I hit play on the Apollo 7 earbuds I knew these would be new everyday wireless buds. All the audio quality issues I had with my Earin and Syllable true wireless earbuds didn’t remotely exist here. The sound was loud, clear, and balanced. While I wanted a bit more kick out of the bass, I was more than happy with the overall audio.

On the Earin earbuds I got accustomed to only listening to podcasts as my ears seemed to favor that during the testing. With the Erato Apollo 7 I was ready and able to enjoy all audio content formats and still have a good auditory experience. Podcast voices came in nicely balanced without any pains of high treble, and bass heavy music never muddled the experience.


All in all, I found the Erato’s audio quality easily surpassing my expectations and other true wireless earbuds I’ve been testing. Though the sound can’t compete with headphones that have larger audio drivers, for the size they were they held their own.

Where it did suffer was in phone calls. I found that more than 90% of the time others couldn’t hear me at all, causing me to switch to the iPhone’s microphone during the call. While not too inconvenient, it was definitely a bit annoying to be able to answer from the earbuds but not have anyone hear me. Strangely enough the microphone on the earbuds was just good enough that Siri could understand my requests.


The most impressive part of Erato’s Apollo 7, has to have been the fact that it so rarely disconnected. Across all the true wireless earbuds I had tested, every single one faced a variation on disconnection issues. The Erato Apollo 7 earbuds stayed connected to one another and to my devices without failing me whenever I needed it.

In the moments it did disconnect from my iPhone I would have to reconnect them through Settings, but the earbuds themselves never disconnected from one another. Gone were the issues I had where music in one earbud would get out of sync from the other, or then eventually play at slight delays.

Battery Life

Erato’s specs list the Apollo 7 as having three hours of continuous play time, and four hours of talk time. Based on the play time estimates alone I would say it was accurate. I found myself streaming music and playing for a little over three hours and whenever it died I would just drop them into the charging case that came with them. I used the charging case multiple times over the day and it was more than adequate in getting what I needed done.

Although the Erato Apollo 7 doesn’t have a quick charge functionality in the way the Apple AirPods have stated (15 minutes equaling three hours of battery life), it was never a terrible experience having to slide them into the charging tray.


The Erato Apollo 7 includes audible voice prompts while powering on the device, when it pairs to the opposite earbud, and when it pairs with the phone. Not loud or annoying at all, the voice prompts are a welcome addition in letting me know that everything is about to work as well as it should.

The Apollo 7 is also waterproof, something I didn’t even realize could be important until on my second day of owning the pair they fell into my dog’s water bowl. Following the instructions in the guide, I left the earbuds out for 24 hours without touching them. After the 24 hours were up, I picked them up and went right back to playing them as good as day one.


It’s impossible to review true wireless earbuds nowadays without thinking of what Apple’s AirPods could even be like. The Apollo 7 and AirPods share a lot of similarities with the ability to control audio from the earbuds themselves to the charging case. Based on what we’ve seen with the AirPods though, I truly believe the Erato Apollo 7 holds a candle to Apple’s (yet to be released) AirPods.

In features and usage alone I rank it high, but it will definitely have to find a way to compete or turn over Apple customers because the $299 price point for the Apollo 7 is hard to swallow.

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