First things first. You didn’t misread the price of these iClever IC-BTH02 Bluetooth headset. They really do cost a miserly £14.99 for a set of Bluetooth 4.1 earbud headsets with a built-in microphone and noise cancelling technology.
At that price the company can literally afford to give these bad boys away to people – which it does, as part of its strategy to get users to post Amazon reviews of the IC-BTH02s.
So you’re thinking at that price, these things can’t be nothing more than toys rather than a proper hi-fi accessory for your mobile phone or iPod? Well they are a surprisingly good piece of kit, with some possibly deal-breaking limitations which we’ll come too later.
So in the minimalist brown cardboard box you get the following kit: the IC-BT02 headsets, a micro USB cable, a cord management clip, 3 pairs of ear rubbers, 3 pairs of tiny rubber ear hoos (which serve no discernable purpose whatsoever), a manual in surprisingly understandable English and a 1-year warranty card. That’s a pretty comprehensive inventory for fifteen quid.
The IC-BT02 earpods are quite bulky, protruding out of your lugholes like a set of Frankenstein’s neckbolts. That said, they only weigh in at 16.5 grams – about half an ounce, to the smokers out there – so if you can get them securely lodged in your ear, they feel relatively comfortable in place.
The IC-BT02 earpods are quite bulky, protruding out of your lugholes like a set of Frankenstein’s neckbolts
But if is the biggest little word in the English language. In my experience, no matter what size of ear rubber used, I could never get the headsets to stay secure in my ear while working out in the gym.
Workouts and running are one of the key use cases for Bluetooth headsets, so as I mentioned this fact could well be a dealbreaker for some potential customers. The combination of sweat, movement and the bulk of the headsets means that one or both of the pods would regularly slip out during any exercise like site ups or running that involved movement of the head and shoulders.
However if you’re looking for a decent set of wireless earpods you can use while walking or sitting in a car or train, then the IC-BT02s deliver in spades. The sound quality is really rather good, taking into account the lack of bass that nearly all headsets of this type deliver. Music and dialogue sounds clear and crisp, and the volume levels are comfortably loud and distortion free.
One area where Bluetooth headsets often fall down is when transfer delay makes the sound go out of sync with video. When I first tried the UC-BT02s with a video downloaded from Amazon Prime, this is exactly what happened: the delay of a fraction of a second meant the dialogue was infuriatingly out of sync with the lip movement. But if you persevere, the issue appears to sort itself out and after a few minutes there is no obvious delay between the audio and video.
On the Bluetooth front, the headsets make reliable connections with computers, iPhones and iPads – a Siri-like voice whispers ‘Connected’ when you pair up. Move out of range from the source – typically around 50 feet or so, and she will chip in ‘Out of Range’. Move back in range and the connection is picked up seamlessly without having to re-pair or reconnect manually. Many Bluetooth devices slip up when trying to deliver such simple functionality.
Overall then, the iClever IC-BT02 earpods deliver very acceptable sound quality and functionality at an unbelievably low price point. The build quality is better than we have any right to expect, while the battery life comes close to the manufacturer’s 7-hour claim.
Incidentally, the headsets show their current battery charge to devices running iOS 9 (see the screenshot below) which is a very useful feature.
So with the one caveat about the pods slipping out during strenuous exercise, we can recommend the IC-BO2 as a great value set of Bluetooth headsets. Seeing and listening is believing.