New year, new resolutions, maybe a new kit to keep you active? Right? I got my hands on a new pair of completely wireless Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation from Coumi. It’s a brand I’ve not come across before, let’s see what they have to offer. As I don’t go cycling/running without music, it’s a perfect opportunity to try out the new tech and see if I can give Coumi headphones a stellar recommendation.
Coumi Bluetooth earbuds
We are off to a good start, the case supports USB-C, and despite being much bigger than Haylou GT1 (review) it fits my pockets well without causing much inconvenience. Made of quality plastic, it feels modern, recharges the earbuds 4-5 times and comes with a leather strap for an added hipster factor.
Inside the box, you’ll find the stars of this review – Coumi earbuds, a couple of replacement pads manual and a USB-C charging cable. I’m mentioning the manual as something’s got my attention. A feature from the box (and subsequent Amazon listing) is blanked out (Ambient Sound Mode). Despite the box saying that Coumi headphones support active sound pass-through (the same “superhero” mode available on PCX550 (review), the manual indicates that the feature isn’t supported.
Controls and range
Speaking of features, Coumi pair with your phone automatically once taken out of the box and give you controls over music playback, volume and voice assistants. The control scheme is:
|Single Tap||L Vol – / R Vol +|
|Double Tap R||Play/Pause|
|Double Tap L||Noise Cancelation ON/OFF|
|Hold 1 sec||L Previous /R Skip|
|Hold 2 sec||Voice assistant|
There are also controls to manage calls as well. It’s worth mentioning that touch controls work with gloves (at least mine), so you can keep your fingertips warm in the cold winter season. What’s disappointing is the lack of auto-pause. I like this feature a lot, especially if you are listening to a podcast at work and your boss comes to interrupt your time with work!
I have to say, I’m impressed with connectivity. Perhaps this is the advantage of the earbuds that stick out of the ears a little bit. They haven’t lost the connection at any point of my tests. Running, cycling or messing about my room.
Apart from the “transparency mode” mishap so far so good. Videos on YouTube were in sync, something other brands failed at, so you will be pleased to hear that using Coumi earbuds to consume video content comes without headaches. It’s time to play my usual playlist and find out if the music is any good. I went through the standard playlists of songs I know and love: from chilled songs by Jack Johnson to very random tracks grouped together by bitrate.
The sound is very pleasant. Coumi delivers a nicely balanced sound. There is a bit of oomph in my exercise playlists and earbuds bring out the beat well without sacrificing the higher frequencies.
Included microphone is average. There is nothing amazing to be said about it, but it’s good enough to handle a call without any effort. It will save you in a pinch that’s for sure.
They are loud enough that you don’t have to crank it to the top volume to block out the noise from outside. I found the music to be at my comfortable level of 60%.
If you want to protect your ears and keep the music quiet, you can also take advantage of the active noise cancellation. Activated by tapping twice on the L earbud, feature lowers the impact of lower frequencies on your listening experience.
While the effect disappears when the volume is high, you can definitely tell the difference at 20-30% volume levels. The noise cancellation isn’t very impressive, but it will make a difference if you are working in an office environment and you want to listen to music or podcasts without annoying ambient.
Let’s go running
Every avid runner will care about a couple of things. Good fit, resistance to wet conditions (sweat rain) easy controls and great sound to keep you motivated during workouts. I’m pleased to say that Coumi headphones meet these requirements.
The headphones are light, easy to control and it’s unlikely they fall off even during the most demanding runs. Controls are well thought through, as most important commands are handled by holding rather than tapping multiple times. If you ever tried to tap earbud 3 times while running, you will understand why I’m bringing this up.
Coumi and cycling
With the battery life over 5h, I’d really wanted these to be my go-to cycling earbuds. Unfortunately, the design of the earbud creates a significant airflow noise at speeds over 25km/h making it not as fun to use. It’s a shame as the size of the box, the fit and overall controls fit my requirements.
The earbuds last longer on a single charge than my most demanding rides, and can be operated through gloves, making it easy to use in the winter season. If you are a more casual cyclist, you will enjoy the music, but if you like to go fast, I cannot recommend Coumi headphones.
While Coumi are one of the first wireless earbuds to pass the cycling battery requirement for me, the associated wind resistance noise is a deal-breaker in that regard. I don’t run much over winter months, but the noise cancellation, great battery life and small form factor actually convince me to swap them for my main earbuds I take with me to work. They can handle an odd Zoom call, provide enough noise suppression to limit the ambient from outside and are comfortable to wear for hours. If you have any questions, feel free to ask it in this Reddit thread.