Bluetooth Earbuds…some assembly required. And parts…have you got spares?

In an effort to keep up with all the cool kids, I bought myself a pair of these.

I’m not quoting the specs verbatim, or even accurately, but let’s say they’re

  • ip66 rated
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 3 hour play time
  • Touch controlled
  • Earbuds and microphone for taking calls and banging out tunes
  • Charging case can be used as a USB battery as well as a charger

First problem was when I paired it with my Nexus 6p. The left earbud worked fine but the right earbud was the audio equivalent of someone clicking the lightswitch on and off if I even dared take the phone more than a sparrows dick away from the things. 5 mins of that and the stroke I had brewing from the audio chopping fury it was ready to start expressing itself In a very smashy smashy way.

Looks like the nexus 6p is known for Bluetooth issues of this sort and in true Huawei/android hardware fashion, any thoughts manufacturers had of helping their customers had been led into the woods and shot like a redheaded stepchild. So I figure I’ll get a new phone with better Bluetooth range and put these away for a week or so.

Fast forward to getting my new Samsung galaxy s10+ and I’m keen to give it another shot. Nope. The left earbud is dead and refuses to charge. Well I’m in too deep now and there’s no way I’m admitting I was beat by an earbud. So i pop the charging case open (leaver that bitch apart with my leatherman like a barbarian) and check that all the magic blue smoke is where it should be. Looks good.

So I wedge the left earbud open and find what looks like the neighbour has let his dog shit in there. At first I thought it was a fried component, but some scraping with the wrong tool for the job clears it away and like magic, it can charge but it’s about as waterproof as rice paper now.

So I may as well go balls deep and crack the right earbud open too. It’s a lot neater in there and pretty roomy. Too roomy. Like something’s missing. Aside from it looking like it was assembled with the whispered promise of solder rather than the actual stuff, there’s no damn Bluetooth antenna. Just the virgin pad of where one should have been. I guess when you’re paying some sweatshop child laborer 5 cents a day, they gotta sell little bits of wire to eat instead of soldering in an antenna for me.

After carefully calculating the correct wire length and gauge to compliment the Bluetooth spectrum I soldered one in and stuffed it all back together. Well, I thought about it as i soldered in a random length of scavenged wire. Superglued it back together and voila. I can now put my phone in my pocket and both earbuds can stream uninterrupted audio.

One final slap in the face has become apparent. Although I saw the mic in there, and soldered in, it doesn’t seem to work. So let’s look at the final specs.

  • “Don’t sweat near em, they’ll drown” rating
  • Bluetooth 5.0 … I say, ‘Prove it’
  • 3 hour play time – I guess.
  • Touch controlled
  • Earbuds. No talky talky.
  • Charging case can be used as a USB battery as well as a charger.

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