When it comes to sound, it’s hard to get away from the physics: bigger makes a difference. Yes, over the years miniaturization has brought tiny sound a long way, but there’s a reason you see music lovers wearing giant headphones: they sound better.
And so it is with the MPOW Magneto, a Bluetooth headset I’ve spent the last two weeks experiencing. MPOW is going for a premium feel and sound with this headset, at a not-so-premium price. I opened the box and it definitely felt like they hit the mark.
It’s generally expected that any decent set of earbuds will come with a variety of size choices for the inserts, and the Magneto is no exception. MPOW also provides two styles of earbud stabilizers, in three sizes. Those stabilizers are not just a premium feature, but are an essential addition to the Magneto as we’ll discuss later.
Let’s jump to the most important part of any headset: how does it sound? Simply put, the Magneto sounds better than any Bluetooth earbuds I’ve ever used. Over the last two weeks I’ve listened to music, loud and quiet. I’ve played podcasts, made phone calls, and spent multiple hours on Facetime. I’ve done this in silence, with kids playing, while washing dishes, and mowing the lawn (note: no phone calls or Facetime while washing dishes and mowing the lawn.) I was amazed to hear elements in my music collection that I hadn’t noticed in years, or sometimes that I had never heard before! Podcast voices came across clearly. Bass was excellent. Whether this was due to the size of the earbuds or the encoding, I can’t say with certainty, but the end effect is the same: I loved wearing this headset.
The earbuds are named “Magneto” for a reason: they contain magnets that hold them together when they’re not in your ears. Moreover, connecting them pauses your music, while taking them apart starts it playing again. You could see this as a gimmick, but I came to truly appreciate the feature. When you need to take off your headset and deal with the real world, particularly during a podcast, you don’t need to fumble for the controls. Simply take out the earbuds, touch them together, and when you’re done, put them back in your ears. You can even answer phone calls by taking them apart.
As with all things in life, the great sound and magnetic features come at an engineering tradeoff: as earbuds go, the MPOW Magneto are big. To me, they look like something from a science fiction movie. Is that bad? Well, that’s going to be pretty subjective. Looking at the Amazon page I see a lot of people talking about how good they look. I’ve gotten a mix of reviews from people, with my wife having a decidedly negative opinion of their style, but a friend of hers saying they look cool. I like them, but I’ll mix stripes and patterns, so you probably shouldn’t trust my opinion.
Looks aside, the problem for me is the weight. I threw these on the scale, and they came in at a hefty 19 grams. For comparison, my running earbuds are 12 grams. This is why those stabilizers are so important: without them, the Magneto tugs at your ear during everyday activities. This is exacerbated by the absence of any kind of cable management. During yard work, I resorted to shortening the cable with an elastic band. A shirt clip for the more physically inclined would have been appreciated.
The Magneto comes with some other features worth mentioning. It lives up to its advertised eight-hour battery life. There are only three buttons on the in-line controls, with volume buttons doing double-duty as skip-track controls. This is done well; the time to hold the buttons for skipping tracks is just right. Another nice touch was the inclusion of verbal cues. Rather than an indecipherable series of tones, the earbuds have a just-robotic-enough voice providing prompts such as “pairing,” “power on,” and “disconnected.” The range, while nothing groundbreaking, is sufficient to work out in the gym with your phone set down in a convenient place. Finally, its in-line microphone did a respectable job. Friends reported that I sounded very clear on phone and video calls. In fact, the earbuds worked so well for calls that I executed a two-hour paired-programming session with a friend while using the Magneto.
The Magneto has become a focus enabler for me. Whether I’m working on reviewing a document, programming, writing an article, reading a book, or doing housework, these earbuds provide excellent sound while isolating me from the noisy world around me. I’m no longer tethered to my PC by my headphones just to get good audio quality. And when people come to talk, I can pause the music in the same action as removing my earbuds, which also puts them around my neck in a way they can’t fall off. Brilliant.
The MPOW Magneto earbuds are available on Amazon for $34.99 USD. I’m very impressed with these earbuds and recommend them to anyone looking for great sounds around the home or office.
Disclosure: an MPOW Magneto was provided for this review. An iPhone 6 Plus was used as the source device for all testing.