ANC TWS who struggle to stand apart
Boult Audio is an indigenous audio company with a huge portfolio of affordable audio products, including wireless headphones, speakers and TWS earbuds. The company’s latest TWS offer is Boult Audio Airbass Soulpods, a genuine wireless earbud with an Active Noise Canceling pair priced at Rs 2,999. Earbuds compete with devices like Realme Buds Q2, Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro, and a few more ANC-capable TWS under 3K. Although earbuds are officially priced at 3K, they will be available on Flipkart for a limited time at Rs 2,499. But how do these earphones perform and should you consider this price range compared to other competitors? We’re going to find out.
Bolt Audio Airbus Soulpods: Made and comfortable
With a rectangular shaped charging case with a matte texture, the Bolt Audio Airbus solepods have a medium build and design. These earphones are available in two common colors – white and black. We’ve got the latter for review and it’s pretty common to see. Nothing interesting about the case, there is a simple Bolt audio logo above.
Matte textured fingerprint resistant but can get smadged and scratched. There’s an LED indicator on the front, a USB-C charging port on the left, and a pair of buttons inside the case. The case has a nice size footprint but it is thin enough to fit easily in the pocket. The grip of the case looks very bad and we are worried whether it will stand the test of time.
For earbuds, they play a bigger footprint than what we usually see these days. The back of the buds has a very long stem with the bolt audio logo. The upper part of the stem is a touch-sensitive surface for music and gesture input for call control. Touch control works decently but every time something goes wrong.
The earbuds have an angular design for better fit and comfort. The buds fit moderately but if you have smaller ears than usual, you may have difficulty finding the perfect fit with the ear tips provided. These are comfortable to wear but the long stalks add some folds to the buds, so you may feel some discomfort after a few hours.
Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods: Features
Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods have packing features such as Active Noise Cancellation, Ambient Mode, IPX6 Water Resistance and USB Type-C connectivity. Earbuds do a moderate job of discarding ambient sounds while in ANC mode but they do not match the performance of Realme Buds Air 2 which eliminates some ambient sounds more effectively.
Soulpods can emit low, constant noise, such as an AC drone, flight rumble, and more, but they have a lot of trouble with other things. Ambient mode works well on these earbuds and amplifies the surrounding sounds.
No companion app support, so you can’t customize these earbuds. You’ll find a great companion app with Realme earbuds, so look elsewhere if you want to change the controls of your earbuds. The earbud has touch controls that can be used to pause or play music, skip tracks, activate voice assistant, and change the noise cancellation mode. There is no volume control, which is frustrating.
There is also the use of mono buds where you can use any one bud independently of each other which is convenient. These buds have no in-ear detection feature or gaming mode, which is present in competitors like Realme Buds Air 2 and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro. The IPX7 rating means you can use these earbuds while working out or in light rain.
Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods: Performance
The Boult Audio Airbass Soulpods feature 10mm drivers and supports SBC and AAC codecs. Earbuds can be quite loud, although we do not recommend listening to volumes above 80 percent as the sound begins to distort after this level. Airbass Soulpods come with a bus-boosted, boosted bus with darker sound profile, decent midsoles, and less stressed height.
Bolt Audio Raw Frequency Response Graph for Airbus Soulpods (Orange) vs. Flat Response (Blue)
In the frequency graph generated for Airbass Soulpods, the range up to 250Hz is greatly increased. This means that the bus has a lot of load in response, so much so that it sometimes sounds a bit muddy. Exaggerated bass feedback may appeal to the bachelors, especially when listening to genres such as rap, pop, hip hop, EDM and Bollywood. However, we hope that Bolt would have tuned this part of the audio frequency range more conservatively because the improved nature of the bus describes in detail the middle and height. This is due to the mid-range and height being quieter than the lower.
By itself, mid-range sounds sound full-bodied and lively, and the highs sound quite decent, but the lows overwhelm both in most cases, especially in genres with the presence of abundant craters. Even on rock tracks, the drums surpass the main vocals and instruments.
However, these earbuds are not as thick and muddy as the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro of the same price. The Realme Buds Air 2 and the cheaper Realme Q2 have a more balanced sound signature though still sounding dynamic and fun and we like it more than the sound profile of Airbass Soulpods.
Bolt Audio Airbus Soulpods (Orange) vs. Realm Buds Q2 (Yellow) Unpaid Frequency Response Graph
For microphone performance, the Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods really surprised us with its performance here. The microphone picks up sound well during calls with minimal distortion and produces a natural-sounding voice. This is probably due to the long stem design of the earbud and the low position of the mic. You will have no problem calling with these buds.
Moving on to wireless connectivity, Boult Audio Airbass Soulpods is powered by Bluetooth version 5.0 which is one step below competitors like Realme Buds Q2 and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro which comes with Bluetooth 5.2. We encountered many problems while pairing this device and subsequent connections Sometimes, when you try to connect earbuds only one side turns on and connects to your paired device and this can be frustrating very quickly.
Also, the buds would sometimes disconnect from the source device and we would have to keep them in the charging case and remove them to reconnect. It doesn’t happen often, but connecting a bud to a device for the first time is a hassle because it won’t happen as smoothly as we expected. The buds between video and audio also have a slight delay and there is no gaming or low latency mode, so you have to deal with the delay. It’s not too shaky, but it’s nonetheless present.
Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods: Battery Life
The Bolt Audio Airbus SoulPods are rated for 24 hours of battery life, earbuds and charging cases combined. Rated bud itself during 6 hours of wireless playback on a single charge. When you turn on the ANC feature, earbud battery life is reduced.
In our experiment, we recorded 4.5 hours of play time in the bud alone, leaving the ANC running. The suit pays 3-4 extra charges. These earbuds have no fast charging support and are fully charged in about 2 hours. Battery life is average and competitors such as Realme Buds Q2’s 28-hour battery life and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro’s total 30-hour battery life easily surpass Airbass Soulpods.
Bolt Audio Airbus Soulpods: Roy
Priced at Rs 2,999, Boult Audio Airbass Soulpods is a decent option for those who want to immerse themselves in the world of ANC without breaking the bank. However, with many brands offering the same and much more under 3K, the Bolt Audio Airbus Solpods are fighting to be different in this segment. Although the earbuds have a bus-boosted sound signature that base lovers will love and a great microphone, the sound signature is a bit dark and muddy, the wireless connectivity is unreliable, and the battery life is nothing to write home. Options like Realme Buds Q2, The Realme Buds Air 2, and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro offer more value for money, be it an excellent companion app or aptX adapted Bluetooth codec support. It’s hard to recommend Airbass Soulpods on these earphones because they provide more bang for your money.