Review time, this time it’s some earphones. Snugs first caught my attention via Twitter, they look different and I decided to take a closer look. Firstly each set are unique to each customer, you get to choose the colour during the order process. The team at Snugs arranged for me to test drive a pair. So firstly I had to go down to my local Specsavers who also have ear specialists to get an ear impression done by an audiologist.
Now this costs around £25 to have done and is very strange, it’s worth getting your ears cleaned in advance as any wax build up will mean they turn you away. The audiologist then injects a special foam into your ear canal and then this is sent to Snugs who then use the moulds to make a 3D image in their labs down in London. The moulds are cured, laser engraved, hand finished, expertly checked, then packaged up and sent out to you by courier.
The earphones I picked was the Snug Active M9B wireless, now starting price is £199 they are not cheap but are custom built so they do not fall out. I picked black for my set and they came with my name on each ear piece. It took 8 working days for the turn around. Before I continue, here is some details on the earphones I selected:
A full-featured wireless noise-isolating headset in a lightweight and compact format, the MEE audio M9B is perfect for use on the go. Stream clear and powerful stereo sound from your phone or tablet without tangled cables. Advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology with Multi-point functionality allows you to manage calls and media from two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Comfortable in-ear design is convenient for use on the go and blocks outside noise. Built-in microphone and controls for phone calls, volume, and music playback.
- Driver unit: 9mm dynamic driver
- Microphone: sensitivity: -42+-3db
- Frequency response: 20 hz – 20000 hz
- Sensitivity: 103 +- 3db
- Weight: 16g
- Music playback: 4 hours
- Talk time: 4.55 hours
- Standby time: 180 hours
- Bluetooth version: 4.0
- Bluetooth support: a2dp, hsp, hfp, avrcp
So the package arrived and you get a presentation box , with a USB charger lead, instructions, normal earphone covers, the actual earphones and a small zip up carry case with a clip that you can use to attach to your belt, bag etc. Inside this is some cream. This is for want of a better word lube up the ear pieces as the ear pieces as explained custom design to fit snug into your ears. Now it takes some practice to get them into position, I found it best to stand in front of a mirror and just practice putting them in. There is a very helpful guide which I found invaluable.
So with them in my ears I decided to take them out for a test run. Now will state on record now, I don’t run usually with music as I find my cadence is dictated to the music but long runs I get bored so music could prove the distraction I need. The earphones have a clip that you attach to your top. I wore a vest and found it too low, but on a normal t-shirt it was comfy and gave enough movement that it didn’t feel like you was pulling the earphones out every time I moved my head.
The clip also carries the lithium battery that powers the wireless version. It isn’t heavy and you hardly notice it once you are 5 minutes into your run. On the right lead there is the control module with middle button the multi function button. You use this to turn on/off as well as answering calls, you can also dial the last number by double pressing this button as well as reject calls. The volume up and down buttons also can be used to skip music. It takes practice finding the control unit while in movement and it’s worth making sure volume on your phone is correct for incoming calls, as I had mine turned down so could not hear my wife the first time she rang me.
As they are wireless and battery powered it is worth charging up fully before using them, once fully charged the battery lasts approx 2 hours, now unless I am running over 20 miles I’m never out that long so the battery life is perfect for me, however if your out for longer, my advise would be to go for a none wireless version so you don’t need to worry about battery life while on your run.
When battery is low you get a warning tone when there is less then 5 minutes of life left, that has yet to happen to me. The extra ear tips are for sports/workouts and normal listening and in the guide explain that the sports tips help to not block out external sound so you can hear what’s around you. I used them with just ear tips and they failed to stay in on a run but the custom tips never budge when they are in, the trick is getting them in and as I’ve said takes practice.
I’ve used them for a few weeks now and truth be told it took a while for me to get used to them, for those who use them on a regular basis the transition should be easier. For me though I’ve still got to get used to running with music and as said I only use them on runs for longer then an hour. However on those runs it’s been good to have a podcast on like Marathon Talk and have my wife able to check in with me. The other Sunday it allowed us to arrange a meet up without need to break from running.
Now music, the sound quality is excellent, compared to off the shelf headphones etc. It’s clear and you really get unparalleled sound quality. And because the ear is sealed perfectly, micro speakers can perform at optimum levels by providing passive noise isolation, making Snugs the best wireless earbuds when you don’t want to compromise on sound.
The price is expensive for what they are and with UKA rules you can’t use them in races unless on fully closed roads and then you need to check with the race (but my view on headphones in races is a big no anyway). However for me they are a way of making the long runs a little less soul destroying and knowing you can plugin, switch off and have them comfy in place for mile after mile is fab. The bottom line for me though is the price which could be hard to justify, yes I know they are custom fitted and yes they do the job fantastically and the product is at the top end, it’s like two pairs of new running shoes or 10 big city races.
It comes down to budget and if you are out a lot on your own running and looking for a better pair of earphones then you need to give Snugs a serious look and consideration. A massive thanks to Snugs for letting me review them and you can check out their entire range by clicking here.