While truly wireless IEMs are all the craze right now, wireless neckband style IEMs are still popular with brands continually providing new offerings for those who prefer this form factor. Homegrown audio company boAt recently expanded its popular ‘Rockerz’ lineup of wireless earphones and launched the boAt Rockerz 330 in India, priced competitively at Rs 1,299. The earphones have a few appealing features such as water resistance, long battery life, and magnetic earbud housings up its sleeve but it faces stiff competition from brands such as Redmi, Realme, and Noise. Let’s see how these entry-level wireless earphones fared during our testing process.
Build and comfort
The boAt Rockerz 330 is definitely a looker, especially when it comes to what we usually expect in this price segment. It has a simple yet elegant design with a well-built rubber neckband and metallic modules on each side. The one on the right side houses the multi-function button, volume buttons, and the USB-C charging port, while the other one simply has the boAt logo and balances out the weight. The buttons have good tactility and response. There’s also a mini-LED light that indicates when the device is in use as well as low battery.
The metallic modules have a sleek, glossy finish and the rubber neckband is soft to the touch and feels comfortable around the neck. The earbuds come with metallic housings as well and attach to each other magnetically when lying idle on the chest. You also have silicone wings or fins that enhance the fit, making it snug and comfortable. The company also provides an assortment of ear tips, so users can choose what works best for them. This coupled with the silicone wings makes for an exceptional fit that greatly enhances passive isolation, drowning out some environmental sounds considerably.
The earphones are available in various colour options including Active Black, Ocean Blue, Navy Blue, Teal Green, Blazing Yellow and Raging Red. So, this will definitely appeal to the youth since it allows them to pick the colour best suited to their aesthetic or style. Overall, the boAt Rockerz 330 comes with a sturdy yet lightweight build and solid fit, which should satisfy most users.
While the boAt Rockerz 330 doesn’t come with any striking features such as Active Noise Cancellation which isn’t expected at this price, it does have a fair number of features that make it a lucrative option. The earphones come equipped with Bluetooth v5.0 for connectivity and have a wireless range of about 33 feet (unobstructed). The earphones were able to maintain the connection in a small 1BHK apartment from one end to the other, which is pretty decent. They also come with SBC and AAC codec support. It’s good to see AAC support at this price point.
The earphones also come with Voice Assistant support, which can be evoked by using the multi-function button. The Rockerz 330’s onboard controls can not only be used to adjust volume, play/pause music, and power on/off the buds, but also to summon your source device’s voice assistant, answer/reject/end calls, and seek tracks. The controls worked brilliantly throughout our testing period.
The earphones also come with IPX5 water resistance which means they can shrug off sweat and light splashes, so they can be used in light rainfall or when gymming. Surprisingly, these earphones also come with Dual Pairing, more commonly known as Multi-point connection, where the earphones can be connected to two devices simultaneously. It is great to see this feature on an inexpensive pair of wireless earphones like the boAt Rockerz 330 since multi-point connectivity is often missing on much costlier audio products.
Sporting 10mm dynamic drivers, the boAt Rockerz 330 have a heavily bass-focused sound profile. This sound profile should be familiar to anyone who has used a boAt product in the past since the company largely makes audio devices with this sound profile since it caters to the masses. The bass response is extremely punchy and front-and-centre irrespective of the genre of music you are listening to. At times, the bass response also comes across as very dark, where the bass response is extremely overexaggerated and the mids and highs are veiled.
For example, in the track Pull Me Under by Dream Theatre, at the 1:20 mark, the bassy drums sound extremely murky and cloud the detail in the other instruments. This makes the track sound flat and one-dimensional. In vocal-centric tracks such as Hello by Adele, the earphones do a better job when the focus is mostly on the vocals, but when the instruments enter the track, the vocals do get slightly clouded.
Uncompensated frequency response of boAt Rockerz 330 (Pink) vs reference IEM (orange)
The earphones also produce very underexaggerated highs where the detail in high-pitched instruments and vocals is shrouded and these portions are usually relegated to the background of the track while the lows are definitely on the forefront. In all honesty, these earphones will only appeal to those who are fans of extremely thumpy bass response and primarily listen to genres such as pop, EDM, hip-hop and Bollywood party/dance numbers. The earphones also get extremely loud and we usually listened to them at the 40-50 per cent volume mark since the sound distorts a lot past the 60 per cent mark.
Moving on to the microphone, the boAt Rockerz 330 has an inbuilt microphone that performs decently in most cases. When used to make calls indoors, it works pretty well, however, when you’re outdoors, the microphone sometimes struggles to relay the voice of the caller clearly. Also, a large portion of the ambient sound is also caught by the microphone and relayed back to the listener on the other end. However, if you’re usually indoors when making calls, the mic on these earphones is perfectly serviceable.
The battery life is possibly the strongest suit of the boAt Rockerz 330 wireless earphones. The device promises up to 30 hours of battery life. In our tests, the earphones lasted for about a week with about 3-4 hours of usage per day, so the claim seems to be about right. It is definitely a strong performer when it comes to battery life in this price segment, and most users should be able to charge it once and then forget about doing the same for a week or so, which is pretty convenient.
When you do need to charge the earphones when they eventually run out of juice, the earphones support quick charging where 10 minutes of charge gives you a whopping 10 hours of playtime. The earphones can be charged fully in about 40 minutes.
The boAt Rockerz are, no doubt, a good option when it comes to entry-level wireless earphones. Priced aggressively at Rs 1,299, they’ve got a plethora of appealing features such as 30 hours of battery life, USB-C charging, voice assistant support, multi-point connection, and others. Moreover, the earphones have a robust build and excellent fit for most ears. However, the sound quality will definitely be most palatable for bass-lovers or bass-enthusiasts. The bass response is extremely aggressive and it clouds the fine details in vocals and instruments irrespective of genre or the track you’re listening to. So, if you’re a fan of bass-focused sound, the boAt Rockerz 330 is one of the most value for money pair of wireless earphones under 1.5K.