2017 was a significant year for wireless audio. The pendulum started to swing back towards the wireless devices in 2016 after Apple’s big announcement that they would be dropping the 3.5mm auxiliary support on their iPhones. In previous years, while wireless audio had been around for some time, it didn’t really take off due to the high costs and arguably weaker audio quality in comparison to its wired counterpart. However, manufacturers’ hands were forced after the announcement. Not only has the technology benefitted in regards to the overall cost reduction, with some quality headphones and earphones retailing for below R500, but the quality and features have also improved as a result.
Contributing towards this has been the advancement of Bluetooth 4.2, which has been the standard of choice in 2017. The release of Bluetooth 5.0 has continued the trend of significant changes in the wireless domain and is only an indication of more to come in 2018. iFrogz has continued their recent form of pushing out better wireless devices. Having already reviewed the Coda Wireless Headphones, Coda Wireless Earbuds and Impulse Duo, I can attest to the quality of each. The Impulse Duo was a surprise package when it came to quality of sound and the bass generated, with the recently released iFrogz Aurora Wireless Headphones looking to continue with the same quality.
Build and Design
The Aurora has a very similar build to the Coda with its on-ear cups, as well as the design of the frames around the cup. The difference here is that the outside of the frames have a slightly more pronounced protrusion, allowing the positioning of the power, volume and skip track buttons directly onto the frames shape, as opposed to squared buttons on the Coda. There is an element of being quite minimalistic in the design but has quite a number of intricacies scattered throughout the design to make it interesting. The unit has a diamond pattern on the headband, which extends from just above the cups.
The headband is adjustable, which is pretty much standard, although don’t offer any articulation on the cups, so they won’t rotate to the shape of your head or ears, which can often be helpful for oddly shaped heads. The overall build is largely plastic with faux leather to boot, significantly reducing the cost of the device. That said, the unit is still fairly solid, so you won’t fear them breaking or cracking randomly. The headband doesn’t bend away either, so it’s not the best in terms of portability. While the device does have a solid build, I feel it isn’t quite stiff enough to provide a more snug fit around the ear to provide better noise cancellation for the on-ear cups.
As mentioned previously, there are buttons fitted to the right ear for power, volume and skipping. The right ear also houses the micro USB port for charging, as well as the notification LED, whereas the left side includes a 3.5mm jack, which allows the device to double up as a wired unit when you’re out of charge. Overall, the build and design of the unit are very good, providing comfort and solidity.
Performance and Battery
The Aurora features premium 40mm drivers, which also includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity, as well as the AeroFoam ear cushioned cups for better noise cancellation. When listening to music, all ambient noises seemed a million miles away, and I could sit back and enjoy my selected playlist. During the weeks I utilised the devices at work, some of my colleagues did seem to get a bit annoyed at my lack of response at times thanks to the cups.
As for the sound quality, it really impressed. Overall the sound and volumes are good across the various ranges, from highs to lows. The bass seemed washed out at times, but a simple readjustment of the cups on my ears and the full sound quality pushed through once again. This goes back again to my comment regarding the snug fit of the headband, one of the few negative aspects about the Aurora. Selecting the various genres of music within my playlist, I was reasonably comfortable to listen without the need to spend time on the equaliser to bring out the best for each. While I do listen to quite a varied style of music, mostly relatively unknown artists, I do, more often than not, enjoy guitar riffs and solos, and the Aurora does a good job at bringing this to the for. Such small aspects all add up to the good overall performance in that respect.
The battery performance was also great. In the two to three weeks of usage, I only required charging the device once, listening on average to about one to two hours’ worth of music while at my desk. The listed battery life on the headphones are about 10 hours between charges, but a lot of that is down to volume, bass and the likes. I managed at one point to reach about 12-13 hours, that excluding the few minutes of standby time before it automatically powers down. That’s a fair number of hours between charges, and very useful to anyone on the go.
The iFrogz Aurora Wireless Headphones is a true all-around device that delivers in almost all areas, and even the one where most users would feel the pinch – cost. At a retail price around the R500 mark, the device provides extreme value for anyone in the market for a good set of wireless headphones. There are a few devices that will provide to be better overall, with a few additional features to boot, but you’ll have to go a long way to beat the Aurora on the type of quality it provides on sheer value.
Catch me on Instagram for more news, views, drops and anything geek.