Just yesterday I reviewed the Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones, which were quite a good pair of headphones with some great wireless features for iOS users. The timing couldn’t have aligned any better as I received a pair of Sudio Regent Wireless Headphones for review at the same time. The unit is direct competition for the Apple-owned Beats Solo 3 and makes for a great comparison.
Sudio is Swedish-based fashion and lifestyle brand, a company which aims to bring quality audio with an element of style and fashion, making it a designer accessory. Having recently opened an online store for the South African region, I was presented with an opportunity to review the Regent.
Build and Design
For many, one pair of headphones isn’t too dissimilar from any other with the same basic shape and design. This, however, isn’t true. While the headband may at times be the most similar across the different manufacturers, there are other small changes that can be added to differentiate between its competitors. The Regent has a very minimalist approach to its design, and it pays off. As has been shown time and time again, the simplest approach often wins out as the best, as over-the-top designs tend to be hit-or-miss with buyers. The simplicity of the Regent comes from its wire-frame ‘cup holders’ connecting to the headband. The sleek and minimalist look also assists in keeping the overall weight down at just 177g.
The headphones have an abundance of leather across the headbands and earcups. In addition to the leather, there is a decent amount of foam within these elements make for great comfort, making it easier to have on for extended periods of time. While the unit is quite comfortable for normal, everyday usage, I don’t think they’re able to perform as well when performing any activity such as running, for example. That doesn’t take away anything from the design and comfort of the unit.
The Regent has an additional feature for those interested in changing up the look every so often, the inclusion of a replaceable caps. These are easy to switch with a simple turn of the cap to unclip it. I do have my concerns with the Regent is that the exposed wiring doesn’t look the best, nor is it sleeved. The latter is a bit worrying since the wire-framed earcups fold away neatly, which may cause wear on the wiring. There is a bit of play on the wires making me rest a bit easier.
As with the Solo 3, the Regent has a three-buttoned control system. The middle button is both the on/off button and the play/pause button, whereas the left and right buttons are volume controls. Long pressing these volume controls skips the current track, back or forward, which is the opposite of the Solo 3. On the bottom of the right earcup, you have the microUSB port, and the left earcup the 3.5mm auxiliary jack. On the fold of the wire-frame, you have the gold-coloured trimmings with the Sudio logo. All-in-all, the Regent both looks greats and feels great, in hand and on ear.
Performance and Battery
As far as styling goes, Sudio has received a tick on that box and achieved their first goal. The hardest part, however, is delivering the same in terms of the performance, sound quality, wireless features and battery life. So how does the Regent fair on these features?
In terms of the sound quality, the Regent shines when it comes to bass reproduction and levels, along with the lower midrange. Other sounds, such as the midrange and upper midrange, etc. don’t carry the same level of quality as the bass, but aren’t bad by any means. You won’t get the best out of the headphones with a simple plug-and-play, but rather some fine-tuning of the equaliser, which makes for quite some improvement. Overall, then, the sound quality is great for the average user, but not necessarily studio quality. The volume levels are also quite good, and don’t distort; at least not to the level I could listen to before they became too loud. The closed cupped feature also means that there isn’t a lot of sound leakage, allowing users to listen to music while out and about without being distracted by room ambience and the likes.
The Regent includes Bluetooth 4.1 support, which provides a range of around 10m for connectivity to the source device. This is where the device loses out to the Solo 3, which offers a much more superior wireless range and features. While the unit does offer some integration with an iOS device, better than on an Android, it doesn’t have the native options features on the Solo 3, which is to be expected given the obvious.
The headphones offer built-in call support, with a mic placed within the right earcup. This means you can answer a call from the headset with the simple click of the play/pause button, change the volume levels, and then end the call with the play/pause button again.
The battery life isn’t too shabby either, with an estimated life of between 24 and 30 hours between charges. Again, this isn’t as impressive as the Solo 3’s close to 50 hour battery life, it is still quite significant. I was able to use the device throughout a full week on a single charge, although more along the lines of four to five hours a day, spread out over a few sessions.
There has been a recent wave of wireless headphones hitting the market, and has become something of a style accessory and something of a statement of status among the youth. While some of the wireless headphones may not always offer the great sound you’d want or expect, the ones that do offer the better quality audio and wireless features tend to run away in price for the average user. The Regent, then, not only aims to bring quality sound and style to the wireless headphones, but also to offer it at a respectable price. At a price of R2,250, the Sudio Regent is more than half the price of the Beats Solo 3, and when comparing like for like, the units aren’t too dissimilar.
I really enjoyed the experience with the Regent, and the minimalist look is definitely something I can relate to. I can definitely see the device doing well in the South African market.
If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of the Sudio Regent headphones, Fortress of Solitude has partnered with Sudio to give readers a 15% discount with the coupon, FORTRESSOFSOLITUDE15, which can be applied upon checkout. In addition, the company currently offers a free Tote Bag, as well as a Tax deduction of R450. Simply follow the link to get your pair today.