Apple’s AirPods paved the way for compact true wireless headphones. But the original is not exactly cheap. If the acquisition costs are too high for you, Aldi Süd will lure you from November 2nd with an inexpensive version. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON has already tested the Maginon BIK-3 and reveals what the in-ears can really do.
An AirPods clone for only 24.24 euros? That sounds very daring given the original price of at least 130 euros. Even the best AirPods alternatives in our extensive test are not available for so little money. So what can buyers expect from this cheap product from the relatively unknown manufacturer? We took a closer look at the design, operation and above all the sound.
Design and Comfort
From the outside, the BIK-3 are strongly based on the Apple original, both in the charging case and in the earphones themselves. On closer inspection, however, differences become apparent: The case and earpiece of the “Aldi AirPods” are larger, but also significantly lighter . And otherwise it is not a 1-to-1 copy, as the details differ significantly. The folding mechanism of the Maginon case is also stiff in the last third and the cheap AirPods each have a button on the sides – instead of a touch surface. All in all, it is clear that you are holding a cheap product in your hands.
However, the Maginon BIK-3 scores very positively in terms of comfort. The usual problems of toothbrush head design, such as poor grip – especially when lying down – do not arise here. The lightweight earphones feel great in the ear and hold bombproof. Here they even outdo the original!
There is no app and no other setting options via smartphone. The charged headphones are removed from the charging case and connected via Bluetooth. This worked very easily the first time. But when we put the receiver back in the case and took it out again, the connection no longer worked. After removing it from the iPhone device list and re-pairing, only the right handset worked. As soon as the earphones were back in the case, however, they could no longer be connected without deleting them completely from the device list and reconnecting them. Since then, it was no longer possible to have something played from both listeners at the same time in the test. Either only the right one worked or only the left one (depending on which one you selected. The listeners then both appeared in the list, but music only came from one. So something does not seem to work with the master / slave function, according to which one listener connects and the second follows the main listener. Upon request, customer service sent us a new test sample.
2. Setup attempt with a new test device
With the new test pattern, the connection with the iPhone now works as intended. It is then immediately clear that there are no sensors on the earphones. If you take the pods out of your ear, the music continues to play, if you put it in the case, to our astonishment, it still plays. Only shortly after the case is closed, the Bluetooth connection is disconnected and the BIK-3 falls silent. That is not necessarily bad, but at least unusual and it shows where, among other things, savings have been made. If you take the earphones out of the case, they automatically reconnect to the smartphone and work as expected.
Service very rudimentary
The Maginon BIK-3 are operated using the so-called multifunction buttons. One of these is on each handset. Fixed functions that cannot be changed are assigned to these. Pressing the button for different lengths of time or repeatedly can pause music tracks, accept calls or activate voice assistants. However, it is not possible to change the volume.
The lack of an app or setting options as well as the use of buttons makes it clear where manufacturer Maginon has made further savings. But did you save on audio quality?
Sound fails the test
The sound of the Maginon BIK-3 is probably the best way to notice the low price. This is clearly behind the AirPods and the more expensive alternatives. The sound is extremely flat, there are no dynamics between lows, mids and highs. This is mainly due to the fact that bass and treble cannot actually be represented at all. A kind of veil also covers the audio, covering the sound with a reverb. If anything, some audio quality comes across with shallow pop ballads without great excursions in highs or lows.
The weaknesses do not only come into play when it comes to music playback. Podcasts and phone calls sound tinny and garish. If the volume is too high, the ears literally hurt. The voice quality when making calls is also below average. Even in absolutely quiet rooms, sound that is really difficult to understand reaches the receiver.
Conclusion: Only conditionally recommended even for 25 euros
Good true wireless headphones for just under 25 euros (or 30 euros from the manufacturer) are a bit like a new car for 2000 euros – difficult to imagine. Our test clearly shows that the construction shows glaring weaknesses in the most important places. The connection with the smartphone and the sound initially failed completely, but then worked with another test device. Unfortunately, the sound is also disappointing. But here you could certainly still come to terms with the low price.
However, due to the failure of a test device, we are concerned about the susceptibility to failure and the longevity. We are aware that faulty devices can occur with any manufacturer, but in dozens of headphone tests it has only happened to this device. After a few days of testing, of course, we cannot say whether the old adage “if you buy cheap, buy twice” applies here.