Review: Coumi ANC-860 earbuds are a perfect all-round option
Can the Coumi ANC-860 earbuds convert me from headphones?
I have a confession to make—I’m not one for earbuds.
Ever since the days of my Sony Walkman, I have always preferred over-heads as opposed to pushing something into my earhole. They never usually stay in, especially when on a run, and the quality of the music has usually been sub-par compared to its over-head counterparts.
So when I was asked to review the Coumi ANC-860 earbuds, I accepted knowing in the back of my mind that I would have to force myself to like them.
Or would I? As it turns out, the Coumi’s sport earbuds might just be the key to converting me to an earbud lover.
When I think of wireless earbuds I always think of Apple’s Airpods so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of aesthetic.
The Coumi Bluetooth earbuds come in a pocket-sized case which, funnily enough, fits right into your pocket—even a female jeans pocket. They come in black, which I think is more appealing to the eye and looks more natural in the earhole.
A stickler for following instructions, I turned my attention to the quick start guide to get testing. Unfortunately, the guide doesn’t confirm whether you need to charge the earbuds of not, so I spent a good 10 minutes trying to turn the things on.
After about 90 minutes I removed the earbuds from their casing, which is where you charge them and found they were easy enough to use—they’re on if the case is open and off when they’re in the charging dock and the case is closed.
The buds use Bluetooth 5.0 connectively and I easily connected them to my laptop and my Android cellphone. However, make sure to unpair them in-between uses as the buds automatically connected to my phone over my laptop, no matter which device was closest.
As a newbie to wireless earbuds, I found the weight of the buds on the heavier side and were quite a snug fit in my ears. This meant that I was confident they wouldn’t fall out while walking around the house on calls and listening to music, but uncomfortable on a bumpy, long-distance run.
This is really a shame as they have a IPX7 certification, making them resistant to a metre of water. Perfect for those winter and fall runs.
Fantastic noise cancellation functionality
As the majority of us are facing working from home for the foreseeable future and taking on more Zoom calls, being able to drown out the background of everyday life is more imperative than ever. Luckily, Coumi has its customers covered.
The earbuds have a “hybrid active noise cancellation” function which is activated by double-tapping on the left bud. If you want to go back to normal mode, just double-tap again. It’s as easy as that!
I tested the earbuds on several calls using Zoom and Microsoft Teams and each time my sound quality was seemingly better than everyone else on the call. I had a dog and a toddler in the background, which people didn’t even realize, however, I could hear background interference from others.
When you look at the features of the Coumi ANC-860, it’s not surprising the experience is a lot smoother. The buds use a dual-core digital noise reduction chip and have hybrid active noise canceling built into their mic. But rather than just canceling out noise from inside the home, the 860s are actually mainly for cutting out the lower frequency noises of aviation environments, trains, subways and busy officers. According to the Coumi website, the noise reduction depth is up to 28 dB.
The six microphones, which are built-in, have environmental noise cancellation which picks your voice and isolates it from outside noise. So no need to speak loudly.
I also turned the television on while on calls—how else are you going to entertain a toddler?—and again the sound was immersive, with no hint of children’s programs for me or the people on the other end.
When you’re having a run during the winter and fall periods, wind and rain noises are also canceled out so you’re fully immersed in whatever you’re listening to. However, thanks to the transparency mode you won’t miss announcements on the subway or within the airport. This does also mean you’ll hear people bothering you while in the office, however.
Decent sound quality all day long
I’ve never been a fan of earbuds because of, what I would consider, poor sound quality. For heavy metal music fans and avid gamers, having an immersive experience is often key and I’ve always turned to gamer headphones to achieve this.
In the case of Coumi’s ANC-860s, sound quality isn’t sacrificed for noise cancellation. The ears have a 12.5mm large size speaker that caters for bass and Hi-Fi stereo sound. Also, often with good, base sound quality, you cannot hear the world around you. But in the case of these earbuds, that’s not the case thanks to its noise-canceling functionality.
The other great thing about Coumi’s earbuds is that they last all day long. The battery life lasts up to 41 hours with fast charging of around 90 minutes—uses USB-C fast technology with transfer speeds of up to 10gbps.
According to the Coumi specifications, the earbuds provide 5.5 hours of playing time using the active noise cancellation function and 7.5 hours with it off. If you’re close to the charging case, you can enjoy an additional 35 hours.
When I used the earbuds with active noise cancellation on, I had two calls of over an hour under my belt. I also wore them all day without the need for charging until the evening.
Should I buy a pair of Coumi ANC-860 earbuds?
Usually priced at $59.99—on Amazon, they’re currently priced at $49.99 plus any shipping costs—the Coumi’s are a great alternative to the Apple Airpods. If you’re someone who spends up to around 6 hours on the phone or listening to music, then these are a great product for you.
However, as a long-distance runner, I find the only downfall of the Coumi ANC-860 earbuds is the fit. It’s a snug fit and they’re on the heavy side. I found them slightly uncomfortable after wearing them all day. So I don’t feel they would be comfortable for anyone who likes running for three hours, over uneven terrain. It might be more suitable for indoor exercise.
Overall, I would recommend these wireless earbuds to anyone on the lookout for an Apple alternative. Unless they’re planning on undertaking an ultra-marathon.
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