Review of the earbuds I wanted to hate.
So yes. These are the earbuds I wanted to hate. Why? Well, their marketing is intrusive (but evidently effective). I use Aftershokz bone conduction headsets for most uses around the house listening to radio or TV while working or cooking. But I wanted something with better sound for listening to music. I'm kind of an old school audiofile from before CDs. I used to have a nice turntable with a B&O cartridge, the legendary NAD 3140 amp, and a pair of Klipsch Heresys when I was in college. I played in jazz bands through high school and college and various theater production orchestras, etc. so I know what recordings and musical instruments are supposed to sound like. I first ordered the Soundcore Liberty 3s from Anker thinking this would be the upgrade I was after and I also relented to the marketing from Status for their new earbuds with the intention of evaluating and returning them.
What happened was I ended up disappointed in the Soundcore Liberty 3s sound and on top of that they were unreliable to the point where the right side just stopped working/responding all together. So I returned them and waited for the Status Between buds. They were late shipping and so I was already not expecting much and still having to return them. Since I did not expect to like them I also bought some over the ear noise cancelling cans from Sony (Sony WH-1000WM4) that also connect wired or via Bluetooth and are the most highly rated on the market. I've never owned a pair of noise cancelling headphone and my interest is the best sound possible.
When the Status earbuds arrived I was careful not to damage any packaging expecting to return them. I still wanted see what they sounded like and paired them with my Pixel 5a. Pairing went smoothly and when I tried some music via YouTube Music I was shocked. The bass was very present as expected but so were the mids and highs. Most modern earbuds seem to favor bass to the detriment of other aspects of the music but not these. They actually have it all more than exceeding my expectations and really leaving me at a loss for how the sound could be better. They can get loud for sure, but where they won me over is at low level listening at night. Unlike the Sony over the ears these don't have to be cranked up for them to come alive. They don't have active sound cancellation but the isolation I get with just having the buds shoved in my my ears is sufficient for those relatively quiet times I want to focus on the music. I'll still use the Aftershokz every day for listening to dialogue, but when it's time to listen to some jazz and appreciate the music in private these Status Between Pro buds have a place on my nightstand.
Why do these sound so good? I'm not an engineer but I know there have been some limits in what Bluetooth CODECS have been able to achieve historically. Lately some new chipsets and technology have been coming to market to address those Bluetooth limitations and these buds use a new technology and CODEC from Qualcomm they call APTX and it really seems to make a dramatic improvement in sound quality. Read more about it here.
The great stage imaging and present sound of each instrument has to be helped by their triple driver design shown above. The allows for deep base that does not interfere or muddy the mid and high tones.
Battery life is solid and seem to live up to their claims of 12 hours on the earbuds and then 36 hours of additional juice from charging in the case. So you should get about days of listening without having to find a charger. Unlike the Soundcores and my Sony headphones there is no app to manage EQ so the sound you get is what you get with these. That said, I personally like the balance they have.
- Best sounding earbuds I have ever tried. Full stop.
- Battery life has been very good in use. And they are easy to charge via a USB-C cable provided.
- At $145 they are cheaper than other "flagship" Bluetooth earbuds. At 99 bucks on sale there is nothing that can touch them.
- Fit is very good for me. But this is very much a personal preference.
- Bluetooth connection has been very reliable and trouble free.
- My biggest gripe is now hard these are to get out of the charging case. It sometimes feel near impossible to get get a grip on them when they are in the case.
- No ANC, no "transparency mode", no fancy pants.
- Documentation is very sparse and it leaves a bit of mystery when it comes to understanding the controls and lights.