Review: Awei A990-BL Wireless Sport Bluetooth Earphones – Avoid!

Due to my terrible running addiction, my recent acquisition of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 sports tracker watch, and the mechanical incompatibility of the Bluedio Ci3 earphones with my ears, I was again in the market for a new set of bluetooth earphones. (The earphones are not only to listen to MP3s on the watch, but more importantly, to hear the pacing information communicated by the watch’s terrible synthesised voice.)

After some scratching around on Takealot.com, our otherwise wonderful local Amazon-analogue, I settled on the Awei A990-BL Wireless Sport Bluetooth Earphones.

After just under a month of real-world testing of these earphones (that is, running with them a few times a week, they are “sport” earphones after all), punctuated by disappointing performance and some mechanical breakage, and culminating in complete hardware failure, I can make only this very simple recommendation:

DO NOT under any circumstances buy the Awei A990-BL Wireless Sport Bluetooth Earphones. They have attained the rarely awarded “cpbotha.net THREE (3) thumbs down, avoid at all costs” review.

A complete set of accessories

I was pretty happy when the the earphones arrived on November 15, right on time, and with a pretty complete set of accessories:

None of the three sets of silicone earbuds were large enough for my ears, an issue that was easily solved by using a set of my old Sennheiser buds. My last Skullkandy earphones had the same issue, so I’m ascribing it to my anatomy and not to Awei.

Ear clips break easily

During the first run with these earphones in the wind (when one also really notices how the control unit, a few centimetres from one’s right ear, can really flop around), I realised that the curved ear hooks were definitely necessary. For the next few runs, I had them clipped onto the earphones and they made a huge difference keeping music in my ears.

However, at the start of another run, I slight re-adjustment of the hooks relative to the earphones caused both of the earbud attachment bits to break clean off, rendering these accessories completely useless. I used a reasonable amount of force, and have to conclude that these clips are just not well made:

Bluetooth transmission hiccups

Besides the breakage, I also noticed from the start regular little breaks in the music transmission from the Gear Fit 2 to my ears. It’s possible that these were somehow caused by the unit’s movement during my exercise. I take this opportunity to remind the reader of the “sport” classification of this Awei product.

It could also be that the Gear Fit 2’s bluetooth implementation is sub-par, but, unlike the Awei, it’s an a-list product. In the following weeks I will be able to test this hypothesis with alternative hardware.

Complete hardware failure

About 25 calendar days after purchase, the unit spontaneously died during a run, a disappointment in itself. At first I thought that it was simply the battery that was exhausted. However, no amount of charging back home could revive the earphones.

My Awei A990-BL earphones remain completely dead to this day.

Quo vadis emptor?

After two failed attempts, first with the Bluedio Ci3 and then with these Awei headphones, I have decided to go a different route with the Samsung Level Link bluetooth adapter.

I’ll be able to use any wired earphones (at a much better price-performance ratio, and also much easier to replace) and just plug them into the Samsung Level Link, which will connect wirelessly to the Gear Fit 2.

9 thoughts on “Review: Awei A990-BL Wireless Sport Bluetooth Earphones – Avoid!”

    1. I did briefly think about those, but with my ears as deviant as they are, it’s not a risk that I can take. I think for me for now the samsung level link is going to do the trick… spend money once on the bluetooth, spend money many times on different wired earbuds!

      1. Went running today (12km) for the first time with my Apple Watch Series 2 + AirPods (just arrived) and the experience was everything I hoped for. Great sound. Light. Comfortable. Staid put (I do put after market foam pads on al my Ear/AirPods btw.)

        If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, this is a great combo.

  1. I don’t suppose it’s any surprise those headphones have exactly 1x 1-star review on Amazon either. 25 calendar days, though, that’s a whole new level of pathetic :(

    If you’re able to use wired headphones (and you’re open to recommendations), really the one set that’s been good to me over the years is Razer’s Moray earphones. The only time I wasn’t able to use them was when I lost them abroad.

    1. I’m not sure how I completely missed that 1-star review before buying them. Oh well…

      I’ll keep the Moray earphones in mind. Google says they’re for gaming. How sweaty do gamers get? ;)

  2. I’ve had a pair of Plantronics BackBeat Fit Headphones for about a year and a half, and they’re great for running. They stay put, there’s nothing that can break (it’s all flexible), they’re comfortable, have plenty of battery life, and while the music quality is pretty good, you can still hear your surroundings.

    The only caveat is that the battery has a fairly high rate of self-discharge, so if you leave them lying around for two weeks, you won’t get much useful life without charging. But apart from that, I can only recommend them.

  3. Too bad it was such a bad experience! Was there some warranty/reimbursement you could get?

    I recently got Bose Soundsport – my first Bluetooth headphones, but I’d definitely recommend them. They have a different stay-in-your-eyes mechanism, which makes them look a bit funny, and they let outside noise in (which I like, since I’d like to be warned of dogs and the like running after me).

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