We have reviewed several wireless headsets and earphones (see our reviews here), including our recent review of the SOUL Flex2 wireless headphones (read our review here). Today we look at another offering from SOUL Electronics, with the SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones.
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Apple Tech Talk Scorecard
|Simple one button control of all functions||Initial paring process seemed difficult|
|Good overall sound quality||Phone calls and Siri are in the left ear bud only|
SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones – Unboxing
In the box is the pair of wireless earphones (one each for the left and right ear), the charging case and an Accessory box that contained a short Micro USB charging cord, two extra sets of ear tips in a variety of sizes to ensure a comfortable fit, a Warranty pamphlet and a User Guide. You can see the User Guide here.
The earphones themselves measure about .78 in (20mm) wide x .63 in (16mm) high x .94 (24mm) deep, and weigh .14 ounces (4 grams). The charging case measures approximately 2.9 inches (75mm) wide x 1.3 inches (33mm) high x 1.2 inches (32mm) deep and weighs about 1.7 ounces (49 grams). You should have no problem carrying these in your pocket or purse.
The earphones have a rated battery life of about 2.5 hours on a full charge and the charging case contains a 500mAh Li-ion Polymer batter that can recharge the ear buds four times on a single case charge. That gives you up to 10 hours of usage which should be enough to get you through most days.
If that still isn’t enough, the charging case can be recharged in about 90 minutes giving you another 10 hours of listening time and almost 200 hours of standby time.
Charging status of the earphones is indicated by a white LED on each earphone that turns off when they are fully charged. The charging case has an LED indicator in the center panel and will remain solid when the case is fully charged. During the charging process and whenever you open the case lid, the LED blinks depending on the status of the charge. It will blink once when the case is charged 25%, twice for 50%, three times for 75% and four flashes for 100% charge.
SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones – Set-up
The SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones give you the option to use them as a stereo pair or as an individual earphone with the left earphone being the master unit. They also have what SOUL calls Auto-Pairing. Although it only lists three steps, we actually found the pairing instructions to be a little confusing. They state:
- Take out both earphones from the charging box
- Put on the earphones and follow these instructions: Power on (L & R) > Connected (L & R) > Left channel (L) > Right channel > Pairing (L)
- Open Bluetooth list on your smartphone and select SOUL ST-XS then you will hear “Pairing successful” and “Second device connected” from the left side
On our first attempt to pair the SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones, we thought we followed the directions but it turned out only the left earphone was connected. We can’t tell whether it was our user error or that is the intentional result since the next section of the User Guide gives instructions on how to use the SOUL ST-XS in Headset (both earphones together) mode. We followed those directions but admittedly, more through trial and error, eventually got both earphones connected.
On a positive note, once we got the two earphones connected, future attempts to connect them was flawless. We just turned them on and they both connected to our iPhone immediately.
SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones – Controls
Most of the wireless headsets and earphones we have reviewed have multiple buttons on each side to control different functions. We tend to find those confusing. The SOUL ST-XS have a single button in the center of each unit with the following functions:
|Answer Call / End Call||Press once on left side|
|Refuse call||Press 2 times on left side|
|Redial Call||Press 3 times on left side|
|Forward Call||Double press on left or right side|
|Play / Pause Music||Press once on left or right side|
|Activate Siri||Hold left button for 1 second|
|Turn ear buds On / Off||Hold left or right side for 2 – 4 seconds|
While some of these functions can be done from the right side, you can basically control everything from the left earphone, which we find less confusing than many other products in this category.
SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones – Test Results
Overall, we found the SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones worked well. They fit well in our ears and were comfortable. One of our testers is a hearing aid wearer and was able to use the SOUL ST-XS earphones while still wearing his aids. While we don’t necessarily suggest that, it’s nice to know that is an option.
Sound quality was good although this tends to be a very personal opinion. Overall we thought the sound was bright and vocals were crisp. One of our testers, who is a fan of Apple’s Air Pods felt the SOUL ST-XS lacked the deeper base they are used to. We do think there is a definite difference in the amount of base between the SOUL ST-XS and Apple Air Pods but we can’t say one was better than the other.
The Siri function worked well although we were surprised to find that Siri responses are only heard in the left earphone. The same is true for phone calls. Initially, we thought that perhaps we lost the pairing on the right side but after ending the call we pressed the left earphone button and the music immediately continued in both the left and right ear buds.
The Bottom Line
Everyone has his or her own preferences in music. Some like Rock while others like Classical and often, neither person understand the other’s taste. The same can be said for how we listen to music. Some people as satisfied with using the standard wired earphones supplied with a new iPhone while others like the freedom that comes from using a wireless headset or wireless earphones. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options.
While Apple’s Air Pods are thought to set the standard by which all others are judged. Their $159.00 price tag and short supply often leads others to look for an acceptable alternative. If that is you, the SOUL Electronics ST-XS Wireless Earphones deserve serious consideration.
The small size of the earphones and charging case make them easy to take along and the ten-hour total playing time should be enough to get you through the day.
While the initial set-up was a bit frustrating, once we got them up and running they were easy to use and connected to our iPhone every time. The single button control was one of the easiest controls we have seen.
While some may find the overall sound lacking in the deeper base tones, we found the sound quality excellent with crisp highs and clear vocals.
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