YAY! I’m excited to do my first product review, special thanks to Monster Products for providing me with a pair of their brand-new Monster® Airlink Elements Bluetooth™ Wireless In-Ear Headphones for this review. Now although this may be my first review I have been around a lot of headphones in my professional career and tried various wired and wireless products from Polk, Bose, Sony, Beats, Monster and Sennheiser to name a few.
The Airlinks product is Monsters entry into the growing True Wireless Market. The category has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until Apple released the Airpods and the category really took off and gained mass appeal. Now Apple has their own proprietary technology such as their W11 chip that really gives them the advantage over everyone else. Below you’ll find some features and benefits that really separate Monster from the competition and highlight how they will differentiate from the rest of the market.
If you remember back in the day Monster had a series of headphones called Diamond Tears and Diamondz which were geared towards the fashion lifestyle consumer. These Elements Airlinks are reminiscent of the Diamondz headphones sharing similar design elements like the rose gold fashion colour and jewelry like appearance with its faceted design. You’ll notice that in the centre of the Airlinks there’s a crystal which not only looks nice but is functional. This is what enables your 1-Touch Multi-Function Control features such as Power On/Off, Play/Pause and Paring which I will touch on later.
The Airlinks are an in-ear bud design and will include 3 size ear tips so you get the best fit. You’ll want to try different combinations of the ear tips for the best result. This is important not only for fit but also for audio quality. If you have a loose fit you’ll lose audio so spend some time with this. This applies to all ear but style headphones, not just these!
It also comes with a really nice display and charging carrying case that will hold a 16+ charge so you’ll never have to worry about charging.
Believe me, you will get everyone’s attention wearing these. Monster will be releasing 2 versions of Airlinks under the Elements and the iSport brands, I’m really looking forward to the iSport version! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The easiest Bluetooth connection experience I’ve ever had. I open my Bluetooth settings in my phone, open the carrying case and within seconds the phone will recognize the Airlinks. Select the headphones and you’re done. Once you start using the Airlinks you’ll be notified which Airlink is left and right when you insert them in your ear.
As soon as I plug it in it tells me how many hours of playing time I have, the robot told me more than 3 hours of playing time. It takes 1.5 hours to fully charge the Airlinks for 4 hours of play time. The case charges via Micro USB Cable and it will hold 16 hours worth of charge time.
On the right side of the Airlink there’s a little crystal which is button, when I press and hold it for 3 seconds it will play the next track. If you do the same on the left link it will go to the previous track.
If you tap the crystal button on the right Airlink it will pause the music, press it again and it will resume.
Hands Free Calling
By pressing the right button on the right Airlink, you answer your calls, press it again to disconnect the call.
The audio on calls will only come through on the right side. Some consumers may not like this, but this was probably done on purpose to allow for ambient noise. You always want to be aware of your surroundings and avoid that fire truck coming your way! I should mention that when your phone is on mute you will still be alerted with the ring chime from the right air link. To decline an incoming call simply hold the button on the right air link.
The airlinks are automatically on when you remove them from the case. If you want to turn them off you can hold down the button on the right Airlinks for 5 seconds and it will power them on/off. Note that if you turn them on you will need to press the buttons on each of the Airlinks, they will power on and sync automatically.
Audio Quality – Voice Calls
The best part of this is that everyone that I have spoken to has told me that they can hear me very clearly. I haven’t had one instance where you hear the infamous “can you hear me now”? The clarity of these headphones should be considered the new benchmark for wireless connectivity.
Lastly the Bluetooth range is also worth commenting. The Airlinks feature a High-Gain Coil Antenna for Solid Bluetooth Connection. Most Bluetooth audio devices boast a 30 ft range, and there’s no difference here except the quality in the connection does not degrade like you may experience with other products. I was on a call and decided to walk around the house through various floors while my phone remained in the kitchen and did not get any degradation in call quality or connection.
Audio Playback Quality
The headphones feature Monsters signature audio tuning called Pure Monster Sound®. I listen to a variety of music from Top 40, Indie, Latin, R&B & Hip Hop writing this review. In the end I turned to Spotify for a list of music conveniently located in their playlist “Songs to Test Headphones With” and I’m glad I did.
From the first track alone, titled Bubbles by Yosi Horikawa, I already experienced great clarity and separation in the instruments and while not muffling or muddying the composition. Vocals are crisp almost as if you’re in a live experience. If you’re binge watching on Netflix you will hear every single detail through these headphones from engines roaring to paper being crumpled. But what you really want to know is, what do they sound like playing something like Jumpman by Drake? I have to say, I have no idea what he’s saying in this song at the intro, but I think I finally have it! It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I think I finally made out what the intro is lol. Soon as the bass drops on the first verse Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman you can really hear the lower bass levels which an easy thing isn’t to do. Reproducing the punch and low ends of the 808 frequencies are tough especially in wireless products, more so in in-ear headphones. I think you’ll be pleasantly satisfied with the reproduction in the Airlinks the bass doesn’t overpower or drown out the rest of the track.
MonsterTalk™ powered by Melody Voice-Control Enabled
The Monster Talk APP isn’t available just yet, the headphones I received are pre-production, so I’ll have to wait until the official release to write more about this. The service will be a partnership with Monster and Melody and will optimize your listening experience by enabling functionality with a voice powered assistant. Stay tuned, more to come on this soon!
Overall I really enjoyed the experience with the Airlinks, I won’t go back to traditional Bluetooth in-ear headphones, the freedom and convenience of not having any wires especially at the gym is a huge benefit. These will be available in Canada soon and retail for $299.95, from looking at the Monster website they already appear to be sold out! If you want me to try any other tests on the Airlinks let me know!