More and more, people are finding themselves pulling up their phone for a quick gaming session during some downtime, whether that’s on a lunch break, waiting for a bus, or just out and about relaxing. While mobile games began as extremely casual experiences (Paper Toss, anyone?), the high-end capabilities of modern phones mean we’re increasingly able to play console-like experiences on the go. Games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are the perfect examples of this shift, allowing us to play whenever and wherever we want.
Only, anyone who’s spent any time with either battle royale game will all too aware of how important sound is to coming top of the heap. Hearing footsteps and the direction of gunfire provides someone with a huge advantage of anyone else, and I wouldn’t mind betting there are a lot of mobile Fortnite and PUBG players that often aren’t using any sound at all.
So this week I’ve been putting it to the test with a pair of 1More Spearhead VR BT In-Ear Headphones. Quite the mouthful, I’m sure you’ll agree. My feelings towards in-ear headphones are tepid at best so I was certainly curious to see what a premium pair of in-ear headphones could offer.
Ordinarily, the 1More Spear VR headphones set you back $129.99, although at the time of writing they can be had for a discounted price of $99/£69. They are Bluetooth wireless gaming earphones with stereo sound and use a dual dynamic driver for high sensitivity and deep bass. For £69 they really aren’t a bad buy at all. Bluetooth in-ear headphones tend to start at the £20-30 mark for low-quality headphones, so the Spear VR is only just over double what I paid for a cheap set in Argos and there’s a massive difference in quality, both in terms of build and audio.
1MORE SPEARHEAD VR BT IN-EAR HEADPHONES SPECS
Immersive virtual environment sound effect
Graphene + titanium dual-dynamic driver design
Environmental Noise Cancellation with mic
30 ft. wireless range with Bluetooth v4.2
6 hours playtime with fast charging
Customisable LED light modes
The 1More Spearhead VR BT headphones also utilise fairly standard micro USB charging. The included USB cable is too short to charge and listen at the same time, unfortunately, but most folks probably have larger charging cables kicking about already so this hopefully won’t be an issue. The 1More Spearhead VR has a 10-minute quick charge that provides enough juice for three hours. Throughout this week I've been using them for a fair few hours every day and have popped on for a quick charge each morning. So far, I haven't dropped below 40% battery.
Naturally, the first thing I did was try to stress these headphones with a variety of tracks. They handled the deep bass of RTJ and Notorious B.I.G. with aplomb, stacking up very nicely to a pair of proper over-ear headphones. If anything, these headphones lean more towards quality bass support and anything that’s not bass-heavy does run the risk of sounding a little flat. Kurt Vile sounded crisp and clear though, while Jon Hopkins was given an additional sheen of audio quality, and my ultimate all-in-one test that is Mint Royale’s Blue Song, the 1More Spear VR In-Ear headphones passed with flying colours. The only times I could detect any noticeable drop in sound clarity was when trying to output the bass and treble extremes at any one time. This can lead to some slight crackling, although instances were few and far between and it wasn’t an issue outside of listening to music; game audio quality is fine. They also fit snugly with excellent noise reduction, allowing for lower volumes and excellent clarity.
I do tend to travel a lot so I get a lot of use out Netflix and Sky while on the go, and while these headphones aren’t specifically designed for movie watching they do a great job. They also sit in the ear very comfortably for hours at a time, which can come in handy for those longer bus journeys after growing tired of gaming.
Talking of game audio, as the VR name suggests the Spearhead offers up a simulation of 3D audio. For gaming, this can come in handy and the Spearhead VR does a great job. It certainly feels as if there’s a competitive gain to be had here. There’s also an official app that’s available for both Android and iOS devices which is supposed to enhance the 3D audio. Having messed around with it though, I couldn’t actually find much I could tweak at all outside of light settings and a burn-in mode.
Aesthetically, the Spearheads are, for the most part, fairly stylishly designed. 1More has leaned in a little to the gamer aesthetic for these earphones though, a move which probably isn’t necessary for something a lot of people will be wanting to wear out and about. The red and black does work but it’s the red lighting on the outer buds that I particularly take issue with. Now the clocks have changed I’m heading back home in the dark and my ears are looking like demonic red eyes. Your tastes may vary on that but it isn’t for me. Fortunately, the lighting can be turned off using the 1More app.
Aside from that, the Spearhear VR earbuds do exude a decent level of quality, right down to the thick packaging and the squidgy neckband that never feels uncomfortable. As is often the case with earbuds, my one lingering cause for concern is the headphone wire itself. While the neckband is nice and sturdy, these are flimsy wires that look as if they could potentially wear at the base of the unit.
Overall, the 1More Spearhead VR BT In-Ear Headphones are probably the best in-ear headphones I’ve actually tried so far. At £69 they’re decently valued. Normally I like to stick to over-ear phones but I was surprised at the sound quality these buds offered. For gaming purposes on the go you really couldn’t do much better, although a wired option would perhaps be nice for some Nintendo Switch compatibility. With a Bluetooth adaptor, you could also theoretically use these at home as well, but the lack of a microphone could put paid to that.