Get Them Here
The market is getting flooded with wireless ear buds, and the wireless ear buds market has its own categories. Theres your every day ear buds like the AirPods and Pixel buds, theres your premium wireless ear buds like the Sony WF-1000X which feature active noise cancellation, and Sony is even going to release open back wireless ear buds later this year. But the biggest category is sports wireless ear buds, and Soul is taking a bit of a different approach especially with their carrying case. So lets check them out.
Soul did send these out for review, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to take it easy on them. The X-Shock retails for $169.99 but you can get them for $149.99 depending on where you look. Regarding what you get with the X-Shock, its pretty simple. You get a micro USB cable for charging, a carrying pouch, a carabiner so you can clip the charging case to your workout bag if you want, and a small set of silicone ear tips. If you want to pick these ear buds up I’ll have links in the description below and if you use the links, it really helps out the channel.
First lets go over the case cause its the main thing I like about the X-Shock. First off its huge, its footprint is basically double of what the AirPod’s case is and it is slightly thicker. But cases for wireless sports ear buds are typically on the larger side, case and point the Jaybird Run and the Bose SoundSport Free wireless… their cases are huge too. But Soul decided to shove in a 3000 milliamp hour battery in there. The Ear buds them selves typically last me 3 hours of continuous use which I feel is more than enough for an average workout session at the gym. But the case is able to fully charge these ear buds a total of 16 times. I’ve been testing these ear buds for the last three weeks and I go to the gym 4 times a week and I’ve still haven’t had to charge the carrying case since I fully charged them the first day I got them. Soul claims the X-shock are good for a total of 54 hours of use where as the Jaybird and Bose are only good for a total of 12 and 15 hours of use respectively.
When you open the magnetic lid on the case you’ll see 4 leds that show you the case’s battery status, a micro USB port for charging and a USB out so you can charge your own phone. Obviously you’re going to be sacrificing some of your ear bud’s battery life but I feel this is a great feature to have. Since the a carrying case is so big might as well also make it a portable charger. Personally I just wish soul used a USB C instead of a micro USB since USB C is starting to catch on.
Ok, now lets talk about the ear buds themselves… they’re mostly made out of plastic, they have a little bit of rubber on them and build quality is just fine. They weigh in at 5 grams each and they do a very good job of staying in place when you put them in. At least for me, everyones ears are different. They create a good seal and they block out a lot of noise. They also have a very low profile so they don’t stick out a lot like the Bose and they don’t wiggle out when you’re moving around. They come with an extra pair of small silicone ear tips but I feel soul should have included a medium set as well.
The ear buds themselves are IPX5 rated so they’re sweat resistant but you shouldn’t get the carrying case wet and you should dry off the ear buds before dropping them into their case as well. Regarding connectivity, by default the left ear bud is the master and the right ear bud is the slave. When you take the ear buds out they’ll automatically pair to your phone and they’ll verbally let you know when they’re good to go. They take about 4 seconds. If you just want to use one ear bud you have to use the left channel. But if you really just want to use the right ear bud then you can connect that to your phone separately. So you’re going to have two X-Shock devices listed on your bluetooth list. Now I’m not entirely sure which bluetooth version these ear buds are using, their manual says 4.2 and the Soul’s site says 5.0 but regardless its solid. These ear buds sync very well so you don’t get an echoing affect between the left and right channel and they have a decent range of 30 feet.
When it comes to sound…. Its not bad. These are very bass heavy ear buds which I don’t mind when I’m working out. Their sound profile is very similar to the Powerbeats 3, Lots of bass, sharp highs, and vocalists are front and center. But the X-Shock do get slightly louder and they do create a slightly better seal than the Powerbeats 3. But these aren’t my top choice for watching videos cause they do have a bit of latency.
Both of the S’s on the ear buds are multi purpose buttons. If you press either one once they’ll play or pair your music, and if you double press either one they’ll skip a track. But unfortunately triple pressing doesn’t go back a track. Instead, if you triple press on the left ear bud they’ll redial your last phone call. And this is od to me cause when I’m using my sports wireless ear buds I’m not interested in talking on the phone, I just want to quickly control my music so I can get on with my workout. But since pressing either of the buttons on the ear buds means jamming them into your ear canal I just naturally default to using my phone to control my music playback.
But now lets about what I don’t like about the X-Shock, I absolutely hate that these ear buds have those blinking LED’s when you put them in your ear. These ear buds are very low profile which I like, but the affect completely goes way due to the constant blinking. I guess the blinking is there for visibility if you’re running at night or if you lose them, but if you’re running at night then you should have something way more visible than just these ear buds. I just wish there was a way to turn this constant blinking off.
And heres the microphone test for the soul X-Shock wireless ear buds, and basically you don’t want to take phone calls with these ear buds. But this audio clip is being recorded with the microphone on X-Shock so you can be the judge of that.
So, if you’re someone like me that has dedicated workout ear buds that just stashes them in your bag then I think you will really like these ear buds. The battery life the X-Shock offers is amazing. My biggest pet peeve with wireless ear buds like my Powerbeats 3 is realizing they don’t have any battery in them just as you’re about to start working out so you have to go and stand by a charger for 10 or so minutes. The case is huge, but given that its also a portable charger for your phone its a pretty fair trade off in my opinion. The X-shock sound just fine for working out but I wouldn’t use them for phone calls. If you can get them on sale for $150 or below, I feel they are a decent deal.