Updated: Feb 9, 2021
I was lucky enough to receive a new pair of August EP650 Bluetooth wireless over-ear headphones as a Christmas present. Having now put them through their paces for just over a month it’s time to review them.
1 X August EP650 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
1 X USB-to-Micro-USB cable
1 X Male-male ended 3.5mm audio cable
1 X User manual, safety guide, warranty information etc.
At a Glance Pros and Cons
Easy to use
Ability to use the built-in mic as a gaming headset would have been a bonus
Use of Bluetooth 5 would have extended their range
Lack of ambidextrous controls
No charger plug in-box
Varies by vendor, but generally under £40
The EP650 headphones are ‘optionally wireless’ i.e., they can work both wirelessly via Bluetooth, and wired via a standard 3.5mm audio-in jack. Sound quality via either method is excellent for an entry-level non-audiophile set of cans. They handle highs well, the mid-range is excellent, and the bass is smooth, deep and ‘thumpy’ without being overpowering.
I noticed there was a small but appreciable jump in audio quality when using them in wired mode, which is perhaps to be expected. Using them in wired mode also uses far less battery power, useful if their internal battery is running low.
Due to using aptX Low Latency Bluetooth there was no discernible ‘wireless lag’ in the audio when running wirelessly, which makes them ideal for watching videos on the go. This was a refreshing change, as the lag on the August EP636 (which I also received as a present a few years ago) was very noticeable, and made videos resemble badly dubbed kung-fu movies.
The EP650s can be connected to a PC via its included Micro-USB-to-USB cable. This makes them a good choice for gaming, audio-visual production and the like. The headphones will charge at the same time as well. If using them for gaming I would recommend investing in a longer Micro-USB-to-USB cable.
NB – I’m not 100% clear on whether the headphones built-in mic for taking calls can work as a gaming headset mic. They are not advertised as being usable as a gaming headset, and I couldn’t get the mic to work outside of taking calls. But if anyone knows how, please let us all know. This very informative article by headphonesty suggests it *might* be possible with the correct cables. *Might*
Although they are not noise-cancelling, their closed-back over-ear design helps to keep out most unwanted noises. The design also helps to prevent sound leakage from the headphones that might otherwise irritate people nearby.
The headphones have a built in mic, thus allowing them to be used as a hands free device for taking calls.
The EP650 headphones use NFC technology, which enables the headphones to sync with a device by being close to it, or in this case, tapping the headphones and the device together when the headphones are in pairing mode.
Activating paring mode is achieved by simply holding down the play/pause button for a few seconds.
Paring via the more conventional Bluetooth route is also fast, easy and reliable, so connecting to non-NFC enabled devices is trouble-free.
The EP650 headphones support Multipoint connectivity, which allows the user to connect to two source devices at once. This could be useful for watching videos on a tablet whilst still being connected to your phone to take calls, ably aided by the EP650’s built-in microphone.
The only downside to the EP650's Bluetooth connectivity is that it uses generation 4.2 as opposed to the newer Generation 5. This limits the maximum distance the headphones can be from the paired device(s) to around 10 meters. Any further and you will likely start experiencing stutters and drops in audio. Walls and closed doors can reduce this maximum effective range considerably. This may present problems if your use cases include your headphones and the paired device(s) being in different rooms, or further than 10 meters apart.
August state the EP650’s internal battery will last for 15 hours of constant use, and up to 30 days if left on standby. I have yet to test these claims ‘scientifically’, however, I can say that in real-world usage I have yet to experience the battery running low when using them, let alone running out of power completely, and I only charge them about once a week. Other reviewers appear to have had the same positive experience, so this is encouraging.
Time to charge is approximately two hours. Charging is via standard Micro-USB, thus ensuring maximum compatibility.
The EP650s are relatively light for wireless headphones, weighing in at only 200 grams (approximate). They are generously furnished with memory foam cushioning on the headband and around the speaker cups. Said cups have a decent but not excessive amount of ‘twist and wiggle’, allowing them to conform well to the wearer’s ears.
The headband has approximately one inch of expansion on either side to accommodate different head sizes.
These attributes combined make the EP650s very comfortable to wear for even extended sessions. I also never felt worried that they would fall off my head (something the EP636s did fairly regularly)
Despite their light weight, they feel sufficiently sturdy and well made for general use. Just be aware that they are not waterproof.
The ear cups are collapsible, which reduces the headphones' overall size somewhat, which is useful for storage. It should be noted of course that over-ear headphones will always be bulkier than other types simply due to the size of the ear cups. A pair of EP650s will not fit into most pockets for example, even when collapsed. If portability is a prime concern for you then you will be better served with a smaller set of on-ear headphones or a set of earbuds.
The on-headphone controls are simple but effective. The play/pause button also serves as the power button and the pairing button. It is large enough and indented enough to be located easily by touch alone, therefore you needn’t take them off to use the controls. The said button requires just the right amount of pressure to activate - not so much that it becomes uncomfortable for either your finger or your head, and not so light that you are likely to activate it unintentionally. The volume and playback controls surround the power button making all the controls easy to locate with your fingertip.
NB - Left-handed people might find them slightly more difficult to use as the controls are on the right-hand side only.
Fit and Finish
The overall design strikes a good balance between utility and aesthetics. Their outer surface has a pleasant satin/velvety texture which I assume to be coated brushed aluminium. The chrome borders of the ear cups are a nice touch as well.
According to August, they are available in gold, silver, blue, white, red and black
The EP650s are compatible with the free August Audio app. The app can link to your iTunes library and equivalents, after which it acts as a graphic equaliser during playback. This will allow you to fine tune your listening experience.
The EP650s are a superb sounding, versatile and easy to use entry-level wireless / optionally wired set of headphones which I can highly recommend. August has appreciably upped their game with these.
Overall Score 4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Scientific’ battery life test: Charge the headphones up to maximum, pair them with a device and leave the device and headphones running until the headphone’s battery runs out. Time how long this takes.
‘Scientific’ standby mode battery test: Charge headphones to maximum, then leave them on standby until the battery runs out again. Time how many days this takes. Do not use headphones during this time.
I haven’t had time to do the latter since I’m using them every day, and I am reluctant to do the former partly due to environmental concerns and partly because I need to use both the headphones and the devices for other things.
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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