The Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband is an affordable option worth considering to keep you connected to your Windows Phone when you need your hands free. The neckband is sweat-proof, lightweight and features noise cancellation to help your voice, and your calls, ring loud and clear.
The design should appeal to those looking for a hands-free solution, but aren't fond of earpieces that have to be attached to your ear. Battery life is respectable, and priced at $27.99 through Amazon.com, the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband is also budget friendly.
The neckband or horse-collar style of Bluetooth devices have been around for some time. The design offers a hands-free solution that wraps around your neck ready to leap into action when needed. Those who do not care to wear a Bluetooth earpiece constantly often turn to the neckband design for comfort and convenience. The Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband fits into this genre of headsets rather well.
The design has both earbuds nestled into the tips of the neckband, held into place by magnets. When you want to listen to music, audio from videos or answer a call just pop the earbuds in your ear. Otherwise, the device discretely wraps around your neck. The neckband is sweat-proof, but not waterproof. That is, the neckband stands up to a sweat-soaked workout, but will not survive the shower or laps in the pool.
Controls on the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband are located around each tip of the headset. The right tip bears the play/pause button, track management buttons and the USB charging port. The left tip of the headset holds the call button, volume control buttons, on/off switch and an LED light to confirm actions.
The neckband weighs in at only 4.8 ounces (136 grams) and fits comfortably around your neck. In wearing the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband for several hours, it did not feel burdensome, and at times, I forgot that I had the device on.
With regards to under the hood features, the Aukey neckband is powered by a 200mAh battery that is rated for 300 hours of standby time and 15 hours of talk time. In testing the Aukey neckband, I found these ratings close to the mark.
The neckband has support for Bluetooth 4.1 and CVC 6.0 Noise Cancellation Technology. I did not experience any unexpected disconnects between the device and any of my Bluetooth devices (Lumia 950 or Dell Laptop). The noise cancellation did an excellent job of filtering out background noises and allow the microphone to pick up my voice nice and clear.
Rounding out the physical aspects of the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband, there is a set of various sized earbud tips, micro-USB charging cable, warranty card and owner's manual packaged with the neckband.
Again, fit and feel for the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband was comfortable and access to the control buttons convenient. The hardest part about using the control buttons is remembering which tip contains which control. I do like the dedicated power button that makes it extremely easy to turn the device on or off. I prefer the dedicated button over pressing/holding buttons any day.
Pairing the device is simple in that every time you power on the headset, it goes into pairing mode. If you have already paired the device, it automatically searches for the last paired device. Otherwise, you can pair it with a new device. You can force the Aukey neckband into pairing mode by pressing and holding the call button for a few seconds. The Aukey neckband appears on your Bluetooth device listing as Aukey EP-B20.
Call features with the neckband include the basics such as answering/ending calls, last number redial, reject calls and call switching. The Aukey neckband vibrates with incoming calls and has support for audio caller id. There is also audio confirmation for features such as powering on/off the device or when it enters pairing mode. The neckband lacks support for voice dialing or Cortana integration.
Sound quality is very good. Audio playback from Groove Music or Youtube videos came in loud and clear with a balanced sound. Callers could be heard nicely as well. I would recommend only using one earbud on calls, though. Both earbuds provide a solid stereo sound, but on calls, you feel as though you are talking with two fingers in your ears or a head cold.
The only nit I have with the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband is with the earbud wires. There are two rubber straps that help adjust the stretch of the earbuds and when loose, these wires can get hung up on collars. Pulling the wires tight helps but may hinder the earbuds from reaching your ear. While I would have liked to have seen retractable wires, what is in place with the Aukey neckband works. You just need to be careful with the loose wires at times.
The Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband is a budget friendly option for those looking for a hands-free alternative to the on-ear style of devices. The design is user-friendly and lightweight. The design is appealing, offering a hands-free solution that is convenient when needed, but otherwise is out of the way.
Battery life should get you through the day without the need to hunt for a charger. The fit and feel of the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband was comfortable around the office, in the car, on the treadmill and often was the case I forgot I was wearing it. Audio quality was respectable and on par with your average, mid-priced set of headphones.
The neckband is also budget friendly, priced at $27.99 (US) through Amazon. If you are in the market for a hands-free solution for your Windows Phone, the Aukey Bluetooth Sports Neckband is worth considering.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.