For many years, budget earbuds and headphones have often offered poor audio quality and uncomfortable designs that make it difficult for budget buyers to enjoy a quality listening experience. Paying more will naturally get you better and more reliable products, but many simply don't have enough room in their budget for an expensive pair of earbuds. Therefore, people looking for something that's both solid and affordable have been frustrated with the earbuds market for a long time.
Manufacturer Votomy has made a valiant effort to change that with their Votomy SoloPods S1 wireless earbuds, which are a budget-friendly pair of earbuds that promise great sound and great comfort. And after using them for over two weeks, I'm convinced that these buds are some of the best earbuds available for folks on a budget.
Bottom line: Offering great sound and excellent comfort, the Votomy SoloPods S1 are one of the best pairs of budget earbuds available. The battery life could be better, though.
- Clean, crisp sound
- Very comfortable
- Convenient charging case
- IPX8 waterproofing
- Battery life could be better
- No volume controller
Votomy SoloPods S1: Price and availability
The Votomy SoloPods S1 earbuds are available for $40 on the Amazon marketplace. Notably, you can get the earbuds for a 30% discount from now until Dec. 31, 2021 by using the coupon available on the Votomy SoloPods S1 Amazon page and then by entering the code BIPMQ6FA at checkout. This brings the price of the earbuds down to $28, which is a nice deal.
Votomy SoloPods S1: What you'll like
The best thing about the Votomy SoloPods S1 is their impressive audio. For $40, you're getting earbuds that deliver a clean and crisp mid-focused sound that rivals the soundscape offered by more expensive buds. Highs and lows sound good, too, and while I would have liked for the max volume to be a little louder, Votomy still nevertheless managed to pack a solid amount of power into these budget buds. The microphone sounds clear, too, so you'll be able to make calls without audio issues.
The earbuds are also very comfortable, featuring a design that utilizes a combination of eartips and earfins for stability in your ear. The rubberized earfins gently hook on the inside of your ear and are very stable, allowing you to use the buds without having to jam them into your ear canals. Votomy includes six different eartips and three different earfins that you can use to get the best fit for your ear as well.
Additionally, the earbuds come with a nice charging case that's relatively compact, making it easy to pocket and take with you throughout the day. The case comes with a small display that indicates how charged up each bud is, and on a full charge, it can provide enough charging for about 90 hours of listening time (Votomy claims 100; your mileage may vary depending on your music's volume).
Finally, the earbuds are fully IPX8 waterproof, which gives the buds some nice flexibility. You can use them in or near water without any issues, though Votomy does note that using them in water over long periods of time will degrade the waterproofing.
Votomy SoloPods S1: What you won't like
The main issue I have with the Votomy SoloPods S1 is that the buds themselves only have about five hours of battery life. This isn't terrible, but compared to the seven- to eight-hour battery life offered by other earbuds, it's certainly disappointing. Thankfully the charging case is easy to carry and can juice the buds up in a pinch, but I still would have liked to have seen a better result.
The earbuds also lack a touch-based volume controller, which I thought was odd since there are touch controls for answering calls and controlling your music. It's far from a serious problem since I don't mind adjusting the volume with my phone, but it's worth mentioning.
Votomy SoloPods S1: Competition
While there aren't many budget earbuds on the market that sound as good as the Votomy SoloPods S1, the buds do have some competition. The Skullcandy Ink'd+ Wireless buds have eight hours of battery life and are less expensive at $22, though they don't sound as good, don't come with a charging case, and use an eartip-only design without earfins. They're a good alternative if you prefer longevity over quality and comfort.
For fans of over-ear options, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones are excellent. It's much pricier at $80 and the design is a bit bulky, but the sound quality is superb and the battery can last up to 60 hours on a full charge. It also comes with active noise cancelling that you can toggle on or off as needed.
Votomy SoloPods S1: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You need a pair of quality earbuds
- You're on a budget
- You need something waterproof
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You need long battery life
- You want volume touch controls
- You prefer over-ear headphones
While it can be difficult to find high-quality earbuds at budget prices, the Votomy SoloPods S1 buck that trend by offering great sound and comfort for an affordable cost. At just $40, these buds are the definition of "bang for your buck" and are easily some of the best cheap earbuds on the market.
The battery could be better, and the lack of touch controls for volume is disappointing as well. Ultimately, though, these buds give you sound and comfort that rivals more expensive options for just a fraction of the cost. It's hard to complain.