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MEE Audio M9B Bluetooth Headphones Review Edit

Ratings
Overall:
by WilliamGayde
Pros Cons
  • Prices, Many features, Ease of use
  • Confusing controls, Awkward fit at times
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With the growing trend of mobile devices, comes mobile audio. Now more than ever people want things to be smaller, cheaper, and easier to use. This trend is especially evident with audio products. While there will always be the market for high end, high priced headphones, more and more people are turning to wireless models. There is no connector to break or excessively long cord to get tangled. While audio quality may suffer slightly, the added convenience is usually well worth it.

MEE Audio (formerly MEE Electronics) introduced the M9B into an expanding market. While most devices cost anywhere from $50-200+, the M9B comes in at a very competitive $30. Obviously it isn't of the same quality as the pricier options, but how well does it perform? Let's find out.


Starting with the outer packaging, we find some basic information as well as key marketing points of the M9B. They are a traditional in-ear headphone with the added benefit of connecting over Bluetooth instead of a wire.



The product and accessories are visible from the front cover. Included inside the box are the headphones, a charging cable, 3 additional sets of tips, ear guides, and an instruction manual. The cable length is 27", or 13.5" when folded up, and the whole thing weighs in at .4oz. The drivers themselves are 9mm and have a response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Connection is achieved through Bluetooth 4.0 using A2DP, HSP, HFP, and AVRCP. The stated operating range is 30ft with the internal battery located in the control piece. There is a micro-USB connector for charging, which usually takes 1-1.5 hours depending on the charger's power. The advertised usage time is 4 hours with a standby of 180 hours.



Here is a closer look at the control unit. There is a volume up/ next track button, a multifunction button, a volume down/previous track button, a microphone, and a charging port. To me the whole unit just seemed a bit big compared to the rest of the headphones. The construction is solid but I think it could be condensed into a slightly smaller package. Depending on the internal layout this may require a smaller battery so who knows. The buttons have a nice tactile feel and are raised, making them easy to find. One small addition that would have been nice is a small bump on the middle button. Something similar to the bump on the "F" and "J" keys of a keyboard. This would make navigating easier in low light or when the headset is buried under a jacket.



Here are the drivers. They are lightweight but secure firmly in the ear. The included tips fit nearly all ear sizes but there was only one set of included double-flanged ones. This is one of the drawbacks that I am OK with for the price. I ended up not using the ear guides but your mileage may vary depending on ear size.



Now let's move on to daily usage and performance. I wore these every day and ended up charging them twice a week. While I didn't time the exact music playback time, I would guess that it averages out to around 3 hours or less. While this is half of what some other headphones, specifically the Jaybird products, can do, it is impressive for the price bracket that the M9B is in. A larger battery would mean longer playback time, but would come at the cost of an increased size; something that is already on the edge. The instructions list 17 different commands that the headphones can do. These deal with power on/off, media playback, and phone calls. This was a bit too much for me to memorize especially since nearly all press the multi-function button a specific number of times or for a certain number of seconds. Many of these deal with using two sources at once or handling two calls at once, something that won’t happen very often if at all. In general I think the M9B tries to do too much with only 3 buttons.

In terms of range, they performed very well. I achieved an operating range of 25-30ft including going through a wall. This would be great for if you want to do work around the house but don't want to carry your phone with you. You can set it down but keep listening to your music. I did find the cable length to be a bit too long. No matter what orientation I had them in, there was always a bit too much extra length. I think taking about an inch off the top between the earbuds and the controller, as well as an inch off the bottom would be beneficial. It never hindered performance, it was just a bit awkward and cumbersome to manage the cable.

The microphone on the control unit was good as well. When I wore the earbuds over the front so they rested on my chest, the microphone was very faint. By holding on to the unit and placing it more near my mouth, this problem was solved. When I wore them around the back, I placed the microphone on my shoulder and the quality was very good but reaching the buttons was awkward. How you decide to wear them depends on what you will be doing most often. When worn in the front, the buttons were easier to reach but the microphone quality suffered. When worn in the back the buttons were more difficult to reach but the microphone sounded better.

Now on to sound. Setup was very easy: just hold the center button and it goes into pairing mode. From there connect with your phone and you are good to go. It will appear as a normal Bluetooth audio device and stream whenever it is powered on. The M9B isn't marketed as an audiophile grade headphone and it doesn't sound like one either. While it isn't the worst sounding headphones I have ever heard, it does have some room for improvements. It was a little too bass heavy for me. Nothing overpowering like Beats, but it was definitely the first thing I noticed when I started listening. The high end was a little subdued and lacked sparkle. They were still fun to listen to and I'm happy considering the price bracket. Another high end feature that is missing is the aptX Codec. This technology can increase the sound quality, but would also increase the cost.


And with that, I’m just about done. The M9B comes with a 1-year warranty and is only available in black at the time of publishing. One thing I ended up saying a lot was "for the price" or "considering the price", and I think that sums up my thoughts on the product. It isn't the best sounding or longest lasting or most comfortable to use but given its incredibly low price point, I was happily surprised. It doesn't feel cheap at all and if you didn’t tell me, I would have guessed they cost between $50-100. I have no problem recommending the MEE Audio M9B Bluetooth Headphones as a great, low cost option for wireless music.
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