*The opinions expressed in the blog in no way reflect the opinions of the Photive company. Photive is in no way affiliated with or sponsoring this post . Think of this as just another customer review. This was was written after using the product for about a month.*
Wireless capability is becoming more of a staple as technology advances. I remember when it first started being developed. As Bluetooth (BT) technology began to surface, I was skeptical at first. There’s so many factors that come into play when you talk about a wireless signal being transmitted; range, frequency interference, the possibility of said signal being intercepted, and so many other variables. Another concern was accessibility, at first it seemed like only big shot business people, or people who just had a lot of money could afford this innovation in technology.
Nevertheless, over the years, it’s increased in quality, convenience, and availability while decreasing in cost (as tech often does). I’ve only ever had BT ear pieces intended for pairing with phones for ease of taking calls, and I felt it was time to invest in a wireless headset, to see just how far the tech has come.
I took to the internet, researching several pairs, makes, models, and styles of headphones. I’m partial to the over the ear style mainly because earbuds (while convenient and portable) make my ears hurt after a while, and were not well suited for long listening sessions.
I came across the Photive BTH3 Headphones on both Amazon and YouTube. I had seen an unboxing on Unbox Therapy, and I’m not going to lie to y’all…I was skeptical. There was no way…NO way that a pair of wireless headphones were that affordable, with that good of sound quality…I’ve never even heard of Photive until that point! Never the less, I threw caution to the wind and ordered them.
Immediately upon removing them from the glossy packaging, the very first thing I noticed was the build quality. They did not feel cheap by any means whatsoever. They have a matte black finish, but this particular finish is rubberized and has a bit more grip and tactility to it than what I was used to. This gives the impression of a higher tier of build quality. There is also metal incorporated into the headband construction, adding to the overall durability.
Portability is the name of the game with these headphones. They are small, light, have the ability to fold flat and come with a hard case for traveling. 40 mm drivers rest inside the ear cups, which seems pretty standard for over the ear headphones from what I’ve seen. They are closed back, which means they are meant to block out some degree of outside noise, as well as reduce audio from “leaking”out from the ear cups.
Both ear cups and headband are finished with a soft touch (not leather) material which is quite cozy. On the right ear cup you’ll find a volume rocker, power button, micro USB port, as well as a 3.5mm AUX jack. These also come with an audio cable, so they can still be used even if your battery runs out. On the left ear cup is where the track skip and play/pause buttons are located. The fact that all these controls are literally at your finger tips is a huge plus, and only adds to the convenience of them being wireless.
They are powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which claims to charge quickly (3 hours) using a micro USB cable, and provide up to 12 hours of usage before needing a recharge. They also take advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 which is (as far as I’m aware) the latest and greatest of the technology.
Last but not least, there is a built in microphone on the left ear cup so I have the ability to answer phone calls when paired to a phone. This, I thought was an interesting touch, mainly because the mic doesn’t jut out like on a gaming headset, and seems to be recessed into the ear cup.
Comfort & Convenience Factor
Again, these are closed back headphones. This combined with the two points I made above can lead to sweaty ears and a hot head. I live in Nevada where heat is in abundance, and when I take my walk to work in the morning, I have to pull them off my head about halfway into my walk. So if you live in a hot place, these are not walk friendly…however if you live somewhere cold, these would probably make great earmuffs…that can play music!
The clamping force on these headphones is fair, but nowhere near headache inducing. Although they block out some noise, they don’t seem to block out quite as much as my other headphones (HD429 and HD280 Pro) which is fine. These are purely meant to be a convenience for me, and if I want to be anti-social (I mean more focused on my work) I’ll rock one of my other pairs.
The ear cup mounted controls are very nice, they just took some getting used to. I’m used to controlling my audio tracks from my PC keyboard or cell phone, and it’s nice to not have to reach for them whenever I want to skip or pause a track. This was especially useful for when I was using Spotify, and wanted to change tracks from the other side of the house.
Once I got used to the on board controls, I found it hard to go back to my other headphones. There’s something satisfying about being able to get up from my desk to change laundry loads without having to stop what I’m listening to.
When I’m not on a walk, I’m mostly on my PC when I’m listening to audio. Since my PC didn’t have a built in BT receiver/transmitter I purchased one at the same time as the headphones. They connected pretty easily, bur I did notice that it tends to get confused when I’ve just de-synced it with my phone. Unless they have been off or not synced with my phone for a while, more often than not I’ll have to re-pair it with my PC. This isn’t a big deal at all to me, but it may be with some which is why I’m mentioning it.
How Do They Sound?
When I first unboxed them, I was very surprised and impressed with the sound I got from the BTH3. I was up to 2 pairs of headphones at the time I had received the them, and I had to immerse myself with these headphones to make sure my initial reaction was well founded.
As far as clarity of the audio…I tried out my typical genres of Hip-Hop, EDM, classical, and metal. The hi and mids come through very clearly, and I rarely have to adjust for them. The bass can be a little heavy…but nothing seems to get lost in the music. I think this is due to the ear cups not being as deep as my other two pairs. There were times where I’d be listening to a bass heavy track, and had to tame the low ends using my equalizer, but other than that I found the sound quality to be very good.
Despite my PC currently being under my desk, I can get up to around 30 ft. away from my receiver or phone and still get a clear signal. The only time the signal can start to degrade is when there’s multiple walls or doors in between, and even that doesn’t occur very often.
One thing I did notice, is that anyone who I am talking to on the phone with these gets an echo of their own voice. I think the reason for this is due to the fact that the mic is recessed into the ear cup, so it catches any audio coming through them. Don’t use them for phone calls.
Overall, I’m satisfied with this product. I can easily recommend them to anyone looking for a decent pair of wireless over the ear headphones. At the price I got them for, it strikes a great balance between cost, convenience, and quality.