Being able to listen to any music you want, at any volume you want, at any time you want is great… and why headphones were created in the first place. Being able to do all that and not have your arms tangled up in wires (and rip a bud out of your ear) is also a handy feature… and why short range ‘Bluetooth’ wireless technology was quickly mated to headphones. Sadly, early generations of Bluetooth based headphones/earbuds/IEMs… well they were less than optimal to say the least. This was usually due to a combination of high price, the lack of bandwidth (and resulting reduction in clarity) BT offered, heavy weight, their rather horrible battery life, and lack durability. This resulted in a rather negative opinion of these options in the buying public. Silicon Power and their new Blast Plug BP81 series hopes to change this opinion.
In order to do all this, Silicon Power went back to the drawing board and started with a clean slate, and then started tackling each and every issue that ‘plagues’ BT earbuds. This was indeed a tall order, but on paper they have indeed seemed to have solved them all. In fact, on paper the BP81 make a great case for why every ‘on the go’ music listener should have a pair. Firstly, while not precisely ‘widely available’ on this side of the pond, with an asking price of about 32 Euros (or 35 USD) the BP81’s are well within the budget of nearly every potential buyer. Next, they are BlueTooth 5 based devices. This means a 5Mb/s bandwidth – or 625KB/s – connection which is more than up to the task of handling pretty much everything this side of lossless compression encoded tracks without needlessly adding in transmission ‘compression artifacts’ to the music.
To help keep people from running out of juice mid-song Silicon Power has given them enough battery capacity for about 3-4 hours of continuous runtime and included a rapid charger station / carrying case that allows them to go from ‘dead’ to full capacity in about an hour… and do so five times before the USB based battery bank needs to be also recharged. Equally important is each of these rather small (they measure a rather reasonable 16mmx23.5mmx25.1mm) earbuds only weigh 7.9 grams (each) and are not going to be overly annoying to wear for 3 to 4 hours at a time.
Mix in IPx5 certification and the durability dilemma also seems to have been nicely sidestepped. The only real question is in regards to how good their playback abilities really are. After all, with an asking price so reasonable you are going to be dealing with a single neodymium magnet driver-based design and not a single, dual, triple… let alone a quad armature one. Typically, such designs require rather large compromises in their sound fidelity to hit such a low asking price – as one unit has to produce the lows, the mids, and the highs. So the real question is simple: is the Silicon Power Blast Plug BP81 worth tracking down, or is it better to either move up a price notch and spend more for wireless ‘over the ear headphones’… or skip wireless all together and get a pair of FiiO’s (or similarly good wired ‘buds in this price range)? Since music is highly personal, we will give you our recommendations based on weeks of continuous testing with as accurate descriptions of their sound profile as we can, so that you can draw your own conclusions before you spend your hard earned money.