Etymotic Research. Has anyone heard of them in the UK? I haven’t. Until now.

I read some reviews online about there new Bluetooth headphones. Some say they are ugly, some say because they are Bluetooth the sound quality is poor. I wasn’t expecting much from these earphones, but they really surprised me.

There are two types available. One without an 8-Mate iPod Bluetooth adapter and one with the adapter. The price is £99 to £149 accordingly. I went for the one with the iPod adapter because I have an iPhone.

Inside the box you receive the ETY8 earphones, 8-Mate iPod Bluetooth adapter, set of filters and various earplugs, manual and of course a USB cable. Its not a mini USB type cable but the micro USB variety.

Once you have charged them for about 3-4 hours they are ready to pair. This is the easy part. You just plug the 8-Mate iPod Bluetooth adapter in to your iPhone or iPod and hold the power button on the ETY8 earphones until the light flashes. Wait till the light is steady and you are paired.

Brilliant! Well, not quite. The version of the earphones I have do not work with the iPhone. I have contacted Etymotic Research and they tell me there is a compatibility issue with the first version of these earphones, but If I send the ETY8 and 8-Mate to them, they will change them for the new iPhone compatible one. I will do this and update the review, but for now I will use the Gear4 – Blustream TX reviewed elsewhere on my site.

Pairing works flawlessly and the sound produced is unlike any other Bluetooth earphones I have tested before. Sure there is a slight hiss in the background, but the sound is detailed, the bass is powerful and it sounds very audiophile. The sound quality is excellent. I tried comparing them to a pair of Shure SE 110 and they are far superior.

They fit my ears quite well, are comfortable and to be honest, block out a huge amount of noise. More than any other earphones I have tested and are much better than my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones. I am very impressed.

Battery life is about 9–10 hours+ depending on volume and on a single charge they appear to last a very long time and if no sound is played for 5 minutes they turn off.

My only gripe is they don’t seem to hold the settings for each Bluetooth device meaning you have to repair them every time you change source. Its not a problem if you use them with the same source, but I like to use them with my iPhone, Apple Mac and Windows XP laptop.

Honglong’s Rating:
The best bluetooth earphones tested so far with great noise isolation.

Sound: 8 out of 10
Isolation: 9 out of 10

plus sign

+ Excellent audiophile sound quality
+ Excellent noise isolation
+ Excellent battery life (9-10 hours+)
+ Various silicon earplugs which actually fit rather well
+ Very comfortable to use
+ Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR

minus sign

– Expensive
Re-pairing required for different Bluetooth audio sources
They only work via another Bluetooth dongle with my iPhone, yet! (1st Gen model running Firmware 2.2)