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i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones Review: How bad can they be for $2?

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones
The i7 Mini Bluetooth headphones are an insanely cheap pair of AirPods knockoffs, and they’re actually worse than you might think. I’ve suffered so that you don’t have to.

Pros
They only cost me $2
They vaguely look like AirPods
Yeah… that’s about it

Cons
Terrible tinny sound quality
Microphones sound like they’re underwater
MicroUSB charging

Score: 1/5 (because you could use them as a movie prop or something)

A few years back, I did something stupid. Really, really stupid.

Specifically, I left a pair of Apple AirPods Pro in my jeans pocket, and put them through the washing machine. Like I said, stupid. Still, two good things came out of it. Firstly (and surprisingly), they survived. What’s more, I wrote up the whole ordeal over at Gizmodo, so I at least got a little freelance writing work out of it.

As part of that story, I quickly checked quite how cheap one could source a set of true wireless buds through Amazon Australia at the time. The answer was quite cheap (here’s the current cheapest set I can find today) – but I didn’t actually test those sets. The thought did kind of hang around in my head, however.

And then, a couple of weeks back, I got an email through AliExpress offering me cheap headphones.

Really, really cheap headphones. About $2 a pair.

I was intrigued. Just how bad do a set of headphones get if you’re paying less for them than most chocolate bars these days?

So I ordered one pair. Well, actually, I ordered two, because I also got the “A6s Bluetooth Earphones Tws In Ear Bluetooth 5 0 Running Sports Stereo Buttons With Microphone Wireless Headphones” as well, so that I could compare and contrast. Don’t you just love catchy Bluetooth headphone names?

Ahem. My review of those is here, if you want to read it:

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Lo and behold – and a little faster than I expected – they arrived. I should note that I got them as part of an “offer” from AliExpress, and I’ve since seen them pop up there for about $6 a pair. That’s still cheap, but it’s not $2 cheap.

So what do you get for $2, exactly?

Design

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones

It’s not hard to see what i7 – or possibly “MangoMan” or maybe “The Company” based on the address label on the headphones – was going for here.
The i7 Mini Bluetooth headphones are blatant AirPod copies, but, as you might expect, not quite as good.

Nowhere near as good, actually. The case is super lightweight, and doesn’t feel like it would survive very well in a bag for any length of time. Pop it open, try not to think about how flimsy the top of the case feels, and you’re greeted with two mostly-familiar looking white buds.

Mostly familiar, except for the dead giveaway that each bud has a “multi-function” button on the side. More on those multitude of functions shortly. If you wanted a pair for your next movie epic but didn’t want to pay Apple’s prices, they’re not going to be terribly convincing fakes, to put it politely.

Performance

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones

Just getting the i7 Mini Bluetooth headphones to pair was a journey in itself. Out of the box they powered on and quickly told me that they were “connected”.

They didn’t say what they were connected to, and I still have no idea. Each bud can pair separately for that exciting mono action all the kids are into these days, and it took a lot of button pressing and a certain quantity of bad language before I could get them to pair to a phone, in this case the a Pixel 7 Pro.

Oddly, once I had that pairing in place, I could much more easily remove the pairing and switch to other devices. No, multi point pairing is not supported, don’t be ridiculous, these cost two bucks, remember?

So then it came time to, well… suffer.

I’m not going to say that the i7 Mini Headphones don’t actually work, because they do provide an audio function.

It’s just that the audio function is almost unbelievably tinny.

Back when I was a teenager, I bought myself a cheap AM/FM radio from Walthamstow Markets.

It’s been 30+ years since I last used that radio, and it had better audio reproduction through its one speaker than these things do. But if the words “AM sound quality” mean anything to you, you’re getting close to what the i7 Mini Headphones can do. Only worse.

I did try to recreate those days of my youth with an 80s-themed soundtrack, but that didn’t help much, because even excess sax and synth sounds dreadful through the i7 Mini Headphones.

It’s no better if you did need them to take calls, with pickup sounding like I’m underwater at best – and that was in a perfectly quiet room. I’ve dropped audio samples into the video above, and they have to be heard to be believed… or possibly discerned.

I did mention the multi-function button, but in this case “multi” means three. You can use either button to take or cancel calls – mostly to put the other person on the end of the line out of their misery, I feel – pause or play music, or switch the headphones off.

That’s your lot. Again, sure, they’re cheap, I guess. What else could I expect?

Battery

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones
The i7 Mini headphones do have batteries in them. That much I can say for certain. The claim is that they have 150mAh batteries in each bud, which isn’t awful by the standards of wireless buds. There’s only so much space to cram batteries into these things.

The claim here is that they can manage up to 2 hours of battery life. If you can last that long, that’s maybe true… but it’s also woefully inadequate, of course.
You might think, well, OK, at least the case can charge them. Which it certainly can, but there the claim is for just around three hours of usage.

That is, I think, a new low water mark for battery case recharging. Well done, i7 Mini Headphones. Gold stars all around.

The product page suggests that they’ll show you a battery indicator as a standard Bluetooth accessory. This did work on the Pixel 7 Pro, but not at all when paired to an iPhone.

As for charging, you get a cable in the bag. A microUSB cable, because I suspect that these headphones have been sitting on a factory shelf somewhere for some time. That may well explain why they only cost me $2.

Insultingly, the microUSB cable supplied with the i7 Mini headphones isn’t just short. It actually doesn’t work at all from any charger or USB port I’ve tried it with. I do have plenty of spares, though, so I could keep them charged for as long as I could bear them.

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones : Alex’s Verdict

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones
That was mostly a waste of $2.

Now, you could say “Well, Idiot, what did you expect for $2?”, and that’s not an unfair criticism.

I can’t compare these to a fully priced pair, and I guess in that respect I did get what I paid for.

The real problem here is more that these exist, and they’re such an astonishing waste of resources. I will in due course e-waste recycle them, and while that will hopefully recover a little usable plastic and circuitry, even that’s going to use energy.

Basically, don’t buy them. Your ears and the planet will thank you.

i7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones : Pricing and availability

AliExpress’ pricing is of course all over the shop; my pair cost me $2 including shipping, but at the time of writing they wanted $6.23, claiming it as a 58% price cut from their regular price of $14.83.

They’re not worth any of those prices, by the way. Just in case that wasn’t clear.

I7 Mini Bluetooth Headphones : Alternatives

Humming tunelessly to yourself works quite well. Maybe do that.

OR, if you want an actual recommendation, be nice to your ears and get yourself a nice set of wireless buds.

Want to be nice to your ears and nice to me? Grab a set of Bose QuietComfort II headphones. They’re considerably more expensive than the A6s headphones of course — but they’re worth it. The (affiliate) button below will help you buy a pair.

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