In the six months since I reviewed the Mpow Dunmer headphones the market has been flooded by a slew of earpieces, doubtless helped by Apple’s courageous decision to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone. The Mpow Coach is targeted at the sporting market, with features designed to appeal to active users. But is it a leap forward or a step back from the last generation?
The Mpow Coach is a stereo Bluetooth headset, supporting the 4.1 standard. Mpow claims that listening or talking will burn through the battery in 8 hours and recharging will take 2 hours. My testing bears out the 8 hour usage claim, although getting back to a full charge takes less than 2 hours in my experience. The materials used in construction seem to be of a higher quality than the Dunmer and the cable connection between the headphones is more robust. The multi-function controller contains buttons to pair, skip tracks, adjust volume, make and reject calls and mute the microphone during calls. Some of the functions do require a bit of finger dexterity, but this is an acceptable compromise considering the space available. Voice dialling is also possible on supported phones. The claimed 10 metre Bluetooth range is also accurate.
As well as the headset itself, Mpow also include an array of ear stabilisers and earpieces to ensure the headphones fit securely in any ear. However, there are a couple of problems with this device.
The first issue is that the headphones themselves are simply too large and heavy, so regardless of which stabiliser and earpiece used, there is an unnerving feeling that the headphones are about to fall out. The second issue is the placement of the USB socket for charging. Rather than on the controller, as with the Dunmer, it is on one of the headphones (which goes some why to explaining the size). This is a strange design choice and, as well as making it difficult to actually connect the headphones to a charger cable, runs a high risk of moisture ingress through sweat.
This headset feels like it doesn’t know what it is trying to be. The location for the charge port would be acceptable if the headphones weren’t wired together, and there is little justification for the large size. The collection of stabilisers and earpieces go some way to alleviating the problem, but ultimately the headset does not feel very secure. With a retail price of less than £15, many of the flaws can be forgiven to a certain extent, but given the choice, I would recommend the Dunmer headset over the Coach.