August EP650 Bluetooth / NFC / cabled headphones review
You may have already gathered through reading my articles over the past 7-8 years that I am not afraid to admit when I don’t know something or have never heard of a company before – this is one of those times. Over the past week I have been testing out some neat looking Bluetooth headphones from audio company August. Nope? You neither huh? Well, I’ve been wearing their EP650 cans and they certainly look the part – but are they any good?
The August EP650s are available in a range of colours (black, white, blue, red, gold, and silver) and I was sent the rather natty blueish purple version – I think they were keeping it tied in to the GadgetyNews theme (maybe).
August EP650 headphone design
I will kick off this section by stating up front that I do like the look of these headphones. When they were handed over to me in a local public house I was quite taken by how they looked and how they felt.
After living with them for a week I can safely state that they are very solid and durable. The hinges, which allow them to fold up for easy packing, have showed no signs of slacking even though they are folded at least twice-a-day.
Your ears and head are cosseted by thick, 12mm ear piece cushions and a padded headband whilst audio is pumped in to your skull via 6mm drivers.
The cups are articulated so getting them comfortable is not a problem. Between the coloured plastic and the earpads is a chromed strip which adds a nice bit of detail.
The hinges on the headband are almost invisible when the EP650 is unfurled (unless you have a larger head and then some of the metal will show when you slide the arms out to fit your noggin) which lends the headset a nice seamless cool.
As well as connecting wirelessly to your audio source via Bluetooth, the EP650 is also equipped with a 3.5mm audio-in socket – very handy when needing to hookup to a desktop PC or some other non-Bluetooth source.
Of course, wireless is where it’s at but if you find pairing via Bluetooth too 20th century then these are also packing NFC too!
On the right side is where you’ll find all the controls. Hold down the Play/Pause button to wake up the headphones and pair them with your smartphone, tablet or what-have-you. You then have volume controls at the top and track forward and reverse controls on the lower bank.
The play button is slightly recessed and is surrounded by a light ring which changes colour to let you know what mode the headset is in.
At the end of the right-hand band is the micro USB charging port and microphone for hands-free calling. Its opposite side is where you find the 3.5mm audio port.
Bundled with the headphones is a 3.5mm cable and a USB to micro USB charging cable. These are both the flat low tangle variety which is a nice touch.
August EP650 headphones in use
I found that the EP650’s control buttons gave decent feedback and the buttons fell to my fingers with minimal groping around. This is mainly due to the large recessed Play button. Once your finger is in that dip, finding the other controls from there is really simple.
When the headphones are switched on the LED status ring will flash blue every two seconds until your device starts playing music. Once it plays music the LED changes to a more refined blue pulse every two seconds.
When charging, the status LED is solid red and when the EP650s are fully charged, the status light shines blue. Charging takes around 3 hours. On a full charge your EP650 will last for around 11 hours. I know that I can get almost through a full week of commutes and lunch hours on a single charge.
I do like the fact that, should the battery run out when I’m on the tube, I can quickly whip out the 3.5mm cable and continue listening to my tunes until I get to the office or back home to charge the EP650 once more.
The one thing I will point out is that, on the bluey-purpley ones at least, they did seem to be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
August EP650 sound quality
On my first outings with the August EP650 I found that the treble and mids were handled reasonably well but the bass frequencies were muddied, especially in tracks such as ‘Eighties’ by Killing Joke and ‘Transmission’ by Joy Division.
They seemed fine with more defined bass tracks but seemed clumsy on others. Around day three things seemed to balance out, thankfully.
Bass is definitely ramped up on these cans when compared to the more neutral sounding PM-3 I am used to.
Slap on tracks by the likes of NWA (who are gaining a new generation of fans thanks to biopic Straight Outta Compton), Cypress Hill or even Korn and the bass makes sense.
On tracks where there needs to be more space, ‘Angel’ from Dominic Miller’s 5th House for example, things start to feel uneven. By the time the lows of ‘If Only’ kick in then things are too biased towards the bass. I realise that these are probably more aimed at the Beats urbanite than the trad jazzer and some mild EQ fiddling can balance things out a bit more.
While there is no active noise cancelling on the EP650s, the enclosed ear cups do provide adequate passive cancelling in most environments. Isolation is pretty good as well, so whilst you can have Bruce Dickinson getting Long Beach Arena to scream for him in your lugs, the suited and booted City slicker can quietly Candy Crush his commute away.
Films do benefit from the heavy handed bass-end though, especially sci-fi and action flicks. Gun shots and explosions are Hollywood-tastic as are rumbling thrusters.
The headphones have the ability to be used for hands-free Skype calling and this, as well as regular phone calls, are handled well and both ends of the conversation are good and clear.
August EP650 headphone review conclusion
Bluetooth, cabled or NFC – this must be one of the most versatile set of headphones I have tested and review. More than that, they are incredible value for money.
If you’re looking for some extremely convenient headphones that will fold away when not in use, that will give you enough bass to combat the commute and look good whilst doing it, then the August EP650 will not disappoint.
True, they can get a little clumsy when tested with more complex or subtle tunes but for movies, box sets and general listening when drowning out the world around you – they definitely do the trick.
Add to all of that decent build quality and great comfort – then August is on with a winner.
August EP650 availability and price
You can snag a set of the August EP650 in one of six colour choices for under £40 from Amazon.co.uk. How good is that? Bargain!
Bluetooth Specification: Bluetooth V4.0
Operating Range: Up to 10m
Frequency Response: 60Hz – 20KHz
Speaker Output: 30mW
Battery: 3.7V/220mAh Built-in Li-ion Battery
Working Time: 10 Hours
Charging Time: 2 Hours
Standby Time: 30 Days
Dimensions: 176.6 x 188.6 x 71mm