Updated: Feb 23, 2020
Ok ladies and gentlemen, you know the drill...today, we're reviewing the
MPow Flame headphones!
The Mpow Flame headphones are bluetooth headphones designed for exercise. They run about $20-25 depending on the color you choose, and they've gotta be among the top rated bluetooth headphones on Amazon with 4.5 stars from over 25,000 reviews! This last point is the reason I eventually bought 'em...
I didn't like cheap bluetooth headphones for a long time because I had some pretty crappy experiences with them. Either the range was awful, or the battery sucked, or they were a pain in the ass to pair with my phone. So after a couple failed experiments I just stuck with corded headphones. The problem is, those suck too! The issue with the corded headphones was that they were breaking all the time. Even those "waterproof" ones would end up getting trashed after a couple months. So I just bought $10 headphones and replaced them every few months (sometime longer if I got lucky). It was annoying, but I didn't really see an alternative.
Then I saw a review of these MPow Flame's. It sounded too good to be true, but for the price I figured I could try going back to the bluetooth world and see how things go...I'm glad I did!
First things first, let's talk about some of the specs on the Flame...
7-9 hours of play time
Bluetooth range of 10m (33 feet)
Control buttons on the headphones
Obviously there are other specs, but these are the most important ones for me. I think the basic requirements for running headphones are... A) Waterproof. B) Control buttons. C) Secure in-ear fit. These met those standards so I got a pair about 8 months ago.
Since then I've worn these headphones for gym sessions, running, biking, hiking, working around the house and just jammin' out at the office. Here's what I think...
The sound quality - I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile, but I listen to a lot of music. At the office I generally listen to music or podcasts for 3-4 hours a day using my Plantronics BackBeat Pro's, so I know what good headphones should sound like. The Flame's aren't on that level but honestly, they were a lot better than I expected. The bass is pretty heavy and sounds good for rap and hard hitting rock which is what I normally listen to during workouts. With more mellow tunes the lows can drown out the mids and highs a bit. Again, not 5 stars here for the sound but much better than the other cheap headphones I had been using. The other important factor here is just volume. Many cheap headphones don't get loud enough for my liking...that was not a problem with these. I generally listen to them at about 80% even when working outside.
Comfort - Like I said before, a secure fit is one of the most important features of running headphones. Having to constantly adjust them or put them back in my ear after they fall out is just a hassle I don't need when I'm trying to focus on running. These Flame's are bombproof. They NEVER fall out and they very, very rarely need adjusting after I put them in. The secret...memory foam ear tips. For real. They are almost identical to those earplugs that you squish and then stuff into your ear and they expand. It's the same process. You squish them into your ear and they expand to give you a crazy snug fit, AND a little added bonus of passive noise cancellation!
Control buttons - Control buttons allow you to control your music without having to deal with your device, whether that be your phone, smart watch, etc. If I'm listening to music while running I usually have my phone in a running belt. Maybe you carry yours in your backpack, jacket pocket, or stroller. Regardless of where it is, it's a pain in the ass to have to get your phone out, unlock it, get the app up, and then skip the song. With the on-board controls you can skip/repeat songs, turn the volume up/down, play/pause, and answer calls. The controls on the Flame are intuitive, simple to use and easy to find, even with fat fingers like mine!
Durability - I've had these headphones for about 8 months now and I've put them through the wringer. When I first got them I told myself I would always put them in the carrying case...yeah, that lasted for about 2 weeks. Now I just throw them in a big pocket in my backpack with my running hat, running belt, gels, and whatever else I need. I use these 5-6 days a week for up to 2 hours a day. I sweat all over them, I run in the rain and snow, they get covered in saw dust when I'm working on the house...and they still show absolutely no signs of wear. Sure they might not be the cleanest headphones in the world, but they work flawlessly. Buttons still work, charging port is clean and has no issues and the sound is exactly the same.
Other stuff - A few other little things that have made these my go-to headphones...The pairing process is super easy, and once they are paired to your phone you don't need to worry about doing it again...you just turn them on and they connect in a second. The microphone is actually pretty good for phone calls. I use these for calls when I'm walking to or from work and no one has ever had any issues hearing me.
The range - The specs say that the range is 10 meters or about 33 feet, which I've found to be true, as long as there is no interference! The problem arises when something gets in between the headphones and the source (i.e. your phone). I put my phone down in one corner of the gym and walk all over the gym during my lifting sessions...no issues with signal. BUT, if I put it in my back pocket while I'm walking to work I'll get intermittent signal issues. Front pants pocket...no problem. Backpack...not happening. I'm not a very smart dude so I'm not even going to pretend like I know what's going on here, but when you put things directly in front of the source or the left side of the headphones (where the bluetooth receiver is), you can start to get issues pretty quick! The only time it actually bugs me is when I want to put my phone in my backpack during a hike, and even then I just have to make sure it's in an outside pocket and it's fine!
Battery life - Alright, I have to admit this one is pretty weak, but I don't want you to think I'm hiding something from you! The only other issue that I have with the MPow Flame is that it claims the battery life is about 7-9 hours of play time (not idle time mind you!). I have never gotten that kind out of battery life out of these. I never listen to them straight for 7 hours, but I do listen to them for an hour or two, 5 or 6 times a week. I generally have to recharge the headset after 3 days which I'd generously say is about 5-6 hours. Now, I'm not knocking these $25 headphones for only having 5-6 hours of battery life (in my experience), but if you claim to have 7-9 hours, you gotta be able to back it up!
Overall, I seriously could not be happier with a pair of running headphones. The MPow Flame have far exceeded my expectations for a cheap pair of headphones. I see so many people wearing $100, $200, $300 ear buds (I'm looking at you, Beats) in the gym or on the trails and it just baffles me! Unless you are looking for top end sound quality or super premium features you can find what you need for less than $50, easy!
As for me, I'm saving that headphone money for my next pair of running shoes!
(Amazon Affiliate links are used in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. These links do not change the price you pay.)
Time for the best part of this blog...YOU!
I want to hear from you!
Do you have a pair of headphones that you love? Have you tried out the MPow Flames? Do you even like listening to music or podcasts while you run...?
Leave a comment below and we'll have a chat!
As always, thanks for reading.