Today we are checking out Accutone’s entry into the world of fully wireless earphones with the Vega.
With one particular company doing their best to eliminate the headphone jack on portable phones, wireless earphones and headphones are a nice thing to keep around. However, for those that are keen on sound quality Bluetooth doesn’t generally cut it. I’ve been lucky to try out some really nice Bluetooth products recently like the SoundPEATS Q16 and the duo from ADVANCED, the Evo-X and Model 3. These three earphones have made going wireless a mostly painless experience because I haven’t felt like I was giving up much in the way of sound quality for the convenience they afford.
In the Vega, I think Accutone has nailed a some key aspects that make a great wireless earphone. Let’s find out what those are, shall we?
**More images to come. Seems I lost a number of them 😦 **
The Vega was provided by Accutone on a complimentary basis for the purposes of this review. There is no financial incentive for writing this, and all thoughts and opinions within are my own. They do not represent Accutone or any other entity. A massive thank you once again to Angus for trusting me in reviewing yet another one of Accutone’s products.
You can order the Vega for 119.00 USD here: https://www.audio.accutone.com/vega
My Gear and I:
I’m a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established reviewers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.
Fast forward a couple years and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Mixcder, Brainwavz, Meze and many more. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to a product that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done and payment enough.
Gear used for testing was a Shanling M1 and LG G5. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass, though lately I’ve been enjoying more mellow and relaxed products with a bass tilt. My favorite in-ears, the Echobox Finder X1[i] with grey filters installed and the Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced are good examples of my preferred signatures.
Packaging and Accessories:
The Vega comes in simple but attractive cardboard packaging, similar to the Pavo and Lyra. The exterior sheath shows off the Vega earpieces on the front with a bold statement highlighting their truly wireless Bluetooth (4.1) functionality.
Flip to the rear to an image of the included carrying case which doubles as a portable charger. There is also a list of some specs that we will be covering later;
– Battery size: 45 mAh
– Play time: 2 hours
– Charge time: 2 hours
– Standby time: 30 hours
– Bluetooth: 4.1, A2DP
Sliding off the exterior sheath reveals the Vega’s earpieces under a plastic viewing window safely nested in some foam. Beneath that is a cardboard sheet covering the accessories;
– charge case
– USB cable
– silicone eartips with built in stabilizer fins (s/m/l)
– instruction manual
Overall a simple but decent unboxing experience. I have to applaud Accutone for their unique ear tips where the quality is in the details. To keep the tips in the ideal location the nozzle has a small ridge that fits into a slot on the interior of the tips. This helps to prevent their shifting during hard exercise or if they get wet. The stabilizers also have indents that allow them some extra flex so they can better conform to your upper ear. It all works surprisingly well.
Build, Comfort, Ergonomics, and Isolation:
The Vega is wonderfully built. Compact, durable, and premium were a few words that came to mind upon first holding them, even if the design isn’t the most visually appealing. Nothing about the Vega feels cheap. The earpieces are light but feel quite dense. They have rubber bumpers that runs around the exterior which also contain/protect the multi-function buttons. Everything just feels right. The buttons click with definition, the ear tips slides cleanly on, and the indicator lights are all easy to see and read. Even the case has a premium air about it. The clear cover is very thick while the bass is a combination of dense rubber and plastic. It all feels bullet proof, giving me the impression the Vega and it’s accessories will stand the test of time. That’s a good thing because I found them very comfortable and wouldn’t mind having to wear them for all of time were that was part of a questionable deal made with a supernatural being,
I had no issues wearing them through the entirety of their admittedly meager two hour battery life. The combination of low weight, soft ear tips, and conforming stabilizing fins meant that once they were in they essentially disappeared. During heavy activity or vigorous head-shaking they stayed put just as well as the ADVANCED Evo-X. Truly impressive.
Once I got used to the right way to press the multi-function buttons on the earpieces, I found the ergonomics pretty decent. Not great, not terrible. The issue was not finding the buttons or pressing the wrong ones, but pressing them securely. I found that using your thumb and forefinger in a pinching motion, gripping the housing on the opposite side of the housing worked best. Otherwise, I had a tendency to fumble and knock the earpiece out of place.
Isolation in the Vega is fantastic. Even without music on, I found them to perform admirably in drowning out exterior noise. If walking around a crowded area, definitely travel with only one earpiece in place because you’re not going to hear any important auditory queues around you.
Overall the Vega is a very pleasant earphone to use. They’re well-built using quality materials and with near flawless fit and finish; the Accutone logo on the left earpiece was installed upside down. They’re supremely comfortable, and after a short period of acclimatization ergonomics are very workable. Isolation is also stellar. You want to remove yourself from your surroundings? These will do it with ease.
Connection and Battery:
The Vega proved itself to be a great wireless performer, rarely suffering from drops or stuttering. I really only experienced drops when the battery started to tank and the low battery warning cropped up. Otherwise, my phone could be in any pocket without drops. It could be sitting on my desk letting me walk anywhere around my apartment without a stutter in sight. I couldn’t find any specs referring to connection distance, but I suspect it sits at what seems to be a pretty standard 33 ft.
Alas, we now dive into what is by far my largest and pretty much only complaint about the Vega; battery performance. The number two is a pretty important digit. 2 hours of play time after 2 hours of charging. That’s not very impressive when the SoundPEATS Q16, another fully wireless earphone, gets 6 hours out if it’s 2 hour charge time.
The Vega does make up some ground with a case that lets you charge the units up to three times, thereby indirectly giving you 6 hours of listening time, but that’s spread out over 6 hours of charging in 2 hour increments. You can also get 16 hours if you go mono using one earpiece only, but these sound so good I don’t want to use them that way. Stereo or bust!
In summary I found the Vega’s wireless connection quality to be above average, with battery life well below average. This short listening time should be fine for commuting, gym runs, and occasional use, but power users will find it sorely lacking.
Listening to the Vega is an absolute pleasure. Unlike many Bluetooth earphones and headphones I’ve tried they don’t wow listeners through a safe, v-shaped signature with bombastic bass, afterthought mids, and brash treble. Instead, the Vega draws you in with what is a warm and colored yet fairly neutral-leaning signature. It has a polite but noticeable mid-bass bump which successfully counters the bass destroying nature of a noisy environment.
Accutone’s treble tuning on the Vega brings to mind high thread count sheets; smooth on the surface but look closely at the detail and effort going into the achievement of that presentation. Despite lacking apt-X support, the Vega subtly pulls a good amount of information from your tracks but never presents it in a forceful or aggressive manner. This is appreciated in a product that is clearly meant to be used on the move, and likely at higher volumes due to the surrounding environment.
A sucked out mid-range would have been a real disappointment, but thankfully that isn’t a statement we have to apply to the Vega. Running side-by-side with a refined upper end, the Vega’s mid-range is allowed to shine. Tossing on ‘Empire Ants ft. Little Dragon’ by Gorillaz shows a tendency towards a slightly thinker upper mid-range that gives the Vega a nice timbre. In contrasts well with a thinner lower mid which helps avoid their coming across congested or muddy.
Bass on the Vega puts more emphasis on the middle regions than sub, but don’t think that means they fail to extend themselves. No sir, the Vega can hit the low notes just as well as the Brainwavz BLU-200, but unlike that earphone it’s not a dominant force in their signature. Notes don’t hit with a solid ‘thump!’ but more with a slightly soft ‘pumph!’. It’s not the most impactful presentation I’ve heard to date, but as with the way the treble is handled it’s very non-fatiguing and easy on the ears.
Imaging on the Vega for the most part is pretty solid with clean transitions from channel to channel. It’s not quite up to par with the SoundPEATS Q16 which I thought was pretty darn impressive for a fully wireless earphone, but it’s not far off. It does present the occasional quirk though, where centre stage will slightly shift to the left or right for a few seconds, then shift back to normal. It was off-putting the first time it happened, but it doesn’t occur often or for long. Separation and layering is also decent, letting instruments and effects move within their own well-defined spaces.
Overall I found the Vega to be a very pleasant listen. They output a smooth, detailed sound devoid of any harshness with a politely boosted low end that works well in mobile environments.
As you probably guessed by now, I like the Vega. In fact, I would go so far as to say they offer up the best Bluetooth audio experience I’ve had to date. And they do it without skimping on a durable, comfortable, and well isolating design. The user experience has been near flawless. I say near because they stumble when it comes to battery life.
Over the last two months of use, I haven’t run into many situations where the two hours they last have hurt the Vega experience, but when it did happen it was annoying. They sound awesome and I want to listen uninterrupted. With other products easily going well over 5 hours on a single charge, the two hours you get from the Vega is disappointingly short. It wouldn’t be so bad if the charge time was quick, say 30-45 minutes, but we are looking at 2 hours of charging for 2 hours of listening.
My recommendation; if you’re not a power user with your Bluetooth products, the Vega is without a doubt something to look out for. The sound fantastic and excel in every other metric, just be prepared to put that charger to use because you’re going to want to listen to them for more than two hours at a time.
Thanks for reading!
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Aesop Rock – Crows 1
Aesop Rock – Maintenance
BT – The Antikythera Mechanism
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)
Daft Punk – Touch
Gramatik – Bluestep (Album Version)
Godsmack – Hollow
Godsmack – One Rainy Day
Gorillaz – Empire Ants ft. Little Dragon
Incubus – 2nd/3rd/4th Movements of the Odyssey
Infected Mushroom – Deeply Disturbed
Infected Mushroom – The Legend of the Black Shawarma
Jessie J – Bang Bang
Kiesza – Hideaway
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Pink Floyd – Money
Skindred – Death to all Spies
Supertramp – Rudy
The Prodigy – Get Your Fight On
Witcher 2 Official Soundtrack
Various EDM mixes by SubSil3nt and Vintage Culture