Today we’re checking out the F910 from Nabolang. This is a dual dynamic earphone with one 6mm and one 10mm driver. Coming in at under 20 USD, this earphone is up against some heady competition from the likes of KZ, Somic, BGVP, and many, many others.
Does it stand out in any way? Not really. Let’s take a closer look.
Thanks to Nabolang and Penon Audio for arranging a sample unit. There was no financial incentive provided to write this. The opinions within this review are my own and do not represent Nabolang, Penon Audio, or any other entity.
At the time of this review it was retailing for 16.90 USD: https://penonaudio.com/nabolang-f910.html
For at home use the F910 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, F.Audio S1, or Shanling M1, all of which brought it up to listening volume without effort.
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 in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.
- Sensitivity: 95 dB/mW
- Impedance: 16 ohm
- Frequency response: 20-20 kHz
- Cable: 1.2m fibre reinforced copper wire in TPE sheath
- Driver Type: 6mm + 10mm dynamic
Packaging and Accessories:
The F910 arrives in a plain white cardboard box with silver printing on the front announcing the brand, model, that it is a “sport earphone” and contains “four double moving coil”; i.e. two dynamic drivers per side. Flipping to the rear you find the specifications and a warning about listening to earphones to loudly, along with the following note; “Product specification and design may be adjusted caused by procedure.” I’m assuming that translates to something about the product being subject to changes without notice. If so, definitely true. I bought a set of these off AliExpress back in April 2017. Packaging was different (much cheaper) and the earphones sounded, well, horrible. They aren’t amazing now, but more more listenable than what I owned and rapidly gave away a year ago.
Anyway, inside the F910 is on display in a neatly cut slab of foam with the cable coiled underneath along with spare ear tips and the manual. In all you get;
- Single flange eartips (s/m/l)
If you purchase a set of these, please be sure to review the manual for gems such as, “Bionic vocal sac design.” Instant classic.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
The F910’s plastic housings look and feel pretty darn nice for the price and definitely better than the BGVP SGZ-DN1 which comes in at twice the price. The silver painted face plates are immaculately finished with very clean printing, again, not something that can be said for the DN1. The protruding strain reliefs aren’t quite lined up properly on the right ear piece though, so there’s a slight against overall fit and finish.
The reinforced cable will be familiar to anyone that’s a fan of QKZ, though a bit thinner and with some completely functional memory wire. I always find it odd that these obscure budget manufacturers often manage to get their memory wire right while more established brands like Campfire Audio and others saddle their earphones with memory wire rife with amnesia, hence my usual preference for formed ear guides, or better yet, nothing. Strain relief is present at the straight jack and inline mic but isn’t long enough to do all too much. Cable noise and memory for kinks and bends is mostly non-existent. Overall, a good cable, especially on such an inexpensive product.
Comfort will either be abysmal, or stellar. It all depends on the tips. Anyone familiar with the Auglamour R8 will get where I’m coming from as the F910 shares the same awkward nozzle placement where it sticks up at a 45 degree angle. The BGVP SGZ-DN1 suffers from the same odd design, but too a lesser extent. Once you find a tip that allows the F910 to sit in your ear properly, thank you Spintfits, you’ll find Nabolang’s earphone nearly disappears and is a joy to wear. If you aren’t so lucky, you’re likely to spend as much time re-seating them as you will listening.
Isolation? Pretty darn good. Despite being a dual dynamic, the F910 is fully sealed. This plus the ear filling, low profile shape means not a lot of noise gets through. No driver flex either. Great job Nabolang!
The F910 doesn’t do anything particularly well, nor anything particularly poorly. In all honesty, they’re a very forgettable and inoffensive sounding earphone.
Treble is rolled off with limited emphasis, similar to the ColaRad C2 (24.90 USD). There is very little sparkle or shimmer leading to uneventful sounding cymbals and other effects. Detail is minimal with micro-details being overwhelmed and as a result lacking. The plus side of all this is that the F910’s upper end is quite listenable for long periods and at higher volumes, a good quality if you’re using them for their advertised purpose as a sports earphone. Comparing to a hybrid dual-driver like the BGVP SGZ-DN1 (29.99 USD) you really appreciate the extra emphasis and detail that earphones balanced armature brings to the table.
The midrange is recessed but is surprisingly articulate and clear given the mild veil over the F910’s sound and is quite comparable to the SGZ-DN1 and tone and clarity. Listening to Aesop Rock’s “Shere Khan” was a pleasing experience with both his and hers vocals sharing near equal presence and staging. When pairing the F910 with Micheal Jackson’s “Beat It”, the timbre of the guitar during the solo was spot on, but it sat well too far back in the mix. Were the mids more forward these would be great for old school pop and classic rock.
You’d think that with a 10mm driver handling the low end and with the typical sort of bass-forward tune found on most products in this price range, the F910 would thunder along quite well. Sort of. There is a heavy mid-bass focus with reasonably early roll-off. This means the sub-bass line leading Kavinski’s “Solli” is lacking a bit of presence and visceral feedback. The way the F910 is tuned means it fares well with synth pop, a genre that generally has a heavy mid-bass focus. Overall texture and depth is slightly laking too. The ColaRad C2 shares a similar low end presentation, but rolls off even earlier. The SGZ-DN1 shows up both with a deep, rumbling low end doing sub-bass heavy tracks justice.
In terms of sound stage the F910 is quite large with sounds traveling quite far, much better than a lot of other budget earphones. Imaging is quite vague though with not much movement between channels. The lack of clarity throughout the frequency range also hurts layering and separation leading to congestion on busy tracks. It falls behind both the C2 and SGZ-DN1 here.
As okay as the Nabolang F910 is, that’s the problem; it’s just okay. There isn’t anything I can point that would say “buy me for this”, especially when there are a number of earphones that cost slightly less or slightly more, that happen to perform as well or better, and have better ergonomics. To name a few; MEMT X5, Auglamour AG-R1S, KZ ZST, Somic V4, LZ Z03A, Mixcder X5, FiiO F1, etc.
If all you want is a middle of the road earphone that looks nice, is well-built, and sounds passable without costing much, here you go. Otherwise, it might be best to go with something else that offers more value for your 16 bucks.
Thanks for reading.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
Skindred – Roots Rock Riot (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Community Service (Album)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)