Truly wireless headphones are growing in popularity for good reason; they’re super small, the expected battery life is increasing, and the sound quality is improving every year. Familiar brands of truly wireless headphones include Samsung (IconX), Jabra (Elite), Sony (1000X) and of course the ubiquitous Apple (AirPods). AirPods may be the inspiration behind a new Canadian entry to this product category; RockStone Audio’s RockPods.
RockPods truly wireless headphones review
It’s not just the name that’s similar; these headphones are doppelgängers for Apple’s iconic white ear wands. RockPods are also white, and have the same familiar stick-and-bud design. They also come in a small charging/carrying case that keeps them protected and powered. The RockPods pair with both Apple and Android devices.
What’s in the package?
The RockPods package is impressive. It’s well designed to hold a huge array of eartips, fins and wings designed to let you customize your earbuds to get the perfect fit. Also inside is the charging case (with a nice transparent lid) is a power cable.
Right away this is impressive. Apple’s AirPods don’t come with anything to improve the fit, which is kind of a shame. RockPods are fully customizeable.
Wireless vs truly wireless headphones
The word ‘truly’ is added to this category of headphones to distinguish them from earphones that are wireless, but are connected by a neckband.
Wireless refers to the fact that this genre of headphones are not connected to your phone, tablet or device with any cord or cable. While the version with the neckband tends to have a longer battery life and better sound because there’s more room for the drivers and controls, some people find the band distracting or annoying.
Setting up RockPods
Getting the RockPods connected was pretty easy. Each earbud has a multifunction button on the side that works to power and control the earbuds’ functions. Remove them from the case and hit the right earbud’s MF button for about 6 seconds. Small red and green LEDs will light up to direct you. When the lights begin to flash, head to your phone’s Settings Menu> Bluetooth and connect to RockPods. You’ll hear an audible, “Connected” in your ear.
Then you’ll need to turn the second earbud on at this point and you’ll hear, “True wireless stereo connected”. Now you’re ready to listen to music.
You’ll want to select the eartips and fins/wings that are comfortable but that ultimately give you the best fit, since you’ll enjoy some noise isolation with a proper fit, and honestly, the music sounds better.
Fit and Comfort
These earbuds are definitely big; the buds themselves aren’t overly large but the stick ends are long. Even so, it didn’t make them feel heavy or unwieldy. I thought they’d feel dangly, but honestly they didn’t move at all, once I had the right fins in, and I didn’t notice them any more or less than I notice wearing other truly wireless earbuds.
I will say they’re very noticeable on others. I had my husband try them on and they looked a bit ridiculous on him, to be honest. They’re just so … long. But hey, plenty of headphones look ridiculous on and that doesn’t stop us from wearing them. The RockPods almost look like bluetooth phone headsets, the stick is so long, and maybe that’s the reason; so the mic has better access to the front of your face?
Regardless of looks, these were easy to fit into my ears. I’ve tried some other truly wireless earbuds and they are a monster to wedge into my head. These are easy to get in and out, and the stick end actually provides something to grasp.
RockPods sound quality
As far as sound quality goes I was again impressed. I’ve tested a handful of different brands’ truly wireless headphones and the overall sound quality has come a long way.
While for the most part truly wireless headphones don’t deliver that full, rich, resonant sound of premium over-ear headphones, they do sound good and the RockPods are no exception.
I listened to a bunch of different things using the RockPods:
Roots – Alice Merton
The Next Episode – Dr. Dre
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson
Don’t You – Simple Minds
So Tied Up – Cold War Kids
Now That We Found Love – Heavy D and the Boys
Get Lucky -Pharrelll
I think the bass on the RockPods is outstanding. With music, it’s deep and thumping. Singing voices come across as clear too.
I listened to podcasts as well (National Talky League, Under the Influence) and the voices sounded similarly crisp and clear and easy to listen to.
There were some songs I did feel there was a little bit of sound quality missing; like sometimes they were lacking that fullness and richness. I noticed it most when I was listening to classical music.
I experienced almost no dropouts with these headphones. I’d say of the few hours I spent listening there was maybe a couple instances where for a split second one of the buds cut out, but overall the connectivity was excellent. I had no spontaneous disconnection issues either. The performance of the RockPods was very good.
Overall for most listening, I’d give these an 8 out of 10 on sound quality and enjoyment.
One thing I did notice is that the RockPods stay on when they are removed from your ears; they keep playing music. Some true wireless headphone will sense that and pause your listening for you. These don’t. In fact, you can take these out of your ears, place them in the case and shut the lid and they’ll keep going. Not an ideal way for the forgetful to preserve battery life.
Make & receive calls, chat with Siri, Google
The RockPods have built-in microphones so you can make and receive phone calls. It’s worth noting that only one earbud works with phone calling.
Call quality is good overall; voices coming in to me sounded totally normal and of fine quality. My callers said that I sounded great too.
There’s also quick access to the Google Assistant and Siri by pressing and holding the right power/multifunction button.
RockPods Battery Life
RockPods promise decent battery life. I say ‘decent’ because many manufacturers are working hard to increase their truly wireless battery life to better mesh with the realities of life, commuting and traveling.
When this category of product first emerged, two hours was the average battery life. These days many brands (like Samsung and Jabra) offer 4-5 hours, while the RockPods deliver three hours of listening on a single charge. There’s an additional 18 hours in the case, which should mean you can get 6 full uses from your Rockpods before they need a full recharge. That’s not bad, but it could be better.
To use the case to recharge them, you’ll need to double click the small power button on the front of the case to turn the charging on or off. Four tiny lights on the back of the case are supposed to glow when the battery is fully charged.
I found the case a bit confusing, however since double clicking to power the case on, also turns the headphones on (they say, “Power on. Connected. True wireless stereo connected.”) When I double clicked to power the case off, the earbuds continued to glow red and the four indicator lights on the back flashed on and off. I wasn’t sure what that meant and the rather anemic instruction manual didn’t tell me. Were they charging or not? Perhaps the case battery was dying?
Mystery volume controls
I was a little puzzled at how to adjust the volume on these headphones. The brochure-manual says “double press Volume “+” to turn up and double press “-” to turn down, but there are no volume controls anywhere on the buds that I can see. Indeed even the included paint-by-numbers schematic doesn’t list volume controls. In this review, I simply controlled volume with the rocker on my phone.
Overall review of RockPods
I really like the design of the RockPods. Yes, they’re a near carbon copy of AirPods but I think they’ve actually improved on the design. The multipack of tips, wings and fins is an excellent addition that ensures I get a better fit. I liked the fit and found them generally comfortable.
I think the case is a bit on the large side compared toothers like Jabra, but since it gets carried in a bag/backpack it’s no skin off my nose, really.
I think the RockPods are easy to set up and seem to stay connected very well. I didn’t like the fact they need to be physically shut off or they’ll keep playing and would stay connected until the battery dies.
When it comes to sound quality these were impressive; I’ll happily listen to these any time.
Overall, but for a few small flaws these are a great choice for truly wireless earbuds. Given that the RockPods’ price is significantly lower than AirPods, I think these are going to be a great alternative.
RockPods by RockStone Audio are available a Best Buy