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Cheap Otto TWS Bluetooth 5.0 IEMs (review with pictures)


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My budget doesn't extend to $500 iems,  so when I wanted to try bluetooth iems, I started at the absolute budget end,   from Officeworks,  at just $15. https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/otto-true-wireless-earphones-with-charging-case-white-ottw100we

 

Specs

  • Bluetooth 5.0, 10m range
  •  listening time of 2.5 hours or 9 hours with the charging case.
  • The earphones take 1 hour to charge, while the case takes 2 hours.   
  • They have a standby time of 100 hours.

 

Unboxing, you get a neat little white case and short stiff charging cable.  (minor nitpick) With the lightness of the case, the stiff cable means it doesn't sit flat on the desktop while charging unless you bend the cable to suit.    The case has red and blue LEDs.   The iems themselves have lovely red and blue LEDs inside which shine through the white plastic. The look quite good, white with silver/chrome ring around the base.

 

I'll post photos at the end

 

At this end of the market,  you don't get magnetic charge connections.  The ends of the iems are hollow, and form a plug, which mates with a socket at the end of the deep hole that they slide into in the charging case.  That said, the connection is easy and solid, as they fit into a shaped/molded recess, so are held firmly while charging.

Edit:  these were subject to a recall November last year, due the charging cable potentially over heating.  Well since they are selling them still(again?)  maybe they have fixed the problem.  In any case, I will be using a different cable :) 

 

 

Sound.  Initially setting the eq to flat, I heard a bright sound lacking in bass.      Using the eq I pushed the bass (up to 200 Hz) up a few dbs, and the treble (over about 4kHz) I  tapered down from flat a few more db. I left the 16kHz top slider up at flat as I guess my ears need the help :)     In the end, a smoother less drastic alteration than I needed for the cheap wired iems that come with Samsung and Oppo phones.  So to rate these Otto iems, yes, better than the free ones you get with a phone  :)

 

The sound level is, well, adequate.  They won't blast you away, which is probably good, as who wants to damage their ears.    If you push them too hard, particularly in the bass (my eq software has a preamp/boost)  you will hear nasty clipping.  I guess this is the limit of the bluetooth amplifier inside them.

 

Verdict    Definitely worth more than $15.

 

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Edited by aussievintage
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Just an update.  I have been playing around with my phone, switching on HD audio in developer options, and configuring the hires output in Poweramp. 

 

I was running with the SBC codec initially, by now I have discovered they support AAC -  just like the big name brand of iem that they resemble :)  

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1 hour ago, DrTobiasFunke said:

Hang on....

As an audio reviewer, aren't you obligated to say: 'They punch well above their weight...'?

😀

 

 

LOL,    just trying to be fair.     I have no good basis for comparison with more expensive iems yet.   

 

I noticed Jaycar are advertising what looks like the same thing for $19.95 with the Digitech brand on them instead of the Officeworks Otto brand.   Must be yet another instance of someone making a cheap knockoff in China and selling them to various companies for rebranding.

 

Some more data - the charging case has a 300mAh battery in it, charge time 2 hours, and the earphones are 35 mAh, charge time 1 hour.   

 

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After many hours of playing around, I feel I have probably optimised the setup of these cheap iems. I quite enjoy listening through them.

 

One problem I ran into,  and it's probably a generic bluetooth/phone thing, is the volume control.  The player software has what it calls Direct Volume Control.   It was reacting with the iem volume control, resulting in limiting the maximum volume until manually turned up by pressing buttons on the iems.  I then noticed a setting that disables this for bluetooth (indicating a problem the software developer has recognised).  This somehow involves something called Absolute Volume setting in the phones developer controls.   Anyway, setting it up to not use DVC for the bluetooth, seems to fix it.

 

The other "problem"  is that I think I hear the amplifier in the phones struggle a little on heavy transients, especially bass.  I am putting that down to the limitations of a small device with small battery, but expecting that more expensive devices may well design around these limitations.  Remembering, this is the cheapest of the cheap.

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