Aside from eliminating display bezels, one crazy trend phone manufacturers have been obsessing about this past year has been the removal of 3.5mm audio jack from their flagship offerings. Started by Oppo 2 years ago, Apple eventually popularized the purge with the release of the audio jack-less iPhone 7. As we know, once the Cupertino-based giant picks up a trend, everyone tends to follow suit. With HTC doing the same thing with their Pixel lineup, it will only be a matter of time before every phone manufacturer decides to kill off this dated analog connection. They’re leaving the decision at the hands of consumers to either use an audio adapter to continue using wired headphones or invest on some quality Bluetooth headphones.
It’s almost 2018 and we should be choosing the latter option. However, there are a couple of reasons why many consumers don’t go for Bluetooth headphones. First is the audio quality, especially if we are to compare it against a wired connection. In its infancy stage, Bluetooth technology has been noted to be horrendous at delivering audio quality. The next reason is the price point. When we think of Bluetooth, we automatically think it’s going to be expensive.
Bluetooth Technology has come a long way and has greatly improved on delivering sound quality. It has also been made affordable to the mass consumer and we are currently seeing an influx of Bluetooth audio devices in the market. In this review, I am going to introduce to you a brand and their Bluetooth headphone offering that addresses both hindrances to picking a pair and using one. This is our NIA Q1 review.
What’s in the box?
NIA Q1 4 in 1 BT headphones
USB cable for charging and data
The NIA Q1 4 in 1 BT headphone come in a variety of colors, but I opted to go with the black variant. The build of the Q1 is primarily composed of high-quality plastic materials with a touch of soft, yet durable synthetic leather material on the earcups and headrest. The synthetic leather and padding used on the Q1 is quite thick and exudes quality.
Contrary to information provided online, the Q1 is definitely an on-ear headphone, thus, it rests on your ears when in use. It features 40mm sound drivers and does a very good job in partly blocking outside noise, especially on high volume. However, the Q1 is not classified as a noise canceling headphone.
Depending on the size of your head, initially, you may feel heat and discomfort in your ears after a few hours of use. I know I did. However, once the band has been stretched out, it should no longer pose any discomfort for a couple of hours. Although the fit is quite tight, this isn’t a headphone you would want to take to the gym, as it isn’t sweatproof.
The frame itself is adjustable and is made of plastic but is supported by an aluminum strip, ensuring the headphones’ flexibility. However, I find the Q1 quite small and I needed to extend the slider to the fullest to fit my head.
The right earcup features all of the control of the headphone. Here you will find a dedicated answer button to make or take calls, the power slider, a micro USB port for data and charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a multi-function scroll knob.
Doing short presses on the knob plays or stops the music, while long presses cycles thru the different modes (BT, FM Radio, MicroSD), which I will elaborate later. A single flick of the knob in upward or downward direction switches the songs or radio stations and doing a flick and hold will change the volume. The scroll knob is very responsive and precise.
Overall, the cushioning and build of this budget Bluetooth headphone is quite commendable, especially, considering its price point. The ear cups swivel and can be adjusted accordingly or laid flat for storage or traveling. NIA did a good job in making sure the Q1 will be quite durable and comfortable even for prolonged use. The only thing that needs to be improved in my opinion would be the power slider, as it is quite hard to feel out especially when you’re wearing the headphone.
Unlike more expensive headphones flooding the market, NIA as a company offers a variety of headphones with multiple functionalities. The Q1 is no exception to this. Aside from the default Bluetooth functionality, the headphone also acts as a wireless FM radio, plays mp3 files from the dedicated microSD slot, and can also be used as a regular wired headphone via any regular 3.5mm aux cable. This completes the 4 in 1 functionality of the Q1. You would have to purchase your own aux cable as the standard packaging does not include any.
Since the Q1 has a microSD slot, it can serve as a dedicated mp3 player and you can load and listen to your favorite hits without connecting to any device. I actually found myself using this functionality more than I anticipated.
Loading songs into the headphone is quite an easy undertaking. Simply plug the device using any micro USB cable and the computer will read it as a regular mass storage device. The songs will be played alphabetically and there seems to be no way to organize them to play by artist or album. Naming convention will play a role on the order of play. Then again, this is a bonus feature so we don’t want to treat it as a major complaint on the Q1. Also, I would like to note that aside from using an aux cable, you can also play music from your computer using any regular USB cable. This allows you to charge the device and listen to it at the same time.
Another thing that I would like to point out is that this headset has an app support. The app is called NIA Connect and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. With it, you will have control over the equalizer, view the battery percentage, switch in between the different modes (BT, SDcard, and Radio).
Now onto the most important part of this review: Sound Quality. You might have apprehensions regarding the sound quality of an under 10 dollar headphone. Its hard enough to find regular headphones under 10 USD, let alone a Bluetooth headphone with all the mentioned functionality. My short answer is, go make the purchase! you will not be disappointed with the sound quality of the Q1.
I was scouring the internet for any extensive reviews on the Q1 but was unable to find any. I decided it was worth the gamble. Boy oh boy, was I surprised how good the NIA Q1 sounds. The treble, mids, highs, and lows are well balanced, and for bass-heads like me, it does a great job rendering bass but at the same time, is not overpowering. When maxed out, the headphone can really isolate you from background noise. In my opinion, unlike other headphones, this can be used to listen to any music genre may it be rock, hiphop, acoustic and so on.
I am no audiophile but I can confidently say it can compete with 150 or even 200 USD branded headphones (check my Jabra Headphone review here). The Q1 might be on the top of my “good thing I purchased this” list. You just can’t beat the price to sound quality ratio of the Q1.
The battery life of any Bluetooth headphone depends on a couple of factors. One would be the version of the Bluetooth Technology of the device and also the volume at which you regularly use this thing. The NIA Q1 still uses Bluetooth v2.1 which isn’t the latest (BT 5.0) thus signal quality and battery optimization may not be at par with those using the latest BT technology.
Although that is the case of the Q1, the signal reception and quality is quite impressive and I haven’t experienced sound distortion and delays using it. In my daily use of the Q1 with high to mid volume, this thing last me around 4 hours on a full charge. Topping the device can take up to 1 to 1 and half hours, depending on the output of the charger used.
If you’re in the market for a Bluetooth headphone, the Q1 is a very good and affordable option. Especially enticing is the sound quality and the added functionalities not even name brands offer. Truly a bang for your buck, the NIA Q1 is available thru LAZADA (lowest price, click here).
The sound quality to price ratio can’t be beaten. The 4 in 1 functionality, overall build, and native app support is also a welcome addition.
The headphone is quite small and might not be for everyone. As stated earlier, you may feel discomfort at first try. Give it a couple of stretch and time. Another issue, a minor one, is you can’t connect multiple devices to the Q1.