Today I am going to taking a look at some Bluetooth in-ear headphones from the brand Marley – called the Smile Jamaica Wireless. Marley have been increasing in popularity over the past couple of years and their products are now all over the high street. They are known for their superior quality, eco-friendly materials and commitment to charity causes.
The Smile Jamaica Wireless earphones are priced at £49.99 (at time of review) and are available in Denim, Signature Black and Copper.
- 8 hour playtime
- Integrated microphone
- Lightweight neckband
- Tangle resistant cable
- Bluetooth 4.0
Due to Marley’s stance on Eco-friendliness, it also boasts FSC certified wood and recycled aluminium materials.
The Smile Jamaica Wireless earphones come in environmentally-friendly packaging, with a door, that allows you to view the headphones in the box. For this review, I will be taking a look at the signature black edition.
The earphones are based around a neckband that sits on the back of your neck, with each ear bud on smaller cable extending from the “pods” at each end of the braided neck band. This particular edition is the Signature Black version, so the cabling is black and brown, with dark wood tips and ear bud driver casing.
The right pod contains the microphone (small hole on wooden tip), pairing/assistant button, music controls and the micro USB charging port. The left pod is featureless, as I suspect it is where it holds the battery.
Unlike some of the other more intricate ear phones I’ve taken a look at, there is no partner app for your smartphone, they are a simple “pair and play” audio device, so I’ll skip the software section and go straight to performance and testing.
Performance and Testing
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is no partner app to get the most out of the ear phones, so I just needed to pair them by turning on the ear phones, holding the pair button for a few seconds and pairing from my smartphone like you would any other Bluetooth device.
The neckband is light and sits nicely around the back of your neck. The pods are weighted enough to hold in place and not fall off when moving, so could be useful if you go running or to the gym frequently. My only gripe is that if you bend over, they can become dislodged and rely on the ear buds to stay on.
The audio quality is surprisingly decent for such little ear buds. It offers a balanced range and sounds good from lows to highs, except, as you can imagine, they lack oomph when it comes to the bass, so it wouldn’t be replacing those larger over-ear headphones anytime soon.
Voice playback and mic quality is better than the standard phone audio, so making calls was a better experience.
When it comes to battery life, I got about 7 hours across a number of sessions, with the volume set to about 60%. Charging took between an hour to two – simply connect to micro USB cable and use a standard phone charger. Whilst it takes awhile for the low battery LED to come on, you will notice drops in the connection long before.
For such little ear buds, I was surprised as to the well-roundedness of the sound quality for both music and calls. OK, yes the bass was lacking, but for podcasts, audio books and music that doesn’t rely on such heavy bass, they are decent performers. Battery life was also OK, as was setting them up.
I respect the choice to use eco-friendly materials to produce the ear phones and I wish more manufactures did this, however there certainly hasn’t been any compromise in quality – in fact, I think the build is comparable to superior, more expensive equivalents. The ear buds are also deemed “sweat-proof”, so making them ideal for those gym-lovers. The different colour options are good, however I really like the dark wood on black of the Signature edition. I’m not 100% sure of the neckband style just yet, so judgement is out, although I will say that it did sit under my shirt collar nicely, when working in the office.
With a MSRP of £49.99 (commonly seen for £40 around the UK), I think it is a great price for some decent Bluetooth ear phones that are on par with some more premium grade models from the likes of Beats or Sennheiser.
Overall, I think the Smile Jamaicas are a well-rounded set of ear phones at a respectable price-point and of a decent build quality. Not for the bass-lovers out there however, but makes up for it in a well balanced range and simplicity. For these reasons, happy to award them the Play3r Value Award.
- Decent build quality
- Balanced sound
- Good battery life
- Value for money
- Unusual design
- Lacks depth