I’ve tried a lot of earphones, but up until now I’ve refused to even try to use these newer generation, completely wireless ear buds. My last attempt saw one of the buds continually falling out despite trying out all the ear tips provided. But time marches on, and so does technology and so when the Blueant Pump Air wireless earphones came up for review, I thought why not try again?
If you’re not familiar with Blueant, then you should probably get acquainted. They’re a sports audio and lifestyle brand founded in Australia in 2003 who have produced a wide range of audio products including headphones, earphones and now these new generation of wireless earbuds, that are available for sale all over the world.
So here we are with Blueant’s new set of wireless earphones. At $169.99 the Pump Air Wireless are actually quite a cheap option for Bluetooth earphones, and in the world of completely wireless earphones they represent even better value.
So, are they any good?
What’s in the box?
The box containing the Blueant Pump Air is surprisingly big when you consider the tiny size of the earbuds themselves. The largest component is the carrying/charging case, but you also get 7 pairs of ear tips. You also get the usual ridiculously short microUSB cable to charge up the case and a product manual.
What you don’t get in the box is a power brick of any sort to charge it. You can use an old charger you have around – as long as it’s no more powerful than 5V/1A – you know, the usual old phone chargers. The idea instead is to charge the earbuds using a USB port in your computer – hence that very short microUSB cable.
There’s not much else in the box, but the box itself does have a quick start guide printed in the front, so once you’ve got some power in your buds you should be right to go.
The buds are available in Black with white highlights, Black with Rose Gold highlights and White. I reviewed the Black with white highlights but you’ll obviously get a choice if you make the decision to buy.
Fit, comfort and usage
The inclusion of 7 pairs of ear tips with the Blueant Pump Air gives you four sizes of ComfortSeal and three sizes of ComfortSeal Plus tips, the combination of these tips should allow you to find the perfect fit. You shouldn’t be surprised if you use one size in one ear and a larger or smaller size in the other – basically what I had to do.
Once you size your ear tips up correctly and insert them in your ears they’re surprisingly comfortable and secure. I’ve had issues in the past, but not with these guys. I tried going for a run, used them daily on the cross-trainer, circuit training at the gym with various exercises and played around with some basketball and they didn’t budge, even when I started to sweat.
The buds themselves have an IP54 rating meaning you can sweat as much as you like and they’ll keep going. Even if your ears sweat though, the buds don’t dislodge the fit is snug but not uncomfortable.
The downside to using completely wireless buds is the need to have that carrying case with you at all times. It’s not a problem unique to the Blueant Pump Wireless, it’s something to be aware of though. Wired earbuds can just hang around your neck, but I found I had to anticipate talking to shop assistants or apologise as I dug out the case and removed the buds before putting them back in when the transaction was over.
Other buds on the market allow for a level of pass through of sound from the world around you which would be handy to have in a quick setting, but as this is gen 1 I’ll be interested to see what gen 2 brings to the table. For now though, it’s simply one of those things to be aware of.
Wireless earbuds all use a charging case to charge this new generation of audio products. The buds themselves give you about 3 hours of use on a charge, with the case able to deliver an additional 4 charges for an additional 12 hrs of charge.
Each bud is marked ‘L’ or ‘R’ (left and right obvs), and you simply drop them into the corresponding space in the case. There’s pogo pins which line up with the buds, and a white LED lights up when you drop them in to let you know they’re charging.
It takes about an hour to charge the case to full – or if you’re in a hurry 20 mins will net you 1 hour of play time. It’s easy to tell when it’s charged as there are four, white LEDs on the front which slowly light up as you charge them. These LEDs light up as you take them out to use them and I’d recommend you check them every time you do.
The one downside to these buds which I’ve found helpful on other Bluetooth earphones is that there’s no audible warning on battery strength. Other buds (the wired ones I’ve used) generally have a prompt when you connect them to a device, a variation of ‘Headphones connected, battery level is High/Medium/Low’, instead you simply have to be aware of how many LED lights light up on your charging case when you take them out. So it pays to be aware or your trip to the gym could be marred by having to listen to whatever EDM/top 20 crap they’re pumping out over the PA system.
Sound Quality and connection
There’s no denying that these little buds have a small driver inside, exactly how small I can’t fine, but as usual the proof is in the use and these buds are good. Whether it’s a podcast or your own selection of music the quality of sound is surprisingly good.
Blueant says that they include ‘Bass you can feel’ and while it sounds pretty good I wouldn’t rave about their deep bass or impeccable treble. Don’t get me wrong, these buds sound good, really good, but physics limits the quality you can get out of a driver this small, but with the size they have, Blueant have managed to get a great sound out of these things.
The other sound quality to check is the mic quality, because there’s a built-in microphone in the side of the buds. There’s one built into each bud, likely for some sort of noise cancelling because they actually had surprisingly good sound quality when you’re on a call.
There’s built-in access to Siri/Google Assistant, but it’s only through your device not the new generation of device which has Google Assistant built-in, so nothing to get too excited about, but it works.
I have no idea what these companies do to ensure that these completely wireless buds do to ensure they’re synced together and to your phone, but it works surprisingly well. It’s a bluetooth 4.2 connection, so it’s both low-energy and a fairly solid connection.
You sync the Blueant Pump Air Wireless Earphones as you would any other bluetooth device, turn them on and if they’re not paired they will ask you to do so. Go to your phone, or laptop and search Bluetooth devices and then pair them.
You’ll get an audible prompt to pair them if not already connected, and a prompt saying connected to a device once you’re connected. Next time you open the case, remove one and insert it in the ear you’ll get a brief low-frequency tone for the left and right, then a ‘Your phone is connected’ message once you’re connected. There’s no faffing around with the separate ear buds, it’s a simple process that makes it easy for anyone to connect.
I used the Blueant Pump Air Wireless Earphones with the Pixel 2 XL as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30+ and found absolutely no drop in connection even when I had the phone in my pocket, or when I wandered into another room without the phone.
Not having the buds connected with a cable does lend itself to a bit of distrust for many users – myself included. There’s reason for that, over the course of a month reviewing the buds I had the left ear bud drop audio a few times. It was a brief drop – less than a second – with the connection resuming without prompting, but it’s still noticeable, thankfully it’s not a regular occurrence.
Should you buy them?
I’m sold. At least on the concept of wireless earbuds. This new generation of wireless ear buds is definitely the way of the future.
There are definitely intermittent drop outs, but they are few and far between. For a gen 1 completely wireless earbud the Blueant Pump Air wireless earbuds are really good, and the sound quality is great whether you’re listening to music, podcast or audiobook.
The price too is attractive, coming in below or just above other wired bluetooth earphones on the market. They’re unobtrusive, light and comfortable to wear as well and for me, that’s just another tick in the box for them.
If you’re in the market I highly recommend you check them out. You can find them at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Tech2Go in Australia for AUD$169.99.