An inexpensive pair of wired in-earphones for those with legacy wired devices, the Avantree E171 offers an entertaining sound, secure fit and good comfort for workout related activities or day-to-day use. The emphasis on bass counteracts the claim of a “well-balanced” audio profile, but most will find the audio more than fine for casual use.
- Inexpensive asking price
- Secure fit
- Good comfort
- Easy to use
- Audio profile skews towards bass
- In-line controls not compatible with every device
In-line controlControl music playback and take calls with built-in mic
Wired connection3.5mm jack for connecting to source
Whether you exercise every so often, do workouts frequently or are a HITT fanatic, we can all agree that when it comes to sports headphones, a secure fit is most important. You wouldn’t want your headphones flying off during your sit up reps.
And though wireless offers the most convenience, in terms of outright performance it’s hard to beat a wired connection. Wired headphones aren’t as popular as they used to be, but that hasn’t stopped Avantree from launching two inexpensive efforts aimed at those who prefer wired listening in the E171 and C171.
With the Avantree E171, you have a pair of over-ear in-earphones ready to sweat as much as you do and go the distance – if you have access to a 3.5mm jack.
- Unremarkable looks
- Secure fit
- In-line controls not compatible with all devices
Aesthetically, the Avantree E171 earphones are as bland and nondescript as you’ll likely come across. Dressed in black (there is a white option too) the only real classifying feature is the Avantree logo on the earphones.
The earphones take on a Beats PowerBeats Pro vibe with their shape and look, sporting an over-hook ear design to keep them secure. That fit is tight with little to no movement once in place.
In terms of noise-isolation, they protect the wearer from a sizable amount of external sound – enough that I could get on with my running without being overly distracted. That said, I could still hear some environmental noise, so I wasn’t completely cut off from my surroundings.
Another plus is that they’re comfortable to wear, as well as easy to position. Details on its IP rating have been hard to come by, but the scuttlebutt online indicates they are IPX7. I’m double checking that but if so, IPX7 means they can be submerged into water 1m deep for thirty minutes, making this earphone waterproof.
It comes with a long 120cm cable (terminating in a 3.5mm jack) in a ‘Y design’, i.e., the cables come down from around the shoulders and meet up in the middle where there’s a clip to fasten the headphones to clothing. The in-line mic/control is further up the right side of the cable, closer to the face. I prefer it in the middle as I find I can’t really see what I’m pressing with it so close, but if you’re taking calls you’ll prefer the mic closer to your mouth.
Compatibility of the in-line controls is not across the board for mobile devices. Avantree states that the built-in volume control doesn’t work on PC, laptop, or iOS “MP3 players” (iPod), and the volume button doesn’t work on the Pixel 3A and Galaxy A9, S10, and Note 9. Google Assistant is activated instead of volume.
The headphones were used with an Astell & Kern SR25 portable music player and iPad Air, and the former was one of those incompatible devices, with playback done via the device which can annoy in the middle of a run. With an (old) iPad Air the in-line controls worked without issue.
Controls cover playback (double tap skips, a triple tap skips backwards) and volume (up and down buttons), and with a hold you can either reject a call or engage a device’s voice assistant. Aside from the compatibility issues, the E171 doesn’t put a foot wrong on the design front.
- Better balance at lower volumes
- Tuned towards bass
- Solid midrange expression
I’ll skip the ‘Features’ section as there’s virtually little, if anything at all to write about, and head to how the E171 sounds.
Avantree says it’s gone for a “well-balanced” sound profile. I wouldn’t wholly agree with that assessment as bass can dominate and harden the earphone’s presentation, but this tends to be more audible at volume levels approaching midway and above.
At lower volume levels bass is kept more in check. In Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain the low frequencies take on a prominent bass presence, hitting with a solid thump. It gives the track a powerful low end, though in the parts of the track where the percussion hits harder it doesn’t sound the clearest or defined.
It’s a similar case with Talib Kweli’s Get By – the bass beat is described in thumping fashion but could benefit from more clarity and definition.
The soundstage created holds plenty of width – with Audioslave’s I Am the Highway the guitars are farmed out wide, and there’s decent detail mined from the strums of the guitar. Chris Cornell’s distinct vocals are presented with a nice dynamism – in fact overall dynamism is more present than in most cheap true wireless, showcasing small and larger scale jumps in quiet and loud notes solidly.
The earphones’ sense of detail is broad, not the most defined but good enough for the low price. The midrange sounds natural – voices of male and female performers are clearly described – the soundstage they sing in is spacious, though not especially layered with depth. Voices could be isolated more from the rest of the track, I’d wager.
Should you buy it?
If you use a wired connection
If you have a legacy device that supports a wired connection and you have no interest in a fancy wireless connection, then the Avantree E171 is for you.
If you prefer wireless
Wireless headphones offer more convenience, but even an affordable sports pair like the Soundcore X10 Sport still cost about £60.
Value is uppermost in the Avantree E171’s list of priorities and for £14.99 it provides a satisfying experience. Avantree’s claims of a well-balanced audio profile don’t quite bear out – it’s a little too bassy – but for those who are looking for a pair of headphones to work out, they’ll enjoy the bass emphasis.
The fit is secure: they’re comfortable to wear and the sound entertains. They achieve what’s asked of them with little fuss, and are a fine, relatively inexpensive option for those who listen to audio over a wired connection. There’s a lack of full compatibility with older devices for the in-line controls, although those with older MP3 players may prefer operating from the device itself anyway.
Check out our Best Running Headphones guide for even more options.
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested over several weeks
Tested with real world use
The main difference between these two wired in-earphones is that the E171 has a 3.5mm jack, and the C171 comes with a USB-C port.
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