True wireless earphones are everywhere now – battery life tends to be solid, connectivity stable and fit comfortable. So where does the earphone style go next? New niches, for specific use cases, that’s where.
Enter the Philips ST702 true wireless earphones. The look is familiar – battery-powered wire-free earbuds that sit in a pill-box shaped charging case that quickly connect to your audio device over Bluetooth when removed from their chamber.
So what’s the key difference here? Well, for starters they’re sports oriented, but that’s not all that unusual in even true wireless headphones. What’s key here is what’s going on inside the case.
Assuming you’re a human that sweats when they engage in a workout, you’re going to build up bacteria on your buds. The ST702 case, which slides open on its side like a sci-fi canister, also houses a UV cleaning system. While the buds charge, UV light will also zap bacteria that will have been collected from your perspiring ears. It should in theory make for a more hygienic set of headphones then, even if regularly used during punishing training sessions.
Elsewhere, the specs are more sedate. You’ve a total play time of 18 hours, which isn’t the most we’ve seen from true wireless earphones – you have to expect the UV process is taking a big chunk of that away. The buds themselves offer 6 hours per charge of playback, and there’s a 15 minute fast-charge feature which will provide 1.5 hours of playback, too.
Tap-to-activate voice assistants on the shell of each bud, while Bluetooth 5.0 is the connectivity standard of choice. IPX5 waterproof rating will keep the buds working well if a little damp, too.
The catch is, we’ve not yet been given the chance to listen to the earphones – this was a hands-on (and hands-on only) experience in the truest sense of the words. So we’ll have to reserve judgement on how they actually sound in your ears until a later date.
But in terms of fitness-focussed, and grime-busting, features, they’re looking like a souped-up set for your sporty listening sessions.