HiFuture Futuremate air-conduction headphones review - whatgadget

Credits:  Stephen Watson | whatgadget.net

We are in January 2023 and it’s likely the gym is buzzer than usual if you are still keeping up with that new year’s resolution to keep fit. You might want to listen to some music while burning that fat. In this review, we focus on the HiFuture FutureMate. 

You might recognise the brand HiFuture if you read our review of the HiFuture FutureGo smartwatch well on top of smartwatches this brand also creates audio products. The FutureMate are a pair of air-conduction headphones and the benefit of this design is situational awareness.

WHAT ARE AIR CONDUCTION HEADPHONES?

Air conduction headphones provide the user with a different way of listening to music without damaging the ear. Sound waves are made when something vibrates and these waves travel through the air until they reach your ears. Air conduction headphones work by sending sound waves through the air into the ear without the need to physically push a bud into your ear canal. This is the same way that our ears naturally work and having air-conduction headphones keeps your ears unobstructed. 

The design is ideal for those who want to retain a normal hearing experience while still enjoying music privately. The design also benefits those with slight hearing loss and who do not want something being pushed into the eardrum.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

The HiFuture FutureMate Air conduction headphones are available for $41.99/£34.62 and are available in 3 colours- Black, Red & Grey. In this review, we were sent the black option. The FutureMate comes with a 2-mic calling ENC system that lets you manage calls without any unwanted background noises.  

The FutureMate also come with IPX5 waterproof technology meaning if you got caught in the rain or had a heavy gym session you are protected. When using the FutureMate headphones we found that they are quite loud but still very comfortable for long periods of use due to the lightweight build. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

UNBOXING

The packaging of the FutureMate really does showcase the product within they even have their own hashtag #OptSporty and on the side of the box it displays the slogan “Play The Hits”. Moving to the rear of the box it showcases the key features.

HiFuture FutureMate Review

Inside the box HiFuture add a little more advertising and in terms of what’s in the box, they keep things simple with just the headphones, proprietary magnetic cable and user guide.

HiFuture FutureMate Review
HiFuture FutureMate Review

DESIGN

The first thing you will notice is just how lightweight they are the headband is made using a very thin plastic material that wraps around the back of your head and is quite flexible. They apply very little pressure on your head perfect for long periods of use. We tested these on several family members and they fit perfectly on everyone due to the flexibility of the headband. 

The front of the band arches over the ears and the speaker heads sit just in front of your ear. The speaker heads are oval shaped with the controls located at the bottom of the oval-shaped head. 

HiFuture FutureMate Review

The controls on the FutureMate are basic you have two buttons located on the base of the right speaker head. The button closest to the front is the power button. The other button is the multi-function button which is used to skip tracks, adjust volume, call management and voice assistant.

HiFuture FutureMate Review

You will also notice a small LED just above the multifunction button that shows you the connection status, for example, it will flash blue and red when pairing and once paired it’s a solid blue light. 

When you have these on your head the speaker heads sit just in front of your ears and rest against the side of your head. The positioning is a key factor in the design as they keep your ears open and do not obstruct your ability to hear around you making sure you have situational awareness when out running or cycling you will be able to hear what is around you and your music at once.

As mentioned earlier the headphones are IPX5 rated so they are water-resistant and also dustproof so a hard workout in the gym won’t damage the headphones. If you were concerned they also come with a 12-month warranty to provide peace of mind. 

Moving onto the connectivity FutureMate uses the latest Bluetooth offering Bluetooth 5.3 which we found was excellent when keeping the connection to your phone stable. This Bluetooth offering also provides a good level of low latency which is helpful if you was watching an exercise video on your phone as there will be next to no delay between the video and audio. I was also impressed when using the FutureMate to watch my beloved Newcastle United via SkyGo. 

BATTERY LIFE

The battery life on the FutureMate is not the largest on the market but it’s not far off it. The FutureMate has a battery capacity of 100mAh which should provide the user with 8 hours of battery life. Compare that to Shokz OpenRun Pro which offers 10 hours of playback or the Mu6 Ring which also offers 10 hours. Do keep in mind the manufacturer will base battery life on you keeping the volume at 50% the higher the volume the more battery will be used. 

I have been using these regularly for the last few weeks now and have been very impressed with the battery life they lasted for a good few days and handled multiple trips to the gym where the volume would have been between 60-70% and you will get a solid day of use from these headphones. 

When it’s time to charge them that is very easy to do also on the right speaker you will see 3 little contacts these are magnetized and allows you to easily attach the charging cable. The cable is a proprietary magnetic cable with USB-A at the other end and you will find this very easy to use. Charging time for the FutureMate is about 2 hours so take that in mind.

HiFuture FutureMate Review

AUDIO QUALITY

If you are looking for a loud-sounding pair of headphones these tick that box. Even at 50% volume, you can clearly hear them fine tunes. I found this beneficial when walking to work or even when I took my bike out for a spin you can still hear your music without any unwanted outside noise taking over.

The only issue you will have by having the volume over that 50% mark other people will hear what you are listening to this could be an issue if you listening to them in the office compared to when you’re working out. 

Moving on to the actual sound they can be a little overboard when it comes to the bass for some listeners might find it a bit much. I personally felt the bass was well represented. Overall do not expect studio-quality sound considering the design however, you won’t be disappointed. I was pleased with the highs, mids and lows and found you gained crystal clear audio in testing.

I found these headphones performed best for voice calls this is due to the set of 4 built-in-mics that filter out the clutter and unwanted background noise and transmit your voice clearly without interference. In testing, I was told I could be heard very clearly and it was the same for the person speaking to me.

VERDICT

The HiFuture FutureMate headphones impressed me if you’re looking for something a little different compared to the normal earbud design or overhead designs. The Air conduction style is well designed and the lightweight and flexible build allows the fit on a variety of head sizes. 

I was also pleased with the option of colours available and the fact that are IPX5 rated they will be able to handle a very sweaty gym session or even if you were to be caught in the rain out running. You will also be pleased with the Bluetooth 5.3 connection and low latency make these great for working out with. 

Battery life is up with the more expensive brands and the use of a proprietary charger is good for that IP rating. Moving to the audio quality the keyword here is loud and they are just that. They are not the best sounding on the market I would say very middle of the road. They will do a good job for working out and listening to music but if you were to get on a train you might annoy a few people as they will hear your music if above 50%. I did find the call quality to be impressive due to the ENC calling technology. 

When you consider cost it’s easy to understand why the audio quality is only average as at only £34 compared to the Shokz OpenRun Pro costing £159. However, if your looking for a pair of budget-friendly air-conduction headphones HiFuture provide you with an excellent option but with room for improvement. 

PRODUCT RATING:

Design: 

Battery Life: 

Audio Quality: 

Value for Money: 

Overall ranking:  – 4.2 Stars 

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