When a global consumer electronics company launches its wireless earphones in an Indian market already dominated by trusted audio technology giants, potential buyers are eager to learn whether the newcomer brings an original concept or fresh expertise to set them apart from the crowd. With Belkin International sending us the Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds priced at ₹7,999, we put these earphones through a series of rigorous tests to ascertain if the product lived up to its premium price. Here’s what we discovered.
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Packaging and Design
The product arrived in a lightweight card stock-type box, with the earphones, their charging case, a Type-C/Type-D charging cable, instructions sheets, and two spare earbud sets in different sizes. The earphones and their magnetic case were all black, with pinhole lights to indicate the battery levels.
Our first impressions: while the product is durable and sturdy, the wedding ring-box style charging case felt bulkier than needed and is difficult to slip into one’s pocket without causing a noticeable bulge. The earphones also looked strange because they were top heavy with a short stem. Overall, a slimmer design would have made the product more travel friendly, and a Type-C charging cable would have been more up-to-date. The case could also snap shut more quietly. However, these are minor observations and the matte black finish of the Belkin charging case gives the whole product a stylish and premium look.
The biggest flaw in the Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds becomes obvious as soon as you connect to a phone or laptop via Bluetooth and select your first song: the volume is nowhere close to loud enough. The listener needs to turn up the volume to extremely high levels - 60% or more - that usually warrant a warning from the device about hearing damage. Only then are you able to enjoy the Soundform Rise earphones’ true-to-life sound and crisp audio that cancels out some background noise. The 6mm dynamic drivers make for a rich listening experience but a great deal of volume adjustment is needed from your side first, which might make you feel more like a DJ artist than a relaxed listener. Adding to that, songs with low-pitched intros are often completely inaudible unless you take the device volume to its max. Songs also fade out much faster and a great deal of musical detail is lost this way while background interferences in the recording become louder. This is far from satisfactory.
This persistent issue was not due to my own hearing, as I tested the same videos with both the Soundform Rise earphones priced at ₹7,999 and a pair of SoundMagic wired earphones worth less than ₹2,000. In every case, a song or video that was comfortably loud with my SoundMagic earphones was nearly soundless when using the Soundform Rise earphones at the same volume level.
Furthermore, I found that after using the Soundform Rise earphones, I was speaking at a much higher volume than before.
Specs vs Daily Usage
The Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds are rated IPX5 for sweat and splash resistance, which make them a perfect companion for runners, gym lovers, yoga practitioners, hikers, and other athletes - except for swimmers. The buds fit snugly in the ears and are immersive without completely cancelling external noise, which is an important safety point for those exercising in public spaces.
But Belkin’s expertise truly shines when a listener gets to experience the Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds’ power-packed battery. The company claims there is 7 hours of charge in each earbud, another 24 hours in the wireless charging case, and up to 31 hours of playtime. On the other hand, I used the earphones for close to 8 or 10 hours at a time over the course of several weeks, only charging the case 3 or 4 times in total for about 10-20 minutes each - and I never saw the earphones’ charge dip below 80%. The product’s battery life was awe-inspiring, to say the least, and the Soundform Rise earphones will surely come to the rescue of those who need all-night sleep videos in noisy dorms or constant entertainment during trans-Atlantic flights.
One problem, however, is that the earphones don’t seem to be compatible with Microsoft Teams and go haywire whenever calls come through MS Teams on any device. This was the only time when the earphones’ battery failed me, as the buds mysteriously went from 40% to 0% in less than 10 minutes during a conference call. Yet, the earphones work smoothly with WhatsApp; call audio quality is nothing short of excellent.
The earphones also come with touch controls to toggle volume levels, pause and play music, skip tracks, and handle calls. While these commands were simple and convenient to learn, the highly touch-sensitive area takes up a lot of real estate on the body of the earphones, meaning that one’s fingers often activated the controls when simply putting in the earphones or casually adjusting them.
As stated by the company, we found the Bluetooth range to be about 10 meters.
While the Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds stunned us with seemingly endless battery capacity, in-ear comfort, durability, true-to-life sound, and rapid charging speeds, these features can’t make up for the fact that the device volume has to be set over 50% to experience music normally, and that low pitched notes are almost completely lost unless the volume is set at 80% or higher.
In short, Belkin’s Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds are an electronic marvel, but the product is definitely not budget friendly and fails to consider the long-term health of the wearer’s ears.