“The Level Active delivers a stellar sound without breaking the bank”
An athlete would never step into the gym or on the track without a game plan in mind and the same should be the case with their gear too. While a good pair of trainers and a comfortable outfit to work out in would certainly go a long way, research has proved that listening to music is just as important to peak during a workout. If you’ve ever been to a gym, then you would know the struggle of having to deal with wired earphones which is why, most athletes prefer to go the wireless route. However, unless you’re willing to shell out some big bucks, you will have to settle with sub-par sound quality from a less reputable brand. Well, Samsung hopes to change that with the recently-launched Level Active headphones, which aim to deliver stellar sound without breaking the bank and in this review, let’s see whether the company achieves that or not.
Design and Comfort
When you’re labelling a pair of Bluetooth earphones as ideal for ‘outdoor activities’, it is imperative that you get the design and the fit right. After all, the last thing you’ll want is a pair of chunky buds sticking out of your ear and falling out after every burpee. Now, to Samsung’s credit, the Level Active is arguably one of the most secure Bluetooth earphones I have tried to-date. The earphone’s come with a bunch of ear tips and wings which will help you narrow down the perfect fit for your ears. Moreover, the angular design of the ear tips works wonders for sound isolation and does a great job of keeping the earpieces anchored inside your ears too. Coupled that with the Level Active’s resistance to sweat and water and you have got all the essential ingredients required to make a good pair of sports earphones.
Furthermore, the Level Active don’t compromise on design in the favour of comfort/fit either and are good looking too. The ear pieces have primarily been constructed out of plastic and are connected to each other via a flat tangle-free cable. There’s a metal disc present on the outside of the two ear pieces which bears the company’s Level logo and serves different purposes on the left and the right earbud. You also have the option of picking up the Level Active in a variety of peppy colours which gives them more character. I got the grey-green unit to review and personally felt that they stood from the mundane crowd of black-coloured earphones. There’s a small indent on the left earpiece which can be used to open the metal disc, thereby exposing the micro-USB slot which is used to charge the earphones. The disc on the right earpiece houses the power button, which is used to turn the Level Active on or off. The earphones also come with an in-line remote control which can be used to put the earphones in pairing mode, control the music playback or answer/reject calls. Suffice it to say, the Level Active look good, are functional and extremely comfortable which leaves us with one important question – how do they sound?
Sound and performance
A popular consensus against Bluetooth earphones is that they don’t sound as good as a pair of wired earphones, especially when you’re operating on a limited budget. The Samsung Level Active is no exception to this and you could buy a pair of better sounding IEMs for the same price. However, that’s not to say that you should, especially if you are into fitness. You see, the Level Active isn’t designed to be analysed, note-by-note in a controlled environment but rather, in a chaotic gymnasium. The first thing that grabbed my attention was that the earphones offer excellent sound isolation and can get really loud when you max out the volume, which is ideal for an athlete. Moreover, despite being targeted towards sports enthusiasts, the earphones aren’t bass-heavy, which depending on your taste in music, could be a good or a bad thing. Personally, I do listen to a lot of Pop/EDM and therefore, I was left wanting for a little more oomph in the low-end when I was listening to songs from artists like Infected Mushroom and Marshmello. That said, the Level Active deliver excellent mids and a lot of prominence has been given to the vocals, which stand out in every song regardless of the genre of the track.
Be it The Rasmus’s Wonderman or Lorde’s Homemade Dynamite, the artist’s voice is crystal clear and floats above the rest of the instruments. On the other hand, the performance of the Level Active in the high-end is nothing to write home about. You could enjoy listening to some of your favourite metal/rock bands but bear in mind that the tracks get extremely muddy when as you increase the volume. The soundstage is about as roomy as a street in Chandni Chowk and while the instrument separation is decent, I would recommend against using the Active’s for chaotic tracks.
Battery life, connectivity, and others
Having used the earphones for almost a week, I can gladly report that the Level Active offer a rock-solid Bluetooth connection which doesn’t falter even when you’re running or working out. Moreover, the call quality of the earphones is excellent too and I didn’t face any dropped calls over the course of my review period. In terms of battery life, the earphones should last you anywhere between 4-5 hours off a single charge, with the battery taking a little over 50 minutes to refuel.
What separates the Samsung Level Active from the herd of budget Bluetooth earphones is that they can give you insights on your workout when paired with Samsung’s S Health app. The earphones can record the time and distance travelled during say, a run or a hike and can then play back the information to the user. Moreover, the earphone’s also come with support text-to-speech dictation and will read you notifications from the apps you choose.
If you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds which don’t break the bank from a name brand, then it doesn’t get any better than the Samsung Level Active. The earphones are extremely comfortable, come with sweat resistance and look stylish too, which makes them an ideal accessory for outdoor activities. Moreover, the notification support and the compatibility with S-health app is an icing on the cake which makes them all the more appealing. Suffice it to say, you can’t go wrong with Samsung’s Level Active.
Editor’s Rating: 3.5 / 5
- Stylish design
- Extremely comfortable
- Sweat resistant
- Average battery life
- Average sound output