Totally wire-free headphones are now pretty common, and the Soul ST-XS is Soul Electronics’ second truly wireless in-ear headphones, the first being the X-Shock. McBay, the distributor for Soul Electronics in Singapore, sent me the ST-XS for this review.
Totally wire-free headphones have no wires at all, not even one to connect the left and right earpieces. Some people like the absence of wires, but others may feel a little insecure, because the earpieces may be more prone to falling off unnoticed. If you belong in the former group, the Soul ST-XS offers you a simple, no-frills, wire-free listening experience.
At just 4 grams, the Soul ST-XS earpieces are very lightweight. You’ll hardly notice them in your ears. They are average-sized, and won’t protrude much out of the ears. They’re comfortable to wear. Three different sizes of silicon tips are provided.
There’s one button in the centre of each earpiece. Their functions are not, unfortunately, identical. While you can use either side to either side to pause and play music, only the left side can be used to answer, reject, redial call with a single, double, or triple press, respectively. The voice assistant can also only be activated by a one-second press on the left side.
The left earpiece, essentially, functions as the primary Bluetooth device. Calls are not only just controlled from the left earpiece, they’re also heard only in the left earpiece, even though the Soul ST-XS is a stereo device.
Like most wire-free headphones, the Soul ST-XS comes with a charging case that holds the earpieces when you’re not listening to them. This way, the earpieces don’t easily disappear into the depths of your bag. The charging case weighs just 43 grams. Its smallish 500 mAh battery capacity definitely helps keep the charging case light.
The Soul ST-XS has a run-time of just 2.5 hours, relatively short compared to other wire-free headphones. But since you can recharge it every time you store the ST-XS back in its case, this may not be an issue, as long as you don’t do long listening sessions.
The charging case can recharge the ST-XS four times, so altogether, you get about 10 hours of use. The charging case itself is charged via Micro-USB, and charging status is indicated by an LED indicator on the case, as well as a lighted ring on the earpiece.
Sound quality on the Soul ST-XS is surprisingly good, particularly considering its price category. Two 6 mm dynamic neodymium drivers deliver the Soul’s signature sound of balanced deep low bass without sacrificing the clarity of the mids and highs.
In my testing, I found the bass is notably robust with good bass extension. If you like a punchy bass in your headphones, the Soul ST-XS won’t disappoint you. Overall the presentation is clear and engaging. This is not an audiophile-grade headphone, and with that in mind, the ST-XS is really good.
The Soul ST-XS supports Bluetooth 4.2 with HFP, A2DP, and AVRCP profiles. There’s no aptX, unfortunately. The spec’ed frequency response range is 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
A Micro-USB charging cable is included in the retail packaging.
The Soul ST-XS retails at S$199, and is available in black and pink colours. You can purchase online from Soul Electronics, as well as other retailers around Singapore.
The Soul ST-XS is a basic, no-frills, truly wire-free in-ear headphones that sound great and are affordably priced.
- Great sound quality
- Audio calls in left ear only
- Basic functions only