(Pocket-lint) - It's been a few years since we last tested any Rockjaw's audio kit, and in that time it's continued doing its best - which is pretty good, as it turns out. It's a go-to for solid sound quality at competitive prices.
Now we've tried out its true wireless earbuds, the Avant Air, and the same conclusion generally rings true. But with the market at this price point getting all the more competitive, though, is that good enough any longer?
- Plastic build for case and earbuds
- IPX5 water resistance
- 6.5g per earbud
When it comes to testing earbuds, there tends to be a decent amount of repetition on the design front - there are only so many ways a different manufacturer can riff on the classic Apple AirPods look, for example. We're pleased to say that Rockjaw doesn't repeat that slightly boring failing, though, for better and for worse.
These are earbuds that don't look all too much like any others we've tried. Sadly, we're not sure it's all in a good way this time - while they might look different, there's something pretty chunky and spiky about the Avant Air that we can't help but react against. In the ear they look a little larger than some alternatives, and the pointed edges are slightly aggressive.
You get the option to swap out that wingtip for a glossier alternative, but we're not sure why you'd need to - still, having the option might be nice for some.
The earbuds also come with a range of tips to try for the best fit, which we appreciate, including foam options that make for far better isolation, so we were able to get a tight enough seal that the lack of active noise-cancellation (ANC) didn't feel like too much of a loss.
They're also decently lightweight, which contributes to solid comfort when they're actually in your ear, although they don't manage the "forget you've got them in" magic that some competitors can. A good level of water-resistance does mean you don't have to be overly mindful of keeping them dry, though, which is welcome.
The case is a more pared-back affair, made out of black plastic with a shiny ring on top of it, and the earbuds magnetise into place pretty nicely. It's lightweight, which is good, but does lack a certain feeling of solidity, especially when it comes to snapping its lid shut.
It all adds up to a mixed bag, really. The Avant Air certainly look like their own thing, but we're not sure everyone will actually like the style that they bring to the table.
Sound quality and features
- Qualcomm aptX supported
- 12-hour battery life (39 hours more with the case)
On the sound side of things, we're happy to report that Rockjaw ekes a better situation from the limited budget it's got to spend. The headphones sound pretty good for this price point.
You'll get a decent punch of bass when you need it, while the mid-range comes through clearly. They're not the most delicate earbuds we've used though, when it comes to the top-end of the spectrum, making them perhaps less than perfect for those who know they'll be listening to plenty of acoustic or treble-rich tracks.
Connectivity is pretty secure once you've got it, although we sometimes found that the earbuds took a little while to reconnect to our iPhone when they came out of the case. We could wander about with them happily once they were hooked up, though, without losing anything.
In fact, you can use them for absolutely ages without having to think about a charge, too. The Avant Air can go 12 hours without a break, and with 39 more hours to get out of their case, you could easily go through a normal week without needing to plug them in at all, which is far better than many bigger-name competitors.
There aren't a huge many more features to write home about, with tap controls on each earbud that work fine (although they're a little sensitive to being activated by the act of taking the earbuds out of the case in the first place). The Avant Air also performs decently when it comes to call quality, picking up voices pretty well, which isn't something that you can always rely on.
The Rockjaw Avant Air served us well for the couple of weeks we used them. Their accessible price tag is what makes them a sensible option for those seeking balanced sound and impressive battery life on a modest budget. However, with big names like Nothing launching earbuds at the same cost, Rockjaw's effort just isn't a slam-dunk.
We don't love how Avant Air earbuds look, while the overall feel of the case and 'buds is slightly budget in its build quality. They're creditable enough wireless earbuds, but just not anything that's going to stick with us too long.
Nothing Ear 1
As mentioned above, Nothing's first set of earbuds hugely impressed us, and take on the Avant Air toe-to-toe. They cost the same and tick the same box where a unique design is concerned, although with greater success in our view. They also pack in active noise-cancellation to take the lead, making them a better option for most people. The only downside is a slightly convoluted purchase process.