When we were over in Las Vegas earlier this year for CES 2014, we paid a visit to the Rosewill suite where they had a huge range of products on display. We saw new power banks, kitchen appliances, PC cases, computer keyboards and surveillance equipment. While chatting with the reps, they told us that they were making a bigger push into the world of audio as well and that's when they showed me the Rosewill R-Studio E-860, a new set of earbuds that they said sounded really good. I had to find out for myself.
High End Audio, Low End Price
In line with the rest of the Rosewill product line, the R-Studio E-860 isn't meant to compete at the highest end of the market, being priced more affordably while compromising as little as possible. While I liked the overall design of the AMPBOX Bluetooth speaker I reviewed a short while ago, I found the overall performance to be a little lacking. By contrast, the E-860 is supposed to offer more of a premium sound.
What you get here are a set of earbuds with 10mm neodymium drivers and a titanium-coated diaphragm, backed by what they call Crystal Sound Technology for better definition and Punch Bass Ex Technology for an enhanced sound stage and better bass response. The net result, we're told, is that you get a truly high-end audio experience in a set of very portable earbuds.
Don't Get Tangled
The overall design of these earbuds is also unique for at least a couple of reasons. First, they've opted for a tangle-free flat cable. In my time with the E-860, I can attest that they really don't get tangled. There is a slightly soft rubberized finish to them too. Second, and perhaps more strangely, it appears this flat cable "overshoots" the earbud itself to create a small loop.
I'm not entirely sure why they did this, but it does provide for quite the unique look. As has become par for the course in this niche, the E-860 also comes with multiple sets of silicone ear inserts for a better custom fit. I stuck with the default "medium" set and they were reasonably comfortable, even for extended sessions.
The Audio Performance
When connected to the iPod, I found that the E-860 largely performed admirably with a full range of sound, but it did still suffer from a bit too much shrillness or sharpness, particularly in songs where the mid and higher range were emphasized. The Punch Bass Ex Technology was definitely at play, allowing for a better experience in songs where bass is more important, like R&B and hip hop.
This being said, the issue with the harsher sound was far lessened when I used the E-860 connected to the on-board sound on my desktop PC instead. The audio was rich and full, rivaling what I got out of the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro headset. What this meant is that these earbuds are capable of better sound, but they need a more powerful source to really shine.
MEGATechie R-Studio Richness or MEGATechie Falling Flat?
Understandably, Rosewill likely isn't the first name that will come to mind when you go shopping for a new set of earbuds, but the R-Studio E-860 is a strong competitor with an MSRP of $59.99. You can catch it on sale for as little as $40 at times, making it an inexpensive upgrade for the el cheapo earbuds that may accompany your mobile device.
It is important to note that this isn't a headset, though, as there is no inline mic. For listening to music and for some mobile gaming sessions (like on your 3DS or Vita), the E-860 is a decent option that is both comfortable and well-constructed, but you will get better overall performance if you invest in a set of earphones in the $100+ range instead.