I'll get straight to the point: House of Marley’s new Champion 2 earbuds might seem a novel mix of wood and plastic visually, but the battery life is no joke.
To clarify, the company's new Champion 2 earbuds boast a whopping 10 hours of listening from a single charge – and 35 hours total with the compact case. This claim puts them streets ahead of the Sony WF-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 for battery life, with the Sony flagship earbuds coming in at eight hours for the earbuds, 24 hours total in the case, and the Bose option promising just six hours from the buds and a further three charges in the case.
The clued up will know that 10 hours is achievable in another true wireless design. You get 10 hours of stamina from the wallet-friendly Sony WF-C500 earbuds, but here's the thing: those only have one extra charge in the case, aka 20 hours total, so you can see why we're impressed with House of Marley's new progeny.
The rub is the lack of active noise cancellation, which will sap the stamina of any set of earbuds and so is something you won't get with the Champion 2, or Sony WF-C500.
But irrespective of noise nixing, battery life alone puts the new House of Marley Champion 2 up there with the best true wireless earbuds we've ever tested. They even improve on the staying power of the excellent Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus for juice on a single charge (you get seven hours from the also-devoid-of-ANC Melomania 1 Plus, in high performance mode), although their 35-hour combined total is equal to the House of Marley pair.
Is this love? If House of Marley can live up to its stamina claim, yes
It's no good waxing lyrical on the sonic prowess of your earbuds if they can't last your commute on a single charge. Surely, any music is better than no music at all – ie. your buds languishing in their case for an entire journey?
Elsewhere, the Champion 2 offer an IPX5 water resistant rating, 6mm high-definition drivers, soft gel tips for fit security and a mic for call-handling. And the build is nothing if not sustainable, using FSC certified wood, the company's own Regrind silicone (made by reclaiming and upcycling post-process and post-consumer silicone scraps that would otherwise go to waste ) and 100% plastic-free recyclable packaging.
You're probably aware of the eco-conscious audio manufacturer House of Marley – yes, created in collaboration with Bob Marley's actual family. If not, the company's Rebel and Liberate Air earbuds are a good place to start, as is the Get Together Solo speaker. (Is it possible to get together solo? And if so, could you be loved?)
House of Marley's Champion 2 launch coincides with the launch of an over-ear option called the Positive Vibration Frequency boasting 40mm dynamic drivers and over 34 hours of playtime.
Prices? Of course: the Positive Vibration Frequency over-ears are priced $99.99 (roughly £78, AU$150) and are available now in the US.
The House of Marley Champion 2 earbuds are also available now, priced $89.99 and although we can't see them listed in the UK, Australia and other regions just yet, that sub-$100 asking fee (or around £70, AU$135) would make them eligible for our best budget wireless earbuds and no mistake.
(Hot tip: check out the Earfun Air Pro 3 if you want a budget option with active noise cancellation. You're welcome.)
Are these little earbuds capable of singin' sweet songs of melodies pure and true? Watch this space.
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.