With the growing popularity of Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Huawei and OnePlus, several obscure Chinese brands are slowly making their way to Indian shores. While a standard search for "wireless headphones" will yield countless branded offerings from the likes of JBL, and Jabra, scroll deeper down that rabbit hole, to enter the wonderful world of the not-so-branded headphones. It could be a minefield, but it could also be a treasure trove. If you've been there, spotted the Bluedio Hurricane T2 wondered how good they really are, considering their affordable price - we have the answer for you, right here.
Build Quality and Looks
The Hurricane T2's design is a pick for the curious eye. Available in white, red and black, the headphones features a unique rotary design which hold the earcups in place and can be folded inwards for portability. Bluedio may be not be a known brand here, but in China it's quite popular. In line with the current trend of high quality Chinese products, the T2 is quite sturdy and very light. With a frame made of metal, over which there's a comfy leatherette padding. The rotary parts that hold up the cups make the headphones feel a bit flimsy due to the weight of the cups positioned at an angle. Though extend both cups and you'll see the metal band.
The unit rotates at a 195 degrees, revealing a bit of faux metal. The cups themselves are plastic with metal accents, and in the centre of the outer cup there's a spun metal like look with lines that make it look like, well, a turbine. Where the design falls short is the overkill in text, the logo looks great, but there was no need for the T in a square, or the HIFI HEADPHONE embossed text in a weird Arial font that's been compressed, or the weird 057 DRIVER on the other side. These would be great if the headphone came in a transparent packaging, but the box is simple cardboard. While the T2 looks premium from far, on closer inspection all that text just clutters it.
The earpads on the insides of the cups are leatherette, with a perforated cloth covering the driver housing. The buttons are quite ergonomically placed on the edge of the right cup, volume buttons, power button and a helpful rocker for play, forward and back. The buttons are easy to feel out, though there's a bit of play, so they could get a bit loose with overuse. There's an indicator light etched near the buttons. There's a built-in mic somewhere for calls, but there's no evidence of this on the exterior.
All in all, the Hurricane is a premium looking headphone with good build quality. A lot better than some of the Rs 5,000+ headphones out there.
Ergonomics and Comfort
The Turbine 2 is light and comfortable to wear. Due to the rotary design of the T2, you will need to get a hang of placing earcups on the right and left ears as indicated. Just make sure the headband facing forward is the right way on. The downside is that when bending, the headphone could fall off, if the headband is not fitted to size.
The T2 rested quite well over the ears for a comfortable fit. The earcups were soft and cushioned, though being leatherette they got quite hot indoors. Outdoors, you will get sweaty ears, and expect the temperature to rise as the bass drops.
Sound and Battery
Packed in the medium sized earcups of the T2 are massive 57mm sound drivers. For size, most headphones off the shelf are 40mm. Many gaming and audiophile headphones use 50mm drivers for increased soundspace. The Turbine 2 packs in gigantic 57mm drivers. Which need a lot of power to produce sound, making the battery powered headset a perfect playground.
The headset connected flawlessley. The Bluetooth 4.1 is quite versatile, and connected to a Macbook, Android phone, iPad easily. The T2 can connect to all bluetooth devices, and those without, there's a AUX cable in the box you can easily connect to the headphone jack. For gaming, you can either sync it up to your Playstation 4 via bluetooth or plug it into your controller. The range is the standard 10 meters around the source. So you can watch a Blu-Ray or a movie on Plex as well at a distance on your HDTV.
Performance and Verdict
With a frequency response of 20hz to 20,000hz and the big driver, the sound should be magnificent. It is, but not in the way audiophiles hope for. Out of the box T2's are bass heavy, so much so that it overshadows the mids and trebles. You can tap the volume up and down together to turn off the bass a bit, but everything sounds flat. The bass is warm and thumping, and you will need to spend considerable time with your most listened to genres of music and tweak your on device equaliser.
After tweaking, Dubstep, Hip Hop and in general any type of music that depends heavily on a beat, sounds fantastic on this bad boy. Yet, if you are sensitive to mids, you'll probably find it sandwiched and muffled between the treble and bass. Audiophiles looking for adequate instrument separation in their Jazz or Orchestra ensembles, will be sorely disappointed. The large drivers do create the sound space, however, it could be that the cups are too small to adequately expand that sound into clear instrumentation. However, with a bit of tweaking you can get it to sound decent.
On the upside though, all that extra bass helped a lot when playing Mad Max on the PS4, with the thrum of the cars engines and the booms and crashes sounding great. Not to mention, no wires. Watching movies and TV Shows on the go, the Turbine 2's are great for. With good sound isolation, the heavy bass does tend to dominate the scene, but action scenes have punch, and there is good volume in the dialogues. You can tweak the sound in the app settings or a global sound equaliser.
One small nicety packed into this headset was that you can plug any wired headphone into the jack on the T2 to play music, on both. Which is great on flights, where you and your friend or loved one can just plug in their headphones to watch a movie together.
The Battery Life as advertised is pretty much it. Over 40 hours of Music time, with 1625 hours of standby time, and all that you get from one 20 minute charge of the battery. While that's a lot of hours to accurately test if it was true, the headphone just kept on going with music and call usage for days. Even if it dies, you can charge it on any MicroUSB available.
At a bit less than Rs. 3,000, the Bluedio Turbine 2's cannot be termed as an incredible deal, as much as say the Rs. 1500 Bluedio Q5's. However, it's still a good price if you're in the market for portable, bassy headphones that look great. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time in your equalizer settings.