Wireless headphones have come a long way. Just a couple of years ago, wireless headphones were to be avoided like the plague due to poor connection, short battery life and bad sound quality. Today, that’s all changed.
While the $99 (about £75 or AU$130) FIIL DRIIFTER isn’t exactly in the budget wireless headphone camp, it does offer a lot of value for the money. For the price, you get an extremely lightweight and comfortable headphone, aptX codec support, multipoint pairing and an 10-hour battery life.
However, all that said, the DRIIFTER is far from flawless. In fact, its overwhelming bass-heavy sound signature means only bass-lovers should consider these headphones. While fun in short spurts, the thundering bass can get grating, especially if you like to listen to genres other than hip hop, electronic or pop.
As you can clearly see, the FIIL DRIIFTER are neckband earbuds, which means a majority of the weight is distributed across your neck. This makes the DRIIFTERs one of the most comfortable wireless headphones we’ve worn. They’re also extremely lightweight thanks to is plastic and rubber construction.
While plastic help the FIIL DRIIFTER with weight, the headphone feels cheap, especially when there are budget wired earbuds like the RHA MA390 that are made out of aluminum. Thankfully, the headphones are sweat and water resistant so you’ll be able to take them to the gym without worry.
All of the headphone controls are located on the right side of the neckband. There are buttons for play/pause, media playback, and a flap covering the microUSB charging port. It’s a shame there’s no USB-C charging as a majority of phones have moved to the port.
The FIIL DRIIFTER can also answer/reject calls and works with voice assistants with a long press of the play/pause button. There’s a mic located on the right earbud cord and callers reported being able to hear us clearly.
One thing we quickly want to mention are the nonsensical controls on the DRIIFTER. The volume buttons double media playback buttons with a long press, but its orientation is confusing. For example, you have to long-press volume down to skip a track. Most other headphones require a long-press of the volume up button to skip but it’s reversed on the DRIIFTERs. It’s a small detail but one that we constantly had to remind ourselves of when skipping tracks.
While it’s nice to see aptX support on the FIIL DRIIFTER, it’s lost cause because of the headphone’s overwhelming bass-heavy sound. While aptX is capable of streaming CD-quality audio, it simply doesn’t sound good because the mids and highs are overwhelmed by bass.
Don’t get us wrong, bass can be fun but too much of it ruins the listening experience. These headphones are fun for electronic, hip hop, and pop music but not for anything else. Additionally, the bass sounds loose and uncontrolled. While we wouldn’t call it muddy, it’s soft and lacks definition.
It’s a shame that FIIL tuned the DRIIFTER to be so bass heavy as there are moments when the mids shine, only to be overwhelmed by bass. Highs are recessed and rolled off, making violins sound wooden confined.
On the bright side, battery life is good with a rated playback time of about 10 hours. Our testing was in line with this rating, and got us throughout a full workday before needing a charge.
Isolation, however, is just mediocre, so those looking for earbuds to block out the noise of a busy commute will want to look elsewhere.
The FIIL DRIIFTER are excellent wireless earbuds to use, but its fatal flaw is its bass-heavy and soft sound. We liked the DRIIFTER for its comfort, battery life, aptX codec, and multipoint Bluetooth pairing support but we were ultimately let down by its acoustic tuning.
While its bass is impactful and fun, it bleeds too much into the mids and its highs are rolled off. Although not as bad as the bass on the Sony MDR-XB950N1, the FIIL DRIIFTER disappoints with its tonal balance. Overall, the headphones simply sound soft and uncontrolled. Those who listen to more than just the top 40 will want to look for better balanced sounding headphones.
Competitors like the Beats X offer better tonal balance, similar battery life and quick charging for the same price. Similarly, the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 offer better balance, build quality and similar battery life for slightly less money.