The Flares Pros have a partially modular design that allows users to easily switch between a wired and wireless connection. Interestingly, Flares are putting particular emphasis on their Bluetooth implementation that promises superior quality to more conventional setups and, in Flares’ case, improved sound quality over a wired connection too (which would be a first for me).
In terms of hardware, the Bluetooth module does not share the earphones fabulous build quality but remains one of the better-constructed modules I’ve handled. It has a full plastic construction that is well sized with a nice toothed shirt clip that firmly holds the device. The module is also relatively light weight, I did notice it during a jog but never did it become cumbersome and I definitely prefer this approach to the neckband style wireless earphones or those that house all of the electronics within the remote.
The front is dominated by three large buttons that are stiff but clicky though they are a bit difficult to discern due to their identical sizing and design. The module feels a bit disappointing when considering their $600 AUD asking price, it does feel somewhat hollow and brittle. That being said, it does have some weight with no flex or creak and most importantly, the gold plated MMCX connectors on the top are snappy and solid and the clip at the rear holds its place perfectly.
Pairing is simple, controlled via the centre button which doubles as the status LED and power button. Holding for 2 seconds powers on and, if they are already paired, they quickly auto connect to available devices. Otherwise, the module immediately enters pairing mode upon power on. Once connected, the centre button controls the play/pause function and the volume buttons adjust the internal volume of the module separate to the source. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get double and triple tap to skip functions to work.
Battery life was close to Flares rating of 12 hours which is great considering the modules size and driving power. On that note, the maximum volume is good but not great, however, that is more due to the inefficiency of the earphones themselves than the module itself and I was comfortable listening at around 25% volume anyway. The module automatically turns off when no audio is playing or if no device is paired and remembers volume setting between power cycles, something that is quite uncommon and convenient.
Bluetooth range is also very good, they maintained a solid connection with my iPod Nano, even when the device was placed on the opposite side of my body. Most Bluetooth earphones become extremely spotty with such placing, some failing to connect altogether, but the Flares were almost completely reliable with only some slight skipping when obscured by my hand or arm. With a more line of sight connection, the earphones achieve vastly more range, I was able to traverse between rooms in my house without breakup.
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