Wicked Audio has a surprisingly wide range of headphones on offer — over 30 by our count — all marketed squarely at young people who enjoy extreme sports. The Endo, which we’ll review here today, is a Bluetooth on-ear headphone that could be a good choice for the budget-conscious, but its execution holds it back just short of the mark.
In the Endo’s loudly-designed box are just the minimum of accessories — no case or bag is included, just a charging cable and an 3.5mm analog audio cable. The headphone itself is very light and, despite being entirely made of plastic, is able to swivel and fold for portability without any of the creaks and squeaks we heard from the Phiaton BT390. Our review unit came in the rubberized black colorway that has a sleek look and feel — the black-on-black logos are subtle and surprisingly classy in light of the in-your-face artwork on the Endo’s packaging. One caveat: the rubberized finish can be a fingerprint magnet, so be ready to clean these to keep them looking cool.
Despite the positive initial impression that the Endo makes, the devil is in the details. The sizing mechanism’s clicks are a little mushy and, upon closer inspection, we noticed scrapes on the plastic after just a few days of use; the Endo may not be designed for long-term ownership. Also, what comfort the Endo gains in lightness, it loses in how harshly it treats the ears. The Endo’s ear pads are very stiff, which not only makes this headphone isolate poorly from outside noise but also causes it to compress the ears in a way that makes them hot and uncomfortable over time.
The Endo’s controls appear simple, but are actually frustrating to use. In the dozens of Bluetooth headphones we’ve used over the years, almost all follow a simple control scheme — one play/pause/power button between two buttons that are short-pressed for volume control and long-pressed for track control. The Endo, strangely, reverses this control scheme: the “up/down” buttons are short-pressed for track control, and held down for volume control. It seems like most other headphone companies have agreed on a common control scheme; we’re all about unique product design, but this seems to be the wrong place to disrupt the user’s expectations. Other than that, using the Endo was simple enough, and we got about the 8 hours of battery life that Wicked advertised.
For a $45 on-ear headphone, we didn’t expect the best sound in the world. The Endo has what we’d characterize as a very basic version of the consumer sound signature, with overblown “thup-thup” bass and a muffled upper midrange and treble. We would actually not be too critical of this sound signature given the price point and target market — these are easily preferable to letting kids destroy their hearing with earbuds that don’t provide the bass they crave — but our review unit had bigger problems that forced us to drop its score. The right driver buzzed and distorted as we listened; it’s a quality control failure that’s really not acceptable at any price point.
Company and Price
Company: Wicked Audio