There are no two ways about it. As important as these accessories are, Nokia is getting into the wireless earbuds space much after pretty much everyone else already has. Yet, you must only underestimate the new Nokia Power Earbuds Lite wireless earbuds, the BH-405 variant which we have for review to be precise, at your own peril. What they have going in favour immediately, among other things, is the price tag. While a bit late to the party, Nokia is going straight for the price band where the volumes are. Where the first time buyers are. And where there is less regret about spending more money as users upgrade to new earbuds much faster too. The Nokia Power Earbuds Lite are priced at Rs 3,599 at this time, and that puts it in the heart of the battle.
With this price tag, the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite go into a straight battle with the OnePlus Buds (around Rs 4,990), the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 (around Rs 3,599), the new Realme Buds Air 2 (around Rs 3,299) and you just need to do a cursory search on Amazon.in or Flipkart.com to find countless more options from Boat, Mivi, Crossbeats, Blaupunkt alongside some pretty unknown brands, mostly of Chinese origin. The joker in the pack, and I haven’t mentioned this yet, is the brilliant Jabra Elite 65t which is priced at around Rs 4,990 now—this has been around for a couple of years and started out northwards of Rs 15,000 at the time, and may still catch your attention if you aren’t adamant about something absolutely latest generation. In a nutshell, competition is tough and the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite have their work cut out.
At first glance, the ingredients are all there. A charging case, two wireless earbuds and the promise of wireless audio from your phone, laptop or tablet. In which case, how does a brand really differentiate their wireless earbuds from the rivals? Tough task, for sure. But here we are, and there is just something about the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite that makes them stand out. It is a bit difficult to exactly put the finger on what it is. Maybe it is a combination of things. For starters, what I have here is the lighter of the two colour options—you will be able to choose between Snow and Charcoal, though the white may stand out more in a sea of black or darker coloured wireless earbuds charging cases. Coming back to the design bit for a second. The curve on the lid of this charging case drops a bit lower towards the front. If I may say so, this reminds me of the front end of some Maserati cars—you may be a fan or not, that’s up to you.
The good thing is, the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite charging case uses the USB-C charging port, and chances are you’ll already have a phone that also uses the same charger. That means one less charger to carry whenever you travel. This is a pretty compact case for the wireless earbuds, and you’ll really have no problems sliding these into your chinos or jeans pockets. The buds themselves are IPX7 waterproofing resistant, which means they can emerge unscathed when dunked in as deep as 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Really, getting caught in a sharp shower will not cause any problems for these. I have to say that the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite are incredibly light to wear. Each bud weighs less than 50 grams, and the design is quite neat too. It’s a plastic build all through, but is nicely put together. These buds do peek out of your ears, but nothing that looks odd or gives the impression of heft and bulk. Find the correct size eartips for your ears and you are good to go.
In each ear are 6mm graphene audio drivers. The connectivity with your phone is with Bluetooth 5.0 and setting them up is a pretty simple task. There doesn’t seem to be a companion app for the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite, for the Android devices or for the Apple iPhone or iPad, and that means customization options are limited. I also wonder how the firmware updates will be rolled out for the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite, if at all, during its operational lifecycle. Before you set these up for the first time, do note a nice thing that Nokia does—there are plastic protectors for the connectors on the wireless earbuds. That means inside the retail packaging, the buds aren’t getting charged all the time. You should take the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite out of the case, remove that tiny piece of adhesive layered plastic protector from each bud, pop these buds back into the case for a couple of seconds and then put them in your ears to begin the quick pairing.
The sound is, and there is no way of being diplomatic about this, significantly better than what you may have expected from wireless earbuds that cost Rs 3,599. The sound signature, from the outset, is quite neutral and there is a softness to the sound that I prefer. No artificial boosting of the lower frequencies or the vocals seemed to show up on the tracks that I listened to and the video streaming content that I experienced with the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite. The neutrality of sound means that different genres of music will be given their due goodness and these buds can adapt to the different requirements of each. These have just the right amount of push for the lower frequencies, and that’s great news if you listen to a lot of trance music. Much like yours truly. These wireless earbuds are probably not for you, if you are looking for something that really boosts the bass. Sophisticated sound is what the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite deliver.
I’m not sure if this a software bug, but I noticed that upon pairing these buds with a couple of Android phones, their Bluetooth volume changed and increased without any input or prompt. That meant a slightly uncomfortable shock when I tapped on play on an audio track.
Nokia claims that the Power Earbuds Lite last about 5 hours of use on a single charge, with the 60mAh batteries in each earbud. And the case additionally has a 600mAh battery which can top up these buds 6 times over. In my listening experience, these earbuds lasted a bit more than 5 hours on a single charge—that could also be because I’m a tad too careful with the volume at which I listen to anything on earbuds. A physiological fallout of ear troubles. This simply means that the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite are one of those earbuds which you can charge and perhaps have them last for days on a single charge, depending on how much you use them every day. When you put these buds in the charging case and are a bit perplexed as to where the charging notification lights are, look carefully inwards from the top of the lid—the lighter plastic diffuses the light. It’s the same treatment for the case charging status LEDs at the front. Great news, if you leave them charging on the bedside table at night.
The Last Word: No Corners Have Been Cut In The Making Of These Earbuds
It took Nokia a while, but its better late than never. The ecosystem alongside the Nokia phones now has the missing till now piece of the jigsaw, and that’s the wireless earbuds which are in great demand these days. The Nokia Power Earbuds Lite do the pricing bit quite well, which should get them a lot more eyeballs for much less risk. Much like Nokia phones, there’s a generous dollop of simplicity to the design and the way the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite work. And these buds deliver on the sound, better than you’d expect, with a rather neutral sound signature and no artificial boosting of sound. There isn’t a powerful companion app and the ability to tweak the sound is limited to what your phone or tablet can offer, but then again, most users probably will be better off with less complication. You must have the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite on your shortlist, whenever you are in the market for affordable wireless earbuds.