Erato Apollo 7 review

Wireless earbuds aren't rocket science, but the Apollo 7 are still astounding

The Erato Apollo 7 are the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested yet.
The Erato Apollo 7 are the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested yet.
The Erato Apollo 7 are the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested yet.

Highs

  • Extremely convenient to use and set up
  • Excellent sound quality for most uses
  • Waterproof
  • Solid wireless range

Lows

  • Occasional syncing quirks
  • A little large for some ears

Whether the iPhone 7 has a headphone jack or not, wireless headphones are the future of consumer audio.

Despite this, the majority of today’s Bluetooth headphones are plagued with compromises, whether they be in audio quality, convenience, or fit/comfort. It’s no question that fully wireless earbuds are about to take off, but what remains in question is: which device will kick-start the revolution? Will it be the earbuds that ship with the iPhone 7? Probably. But that’s not stopping Erato from trying to beat Apple to the punch.

At a cool $249, the Erato Apollo 7 wireless earbuds certainly aren’t cheap, but do they boast the premium quality to match? Yes. Yes they do.

What’s in the box?

When we our Erato headphone review sampled arrived we were taken aback with how “premium” they feel. The golden box snaps shut with the click of two magnets hidden under the cardboard. Once you open the box for the first time you’ll see the headphones’ case wedged in a cushion – the ensemble looks as if it’s about to be presented for exchange in a wedding, not something you’re going to shove into your waxy ears to listen to Metallica.

The earbuds themselves are hidden inside this case, magnetically snapped into place, where they’ll live whenever they’re not in your ears. While the extra bits and pieces were sent to us in a separate box, the final packing will include a wide array of ear tips, both Comply memory foam and standard silicon, a Micro-USB charging cable, and sport wings right inside.

First Use

Setting up the Erato earbuds is crazy easy. There’s no need to download an extra app because the earbuds work just like any other Bluetooth headphones. To switch them on, simply hold down the single button located on each bud. Keep pressing one of the buttons down if you need to make them discoverable by your phone, tablet, or computer. It doesn’t really matter which earbud you pair, as they’ll sync with each other regardless.

Setting up the Erato earbuds is stupidly easy … they work just like any other Bluetooth earbuds.

One thing to note about these earbuds is that the portion that goes into your ear is fairly large – those who have trouble using earbuds in general will not find these to be any better. Fit is important, not just for security, but because sound quality depends greatly on how well these earbuds sit and seal in your ear.

Turning on the Apollo 7 isn’t as easy as turning on the Earin, which power on and pair automatically when you take them out of their case, but is still very easy, only requiring you to hold down the button for a second. Plus, if you turn them on when they’re already in your ear, you’ll get to enjoy the sound of a robotic voice saying “power on.”

Battery life

Battery technology is getting better but still isn’t good enough to make a device this small last for longer than three hours. You’re not going to get a full day of continuous use out of the Apollo 7’s, but if you don’t plan on using them for more than three hours at a time, recharging them in their case should get you through the day. The case offers two additional charges for each earbud, so in total you should get 9 hours of use.

Sound quality

The one thing both the Earin and Bragi Dash got right was sound quality. Both of those competing devices were designed with what are called balanced armature drivers — little rods that produce sound by vibrating back and forth. Known for their speedy response and clean attack, balanced armatures can sound very clean and clear, but they tend to struggle with bass.

By contrast, the Erato Apollo 7 use a micro-sized dynamic driver – like a super tiny version of the driver in your home speakers or full-size headphones – and, therefore, the bass on these bad boys is very impressive. It’s deep and clear, yet not overpowering. No, these aren’t over-ear headphones, and you’re not going to forget that while listening, but there’s plenty of bass to appreciate in the Apollo 7’s.

Erato wireless earbuds review
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Midrange response was fairly balanced with the bass and treble, providing clean vocals and just a little bit of meat to string instruments, those at times we felt like there was just a slight dip in there that kept voices from sounding like they were right inside your head.

Highs were affected greatly by the type of eartip used. With comply foam, the treble was sparkling but never strident or overly sibilant. With silicon tips, we felt like the treble spun out of control a bit. Our bet is that the Apollo 7 were voiced to sound their best with the Comply tips, because the affect they have on sound quality has always been substantial. It’s rare in our experience to find an in-ear headphone that sounds good with both types of tips.

And, again, with the Comply tips you have a better chance of getting a great seal, which will improve bass response dramatically.

What if they fall out and bounce down into the drain?

We’re not going to sugar-coat it: if you don’t stick these in your ears deep enough, it is possible that they’ll fall out. It’s a good idea to get used to the sports wings that come with them, which should help keep them in place.

If the buds do fall out and hit the deck, and you’re a bit of a germaphobe, don’t worry: one of the great things about these earbuds is that they’re water resistant. If they get dirty simply rinse them under the tap and pat them dry. Yes, we did try it, and no they didn’t break. Don’t go swimming with them, but if you get caught in the rain, your wireless earbuds should be just fine.

A life of their own

One issue we ran into periodically was synchronicity between the two earbuds. When we first fired them up, they usually struggled to sync up properly, and while after a few seconds of use they typically found their way, it was a little annoying to only be listening to music in one ear for those few seconds. Rarely, they would momentarily de-sync even after a few minutes of listening, but again they usually got back on track relatively quickly. Not a deal-breaker, to be sure, but something to keep in mind. We should also note that this has been an issue with every totally wireless in-ear we’ve tested so far, so we weren’t at all surprised to have this problem.

Another issue we’ve run into before is a brief balance problem wherein audio tended to sound a little heavier out of one earbud than another. Again, this was a very occasional issue, but if you’re not expecting it, you might worry something is wrong. From our experience, this is an unfortunate bug in the technology that makes wireless earbuds like this possible. We got over it pretty quickly. It’s more of a hiccup than a hindrance.

What the buds lack in stability among themselves, they more than make up for with remarkable wireless range with your device. We were able to hear music from as far as 14 or 15 feet away, so if you forget your phone on your desk you might just make it to the next room with the sound dropping out.

Conclusions

Erato has come out with a great product in the Apollo 7. They’re super convenient, come with enough tips and accessories to suit most ears, and they offer a great sound for everyday listening.

This technology is still new, and, therefore, quirky, but the Apollo 7 manage to do right where their competitors went wrong thanks to remarkably good wireless range and quick Bluetooth syncing with devices.

We’re excited to see how Erato uses technology improvements over the next few years to deliver an even better product, but in the meantime the Apollo 7 earbuds are the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested. If you’re an early adopter hungry to be one of the first to snag a pair of truly wireless earbuds, the Apollo 7 are your best bet yet.

Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Deals

Amazon drops price of 65-inch Sony 4K Smart TV by $300 for March Madness

You can get a fantastic 65-inch Sony LED TV for $300 off right now, in what's best described as the perfect TV deal to lead you and your living room into this year's March Madness tournament.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in April 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for April 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.