Hot on the heels of its first foray into fully wireless earbuds, Pioneer is following up its C8 earbuds with its new E8 wireless in-ear sports model, clearly aimed at those who want a more rugged, sweat-proof set of buds to accompany their workouts. The new buds will debut at CES 2019, and come in yellow, gray, and pink for $150 USD, or $200 CAD.
Unlike the C8s, which follow a distinctly fashion-forward design, including a stylish charger case, the new E8s follow a more conventional path, with a clamshell case design that has been used by several other manufacturers. Also familiar are the customizable ear fins, which keep the E8s firmly in place during vigorous activities.
The E8’s IPX5 rating ought to be enough to keep the earbuds from damage due to profuse sweating, and might even stand up to a post-workout shower, but we recommend keeping them from being dunked. Normally, in-ear buds have a tendency to keep out external sounds thanks to their inherently noise-isolating design. That’s great when you’re looking for a little peace and quiet on a busy bus, or on a plane, but when you’re jogging through an urban landscape it can be a serious hazard. The Pioneer E8s use special ambient awareness earphone tips, that have three small slits carved in them, designed to let in just enough external sound that you hopefully won’t be caught unawares by an approaching vehicle.
Battery life is rated at three hours of continuous transmission on a full charge, which ought to be enough for the most demanding of workouts or commutes, and the charging case will top you up twice, for a total of nine hours of playback. It takes one hour to fully charge the E8s, and and 3.5 hours to give the charging case a full juice. Not that we want to dump on Pioneer as it’s just getting used to the fully wireless space, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that 2019 is going to be the year these devices get a massive bump in battery life. Three hours is soon going to feel like hardly any time at all.
Pioneer has also merged playback, phone, and voice-assistant functions together into a single button, which should simplify these operations while you’ve got your mind on more pressing concerns.
Unfortunately for audiophiles, audio quality will be limited to Bluetooth 4.2 SBC/AAC codecs, so you’ll have to make do with standard resolution while you pound your way through your morning routine. No word yet on when (or where) the Pioneer E8s will go on sale.