Neckband style earphones saw a boom alongside the true wireless earphone revolution, with brands like Xiaomi, realme, Oppo and even OnePlus launching budget neckbands in India in the last couple of years. Recently, in the price range of ₹5,000, there has been a sudden increase in the number of ANC earphones, which were missing for quite some time in the Indian market. PlayGo which is a new brand founded by Micromax’s co-founders saw this as an opportunity, in the form of the PlayGo N82. It certainly is a unique product, but is it worth it? We find out.
- The eartips of the PlayGo N82 feel really good. There are different sizes of eartips available, but the stock one fit my ears pretty well. The sides of the eartips are also surrounded by a sort of an insulating material that provides some help in terms of the ANC functionality. This feels pretty soft for the ears and does not cause any itching or problematic feeling.
- The colour options provided for the neckband is pretty subtle, stealthy and does not attract any unwanted attention. I was provided with the Graphite Grey option which is probably the best option for most users, since the other options include Metallic Blue and Metallic Teal, which might not be as appealing to most users. Regardless, the Graphite Grey variant does look appealing and the tips of the earbuds appear very premium with a silver-greyish finish.
- ANC has been a feature that has been quite useful for me. But, there seems to be a bit of a belief that ANC can reduce outside noise to the point where there is pin-drop silence. Well, that is false. At least, with these earbuds for sure. I used the neckband while travelling and, in my experience, ANC does work and impacts songs and media consumption as a whole, but it doesn’t convert to silence.
- For example, while on the road in a car, the sound of the highway road seemed to be reduced and the noise of the car engine was greatly scuttled , but, I was easily able to hear my surroundings, albeit a bit less. Similarly, in a room with an AC, the hum of the blower was greatly reduced, but it was still present as a minor sound, which was not audible while playing any kind of content, regardless of the volume.
- The 13mm drivers perform pretty well in most situations. The thing that stood out to me was the sheer amount of loudness that these earphones could produce without any distortion, even at high volumes. The sound produced is pretty balanced, without any special emphasis on bass, which is not a bad thing. In case you do wish to listen to bass heavy songs, you can toggle on the extra bass mode, but, do be warned, the loudness is impacted when one switches on the bass mode. To sum up the sound quality, the PlayGo N82 are much better in terms of sound when compared to the OnePlus Bullets Z, which are my daily driver neckband earphones.
- Battery Life was pretty impressive, with the Neckband providing around 14hrs of battery life with ANC on at 80% volume and, around 15.5hrs of battery life without ANC on at 70% volume. This was pretty surprising and, with the ANC mode toggled on, the battery life is pretty impressive, if not adequate.
- It is also very easy to use. There are multiple buttons that can be used for different kinds of commands. One can control playback controls, volume up or down, toggling ANC on/off and extra bass mode on/off. This is pretty helpful for the consumer and the steps too are easy and lack any amount of complexity.
- While the polycarbonate build of the PlayGo N82 does not scratch easily, it feels very cheap when compared to cheaper options like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z. The thick body does not help the neckband in any way and ends up feeling odd and bulky, even though the Neckband itself is pretty light.
- The one feature that the PlayGo N82 lacks when compared to the competition is a supported app for controls and updates, something present for the realme Buds wireless Pro. This is not a huge con, but, the lack of software updates is a bummer when compared to options from competitors.
- Charging speeds are not as good as the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, even though regular battery life is pretty similar. More importantly, the lack of a USB Type-C port and the inclusion of a Micro-USB port is not a good feature, considering most brands, even in the budget segment have moved onto Type-C based charging.
Should You Buy It?
Available for ₹3,000, the PlayGo N82 offers very little to complain about. While the realme Buds Wireless Pro do offer app support and LDAC Codec support, they are around ₹1,000 more expensive, which is a 25% increase in price. For 3K, the PlayGo N82 is one of the cheapest neckbands out there that has support for ANC and, while a Type-C port would have been appreciated, some compromises can be made. In terms of overall value, this a VFM product and, if ANC is what you need and your budget is not that high, the N82 is one of, if not the best options available out there.