In this House of Marley Champion review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this pair of budget true wireless headphones from the Bob Marley inspired audio brand. Featuring in T3’s guide to the best true wireless earbuds, they’re the best budget option for the eco-conscious.
Crafting their products from sustainably sourced materials like bamboo, recyclable aluminium and fabric constructed from organic cotton, recycled PET and reclaimed hemp, House of Marley’s biggest selling point is their eco-friendly approach to audio. It’s great to see a brand that keeps one eye on the music and one eye on their environmental impact, but do they make compromises on quality to achieve that? Read on to find out.
House of Marley Champion review: price and availability
Available from Amazon, and direct from their site, the House of Marley Champion earbuds start at $69.99 in the US or £49.99 in the UK. In Australia they cost about AU$99.95.
This isn’t House of Marley’s first true wireless rodeo, they’ve had a few pairs come before like the Liberate Air TWS and the Redemption ANC TWS earbuds. The difference? Both of these will set you back £130 / $150 or more. Not everyone is willing to fork out this much on a pair of headphones, so the Champions aim to fill that gap by offering an affordable alternative.
House of Marley Champion review: features
Using bamboo, natural fibre composites and Regrind silicone (which is made from reclaimed and upcycled waste) - like all of the brand’s products, the House of Marley Champion earbuds are made from sustainable materials. Even the charging cable is created with 99% recyclable polyester.
While the eco-friendly angle is a massive benefit of these buds, there’s much more to them than just that. Here's a quick whistlestop tour of their main features:
They’ll be able to withstand a bit of rain or a particularly intense workout thanks to their IPX4 water and sweat resistance (although they may not survive a dunk underwater). They have an ergonomic, snug fit to keep them secure, even for those with a super active lifestyle. And for quick music changes on the go, each bud has a multifunctional button to pause, play and skip through tracks without the need to reach for your phone.
Battery life is one of the House of Marley Champion's best assets. The earbuds themselves will last about 8 hours of playback, and the case can hold 28 hours. If you do get caught short, a quick 15-minute charge will give you about 2 hours of extra music as well. It's always nice to have that safety net!
House of Marley Champion review: design and fit
In the box, alongside the House of Marley Champion buds and charging case, there are two sizes of silicone ear tips and a USB-C charging cable.
The small, rounded matte black headphones have specks that look similar to sawdust integrated into the design. On each of the buds is an LED light and a wooden button in the middle with the House of Marley logo engraved into it. The matching charging case has the same bamboo touch on the lid. I like the modern styling of these earbuds, the wooden elements especially give these quite an earthly feeling. House of Marley doesn’t just produce audio products with an eco-friendly backstory, they make them look the part too.
Both the earbuds and the case can withstand knocks and bumps despite feeling quite lightweight. The materials used in their design meant they didn’t suffer from any obvious scratches throughout the time I was using them.
The case is small enough to slide into your pocket without any problems and considering the affordable price, it doesn’t feel hollow or cheap either. At the opening of the case are four tiny LEDs that let you know the case’s battery level, one light being 25% charged, two being 50% and so on.
With only two sizes of ear tip available, they didn’t give me the best fit. I found they felt too big in my ears and quickly became uncomfortable, although that's quite a common problem for me. For most people, I would think that they will fit just fine. Despite that, they were very secure, I used them for everything from popping to the shops to working out and they didn’t fall out even once.
To control the music, there’s a multifunction button on both of the buds. Press once to pause or play the music, twice to skip forwards or backwards, press three times to call upon your smartphone’s voice assistant and you can answer calls by holding the button down. One big problem I had with the controls is that they’re located in the middle of the earbuds, which means you have to push them further into your ears to use them. Because of how awkward the buttons were to use I eventually ended up avoiding them, using my phone to control the music instead
House of Marley Champion review: performance
The House of Marley Champion earbuds pleasantly surprised me when it came to sound quality. An energetic, punchy bass and wide soundstage made for quite an accurate experience with no glaring problems or distortion even turned up all the way. Vocals came across clearly, while the low-end was well balanced and not overbearing at all. I never needed to turn these up past about 75% so they weren’t lacking in volume either. For a pair of affordable headphones, it’s safe to say they stand out against the crowd when it comes to performance.
If I were to nitpick, because these earbuds were slightly too big for my ears, I didn’t get the full effect of the music without forcing them further in. But in the same breath, the tight fit did make for fantastic sound isolation. Even with the music switched off, I couldn't hear faint noise. So even though they didn't have specific noise-cancelling features, they did do a great job at blocking out ambient sounds, keeping the focus entirely on the music.
Another feature worth mentioning is the call quality. The microphone on the House of Marley Champion buds is loud, clear and not muffled at all. You don’t often hear a microphone this good in true wireless headphones that cost three times as much, to get that level of clarity in this budget pair was pretty remarkable.
House of Marley Champion review: verdict
Searching for a pair of affordable true wireless earbuds with superb sound is no easy feat, yet the House of Marley Champion earbuds definitely deliver on that front.
Those with smaller ears may not make the most out of them and there were a few design niggles like the placement of the multifunction button which was uncomfortable to use, but despite that, these headphones are sure to impress. Knowing that they are made from sustainably sourced materials gives them an edge over other pairs as well. It’s hard not to recommend the House of Marley Champion TWS.
House of Marley Champion review: also consider
If you are looking for earbuds that are more like AirPods, then take a look at the Urbanears Luma. Affordable and stylish, they are some of the best looking cheap headphones you can buy. They may not have award-winning sound, however, it's pretty well-balanced considering their price, and will be well suited to casually listening to podcasts or music on the go.
But if it’s the sound quality you really care about, you should also consider the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 they won Best Gadget Under £100 at the T3 Awards 2020. The Melomania 1 are uniformly excellent with all types of music and are comparable to a much more expensive pair.
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