HolyHigh ET1 True Wireless Earphones review

Another day, another Bluetooth wireless headphone to review. Once limited to only a couple brands and models, “true wireless” headphones or earbuds as they are called are all but commonplace today. An Amazon search for “true wireless headphones” yields over 2,000 results.

With so many models and price ranges to choose from, how does the HolyHigh ET1 compare to others? Or better question, how can it stand out from the crowd?

In the Box

As far as unboxings go, opening the HolyHigh ET1 is about one notch above using a box cutter to slice through the razor sharp clear plastic that you’ll find encasing merchandise on peg board racks at your local discount store. In fact, you’ll find exactly that plastic inside the packaging once you slide the outer sleeve off the box.  Fortunately, no tools are required to open this packaging.

Under that plastic window you’ll find the charging case containing the left and right earbuds. The earbuds ship with stickers covering their respective charging contacts.

Pulling the case out of the package, you’ll also find a short micro-USB charging cable, 2 additional pairs (large and small) of silicone eartips, multi-language user guide, multi-language “tips” card, and “thank you” card.

Design

The HolyHigh ET1 true wireless earphones feature a behind the ear hook design. For active users, this ensures you won’t be losing them during strenuous activity. However, for eyeglass or sunglass wearers; this design may be uncomfortable as it adds bulk behind your ears. The ear hooks are made of rubber and are integrated into the earbuds.

The left and right earbuds are made of lightweight, matte black plastic. Each side features a single multi-purpose button, LED light and microphone. A grayish stripe spruces up and otherwise “plain-Jane” design.

No branding is present on the earbuds themselves which I’m guessing is either for OEM purposes or to appease brand-conscious buyers who might otherwise not buy a product that doesn’t overtly advertise “Beats.”

The charging case is made of similar matte plastic and features HolyHigh branding across the top. It is surprisingly lightweight for its size, about the size of a bar of soap. On the front of the clamshell case is a single LED light and on the rear a micro-USB charging port.

The case contains a 600mAh battery. Opening the case, I was befuddled to find the left earbud seated on the right side of the case and vice versa. Obviously not a deal breaker but an odd design decision.

Setup

The HolyHigh ET1 earphones can be used in both stereo or monaural modes. Pairing the earphones is a relatively simple process; remove the earphones from the charging case and press and hold the multi-function buttons on both earbuds for two seconds to turn on. Open your phone’s Bluetooth setting and select ET1. From here forward, you can use the left and right earbuds independently if desired.

Performance

Before we jump into sound quality, let’s talk about fit. Without swapping the eartips, I found that the left earbud sealed with no issue. The right earbud on the other hand was more fickle. I found that it would only remain seated in my ear canal if I rotated the earbud so that the attached end of the hook was placed against the top of my earlobe. Once placed in that position, it was time to crank some tunes.

To test the ET1 earbuds, I turned to my personal “I Hear Dead People” playlist. It offers a wide variety of genres and I’ve listened to them through all sorts of speakers, earphones, headphones, etc. to know the nuances of each song.

First up;  Nirvana’s “You Know You’re Right.” I noticed immediately that the HolyHigh ET1’s were capable of delivering on bass response. But the song sounded distorted at mid-range and above. It’s not often I listen to earphones that struggle on higher frequencies. I was honestly prepared to be disappointed.

Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” was up next. I love this song. You can hear the finality of life in the timbre of Johnny’s voice. The vocals and acoustic guitar notes sounded fantastic. I went from disappointment to surprised satisfaction immediately. One of these songs is a fluke, but which one?

I allowed the playlist to continue. One deceased singer after another for the next 1.5 hours or so. Amy Winehouse, INXS, Joy Division, Notorious B.I.G., Prince, Soundgarden, Tom Petty, Sublime, Alice In Chains, etc. They all sounded good to great.

Battery check at the end of the playing session was at 60%. I predict that the claimed five hours of play time is not far off. The case claims 6X full recharges for 35+ hours of play.

Calls

My first call test happened spontaneously when I was testing music. I answered an incoming call using the multi-function button and while the call picked up, I could not hear the caller and they couldn’t hear me.

The second test was an outgoing call using only the right earbud and the caller heard me perfectly.  We’ll mark the initial test a fluke.

Controls

The good news is there are lots of controls available on the earbuds using the multi-function button. The bad news is you’re probably going to have to carry the instruction manual for a while to figure them all out.

  • Turn on – Remove from case and hold button for 2 sec. (Mine turned on as soon as I removed from case)
  • Turn off – Place in case and hold button for 5 sec.
  • Play/Pause – Press L/R button
  • Previous/Next – In stereo mode double-click L/R buttons respectively. Mono mode – double click L/R will only skip to the next track.
  • Volume Down/Up – Press and hold the left or right button respectively for 2 seconds and continue hold until desired volume is reached.
  • Answer/hang-up call – Press L/R button
  • Reject a call – Press button for 2 sec
  • Answer call waiting – Press L/R button
  • Reject call waiting – Press and hold L/R button
  • Switch between calls – Press L/R button
  • Answer incoming call and hang up first call – Double-click L/R
  • Hang up 2nd call and return to first call – Double-click L/R
  • Turn on voice assistant – Triple-click L/R
  • Turn off voice assistant – Press L/R

In my experience, double-clicking and triple-clicking were extremely clumsy. Especially when using my non-dominant hand. On more than one occasion, I launched Siri rather than navigating to the previous song.

Wrap-Up

At MSRP of $49.99 on Amazon I would personally have a hard time going with the HolyHigh ET1 True Wireless headphones. At the time of this review, a 15% off coupon was available bringing the price to a slightly more reasonable $42.49.

If you are in the market for behind the ear hook style earbuds, the HolyHigh ET1 should be on your list of considerations based on sound quality and a generous 24-month warranty.

The description on Amazon states the earbuds are “made of IPX7 waterproof material.” That doesn’t give me confidence that the earbuds themselves could withstand 30 minutes submerged in 3.3 feet of water. In fairness, I didn’t test the waterproof claim in my test either.

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