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Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed May 22, 2020 at 07:50 am
Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset Picture
6.3
Mixed Usage
6.1
Neutral Sound
6.5
Commute/Travel
7.9
Sports/Fitness
6.0
Office
4.8
Wireless Gaming
4.7
Wired Gaming
6.2
Phone Calls
Type Mono In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a mediocre mono Bluetooth headset for phone calls. Its in-ear design isn't the most comfortable during longer sessions, and it's 3.3-hour battery life is much less than the 6-hours advertised by Mpow. While the sound profile is very bass-heavy, it's decent for phone calls as most voices are detailed and clear, though some sibilants (S and T sounds) might be piercing and harsh. While its integrated microphone can't separate your voice from background noises nearly as well as a boom mic, its recording quality is surprisingly decent and your voice sounds natural and clear. Unfortunately, it uses a proprietary charging cable, which can be a pain if you lose or break it, though it comes with two included, which is nice.

Our Verdict

6.3 Mixed Usage

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is mediocre for mixed usage. Since it only comes with a single earbud, it's a mono headset that's designed for phone calls rather than listening to music. That being said, the bass-heavy sound profile is well-suited to most popular genres and has a slightly excited sound that shouldn't be too muddy or cluttered. Unfortunately, the 3.3-hour battery life is disappointing and likely won't last through an entire work day if your job involves making a lot of calls. Due to not having a boom mic, your voice gets drowned out easily by background noise during phone calls, though on the bright side, your voice sounds quite clear and natural.

Pros
  • Decent microphone recording quality.
  • Leaks almost no audio, even at high volumes.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
Cons
  • Disappointing battery performance.
  • Microphone has sub-par noise handling.
  • Proprietary charging cradle.
6.1 Neutral Sound

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a mono Bluetooth headset and isn't recommended for neutral sound listening. Its sound profile is very bass-heavy and not very accurate, and its closed-back, in-ear design gives it a very closed soundstage. Overall, this headset is designed for phone calls and isn't the best choice for an accurate music-listening experience.

6.5 Commute/Travel

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is only alright for commuting or travel. Its 3.3-hour battery life is quite short and likely won't last most flights or travel days. It may be okay for commuting, though its mono headset design makes it more designed for taking phone calls rather than listening to music.

7.9 Sports/Fitness

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone can be a good choice for using while working out if you want to stay aware of your surroundings. Its bass-heavy sound profile helps to keep you pumped up at the gym, and it feels quite stable in the ear. The earbud blocks very little background noise while also leaving one ear fully open, so it's a good choice if you run outside where you need to be able to fully hear your surroundings.

6.0 Office

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is only passable for listening to music at the office. Its in-ear fit may not be the most comfortable for everyone during long periods, and its 3.3-hour battery likely won't last an entire workday, even with breaks. Due to its mono, single-earbud design, it's meant for phone calls rather than music, unless you like listening to music with one ear to stay aware of your surroundings. On the bright side, it leaks very little audio, so your coworkers won't hear what you're listening to, even at higher volumes.

4.8 Wireless Gaming

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone isn't recommended for wireless gaming. This Bluetooth-only headset isn't compatible with Xbox One or PS4, though it should connect to any Bluetooth-enabled PC. While its recording quality is quite decent, its latency is likely too high for most gamers.

4.7 Wired Gaming

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a Bluetooth-only headset that can't be used for wired gaming.

6.2 Phone Calls

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a mediocre mono Bluetooth headset for phone calls. The recording quality of the microphone is quite decent, and your voice sounds clear and natural, though it does a poor job of separating it from background noises. Its sound profile is well-balanced in the frequencies mainly responsible for most voices, so speech sounds very clear and detailed, though music sounds quite bass-heavy and muddy. Unfortunately, the 3.3-hour battery life is disappointing, and likely won't last a full work day if your job entails making a lot of phone calls.

  • 6.3 Mixed Usage
  • 6.1 Neutral Sound
  • 6.5 Commute/Travel
  • 7.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.0 Office
  • 4.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.7 Wired Gaming
  • 6.2 Phone Calls

Check Price

Black EM12 Wireless Earphone
Unavailable
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone has a fairly straight-forward design that looks very similar to some truly wireless headphones, like the SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless. It's very small, covered in glossy black plastic, and has a much more casual look than most mono Bluetooth headsets with a boom mic.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.01 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is decently comfortable. Some may find it causes fatigue during long sessions since its in-ear design enters the ear canal deeper than headsets with an earbud-style, like the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset. On the bright side, it doesn't put too much pressure on the inside of the ear, and it comes with three different tip sizes to help you find the most comfortable fit. Unlike the SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless, which is slightly curved, the EM12 is straight, so you can use it in either ear. That said, if you're looking for a mono headset but prefer an on-ear fit , take a look at the TaoTronics TT-BH041 Bluetooth Headset.

5.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The touch-sensitive controls on the Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone are easy to use and offer good, audio feedback. Unfortunately, it doesn't give you a lot of available commands and only allows you to play/pause music, answer/hang up a call, or reject a call.

9.9
Design
Portability
L 1.0 "
W 0.6 "
H 0.5 "
Volume 0.3 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is extremely portable. Since it's essentially just a single truly wireless earbud, it's among the smallest headsets we've ever tested and can easily be tossed into any pocket or bag.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.7 "
W 2.7 "
H 0.7 "
Volume 5.1 Cu. Inches

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone comes with a good hard case. Unfortunately, unlike with truly wireless headphones, the case doesn't provide any additional charges. On the bright side, it feels like it should provide decent protection against drops or light rain exposure, and it can easily store the headset, both USB chargers, and the additional tips.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is good. Both the headset and the USB charging cradle are made from dense plastic and should be able to withstand most accidental drops or bumps without sustaining damage.

7.5
Design
Stability

This headset feels fairly stable in the ear. While it lacks stability fins or an ear-hook, it's small enough that even with moderate head movements, it doesn't move around much.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone
  • 3x tip options
  • 2x Proprietary USB charging cradles
  • Hard case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
5.58 db
Treble Amount
-4.23 db

The sound profile of the Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is very bass-heavy yet fairly sibilant. There's a lot of extra bass that brings thump and kick to music, though it causes some tracks to sound boomy and muddy. The well-balanced mids and low-treble make most voices sound detailed, present, and accurate, which is great for phone calls.

9.6
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.09 dB

The frequency response consistency of this headset is outstanding. Provided you achieve a proper fit and seal with the included tips, you'll experience the same sound reproduction every time you use the headset.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
4.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.73 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
8.49 dB
Mid-Bass
8.79 dB
High-Bass
8.57 dB

The bass accuracy is poor. The entire range is very over-emphasized, resulting in a ton of extra thump, punch, and boominess in your music. However, this shouldn't affect voices too much on phone calls, as most voices don't reach these lower frequencies.

7.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.18 dB
Low-Mid
5.07 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.45 dB
High-Mid
-0.21 dB

The mid accuracy is good. Low-mid is slightly over-emphasized, causing some voices to appear slightly cluttered and muddy, though the rest of the range is very accurate and natural. High-mid, the range responsible for most voices, is very well-balanced and even, so speech sounds present and clear.

6.7
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.38 dB
Low-Treble
-0.39 dB
Mid-Treble
4.85 dB
High-Treble
-15.23 dB

The treble accuracy is okay. Luckily, low-treble, which is responsible for some higher-pitched voices, is very accurate and natural. Mid-treble is over-emphasized, causing some sibilants (S and T sounds) to be piercing and painful.

5.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
3.28 db
Dips
1.15 db

The peaks and dips performance of this headset is sub-par. There are some minor peaks and dips throughout the bass and mid-ranges, though they aren't too severe and noticeable. However, the large peak in mid-treble causes sibilants (S and T sounds) to sound sharp and piercing in comparison to the slightly recessed high-mid/low-treble ranges.

N/A
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
N/A
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
N/A
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
N/A
Weighted Phase Mismatch
N/A

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a mono headset and has no stereo imaging.

1.4
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
5.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.8

The soundstage performance of this headset is very bad. Since creating a large and speaker-like soundstage is partially dependent on having a speaker-like pinna activation, and in-ear headphones bypass the pinna (the outer ear) and don't interact with it, the soundstage is perceived to be small and located inside your head. Their in-ear design allows makes them much less open than headsets with an earbud design, like the Platronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset, or the Jabra Steel Bluetooth Headset.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

This headset doesn't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.468
WHD @ 100
0.270

The weighted harmonic distortion of this headset is decent. There's some distortion at both high and moderate volumes, though it likely won't be noticeable to most people.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test this headset. Our results are only valid when listening using these settings.

Isolation
4.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-9.72 dB
Bass
-2.31 dB
Mid
-5.65 dB
Treble
-21.31 dB

The isolation performance of this headset is poor. Despite its in-ear design, it doesn't block out much background noise at all. On top of this, since the headset only consists of a single earbud, the other ear will be completely open and not block any sound whatsoever.

9.3
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
25.3 dB

The leakage performance of this headset is great. Even at higher volumes it barely leaks any sound, and people nearby shouldn't hear what you're listening to.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

This headset has an integrated microphone in the earbud.

7.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
293.44 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.9 dB
HFE
7452.94 Hz
Weighted THD
0.809
Gain
3.47 dB

The recording quality of the microphone is decent. When on a call, your voice sounds clean, natural, and decently understandable, but fairly thin.

5.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
8.34 dB

The noise handling of the microphone is sub-par. Because this headset doesn't have a boom microphone and the mic sits fairly far away from your mouth, your voice easily gets drowned out in even moderately noisy environments. If you want a Bluetooth headset with much better noise handling, check out the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset.

Active Features
4.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
3.3 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
3.3 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Proprietary

The overall battery performance is disappointing. Despite advertising a six-hour battery life, the battery only lasts around three hours off a single charge. While this may last an entire work day if you don't talk on the phone much, it likely won't be long enough if you're on the phone a lot during an average day. It also takes 1.7 hours to fully charge, so you can't just take a quick break to recharge it. Unfortunately, it uses a proprietary USB charging cradle, which can be a pain. On the bright side, two are included, so you can leave one in the office and one at home, which is convenient.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone doesn't have a dedicated companion app.

Connectivity
7.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
77 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
284 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
194 ms
Android Latency
218 ms

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone has very good Bluetooth connectivity. It can connect to two devices at once, so you can easily listen to music off one device and answer a call from another, or switch between your PC and phone without having to disconnect. Unfortunately, latency is high on every device, though it's a bit lower on mobile devices while streaming YouTube videos. It's worth noting that some apps seem to compensate for this, so your real-world results may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a Bluetooth-only headset.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a Bluetooth-only headset that can't be used wired. It comes with two proprietary USB charging cradles that don't have any inputs.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a Bluetooth-only headset and isn't compatible with PS4. It should work with any Bluetooth-enabled PC.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is Bluetooth-only and isn't compatible with Xbox One.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wired USB dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone comes with two proprietary USB charging cradles. It's worth noting that this is for charging only, and isn't required for a connection.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone, though there are several other models available that appear to be very similar, including the Mpow EM1 and the Mpow EM16. Unfortunately, we haven't tested these models and don't know how they'll perform.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone is a mono Bluetooth headset with a bass-heavy sound profile and a decent microphone recording quality. Unfortunately, its 3.3-hour battery life isn't nearly as good as some other options like the Jabra Steel Bluetooth Headset or the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset. Its microphone also doesn't handle background noise nearly as well as a headset with a boom microphone. Check out our recommendations for best Bluetooth headsets for phone calls, or if you want something better-suited for gaming, best wireless gaming headsets.

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are very different products meant for different uses. The EM12 is a mono Bluetooth headset that looks like a single earbud from a pair of truly wireless in-ears and is designed to use while making phone calls. On the other hand, the Life Q20 are Bluetooth over-ear headphones designed primarily for listening to music. The Q20 also have a microphone built-in, which allows you to easily take phone calls, and the headphones themselves have ANC to give you peace and quiet while commuting or in the office. Overall, the Q20 are much more versatile and are a better choice for most uses.

Mpow H10 Wireless

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset and the AMpow H10 Wireless have very different designs and are meant for different uses. The EM12 is a mono Bluetooth headset that looks like a single earbud from a pair of truly wireless in-ears and is designed to use for phone calls. On the other hand, the H10 are wireless over-ear headphones primarily designed for listening to music. They also have a microphone built-in, which allows you to easily take phone calls. The headphones themselves are more comfortable and they have ANC to give you peace and quiet while commuting or in the office. Overall, the H10 are a better choice if you're looking for a versatile pair of over-ears for all-day use, but the EM12 is a decent choice if you want a single earbud for phone calls.

Jabra Steel Bluetooth Headset

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset is a better mono headset than the Jabra Steel Bluetooth Headset. The Mpow is more comfortable, has easier-to-use controls, looks and feels better-built, and has a better-balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the Steel's battery life is much longer, and the headset is rated IP54 for dust and water resistance, though this isn't something we test for. The boom mic on the Jabra Steel also does a better job of separating your voice from background noise, making it better-suited for noisy environments.

TaoTronics TT-BH041 Bluetooth Headset

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset is a better all-around wireless mono headset than the TaoTronics TT-BH041 Bluetooth Headset. The Mpow features a more well-balanced sound profile, blocks out more background noise, and has a higher-quality microphone. It can also connect to two devices simultaneously. Conversely, the TaoTronics has a far more comprehensive control scheme, lower wireless latency, and lasts roughly 10 times as long as the Mpow on a single charge.

TOZO T6 Truly Wireless

The TOZO T6 Truly Wireless and the Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset look similar but are designed for different uses. While the T6 are fairly standard truly wireless in-ears, the EM12 looks like a single earbud from a pair of truly wireless headphones and is designed to use primarily while talking on the phone. That being said, the mic on the T6 performs similarly overall, making them a more versatile option, as you can use a single earbud, or use both to listen to music. The T6 also have a less bass-heavy sound profile, though they do lack a bit of brilliance with higher-frequencies. Overall, the T6 are much more versatile and are likely a better choice for most people.

Mixcder E9 Wireless

The Mixcder E9 Wireless and the EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset are meant for different uses. The E9 are wireless over-ear headphones for listening to music, while the EM12 is a mono Bluetooth headset for phone calls. The E9 also have a microphone built-in, which allows you to easily take phone calls, and their over-ear design is quite a bit more comfortable. Their battery lasts a lot longer, and they have ANC to give you peace and quiet on the bus or in the office. Overall, the E9 are a better choice if you're looking for a versatile pair of over-ears for regular use, but if you want something small and discrete just for phone calls, you might be happier with the EM12.

Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset is a better mono headset for phone calls than the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset. The Mpow's microphone has a better recording quality, and the headset leaks much less audio. On the other hand, the Plantronics is more comfortable, has much better controls, a significantly longer battery, and a dedicated companion app with a ton of customization options.

Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset and the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset are both mediocre mono headsets. The Plantronics is more comfortable, has much better controls, has a better-balanced sound profile for voices, and has a much longer battery life. Its boom microphone also handles background noise significantly better than the integrated microphone on the Mpow, and Plantronics has a dedicated companion app with a ton of customization options. On the other hand, the Mpow has a more casual look, and its microphone has a better recording quality.

+ Show more

Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset Price

Black EM12 Wireless Earphone
Unavailable
Amazon.com

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