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Reviewed on May 03, 2018

SENSO ActivBuds S-250 Bluetooth Headphones HEADPHONES REVIEW

Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Senso Bluetooth headphones ActivBuds S-250 are good sports headphones but subpar for most other use cases due to their poor sound quality. They're stable and portable so you can have them on you at all times. They also have decent build quality for their price and come with a lot of accessories. Unfortunately, their poor sound will be a deal breaker for most even if you just need a cheap headset for working out.

Test Results
Design 7.6
Sound 3.9
Isolation 6.0
Microphone 5.9
Active Features 5.6
Connectivity 3.3
Pros
  • Stable for sports.
  • Easy-to-use controls.
  • Decent build quality.
Cons
  • Deal breaker sound quality.
  • Poor noise isolation.

Check Price

ActivBuds S-250
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Summary

  • 5.7 Mixed Usage
  • 4.6 Critical Listening
  • 6.2 Commute/Travel
  • 7.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.0 Office
  • 4.9 TV
  • 4.7 Gaming
Mixed Usage 5.7

Below-average for mixed usage. These headphones are stable enough for sports and sufficiently compact so that you can have them on you at all times. This makes them a good choice for sports and a somewhat decent option for commuting. However, their poor isolation will let a lot of ambient noise seep into your audio, and their muddy, cluttered sound quality will be a deal breaker for most listeners.

Critical Listening 4.6

Sub-par for critical listening. The Senso Bluetooth Headphones have a poorly balanced sound with an excessive amount of high bass and low mid that makes them sound muddy and cluttered. They also lack a lot of trebles which further emphasizes their dark sound profile. Their small closed earbuds also cannot create a spacious soundstage which, combined with their poor audio reproduction, makes them a poor choice for critical listening and most likely a deal breaker even for casual listeners.

Commute/Travel 6.2

Average for commuting. They're easy-to-carry around and the low leakage can compensate for the poor noise isolation by playing your audio at higher volumes. However, they have a sub par sound quality and since they don't block much noise they shouldn't be your first choice for loud, noisy commutes.

Sports/Fitness 7.6

Good for sports. The stable ear-hook design and compact, portable size makes them suitable to use while running or exercising. They're also wireless and a bit more comfortable than some other in-ear headphones. Unfortunately, their audio reproduction may be a deal breaker even if you sound quality is not that important for you.

Office 6.0

Average at best for office use. The Senso Bluetooth Headphones will let a bit of the office chatter seep into your audio due to their poor isolation. However, since they don't leak much and won't be audible to anyone around you and you can mask some of the noise by turning your volume up. Unfortunately, their sound quality will be a deal breaker for most, especially if you like to listen to music while you work.

TV 4.9

Below average for home theater use. They're decently comfortable but have high latency and a poor sound quality that will not be suitable for for watching movies.

Gaming 4.7

Below-average for gaming. They have a mediocre-at-best microphone, and a bit too much latency to be suitable for gaming. They also have no companion app so they won't be as customizable as most gaming headsets and their Bluetooth connection is not compatible with consoles.

Compared to other Headphones

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones ActivBuds S-250 are straightforward wireless in-ears with an ear-hook design. They're decently well-built and comfortable, and they're stable enough for the gym and sufficiently portable to carry on your person at all times. They're a good option for sports, but unfortunately, their poor sound quality makes them unsuitable for most use cases even if you do not care much about sound. See our recommendations for the best earbuds for bass, the best earbuds under $50, and the best cheap earbuds.

Anker SoundBuds Sport Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are much better headphones than the SENSO ActivBuds S-250. The SENSO have a more stable ear-hook design and much longer battery life than the Ankers. They're also a bit more comfortable than the Ankers, but not by much. On the other hand, the Ankers have a better sound quality, even if they also sound dark and poorly balanced. They also isolate much better in noisy conditions, which makes them a bit more suitable for commute and travel. The Ankers are bit more portable, although they come with a pouch instead of a case like the ActivBuds.

Test Results

Style

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones have a decent looking sporty aesthetic. They have thick and flexible ear-hooks similar to to the SoundPeats Q9A. The earbuds have a matte finish that doesn't quite look as premium as the Anker SoundBuds Curve, but the red highlights of the branding logo and multipurpose buttons make them a bit more recognizable at a distance. They also have flat audio cables which look than that of the Ankers. Unfortunately, they do not come in as many color schemes as some of the other sports-oriented headsets like the Jaybird X3, however, their understated look will work for most.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones are decently comfortable wireless in-ears with an ear-hook design. The tips do not enter as deeply into the ear canal, which makes them a bit more comfortable than typical in-ears during long listening sessions. They also come with 4 silicone tips and a pair of memory foam tips to help you find the right fit. However, since they do not have as many tip options as the Anker SoundBuds Curve, they may not be as comfortable for everyone. Also if you're not a big fan of in-ear designs, then you may have some of the issues with these headphones.

7.2 Controls
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

The Senso ActivBuds S-250 have a fairly simple control scheme with good feedback. They have a multi-purpose button on the right earbud to play and pause your audio as well as answer and end calls. It also doubles as the Bluetooth pairing button when switching on the headphones. On the top side of the right earbud, they provide a volume rocker that also skips and rewind tracks, when you press and hold either the volume up or down buttons respectively.

8.0 Stability

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones have a stable ear-hook design that's suitable for sports. They won't easily fall off your ears thanks to the hooks. However, the tips do tend to slide out a little when running or doing more intense workouts so you may have to push them back in occasionally. On the upside, they come with a pair of memory foam tips that fit better within the ear canal, which may reduce that issue.

9.1 Portability
L : 1.7 "
W : 1.8 "
H : 1.2 "
Volume : 3.7 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Senso ActivBuds S-250 are portable and easy-to-carry around on your person. Their ear hook design makes them a bit less compact than typical in-ears but they're still fairly small, and you can fold them to easily fit into your pockets. They also come with a decent carrying case.

7.5 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 3.1 "
W : 3.1 "
H : 1.4 "
Volume : 13.5 Cu. Inches

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones come with a decent hard case that will protect them from minor impacts, scratches, and falls. However, the case shell is not as hard as some of the other hard cases we've tested but on the upside, it's compact and can fit into a pocket.

7.0 Build Quality

These headphones have a decent build quality but feel a bit cheaply made when compared to the Anker Soundbuds curve. The earbuds and ear-hooks are fairly dense and relatively sturdy, and they have flat cables that are less tangle-prone than the Ankers. However, the build quality of the earbuds feels a bit cheaper and closer to the Soundpeats Q9A than to the Curve.

9.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1 C

These headphones, like most in-ears, are very breathable and won't make you sweat more than average even during more intense workout routines. They do not cover the outer ear, which remains relatively cool when running or exercising. Their ear-hook design does cover a bit more surface area than typical in-ears but it's a very negligible difference that won't raise the overall temperature of your ear by much.

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

These headphones come with only one micro-USB charging cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
4.7 Bass
Std. Err.
:
7.81 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
16.58 Hz
Low-Bass
:
1.43 dB
Mid-Bass
:
6.16 dB
High-Bass
:
12.92 dB

The Senso Bluetooth headphone has a sub-par bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 17Hz, which is very well-extended. Also, low-bass, responsible for thump and rumble, is within 2dB of our neutral target, which is great. However, mid-bass and high-bass are overemphasized by 6dB and 13dB respectively, which is quite poor. This makes the overall sound excessively bass-heavy and boomy.

3.5 Mid
Std. Err.
:
8.68 dB
Low-Mid
:
12.92 dB
Mid-Mid
:
3.94 dB
High-Mid
:
-4.86 dB

The mid-range is poor sounding. The overall response is even and consistent, but with a 15dB tilt favoring low-mid. This makes vocals quite thick and unclear, and the overall mix muddy and cluttered sounding.

2.2 Treble
Std. Err.
:
9.54 dB
Low-Treble
:
-7.93 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-11.29 dB
High-Treble
:
-12.05 dB

The treble of the Senso Bluetooth headphones is terrible. The response throughout the range is relatively even and flat, but consistently under out neutral target by about 10dB. This makes the treble of the ActiveBuds S-250 quite dark and lacking in detail and presence, especially when considering their heavy bass and mid ranges.

9.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.2 dB

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones have excellent frequency response consistency. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones. But, if the user fails to achieved a proper and air-tight seal, they could experience a drop in bass.

1.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
5.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.1
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

Like most other in-ears, the soundstage of the Senso Bluetooth Headphones is poor. This is because in-ears bypass the pinna (outer ear) and don't interact with it, while activating the resonances of the pinna is one of the key factors in creating a speaker-like and out-of-head soundstage.

6.6 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.21
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.34
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.24
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
34.28

The imaging performance is average. The weighted group delay is at 0.21, which is quite good. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response never crosses the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude and frequency response. However, we measured a big mismatch in the phase response, which could skew the stereo image and create holes in it.

6.7 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
22.129
Weighted THD @ 100
:
2.297

The harmonic distortion of the ActivBuds S-250 is about average. The overall amount of THD is elevated, especially in the mid and treble ranges. This could make the sound of those frequencies a bit of harsh and brittle which will mostly affect vocals and cymbals.

4.5 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.34 dB
Bass
:
-0.9 dB
Mid
:
-8.15 dB
Treble
:
-25.53 dB
Self-Noise
:
21.37 dB

The isolation performance of the Senso Bluetooth Headphones is sub-par. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, they don't achieve any isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by about 8dB, which is about average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by about 21dB of reduction.

9.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
27.57 dB

The leakage performance is excellent. The significant portion of their leakage is spread over a very narrow range in the treble range, around 2KHz and 6KHz. This makes their leakage very thin and sharp sounding. The overall level of their leakage is also very low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages around 28dB SPL, and peaks at around 40db SPL, which is way below the noise floor of the average office.

5.7 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
20 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
5.89 dB
HFE
:
1612.7 Hz
Weighted THD
:
2.445
Gain
:
32.22 dB

The microphone of the Senso Bluetooth Headphones has a sub-par recording quality. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 20Hz, which is good, but the bump in mid-bass can make this mic prone to pops and rumbling noises. The dip around 200Hz makes speech recorded/transmitted with this mic a tad thin sounding. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 1.6KHz is sub-par, making speech noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. This will negatively affect the intelligibility of speech.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
12.19 dB

The microphone is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, this mic achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 12dB, indicating it is best suited for quiet environments, and they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate or loud situations.

7.7 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
35 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
118 ft

The ActivBuds S-250 have a surprisingly good wireless range wireless range. They reached up to 35ft when the Bluetooth source was obstructed and up to 118ft in direct line of sight. They should have enough range for most use cases, especially if you keep your phone on you.

4.0 Latency
Default Latency
:
155 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The Senso Bluetooth Headphones have a decent latency performance for a Bluetooth headset, but unfortunately, it's still a bit too high to be suitable for watching movies and gaming.

6.2 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
8.3 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
No

The Senso Bluetooth headphones have above-average battery life for a wireless in-ear and do not take too long to charge. This makes them a decent option for casual and heavy users, but the lack of power saving features means they will stay paired to your device until the battery runs out or they are out of range. If you forget to switch them off, the battery will continue to drain which is not ideal.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not come with a compatible app for added customization options.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1+EDR
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

The Senso Bluetooth headphones do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support. On the upside, their hold-to-pair procedure is not difficult to use and they automatically pair to the last synced device. Unfortunately, this auto pairing procedure can be a bit too aggressive which prevents the headphones from entering the pairing state so that you can connect them to another Bluetooth device.

0 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A

The Senso ActivBuds S-250 have no wired option. If you want a decent sounding, wired design with a universal in-line remote, then check out the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These in-ear buds do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, they won't be as compact and easy-to-carry around on your person.

In the box

  • Senso ActivBuds S-250  Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x4)
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Cable Management Clip
  • Dual Port USB Car Charger
  • Manual

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