After all the remote learning thanks to COVID, a lot of little kids have gotten used to having headphones of their own. Our CUO is no different, after all it is hard enough to concentrate on my own tasks without having the additional cacophony of other noises.
Instead of bulky headsets though, the Belkin SOUNDFORM Nano are wireless earbuds for kids who wants to be connected to their favourite entertainment wherever they are dragged by their parents.
The SOUNDFORM Nano are designed for smaller ears, with tip sizes of XXS, XS, S, M and L. As Liam noted in his unboxing video, there are more sizes of tips than he has seen provided for earbuds before.
Liam says that the charging case reminds him of a curry bun, I guess he was hungry! It does kind of look like an super short baguette to me with its oblong curved profile.
The pink colour is very bright, like a macaron you see in the shops. The impression is reinforced when you open the case and the inside is a paler shade, just like the filling in a macron. Let’s run with the food theme, because why not? Fun fact, Liam loves to read recipe books and always want to cook something.
The earbuds themselves look a bit like a paddle, a round blob with a long part. The design has some similarities to the Airpods, not that any child worth their salt will confuse the two.
Charging is via the micro-USB port around the back, which has a little rubber flap to cover it when not required.
Pairing was a breeze. To be fair, Liam is one of the technology leaders at school and this stuff is second nature to him now. The Nano paired quickly to his laptop without drama and he was off and racing with his new earbuds.
As an adolescent who has been told that his new toys have a volume limiter on them, of course the first thing he does is to test if the claim is true. And yes, there is a limit on how loud you can crank the sound on the Nano.
We didn’t measure it scientifically but Belkin limited the maximum volume to 85 dB. This is the limit World Health Organisation considers as the highest safe exposure level up to a maximum of eight hours.
When it comes to listening to rap and the love of “ear bleed” music that he shares with his step brother, I can rest assure that the Nano at least follows the WHO guidelines to protect his little ears at least from a decibel point of view, but not from the content of his music. As a parent though, I would say 85 dB is plenty loud and I certainly will be telling Liam to err on the lower volume side.
The 6mm dynamic driver under the hood offers some impressive audio quality. Do they match the audio fidelity of some of my other gear? Definitely not but they aren’t too shabby though. It isn’t a fair comparison and particularly so with the targeted age group vs my old ears, the sound profile would be polar opposites.
The feedback from Liam is that the fit is good, and the sound is “smooth”. Translating from his speak, I take that as a seal of approval that he finds the quality of the sound more than acceptable. Given he listens to everything from podcasts on odd facts, psychology, a variety of music and losing himself in the eerie soundtrack of some horror game, that is some high praises.
For a moment I was going to skip the microphone part of the Nano, before I realise Liam chats to his friends on Discord. He is a very chatty boy and the microphones have no issues picking up his voice and I didn’t have to hear him repeat himself so they must work pretty good.
The earbuds have touch control rather than a physical button with feedback. It is a little odd for me to use as I have a preference for tactile feedback rather than waiting for the audio tone.
All the standard controls are there – volume up/down, play/pause, track forward and back. You can answer, hang up and reject calls or trigger the microphone all through the touch controls. Everything is a combination of single, double and triple taps, or a 2 seconds hold.
I suspect Liam’s already mastered these very quickly whereas his old man struggles to change.
The Nano have a IPX5 water resistance rating. That means protected against low pressure water stream from any angle. Splashes and light rain is fine, but don’t take them in the shower and don’t drop them into the water bottle!
There are four LED lights at the front of the case to show you how much charge is left in the tank.
The earbuds have a 5 hours rated battery life, which is a good thing if your child is using it at full volume, it will run out of juice well under the maximum 8 hours exposure limit.
The charging case gives another 19 hours total. A two hours charge will provide up to 24 hours of playtime.
The earbuds goes back into the charging slot with a nice magnetic guidance.
I do limit Liam’s usage of devices so it was hard to measure the battery life, but it was going the distance when he needed some music to distract him while he was feeling under the weather.
The Belkin SOUNDFORM Nano are rated for ages 7 and over. They come in three colours – pink, blue and white, along with matching USB cables. The pink on our review unit is very vivid and yes my daughter wants dibs on them (sorry padawan but you are only 4).
I am a little disappointed to have a new micro-USB device in the camp but I would be lying if I don’t say I expected it to keep costs down. But when a decent pair of earbuds that fits little ears at RRP $69.95? That’s a drawback I can manage.
Overall there is a lot to like with the Belkin SOUNDFORM Nano, the colours are appealing and helps them stand out in the bag. The inclusion of 5 different size tips would ensure a good fit in most cases. These are worth considering for the Christmas gift, particularly if it means you don’t have to lug around headsets everything.
DRN would like to thank Belkin for providing the review unit.