Totem Paco FE-131 - for the budget smartphone music listener

PHOTO: FISCHER AUDIO
The Totem Paco FE-131 is a good budget option for upgrading the audio experience. PHOTO: FISCHER AUDIO

The Totem Paco FE-131 is for users who want good sound without breaking the bank, as well as a cheap pair of earphones that they can stuff in pockets or toss into a bag without babying it.

They may cost only $38, but they have a sound quality that easily matches up to earphones from other brands that cost twice as much.

It goes to show that quality and price don't always have a direct relationship.

While they are extremely basic and light on features, they perform very well where it matters - audio quality.

Indeed, the earphones sound extraordinarily good for the price.

Audio reproduction is pleasingly clear, with clean trebles and detailed mids. The bass tones lack a bit of body but are nevertheless more than passable for the majority of music genres.

Those who enjoy heavier genres of music, like those with a crashing wall of distorted guitars, may not find them suitable though.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $38

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 7mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 16Hz - 18kHz

    WEIGHT: 12g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The earphones' clarity suffers when it comes to dense, overdriven music.

For instance, when the guitar solo on indie singer Mitski's Your Best American Girl kicked in in full force as a barrage of heavily distorted guitar chords, all finer details and clarity were lost in the background.

But for the majority of music fans, the Totem Paco FE-131 is a good budget option for upgrading the audio experience.

They are targeted at users who listen to music on their smartphone. And they come in three colour schemes that match popular smartphone colours: rose gold, forest green and silver.

The earphones also come with a single-button inline control with a microphone that can be used to make calls or pause and play the current song.

Lester Hio

  • Verdict: The Totem Paco FE-131 is great value for money as its sound quality is beyond what one would expect from earphones its price.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Totem Paco FE-131 - for the budget smartphone music listener'. Print Edition | Subscribe