While the true wireless earphones trend may have died down over the first quarter of the year, Taiwanese company Erato is still focusing on its line of such devices hoping to carve a niche in such a market.
The Erato Wireless Muse 5 is a much better attempt at true wireless earphones than the company's Apollo 7, but is still too pricey to endear itself to many consumers.
When I first tried Erato's debut earphones, the Apollo 7, last year, I was less than impressed by their muddy sound quality, finicky design and the fact that the Taiwanese company packaged all that for almost $500.
Thankfully, the Muse 5 is a much better product, and a heartening sign that a promising audio company is improving on its goods.
While it is much cheaper, coming in at $359 as opposed to the Apollo 7's $499, the Muse 5 is still not cheap by any means. There are many (wired) earphones in that range that sound and perform better.
But those who insist upon the convenience of such wireless earphones should find the Muse 5 to their liking.
DRIVER DIAMETER: 5.8mm
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz
WEIGHT: 17g (each)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
Where the Apple AirPods are slim and long, the Muse 5 earphones are round and bulky, sticking out like giant marshmallows from the ears. The carrying case is too large for a jeans pocket.
Still, they are light and comfortable enough to wear for long periods. They are also secure because of interchangeable rubber seals that keep them in the ears without the need for stabiliser wings.
The battery lasts for a good while too - 4hr on a full charge. The carrying case doubles as a charge case that holds up to two full charges, so intermittently charging the earpieces whenever I store them meant that I was never out of juice provided I remember to charge the case about once a week.
The earphones connect to your music player through Bluetooth 4.1, supporting a wide range of codecs such as AptX, AAC and SBC.
Sound quality of the Muse 5 is much improved from the Apollo. It is bassy with a distinct warmness, and is happily quite clear and loud through the Bluetooth connection.
On pop singer's Lana Del Rey's latest single, Love, the Muse 5 complemented her dark orchestral backdrop. But there is still some muddiness in the mids and treble, which can affect the quality of vocals and instruments such as strings.
Unfortunately, the Muse 5 is still plagued with connectivity issues, cutting out on several occasions and forcing me to restart them to get disruption-free connectivity.
Such issues aside, the Muse 5 did grow on me over time. While I would prefer a good set of headphones anytime, these were the earphones I turned to on occasions when I was willing to sacrifice some audio quality for portability and convenience.
•Verdict: The Erato Muse 5 is still rather pricey for what they are, but they are a substantial improvement over the company's previous earphones and a good sign of things to come from Erato.