Nokia Lite Earbuds BH-205, launched in mid-April 2021, is supposed to fill the vacuum in TWS headset made under HMD Global. In some countries, it is bundled with the purchase for the new Nokia X20 5G. The polar sea colored one caught my attention, as it reminds me of the cyan Nokia N9. The last HMD Global made earbuds that I used was Nokia BH-605, stellar battery life and respectable audio quality. But in recent times, I have been spoilt for choices by earbuds made by RichGo.
Nevertheless, I was so intrigued by the simplicity of the design, the choice of color and the targeted audience it’s made for. And I am more curious if the HMD Global made earbuds can compete with what RichGo offers for the same price.
Again, HMD Global has skipped many markets to launch their device, a missed opportunity for them. Thanks to the reliable 3rd party sellers, I purchased one immediately once it was available. Unfortunately, I ended up getting the Charcoal colored despite choosing the Polar Sea, but the seller is kind enough to send me over the Polar Sea which should be arriving in the next week or so. The Nokia Lite Earbuds is available unofficially here at about USD 45, which puts it above the Nokia E3101 and in the same category as the more premium looking E3500.
The Nokia BH-205 comes with an oblong shaped case which carries 400mAh battery. The buds themselves has 6 hours listening time and the case allows a total listening time of 36hours. The 6 mm driver is acceptable for the price point, and it supports Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
The case itself is built well; it doesn’t pretend to be what it’s not. The Nokia branding on top of the lid, and manufacturing details over the bottom on a slightly matte finished case greets you. Its comfortable to be held in the palm but can get slippery too. There are 4 LED indicators in front and a USB C charging port over the rear. Once the lid is lifted, you are greeted by the earbuds. While its generally a more simple and practical approach, the fine details are outstanding. The thin metallic lining borders the touch panel on both side! Something that I was really looking forward to since the Nokia BH605 has no demarcation whatsoever where the touch panels are located. This is one thing that made me enjoy RichGo made earbuds. The red led light at the bottom of the touch panel indicates that the buds are charging. The charging pins are located at the tip of the earbuds and the earpiece itself is protected by a much softer silicone tip which should be more comfortable for longer use. All this indicates that HMD Global listened to the customers feedback and improved on the user experience. Kudos to HMD Global!
Now, it takes a bit of practice to get accustomed to what each touch triggers. Single tap on the right increases the volume and, that on the left reduces it. Double tap on either one to play or pause the music. To skip forward, simply press and hold the right earbuds for 2seconds and to revers to previous music, do the same on the left one. To answer a call or to cancel one, simply double tap. And the ever-ready Google Assistant can be summoned with triple tap on either one.
In general, the Nokia BH205 rights the few shortcomings its elder brother BH605 suffered from, with a more comfortable wear experience and a more responsive touch input. The sound quality had good depth and adequate quality and clarity.
The main question here is whether the earbuds made by HMD Global is good enough to compete with those made by RichGo. In comparison to the similarly priced competitor, the Nokia E3500, the only clear win the BH205 has is the much responsive touch panel, thanks to its larger surface area. The Nokia E3500 otherwise provides a much more comprehensive package for the same price. It has a well sculpted design to sit well in your ear, a total of 4 microphones with Qualcomm cVc technology for better audio quality and clarity, Qualcomm aptX for the extra punch in the audio quality and a built quality which reminds me of the Nokia BH605. A single charge gives up to 7 hours listening time on the E3500 compared to 6 hours on the BH205 though the overall battery life with case is greater on the BH205 at 35 hours compared to 25hours on the Nokia E3500. The addition of IPX7 rating on the BH205 is definitely an advantage but the IPX 5 on the E3500 is adequate on most scenario.
In this east vs west tale, the choice generally boils down to availability. But which would you choose if you could pick any one of them?
A more clearer explanation can be watched in the video review below for better understanding.