If you read my earlier posts about the XXY H20 Headphones and the Megafeis E350, you will know one common issue I have with both is that neither fit firmly around my ear and wish they offer a design that hang loose instead. Lo and behold, I found the Tayogo Amp which seems to fit the bill.
The Tayogo Amp (W11) is currently on Kickstarter and attempts to be the jack of all trades. It functions as bluetooth headphones, 8GB MP3 player, FM Radio, and fitness tracker.
- Bluetooth, MP3, FM, and Fitness tracker!
- Includes multiple earbud tips.
- Fitness trackers has one day memory
- USB port is too wiggly.
Package includes the three part headphones, instructions, USB extension cable, one wing shaped ear bud tip, two in-ear flange bud tips and three sports bud tips in addition to the pair already attached to the earbuds. This is the only headphones that included the flange shaped and wing shaped tips which are ideal for swimming.
Design and Fit
The design of the headphone comes in three parts: central unit, left and right ear pieces. This is a drastic departure in terms of design from other bluetooth headphones. The bulk of the electronics is in the band resting on the back on the neck. This means less bulk on your ears and you can use one ear as headset without the other in the way. Another advantage to having the loose ear pieces is that the microphone hangs in line closer to your mouth allowing for better audio when making calls. Do not expect miracles though as Tayogo was really frank on the Kickstarter campaign that the Amp is not best for lengthy calls. This is an issue with bluetooth protocol for headset limited to a low bit rate, not the manufacturer’s fault.
The central unit of the 3 part design has a full size USB port on one end and a proprietary port on the other end. It would have been nice is they used a standard port like microUSB or type C on the other end so you can connect it to your phone to download music. The full size USB is actually a little shy of full size, it is a tad shorter and thinner. It slips out the USB port on my Surface Pro unless I use the included extensions cable, even then it wiggles inside the cable. I really like the idea of not have to carry a charging cable but instead I am left carrying the extension in the cable. I applaud their innovative design but the built could use more refinement. According to the manufacturer, the USB had to be made a little shorter as they needed to fit inside the other piece.
Comparison of the USB extension cable and the USB plug on the Amp.
The central unit also has a whopping five physical buttons: Power/Play/Pause, Volume +, Volume -, Next, and Previous Track. Most other headphones have few buttons and requires a combination of press and hold buttons to access all the functions. There is audible feedback for changes in volume and verbal feedback updating you on the status. You get a low battery warning about two minutes prior to shutting down, which is much better than other headphones that beep every thirty seconds for the last half hour of battery life. The headphones can work as a standalone device but there is also a free Tayogo app for Android and iOS that offers additional functionality.
As bluetooth headphones, it connects automatically to previous paired devices and give a range of about 30 feet with line of sight. It works fine with the phone in my pocket as well even without line of sight.
As an FM radio, it works by itself but without a dial or display, it is pretty difficult to change stations. You can seek with the next and previous button. However, this is where the app really shines because it lets you search for all available stations and quickly jump to the one you want without going one station at a time.
This fitness tracker counts your steps, distances, and calories burned. The data can be saved by sharing it via the Wechat app. Otherwise, the memory only keeps a one day record and if you update every day then you will not lose your data.
I tested the headphones by swimming freestyle and butterfly strokes in the pool and it survived with no problems. In terms of reception, the bluetooth cuts out as soon as your phone is more than an arms length away. FM radio is a little bit better but depends highly on the reception in your area. In an outdoors pool I was able to play the radio while swimming on the surface but if I went deeper for a kick flip then I lose reception. Of course, if you really want music underwater, the built-in MP3 player is the way to go and it works as advertised. I was concern that the U-shaped design will cause drag and slip off my slim neck but that was not an issue. Sound quality is surprisingly good and loud enough that it works sufficiently under water with music or audio books.
Of the three waterproof headphones I tested so far, the Tayogo Amp has the upper hand in terms of functionality. The Tayogo Amp is an ambitious headphones that does everything one can imagine. Like most Kickstarter projects, it has some kinks to work out. If the company manage to refine some of the points I made then they potentially have a winner on their hands.