Mpow Cheetah Bluetooth Sports headphones review: Dirt-cheap Bluetooth sports headphones you'll either love or hate

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You have to unfurl the headphone before you put it on. It has an around-the-neck design. Sarah Tew/CNET

I thought the buttons were well-placed on the right earpiece, though the track skip forward/back button was too small and hard to operate by feel (and hard to operate in general). The call answer/end button, which acts as a play/pause button as well as the power button (you hold it down to turn the headphones on), is amply sized and well-situated on the top of the earpiece.

It's worth mentioning that a small blue LED on the right earpiece flashes when the headphones are paired. You won't notice it so much in brighter environments, but in a darkened room, it will be quite visible (a solid blue light would have been better).

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance

One of my big concerns when trying an inexpensive pair of Bluetooth headphones is the sound quality: It's usually pretty mediocre (by mediocre I mean muddy).

The Cheetahs, however, performed pretty well, especially for their low price. I wasn't blown away by their sound, but they offered relatively decent clarity and didn't overaccentuate the bass. I'm not going sit here and tell you they sounded incredibly accurate or natural, but I thought they measured up pretty well against Bluetooth headphones that cost twice as much and maybe more.

Personally, I wouldn't listen to them for long periods (I did experience some listening fatigue, which usually means there's some treble push -- for me, anyway), but think they'd be fine for workouts in the gym and runs outside.

Conclusion

The Mpow Cheetahs are a product that you'll either like or hate, depending on how they fit you. While I found a way to make them fit properly using a different set of eartips (that weren't included), I have to ding them for not fitting me properly out of the box. I also think some people will be put off by their generic styling.

Aside from those gripes, they're not bad budget wireless sports headphones. A couple of tweaks and perhaps the addition of some more sporty color choices (with a reduction in the size of the logo) and Mpow might really have something.

Editors' note: After my video review of the Mpow Cheetah posted, the company temporarily pulled the product from Amazon.com. It says the Cheetahs will go back on sale in late May or June.

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