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MEElectronics A151 (Black) review: MEElectronics A151 (Black)

MEElectronics A151 (Black)

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

We've reviewed several MEElectronics headphones and generally have been impressed with their value proposition. They tend to deliver good bang for the buck and the company's A151 balanced-armature in-ear headphone is one of the better sounding earphones in its price range of around $50 online.

MEElectronics A151 Balanced Armature In-Ear Headphones

MEElectronics A151 (Black)

The Good

The <b>MEElectronics A151 earphones</b> offer comfortable fit and very detailed sound for an affordable price. They also come with a carrying case.

The Bad

No integrated microphone for making cell phone calls; bass-lovers will probably find the bass a little too thin for their tastes.

The Bottom Line

At around $50 online, the MEElectronics A151s are among the most affordable balanced-armature earphones out there and deliver very good sound for the money.

The first thing you'll notice about it is that it has 47-inch-long braided cable that looks like the wires used on expensive custom in-ear models from Ultimate Ears and JH Audio. No, you don't get the build quality of higher-end models, but it's decent enough for a $50 headphone and I found them comfortable to wear and it was easy to get a tight seal.

The A151 comes with five sets of eartips (small/medium/large silicon; double flange; large triple flange) and a clamshell carrying case, which is nice, but I could have done without the big MEElectronics logo (it screams "Made in China"). One other small gripe: while the cord is very flexible it does have a tendency to get twisted up easily.

I was impressed with the A151s' sound -- they offer very detailed, transparent sound and can dig pretty deep on the low end, though I felt the bass could have been a little punchier. I also didn't think they were quite as open or dynamic as more expensive earphones from Shure and Audeo, but those models cost more than twice the price (and in some cases, three times as much or more).

The A151's braided cord looks like the wires used on expensive custom in-ear models. Sarah Tew/CNET

CNET contributor and audio guru Steve Guttenberg also really liked the A151s. He featured them in a piece titled, "Two awesome-sounding, yet very affordable in-ear headphones." He thought they were a great value and and highlighted the earphones' bass-to-treble tonal balance and excellent definition. "In the end," he said, "it was the A151s' resolution of fine detail that made it a winner for me."

The case is nice extra, but the logo's a little big. Sarah Tew/CNET

He did slightly prefer the Thinksound ts02 "wood" earphones, which have slightly more bass (read his full take on both products here). They retail for slightly more but have a built-in microphone. (I haven't tried the Thinksound but will try to get my hands on a pair and offer my impressions when I do).

I recently reviewed the Nocs NS400 earphones, which retail for around $79. I liked the sound of the Nocs and preferred their styling to these, but the A151s sounded slightly better and were also more comfortable.

Final thoughts
As Guttenberg pointed out, they simply sound like more expensive headphones -- ones that typically cost more than $100. Their biggest strength is the level of detail they offer. They're also relatively comfortable to wear. As for drawbacks, it's unclear just how durable they are (I advise keeping the included case when not in use), they don't have a built-in microphone, and the bass, while ample, won't have enough oomph for those who like headphones that emphasize bass.

In the end, though, like most of MEElectronics products, you get a big bang for your buck, which is why I have no problem recommending the A151s at their modest price point.

The A151s' build quality is only average but you can't expect too much from $50 earphones. Sarah Tew/CNET

MEElectronics A151 Balanced Armature In-Ear Headphones

MEElectronics A151 (Black)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 8Value 9