Taiwan-based Erato has made two new totally wireless earphones available for preorder on crowdfunding site Indiegogo: The Muse 5 and Rio 3.
David CarnoyExecutive 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.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Erato, one of the pioneers of totally wireless earphones, has announced a couple of new, more affordable products: The Muse 5 and Rio 3. Both have been posted to crowdfunding site Indiegogo and will supposedly ship in late November.
Early-bird pricing is $70 for the Muse 5 and $60 for the Rio 3, with prices going up to $180 and $130 following the Indiegogo campaign. Those preorder prices seem like a bargain compared with the $300 price tag on Erato's flagship Apollo 7, which Erato shipped recently, or the $159 price tag on Apple's soon-to-be-released AirPods.
I handled prototypes of the new models and they seem intriguing mainly because of their early-bird price points and the fact that I've had a good experience thus far with the Apollo 7, which I'll review soon.
An Erato rep told me the Muse 5 was designed from the ground up by Erato, but the Rio 3 is based on an off-the-shelf design that looks a lot like the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless headphone except that it's cord-free.
Thanks to the Rio 3's larger housing, the battery life on that model is better; it's rated at 8 hours (the Rio comes in at 4, which is more standard for this type of headphone). Both headphones are sweat-resistant and can be used for running or at the gym.
As soon as I get my hands on review samples, I'll let you know how they fit and sound. For now, here are their key specs, courtesy of Erato. As with all crowdfunding campaigns, there's some risk that shipment will be delayed -- or that the product may never ship at all. In other words, proceed at your own risk.
EratoSurroundT: 3D spatial techonology to create the most realistic sound
Bluetooth Profile: Bluetooth 4.1 Supported
Audio Codecs: Full support for advanced AAC, SBC, and aptX audio standards
Driver Specifications: 5.8 mm Micro Driver, 100 dB/mW sensitivity; 20Hz - 20KHz frequency
Battery Life: 7 hours of talk time or 4 hours of play time
Microphone: MEMs Omni Directional Type input sensitivity at -42dB (+/- 2dB)
Dimensions: Earphone: 30mm (L) x 25mm (D) x 38.8mm (H)
Charging Case: 73.3mm (L) x 38.5mm (D)
Weight: Headset 8g x 2
Charger case: 40g Charge: 700 mah charging case (two full earbud charges)
Waterproof: Nano Coating IPX5
Colors: Silver, rose gold, black, blue
Bluetooth Profile: Bluetooth 4.2 with the latest CSR Chipset technology
Supported Audio Codecs: Full support for advanced AAC, SBC, and aptX audio standards