Mpow Flame Bluetooth earphones review: A fine budget option for exercise enthusiasts

A pair of exercise-oriented earphones only need to do a few things well in order to be a success.

First, they need to serve up a brain-rattling amount of bass without swamping out the rest of the audio you’re listening to: sometimes a little extra thump is exactly what’s needed to power yourself to the end of a particularly grueling workout.

Second, they need to be resilient enough to survive your workout: moisture and salt can both be hard on electronics, so a pair of workout cans have to be water resistant, if not waterproof. This makes it possible for them to not only stand up to sweat, but also a quick dunk underneath of a tap to clean them off after exercise so that they’re fresh and ready for your next swole-seeking adventure. If your earphones can’t master this latter feat, they’d best be inexpensive because, sooner or later, your sweat is going to kill them dead.

Mpow’s bargain basement-priced Flame Bluetooth Earphones pretty much tick off all of these boxes. They come packing an IPX7 water resistance rating, offer some pretty compelling bass, and are available via Amazon for just over $20. Were it not for a few shortcomings, they’d be just about perfect for the price. But, being as you can get your hands on a pair for around the same price as a fast food dinner for two will set you back, it’s easy to see beyond their issues.


mpow flame water Mpow

Dirt cheap and boasting an IPX7 rating? Sign us up.

It’s not often that a company is considerate enough to provide me with two pairs of their product for testing. As I had a backup, one of the first things I did before gearing up for a week of testing was to pair one set of the earphones with my phone before, in the name of science, proceeding to drown them under the spray of my kitchen faucet.

After ten seconds, I removed them from the deluge, dried them off and jammed them in my ears. They still worked as well as they had before their swim. While these things are almost inexpensive enough that one could consider them to be disposable, their IPX7 rating, which I feel comfortable in calling bona fide after my quick field test, suggests that you’ll be able to hold on to them for the long term.

That said, they’re in no way competitive with high-end waterproof earphones like Jaybird’s X4. The plastic they’re made from is of a much lower quality. Additionally, despite the fact that they come with flat connective cables, I found them insanely easy to tangle up if they’re not carefully stuffed into your gym bag or their included nylon pouch. But that’s OK: the Flame cost over $100 less than a pair of Jaybird X4 do. That they can stand up to even an iota of exposure to liquids that the X4 can is no small matter.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Mpow aped the Flame’s design from Beat’s Powerbeats 3. Beats’ legal team might have an issue with this, but you shouldn’t. The Flame’s soft but stiff silicon ear hooks ensure that the earphones stay planted in your ears, no matter what exercise you take part in. I found them comfortable enough to wear for around an hour at a time.