The folks at MPOW contacted me and asked me to review their latest product, the MPOW Cheetah. They sent me a free sample even after I warned them that I was going to brutally honest.
The Cheetah came in a simple, but attractive white box. It looks like the designer is taking cues from Apple. On the back, I found the following text “Our comfortable service is available for your any requirement.” English is definitely not their first language.
Inside the box, I found 3 sets of silicon ear pads (small, medium, and large), a little instruction booklet, and the MPOW Cheetah.
Style, Comfort, and Fit
I got the baby blue/black version, and overall it looks pretty good. The earbuds are sleek with a glossy black coating. They’re sweat resistant and feel like they would hold up against moisture well (although I didn’t submerge mine to find out how well). The plastic part that fits around your ears looks and feels a little cheap. The cord the goes around the back of your head is pretty stiff and also feels a little cheap.
The Cheetah is really light. Because the cord is stiff and curled it took me a minute to figure out how to orient them correctly, but I was immediately impressed with how comfortable the Cheetah are. It’s really light and earbuds stay in not so much because of the over the ear loops, but because the cord serves as a spring that keeps the earbuds in your ears. It actually works really well.
I shock my head violently from side to side and up and down, and the Cheetah stay on. These are not going to come off; I don’t care what you’re doing. The comfort is a big win. The Cheetah might be the most comfortable bluetooth earbuds I’ve ever worn.
But, and this is a Kardashian sized but, the stiff cord rubs against the back of my neck when I move my head. Because the cord is stiff, it transfers the vibration to my ears, so I can hear the cord rubbing in my ear. This is the number one thing I don’t like about the Cheetah. If you’re not moving, the comfort is fantastic, but hearing the cord brush against the back of your head is really annoying. If your music is on (and loud) this is definitely not nearly as noticeable, but it’s aggravating.
I would not recommend the Cheetah for running or any activity that involves constant head movement. Hearing the cord rubbing against my neck would drive me insane. One nice thing about the stiff cord is that you can take the Cheetah off your ears and the “springy” cord will cling to your neck. This makings storing the Cheetah around your neck very easy.
I had no problem pairing the Cheetah with my LG G3. The Cheetah connects instantly after it’s been paired as well.
There’s only three buttons. A main function button and a volume rocker button.
Hold down to turn on or turn off the Cheetah. Hold down for an extra long time to initiate pairing mode. Press once to answer and end phone calls or start and pause the music.
The Rocker Button
This controls the volume up and down. Confusingly, holding volume up skips to the previous track, and holding volume down skips to the next track.
Overall, I really like the buttons. They are big and very easy to press and use while wearing the Cheetah. Most wireless bluetooth earbuds that have the buttons on the earpiece use tiny buttons that are hard to find and press (I’m looking at you Plantronics). I can’t imagine why MPOW mixed up the skip track logic, but I really don’t use that function anyway. Holding down a button to skip tracks is harder than just doing it manually on my phone. Overall, the buttons are awesome and some of the very best I’ve ever used. Plantronics if you are reading this, do yourself (and your customers) a favor: Buy the MPOW Cheetah and learn how to make nice, big, easy to use buttons.
I really expected the Cheetah to sound terrible. They cost $28 and are made in China. I was blown away by how good these actually sound. The sound is full and rich. The bass is excellent for earbuds. I think they give up a little of the high range to accomplishing this, but overall, the Cheetah sound excellent at any price, and they sound unbelievable for $28.
Just in case that didn’t sink in, I use the LG Infinim (retails $150), and the MPOW didn’t sound bad compared to the Infinim. The Cheetah actually has better bass, but the Infinim is much better at high frequencies. The fact that the $28 Cheetah is trading blows with the $150 Infinim says a lot.
Call quality is fine on both ends, but there’s no noise canceling feature.
Battery life is also surprisingly good. MPOW claims 8 hours, and although I didn’t keep track of the time, I used the Cheetah quite a bit for several days in a row without charging, so I believe the claimed 8 hours.
I tested the bluetooth range, and the Cheetah is at least as good as everything else I’ve used and just might even be better than most. But overall, it’s the typical 30-40 feet you get with most modern Bluetooth headsets.
What’s in the Box
- 1 x Mpow Cheetah Sport Bluetooth Headphone
- 3 x silicon eartips (small, medium, and large)
- 1 x micro USB charge cable
- 1 x Stereo Bluetooth Headphone Quick Guide
- Great music quality, fantastic for only $28
- Very comfortable, will stay on no matter what you’re doing.
- Big, easy to find and use buttons
- Overall, a fantastic value at only $28
- The stiff cord rubs against your neck when you move your head and transfers the sound to your ears.
- The volume rocker logic got switched. Holding down “volume up” skips the track backwards
- The cord and the over-the-ear supports look and feel a little cheap.
The MPOW Cheetah is amazingly light and comfortable. The buttons are big, easy to find, and easy to use. The Cheetah will stay on and does not move around no matter what you’re doing. The music playback is excellent and absolutely stunning at this price point. The only major gripe I have is the cord will brush against the back of your neck and transmit the rubbing sound to your ears. This drives me crazy if I’m moving my head up and down or back and forth a lot. Fortunately, I don’t end up doing that a lot when I workout (I mostly lift weights). I would not take the Cheetah jogging.
Bottom Line: I would pay $50 for these all day long. It’s absolutely criminal to get them for $28. After receiving the Cheetah, I personally retired my Plantronics Backbeat 903 (cost $100 a few years ago), and I use the MPOW Cheetah for working out. I’m an engineer; I make good money, I can afford to use any bluetooth headset I want. It’s honestly difficult to justify paying more when you can get something this good for only $28.
The MPOW Cheetah is amazingly light and comfortable. The buttons are big, easy to find, and easy to use. The Cheetah will stay on and does not move around no matter what you're doing. The music playback is excellent and absolutely stunning at this price point. The only major gripe I have is the cord will brush against the back of your neck and transmit the rubbing sound to your ears. This drives me crazy if I'm moving my head up and down or back and forth. Fortunately, I don't end up doing that a lot when I workout.Bottom Line: I would pay $50 for these all day long. It's absolutely criminal to get them for $28. After receiving the Cheetah, I personally retired my Plantronics Backbeat 903 (cost $100 a few years ago), and I use the MPOW Cheetah for working out. I'm an engineer; I make good money, I can afford to use any bluetooth headset I want. It's honestly difficult to justify paying more when you can get something this good for only $28.