Review: Braven Flye Sport Reflect In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
Earlier this week we reviewed the entry-level model of Braven’s Flye Sport line of in-ear sport headphones and, unfortunately, ran into some challenges. This week, we move up to the next model in the range, the Braven Flye Sport Reflect. Though it costs twice as much as the Flye Sport, its better sound and unique set of accessories makes it far easier to recommend.
Like Flye Sport, Reflect comes in a variety of colorways. This time, we received the gray and green version; normally we’d be iffy on the neon green, but the accents are subtle enough that the headphone still looks cool. Its namesake cable is very reflective — a feature that will surely appeal to night-time runners — though we think that this is hardly the standout feature of the Reflect. The Reflect comes with probably the most thoughtful set of accessories we’ve seen in a long time, starting with its external battery pack.
To understand our appreciation for Reflect’s setup, we need some context. Last year we reviewed the Jaybird Freedom, the successor to the BlueBuds X and X2 that we loved. The freedom had a unique charging scheme — to keep the Freedom tiny and light, Jaybird removed the microUSB connector from the headphone, reduced the size of the onboard battery, and included a small proprietary charging cable that could also act as a backup battery. While this sounded good in theory, in practice it didn’t work — battery life was too short without the extra module, the headphone was uncomfortable with the charger attached, and the headphones could not be charged without the cradle. Good idea, poor execution.
Reflect’s setup makes more sense. Its control pod retains the microUSB port, making the external battery entirely optional. The external battery is of a decent size — 1100mAh — enabling it to fully charge Reflect more than once, and includes a USB-A port to expand its usefulness to other devices. Reflect’s included portable battery is small, simple, and versatile. As an additional backup, Braven also includes a microUSB to 3.5mm adapter that allows Reflect to be used without any power at all. It’s a little strange to use, but it works and is a nice backup-for-the-backup to have in the included storage bag.
Reflect’s form factor is a little awkward at first glance. Two rectangular pods house Reflect’s drivers and stick out from the ears far enough that the fit isn’t terribly secure. This is where the rest of Reflect’s accessories come in — beyond the standard three sets of silicone ear tips, Reflect also comes with three sizes of silicone “wings”, a set of adjustable clip-on over-ear guides, and a cable cincher. Using any combination of these allows the fit of Reflect to be customized to perfection. Once we had our fit dialed in, Reflect fit securely and comfortably and survived a few weeks’ worth of sweaty workouts with no problem. Battery life was on par with the 5 hours that Braven advertises on a single charge; this was less than Flye Sport, but recharges were available using the external battery pack.
The sound of Flye Sport Reflect wasn’t exactly inspiring, with slightly overboosted bass and a marked lack of detail in the mids. While this is far from an audiophile sound, we are generally accepting of this sound signature for sport headphones where beats can be more important than analytical detail. Though these won’t necessarily be your everyday headphones, Flye Sport Reflect presents a fairly compelling mix of features for a sport headphone and earns our recommendation for that purpose.