The Belkin Soundform Rise won't blow you away with its sound or its features. But it does a decent job for its affordable S$89 price. The Bluetooth connectivity was solid and the battery life was good. However, I think the Rise (as well as other Belkin headphones) could benefit from a mobile app that lets you customise the touch controls or the sound.
- 6mm drivers
- Bluetooth 5.0
- IPX5 rated against water and sweat
- Battery life of up to 7 hours (additional 24 hours with wireless charging case)
Physically, the Rise is slightly bigger than I expected with a short stem. But it's fine as the bulk of it is outside the ear canal. You'll get the usual three sizes of earbuds — the default works for me. The touch-sensitive controls can feel overly sensitive. They work with just a gentle tap, which often leads to accidental taps on my part. It also takes just over a second for the earbuds to respond. Besides the usual playback and call controls (graphically documented in the included user manual), you can also press and hold either earbuds for two seconds to activate your phone's default voice assistant (Siri or Google Assistant).
Unlike Belkin's Soundform Freedom, the Rise lacks in-ear detection. Music will continue to play even if you remove an earbud or two. This could be a pro or a con, depending on your usage. Personally, I miss having active noise cancellation, which is, of course, unavailable on the affordable Rise. In fact, you're unlikely to get ANC from any well-known audio brand for this price. But it makes the Rise less useful for music and videos in noisy environments like bus rides. However, the Rise has two built-in microphones in each earbud that help to maintain the clarity of my voice despite background ambient noise like the whirl of the fan. My voice sounded echoey and distant, but clear enough, according to the caller.
As mentioned, the earbuds do not come with a companion mobile app. This can be a good thing as I have had poor experiences with the apps by some audio firms. I had no issues pairing the Rise with my devices through the Bluetooth settings. The wireless range was good, too. Music continued playing without a hitch as I walked around my apartment with my phone left near the entrance. Audio-wise, the Rise is decent, especially with aptX support. But the bass could be more pronounced and tighter, while the trebles sound a bit strained.
At S$89, the Belkin Soundform Rise is an affordable pair of earbuds that will do a decent job for calls and media playback. The lack of customisation may bother some, but it's versatile enough for most use cases. You can get it on Lazada and Shopee. However, if you're using a Xiaomi or Redmi phone, I would suggest the similarly-priced Redmi Buds 3 Pro, which comes with in-ear detection and hybrid ANC.
Note: Review unit provided by Belkin.
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