The Airdopes 601 ANC are a pair of truly wireless earbuds from boAt. boAt is an Indian audio and smartphone accessory brand that is one of the biggest makers of wireless audio products globally. The Airdopes 601 ANC are meant to be an affordable option for those looking for active noise-canceling earbuds on a budget.
The earbuds come in a narrow, vertical case design. The case features matte black plastic with a smooth finish. The lid opens easily and closes with a magnetic latch but my review unit had a shaky hinge. On the front of the case are four white LEDs that display power and pairing status. The USB-C charging port is placed on the right side. On the back is a pairing button.
The earbuds feature long stalks with a conical tip that sits in your ear. The stalks have holes on the side for the microphone and the surface is touch-sensitive for gestures. The earbuds are quite light and comfortable to wear over extended durations.
The Airdopes 601 ANC don’t seem to have a companion as far as I can tell. boAt has a dozen different apps on the store but none of them seem to be for this product. So everything you do has to be controlled through the earbuds themselves. This is fine for play/pause, track skip, volume, and ANC settings as the gestures can take care of them.
But you can’t, for example, update the firmware. Or disable certain features such as the audio playing automatically every time the earbuds pair with your phone. Also, for some reason, the Spotify app would just start playing automatically when launched when these earbuds were connected.
The Airdopes 601 ANC are mediocre-sounding pair of earbuds. The sound is dominated by the bloated mid-bass, which takes over everything once the bass kicks in. The mid-range performance is decent for the lower and mid-mids but the upper mid-range is basically non-existent and the entire treble range feels like downloadable content that you have to pay extra to unlock.
As a result, the sound is extremely muddy and bassy with very little in the way of resolution and detail. Imaging performance is okay but the soundstage is narrow and focused. I would be okay using these earbuds to listen to podcasts or perhaps YouTube videos but I wouldn’t recommend them for music.
Microphone performance was also poor. The sound would flit in and out while speaking as if the earbuds couldn’t figure out which part was your voice and what was background noise. In heavy ambient noise, the sound would become completely lost in the background.
The ANC is of subpar quality, as we have come to expect from earbuds in this price range. It can reduce some of the background hum from sources such as the fan or your PC most other sounds come through without much resistance. There is also a transparency mode but it seems to be mono with no directionality, which can be disorienting at times.
The latency performance is below average. Depending upon how perceptible you are you may not notice the small delay between the video and the audio but if you are sensitive to that sort of thing then it’s hard not to notice it all the time.
Lastly, the connectivity performance was okay. While the earbuds did work fine most of the time, on one occasion the left earbud started slipping in its volume level until it just went silent. After being removed and put back in the ear, it started working normally again. Issues like these have no chance of being fixed as there doesn’t seem to be any way to update the firmware.
In terms of battery life, boAt promises 4.5 hours with ANC on. In my testing, I got 4 hours and 45 minutes on a single charge, which is reasonable if unremarkable.
Overall, the boAt Airdopes 601 ANC is not a good product. At INR 3,999 (~$ 52), they are affordable but not good value. You can spend a bit more and get the OnePlus Buds Z2, which are vastly better in many ways. The Airdopes 601 ANC have too many flaws while also sounding quite poor, and are not recommended even at discount.