Ever want to plant a tree without going through the process of actually planting a tree? Well now you can. With House of Marley’s initiative, purchasing any of their products will “help to plant one tree.” The Uplift 2 Wireless earphones will keep your eco-friendly conscience clean while reducing excess CO2.
Unsurprisingly, recycled packaging encases the Uplift 2 Wireless. Three pairs of ear tips, a micro USB charging cable, and a stale-feeling drawstring pouch are included with the Uplift 2 Wireless earbuds.
Build & Design
FSC certified, the 100% wood panels on the earbud housing look and feel great. The housing itself is molded from aluminum and connects to the cloth cable. The eyesore of a battery is made of recycled plastic and, like the wood paneling, is brandished with the House of Marley logo. Its packaged silicone ear tips fall short when isolating sound but sit comfortably, thanks to the angled arm that extends from the housing. To improve the sound quality and isolation, the Comply Comfort Plus ear tips serve as an exceptional option.
The battery ends up looking like something Flavor Flav picked out to replace his signature clock necklace.
House of Marley’s smart material choices can’t make up for the Uplift 2 Wireless’ poor design. Clunky, obtrusive. . . and that’s just the battery. Extending from both sides of the pack are wrapped cords. On the left side, the cable is interrupted by a plain in-line mic and remote. Its layout is easy to navigate, yet there are occasional operational stutters. When skipping tracks, it’s easy for the remote to interpret a quick double tap as a command to increase the volume.
Seemingly designed to sit on vertebrae C7 or T1, the battery pack slips and slides everywhere. It ends up looking like something Flavor Flav picked out to replace his signature clock necklace. If you’re catatonic enough to wear the Uplift 2 Wireless as intended, the magnetized front clasp can be attached to simulate a 90s-inspired choker. The rest of the cables then curl up and into the ears. Suffice to say, the dangling cables look strange at best.
Connecting the Uplift 2 Wireless is a simple process. House of Marley claims that the Uplift 2 Wireless stay connected up to 10 meters, which is true, sure. But they struggle to maintain a strong connection after the 5 meter mark.
Neither aptX nor aptX HD codecs are compatible with the House of Marley Uplift 2 Wireless earphones. Therefore, users are bound to run into some blatant latency issues. Audio falls a second, sometimes two, behind visual cues. It’s odd because sometimes the two synchronize and then slowly fall out again, like taillights in a stop-and-go caravan of cars during rush hour.
For how large it is, you’d think that the stamina of the Uplift 2 Wireless would be greater than ten hours. Battery life falls short of the JBL Sport Wireless Flex or the LG Tone Studio by a significant amount of time. That said, how often do you have 10+ hour listening sessions?
Like the SOL Repulic Amps Air the House of Marley Uplift 2 Wireless suffer from the classic case of inescapable white noise. Fortunately, it doesn’t degrade the sound quality as much as with the SOL true wireless ‘buds, but its presence still poses a frustration. On the whole, the Uplift 2 Wireless reproduce highs and mids remarkably well.
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“Grace Is Gone” by the Dave Matthews Band experiences some attenuation with low frequencies. Though, for casual listening, this is preferred to the distortion produced by the Under Armour Sport Wireless Flex by JBL. House of Marley tunes the Uplift 2 Wireless to emphasize mids and highs, rendering the low frequencies emaciated. This sort of preferential treatment to higher frequency response is fine for acoustically driven music, but will leave hip-hop and dance listeners wanting more.
The mids are a different story, however. Reproduced so well, the speaker’s alcoholic escape is experienced through Dave Matthews’ dejected verses. What’s more, Matthews leads us into the chorus with strum of a G chord, which finds an appropriate balance between the vocals and a second guitarist’s finger picking.
House of Marley tunes the Uplift 2 Wireless to emphasize mids and highs, rendering the low frequencies emaciated.
Additionally, LeRoi Moore on the saxophone greatly complements the song’s mournful tone. The notes are reproduced coherently without running over other elements Matthews’ alto pitch during the second chorus (2:15).
D-derived chords introduce listeners to the speaker’s desire to forget in “Grace Is Gone.” At 1:49, high strings are plucked, and House of Marley’s Uplift 2 Wireless steer through the delicacy of this repetition skillfully. This reinforces the bridge’s power, forcing listeners to reflect on the reminiscent sadness.
Additionally, the snare drum appears throughout the hymn. Its hits are placed in the background but still come through strongly. Although, there are times when it seems a bit tinny, potentially due to over compression caused by the SBC codec.
As demonstrated, it’s easy to poke fun at absurd aspects of the House of Marley Uplift 2 Wireless design, but they’re a great value as far as portability and sound quality are concerned. If you want to watch video with the Uplift 2 Wireless, you’ll be happier with something like V-MODA Forza Wireless earphones. Otherwise, if the price hike is too much, any pair of wired earbuds will do. However, for less than $80, you get a compact package sourced from environmentally responsible materials. Plus, they sound great and Bluetooth allows for ease of movement without tripping over a pile of cords.