Kitsound's District earbuds are a good set of lightweight, sweat-resistant Bluetooth in-ear headphones that are well thought out and deliver a good, clear sound.
- Pros: Easy to use, good sound
- Cons: Run-time, easy to press the multifunction button when you're adjusting them, range
The District earbuds come in their own natty case that doubles as a charger. The earbuds themselves have a battery life of around three hours, but snap them back into their magnetic case and they'll charge back to full in an hour and a half. Kitsound claims that the case will give you up to 40 hours of run-time. The box is nicely designed with a rubber cover, and there's an external USB port to charge other devices from. Four LEDs inside the box tell you what the state of charge is, and you can top up the battery via the supplied Micro-USB cable.
The District earbuds are very light at only about 5g apiece, and that means there's not too much mass to jiggle them out of your ears. They still need repositioning from time to time, though, and as you're pressing them back into place it's a bit too easy to hit the multifunction button and turn them off, which is annoying. I got better at remembering, but in the end I resorted to the Sugru hack which allows you to custom mould the supplied earpieces, and after that they behaved much better. There are three different sizes of earbud supplied in the box.
The thing I like most about these earbuds is that they're so easy to use, and always ready when you need them. Because you're storing them in a box which also charges them, they're always fully charged when you come to pull them out, and provided you primarily pair them with one device (I just use them with my phone) they tend to turn themselves on and pair automatically. So really there's nothing much more to do than shove them in your lug holes and hit play. Obviously you'll need to keep the box charged up, but for the amount I'm using them (a few hours a week) the charger lasts for months. If you're a heavy user you could always keep the box plugged into a USB power source most of the time.
I've mostly been using the District earbuds indoors, to pipe invigorating drum and bass into my ear canals as I try to get fit enough to not get dropped when the winter racing starts in a week or two. The sound quality is good: there's plenty of richness and depth to the music, especially if you keep the earbuds well nestled in your ears. Once they start to work themselves loose, they lose the deep bass and start sounding a bit more tinny. I've not had problems with them falling out though.
As they're a snug fit they block out most of the other sound. That's good indoors, as the other sound is mostly the thrum of a massive fan and me panting and occasionally swearing. Out on the open road it's a mixed blessing in my opinion. On smaller lanes where I might want to let cars pass, you need to check over your shoulder a bit more to make sure there's no queue forming behind you. On bigger roads, cars are going to pass you anyway and hearing them coming isn't going to make any meaningful difference to your safety. I don't generally ride outdoors with headphones in but I did find it made the few main road sections I added in less stressful.
The claimed range is 10 metres but in reality it's nothing like that most of the time. Leaving the turbo trainer to fill up my water bottle in the bathroom next door would cause breakups in the signal, and even out on the bike the signal sometimes cut out with the headphones in my ears and the phone in my back pocket. I found this was more likely to happen after a couple of hours of use, suggesting that it was most likely to do with the battery getting depleted. Of the three hours of claimed run-time, the first two were generally problem-free. If you need your ears to be full of music/podcasts/whatever for longer than that on a regular basis, these probably aren't the headphones for you.
If you're using them for indoor trainer sessions, or jogging, or hill reps, or something else that's spectacularly boring after about an hour, though, they might be just the ticket. They're IPX5 water resistant so you should have no issues with sweat or weather, and they stay in your ears well, delivering a rich and full sound. They're always charged when you need them, thanks to the clever box, and they're light enough that you barely notice them.
Lightweight, sweat-proof in-ear headphones with a rich sound
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kitsound District True Wireless Earbuds
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Kitsound says, "Change the way you listen and dive into the latest True Wireless Stereo technology with the District True Wireless Earbuds from KitSound. Take advantage of completely wireless audio with immersive quality sound, auto-pairing, and on-the-go charging. Lightweight, comfortable, and featuring an all-new portable charging case, these are the perfect wireless earbuds for those that listen on the move."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
You can enjoy smooth and even connectivity with the latest Bluetooth technology and effortless auto-pairing. You can listen and relax with comfort fit earbuds that deliver true stereo sound for the ultimate audio experience.
We have crafted our latest earbuds with a lightweight and sleek design to make your journey a better experience. You can ease into your commute, exercise, and relax in comfort, whilst you enjoy our crystal clear audio.
Listen for longer
We have designed the Districts to feature a portable magnetic charging case, to boost your listening whilst on the go. You can now relax and listen for longer with the reserve battery delivering up to 40 hrs play time.
Come rain or shine
We have made sure the District True Wireless Earbuds also feature IPX5 water and sweat resistance. You can now listen to your favourite music whilst on the move, whatever the weather throws at you.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're good, especially for short turbo sessions and the like.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good sound, comfy, light, charging box is clever.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Battery life is limited, easy to turn them off when you're adjusting them in your ears.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get similar products for less online (these, for example); they're reasonably expensive but they are nicely made.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably
Use this box to explain your overall score
Good overall: not cheap but they work well and they're nicely made. Some niggles with design and function but nothing too major.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.