The market has been veritably flooded with wireless earbud options. Gone are the days of tangled headphones or. You can sit, walk, or run comfortably knowing that your wireless headphones will deliver flawless audio quality. The only question is, which pair should I get? Scroll through the web and you’ll realize that the answer is: it depends! Some earbuds are built with workouts in mind while others prioritize audio tech for hi-fi listening experiences. What device will you be using? Do you need a long charge life for hiking trips? Or will you just be walking your dog around the block? There are dozens of great options for a variety of use cases. While we might have our individual favorites, we wanted to try a new Bluetooth earbud entry: The Rebel True Wireless Earbuds from House of Marley.
House of Marley shared these recently released earbuds with our team for an in-depth review process. We tested out phone calls and music/podcast listening while running, walking, biking, and, well, sitting here writing this review. So, we feel pretty confident that we gave the Rebel earbuds the full test. So, what did we think?
What is House of Marley?
Before we get into the Rebel earbuds specifically, it’s important to get to know House of Marley. House of Marley is an eco-conscious brand that offers sustainably produces audio tech including turntables, speakers, and headphones. Inspired by the legendary musician Bob Marley, the company launched Project Marley to support global reforestation via One Tree Planted and ocean conservation via the Surfrider Foundation.
House of Marley’s products are characterized by clean designs and natural bamboo accents. While nearly all of their offerings are priced modestly at the entry-level budget, they are well regarded for their top-tier quality. In fact, I use a pair of House of Marley’s Get Together Duo bookshelf speakers for my desktop.
So, when we learned House of Marley was releasing their own true wireless earbuds, and that they were a collaboration with Bob Marley’s grandson Skip Marley, we were excited to give them a try.
The Competition: Apple AirPods
When it comes to true wireless earbuds, one example always stands out. Apple’s AirPods are ubiquitous and beloved by Apple users. In fact, my AirPods are my standard pair of earbuds. So, it only seemed appropriate to use AirPods as a benchmark with which to compare the House of Marley Rebel earbuds.
Rebel True Wireless Earbuds: The Pros
House of Marley’s trademark bamboo highlights and clean designs make the Rebel stand out in a sea of plain earbuds. The dark brown Natural Wood Fiber composite with bamboo accents on the case and buds is striking. And early looks at the white edition of the Rebel are just as impressive. Plus, the use of sustainably sourced materials and 100% recyclable packaging is a huge plus in our book.
The Rebel includes three distinct earbud sizes to give you an ideal fit. While it might not be the most comfortable pair of earbuds on the market, I found that the Rebel earbuds stayed in place comfortably even on long runs — thanks to IPX5 water and sweat resistance — and never caused any irritation.
The Rebel True Wireless Earbuds deliver solid sound quality on phone calls and while playing audio, particularly in the low- to mid-frequencies. The Rebel uses Bass Boost EQ for some good textured sound. And, I found that the Rebel did a solid job of blocking out ambient noise especially on phone calls.
A significant step-up from other wireless earbuds is the wireless charging case. Just plop the earbuds into the case — the magnetic charging connects seamlessly — and place it on any Qi charger. The earbuds hold an 8-hour charge and the case itself promises up to 30 hours of playtime. One of my favorite features of the Rebel is that the case precisely displays its charge with 5 lights (unlike the Apple AirPods case which only has one light). In fact, if you just touch or move the case, it’ll display its current charge which is extremely convenient.
Like AirPods, the Rebel will automatically connect to its last paired device when you open the case and will disconnect when the case is shut. Also, the Rebel earbuds have the same pause feature where audio will stop when you take out one of the buds. The tap controls are very responsive with only a slight delay and the flat surface makes tapping much easier.
Rebel True Wireless Earbuds: The Cons
While I really enjoy most of the features of the Rebel earbuds case, I found it to be just slightly bulky in my pocket, especially when compared to the standard Apple AirPods. (The AirPods Pro, though, is similarly bulky.) Additionally, the sensation of closing the AirPods case is much more satisfying and packs more weight than the Rebel’s lighter lid.
Connecting to a New Device
While reconnecting to an existing device is a piece of cake, I had a hard time pairing it with another device. For instance, I had to manually disconnect from my phone to then connect the Rebel earbuds to my computer. The Rebel case has a hard-reset button but despite numerous attempts, I just couldn’t get it to switch easily.
Honestly, there weren’t any significant problems with the Rebel True Wireless Earbuds but I did notice some small oddities. For instance, while audio will pause when you take an earbud out, it’ll resume if you place it down. I don’t know how many times this would pose a serious problem but I’ve definitely taken my AirPods out of my ear to talk with someone and placed them on my desk without the music starting up again. Additionally, while the quality of the audio is solid, I found that the volume is slightly lower than other headphones.
The Final Verdict
Overall, the Rebel True Wireless Earbuds from House of Marley are great. They might not be perfect, but they’re a significant improvement over many other wireless earbuds on the market. The design and eco-friendly materials offer a unique alternative to their competitors and the wireless charging, audio quality, and connectivity are serious points in Rebel’s favor.
The Rebel earbuds will work perfectly across a variety of use cases especially for casual listening, hands-free phone calls, and working out. And, for non-Apple users, Rebel earbuds are an excellent option.
But, as an Apple product user, it’s hard to beat the AirPod’s integration capabilities. Being able to locate your AirPods or connect across a variety of devices is extremely convenient. But, if you’re looking for a pair of true wireless earbuds that offer many of the same features at a slightly lower price point or if you don’t use Apple devices, we’d highly recommend checking out the House of Marley Rebel True Wireless Earbuds.