Disclaimer: We received review units, courtesy of Armaggeddon Malaysia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Armaggeddon Malaysia, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
Armaggeddon has decided to enter the wireless headset with two new earbuds in their new Hornet line - the Hornet-1 and Hornet-3. Since I was happy with the WASP-7 when it came to voice communications (it's my go-to headset whenever I need to take calls or meetings on my phone), I jumped at the opportunity to check out these earbuds. Boy, I was in for a surprise.
I'll say it outright - these earbuds aren't great if you're purchasing them to listen to music. While overall they are usable, what bothers me is how music constantly sounds like its clipping. It reminded me of listening to music on an FM radio when you can't find the exact sweet spot of the perfect frequency - the music can be heard clearly, but there's that very slight hint of distortion. Tweaking my equalizer settings helped to reduce it but it's not something I expect most people to do. When your budget earbuds don't play well with default audio settings, it's a point of concern.
This is much less prominent on the Hornet-3, which has a heavier low-end that drowns out the clipping but it is very noticeable on the Hornet-1. The audio quality would be acceptable if the earbuds were priced cheaper, but at RM129 (Hornet-1) and RM179 (Hornet-3) - I expected them to sound better than the notable budget-friendly options out there.
This distortion isn't present when listening to voices, podcasts and in-game chat (but the quality of your teammates' voices are out of your control) so if music isn't a priority to you, the Hornet earbuds are adequate.
Honestly, the microphones on these earbuds performed a lot better than I had expected, but they are nowhere close to the quality of the one on the WASP-7. Though the sound was slightly muffled, Armaggeddon did a good job with the noise suppression/cancellation. My voice sounded clear when I was speaking normally.
Here's an example of what my voice sounded like while using these earbuds:
Hornet-1 (quiet environment)
Hornet-1 (next to a fan)
Hornet-3 (quiet environment)
Hornet-3 (next to a fan)
Perhaps Armaggeddon could include the detachable mic in future versions of their wireless earbuds?
Both earbuds didn't come with custom tips for different ear sizes but they could fit snuggly into my ears. The Hornet-1 felt very light but I was never worried about them falling out of my ears when walking around. No complaints regarding their comfortability.
The Hornet-3 looks like a trimmed version of the WASP-7, which I thought looked pretty cool, but the LEDs were too loud for my taste. I prefer the more subtle look of the Hornet-1.
Though buttonless touch controls look fancy and 'next-gen', they were a pain point of these earbuds. When you can't feel if you've successfully pressed a button and you can't see the lights on the earbuds without a mirror or removing them, adjusting the audio was quite a challenge. The lack of tactility and any visual cues led me to rely on my phone to control my music. The only thing I could do reliably was play/pause the audio and turn them on/off. Adjusting the volume was near impossible - the earbuds kept pausing the music instead.
The Hornet-1 and Hornet-3 feature a 'game mode' (tap the buds four times to enable/disable it) which is said to improve audio latency. As to why it isn't the default mode, game mode reduces the functional range of the earbuds and drains the battery quicker. I played around with the modes and personally, I didn't experience any perceivable differences in latency with it on. I'm sure results will vary for people with other devices (I tested the earbuds with my laptop, a Pocophone F1 and an iPhone 12), but it didn't make a difference to me, so I left it off.
Purely anecdotal but I've had wildly different results trying to connect the earbuds to different devices while testing them. Connecting them to my phones was effortless, I had no issues. Turn the earbuds on, select them in my phone's menu and I was all set - straightforward and fast.
When pairing them with my laptop or desktop it was a whole different story. I had to turn the earbuds on and off and attempt to connect them via the Windows 10 Bluetooth menu many times before I could make a successful connection. Once they were connected they functioned expectedly, even when walking in and out of range causing the connection to drop and pick up again. The problem only came during the setup stage. If you have no plans to use them with a computer, this won't be of any concern.
No complaints here. Both earbuds were good enough to last at least half a day of constant usage before I had to charge them (in their nice and handy cases). The Hornet-1 is said to have 15 hours battery life (5 on the headset and the case able to provide 10 hours) and the Hornet-3, 32 hours (8 + 24). The cases also make use of USB-C which is appreciated in this day and age.
The Hornet-1 and Hornet-3 are a fair debut from Armaggeddon but are a bit tricky for me to recommend. Like their Starship VI gaming chair, these earbuds are considered pricier than what we've come to expect but these come with compromises.
If voice communications and battery life is a priority for you, these earbuds will get the job done. With voices, you won't have to worry about the distortion that's present when listening to songs. However, if you're after a good musical experience, there are much more affordable alternatives out there.
With their first product out of the way, I look forward to seeing Armaggeddon improve future iterations of their wireless earbuds.
The Hornet-1 and Hornet-3 wireless earbuds are available now for RM129 and RM179 respectively, on the official Armaggeddon Shopee store. They're having a promotion on March 16th where you'll get a power bank as a free gift when purchasing the earbuds.