Crabot C3 - Reviews
Pros: Incredibly lightweight
Good build
Very long battery life
Low amount of sibilance
More treble than I expected
Cons: Muddy sound overall
Muffled treble
Mids disappear
Uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time
I would like to thank Liu from Crabot for sending me two pairs of headphones to test and review. Despite receiving these in exchange for my review, all opinions expressed are completely mine and I always write reviews as unbiasedly and honestly as I can.

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I'm a 20 year old college student who listens to music at every possible opportunity. I generally prefer IEMs to cans and wear them on the subway, between classes, doing school work, working out, and any other time it's socially acceptable to (as well as a few times it's not).

I listen to a bit of everything but usually prefer male vocals and strong bass. I don't know how to describe my tastes by genre so I would say somewhere in the middle of Hozier, early Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Queen, and Mumford and Sons is my sweet spot.

I hold all of my music on my Samsung S8 and use Poweramp as my main player. Though I conduct all of my tests without EQ, this is my preferred EQ for casual listening:

Some of my test tracks are:
Sail - Awolnation
Somebody That I Used To Know - Pentatonix
Centipede - Knife Party
In One Ear - Cage The Elephant
Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright
All I Need - Awolnation
Killer Queen - Queen
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Hundred - The Fray
Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
Someone Like You - Adele
Gasoline - Halsey
Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

At the time of posting, the Crabot C3 can be found on Amazon for $24.99 or the Honstek website for $26.99.

Packaging and Accessories:

The Crabot C3 comes in a pretty standard box - thick cardboard with the specifications on the side and back - except the front is one large panel of clear plastic, letting you see the C3 from the moment you pick it up. The plastic panel comes off to “reveal” the headphones, which are sitting on a piece of cardboard with the headset held down under a cardboard cutout bearing the C3 model number and with two cutouts (into plastic rather than foam) for the earpads at the bottom.

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The included accessories are very slim but nothing less than I expected, especially for a sub-$30 Bluetooth headphone. A flimsy-feeling micro-USB charging cable and sturdier AUX cable are held together with twist ties and sit next to a user manual under the plastic cutout that holds the headphones. The user manual is more detailed than most I’ve seen but, even so, I’m still underwhelmed by Crabot’s accessories - a small bag or carrying case would be nice, especially for these relatively small headphones.

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Build:

The C3 look very plain but are built surprisingly well. At just 5.3 ounces, they’re incredibly light, but don’t feel cheap. The housing for the earpads is made of hard plastic; the panels on the housing and the headband are made of the same rubber-like material. This gives the headphones a sleek look overall with a black-on-black color scheme (with silver highlights on the headband). The plastic and rubber also feel different, giving these headphones a more premium feel than others I’ve tried that are over twice the price.

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Though the headband is coated in a rubber-like material and not leather padding, it is still very comfortable to wear. It has the right amount of bend; I don’t feel like my head is being squeezed but it’s definitely not loose and the C3 barely move when I wear them. It is also adjustable and easily fits any size or shape head. The ear cups are thin and shallow compared to the other headphones I’ve tried but are still well padded.

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The panel on the left housing has the Crabot logo and brand name; the panel on the right controls the music. In the middle is the power button that also pauses and plays; the volume up and volume down are on top and bottom, respectively, and audibly beep every time the volume setting changes, which is good for the short-term but can get pretty annoying pretty quickly; and the forward/back buttons on the sides skip or go back a song if pressed once and fast forward or rewind (between songs as well as in a single song) if held. The charging port, AUX port, and microphone are all on the bottom of the right housing.

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Fit/Isolation:

The Crabot C3 are an on-ear headphone that feel like an over-ear. The ear cup is very defined but is also too small to fit around any adult human’s ear but rather sits on top of it. This provides decent isolation - not nearly as good as true over-ears but much better than on-ears with flat padding rather than ear cups.

These headphones are also incredibly comfortable. Due to their light weight, I can wear them for long periods of time without feeling stress on my head or neck, and they’re small enough that it’s easy to wear them around as well as outside. They fit snugly and barely move, even when I do. However, the pressure these put on my ears starts to hurt after about 45 minutes; if it weren’t for this pressure and slight ache, I might not even realize I was wearing these.

Battery Life/Connectivity:

The battery life and charging speed of these headphones are heavily advertised: it takes only 2 hours to charge these fully and they can run for up to 12 hours at 70% volume or 22 days on standby. I wasn’t able to test the runtime claims but after testing them for about two hours, leaving them for two weeks, and testing them again for two hours, they didn’t run out of battery. For a casual listener, this battery life is more than enough; for a more regular listener, this should last easily two days of constant listening. They also do charge incredibly quickly; from near-dead, they charged fully in just over two hours. Not exactly what’s advertised, but I wasn’t using a fast charger or the included charging cable (because honestly I don’t trust it).

The connectivity of these headphones also really impressed me. I usually leave my phone (my music source) on my living room table and walk into every other room in my apartment, going farther and farther one by one until the signal drops. Usually the Bluetooth starts sputtering in the second or third room I go into with slight hiccups and pauses. The C3 didn’t hiccup once no matter how far I got from it, whether I was in a straight line or through four walls. I then moved my phone into the the kitchen and walked to the farthest room in my apartment. Only then did it start to glitch, and only slightly. I haven’t had the opportunity to test many on- or over-ear headphones but these probably have the best Bluetooth connectivity of any of the ones I own.

Sound:

After being impressed with the build of the C3, I was expecting it to sound better. However, it sounds like a low-end Bluetooth headphone - no one part is worse than another by a large amount but the sound suffers from a lack of clarity and separation as a whole. Additionally, the sound signature appears to prefer tenor over bass on some songs, which doesn’t make sense given the low level of detail.

Bass
:

The bass is strong but not too strong. The mid-bass is more powerful than the sub-bass but both have good presence. They come together very well to create a sound that is more punchy and bouncy than deep and rich, which works better for songs like The White Stripes’s “Seven Nation Army” or Halsey’s “Gasoline” than anything by Pentatonix or Hozier. That being said, these headphones capture sub-bass rumbles very well, especially on Evanescense’s “Bring Me To Life”.

However, unlike most other headphones I’ve tried, the bass recesses in the presence of strong mids and treble. It still maintains the same quality of sound and does not strongly distort but goes towards the back of the sound rather than filling it out and enhancing it.

Mids:

The mids are accurate and do not recess as strongly as I would have expected them to. These headphones replicate different instruments - especially guitar and piano - very well, but the detail is about what you’d expect for a sub-$30 headphone. That said, the mids do not distort in the presence of highs or lows and blend very well to create a well-rounded sound rather than sticking out or recessing completely into the background.

Vocals, on the other hand, sound a bit muffled. You can hear the low level of detail the strongest in the vocals - words and phrases sound connected and mushy rather than distinct. This affects different types of music differently - the slower the song, the more different words blend together - so depending on your musical tastes this could be a serious problem.

Treble:

Highs are muffled and a bit muddy, as though you’re hearing them through a speaker with a thin towel over it. Piano notes don’t stand out and blend into one another, which makes songs like Adele’s “Somebody Like You” and The Fray’s “Hundred” sound absolutely average. Treble is slightly boosted; this reflects in busy songs as high notes stand out more than the usual consumer-focused V-shaped sound signature. Additionally, the treble is recreated well - rather than all becoming mush in the background, you can hear which notes are supposed to be light and airy and which notes are supposed to be heavier or have more substance to them.

High vocals - tenors as well as female voices - suffer from the same problem as lower male vocals. Words are not crisp and distinct, making it hard to hear a clear separation between background and vocals, especially on songs where both are high. Female vocals sound better on songs in front of backgrounds that don’t heavily feature high notes, though. Surprisingly, there isn’t too much sibilance, which I was definitely expecting.

Soundstage:

The soundstage is nothing to write home about. I could hear all the instruments, even on very busy songs like Cage The Elephant’s “In One Ear”. However, the lack of detail means that they fail to stand out from one another, and I end up hearing a wall of a single sound with highlights on the left or right rather than a collection of individual parts coming together. The lack of depth of these headphones adds to this effect as well, further adding to the wall analogy.

Final Thoughts:

The Crabot C3 is a good sub-$30 Bluetooth headphone as a gift or if you care about budget more than anything else. However, for anything more than casual listening by an untrained ear, the lack of detail and clarity makes these fall flat.
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