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Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Review: Comfortable Fit, Affordable ANC

The Fastrack brand started out as a way for Indian wristwatch maker Titan to market affordable watches to young people in India, but...




The Fastrack brand started out as a way for Indian wristwatch maker Titan to market affordable watches to young people in India, but it has expanded in recent years to cover various product categories including smart devices. The company’s Reflex Tunes range of audio products covers  wireless earphones including neckband-style ones, as well as true wireless earphones. The current flagship product in the range is the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 active noise cancelling wireless headset.

Priced at Rs. 7,995 in India, the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 wireless headphones offer a lot by way of features and specifications, including active noise cancellation, support for the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec, and a proper around-ear, noise isolating fit. Is this the best pair of wireless headphones at under Rs. 10,000? Find out in this review.

fastrack reflex tunes f02 review main Fastrack

The Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 has an over-ear fit with good padding to aid the active noise cancellation

The Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is comfortable and well equipped

The big, around-ear style of headphones can be desirable for a number of reasons including comfort, better passive noise isolation, and the ability to accommodate large, more capable drivers. The Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 headphones offer all of this, with the addition of active noise cancellation to build on the better passive noise isolation. This feature set puts the headphones in direct competition with mid-range and premium options from brands such as Sony, Sennheiser, and Skullcandy.

While the all-plastic body of the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 might not evoke a sense of premium-ness, this pair of headphones does look decent enough for the price. It’s also very comfortable to wear, thanks to thick padding on both the casings and on the bottom of the headband. The headphones have a proper around-ear design, completely coving my ears and creating a decent noise-isolating seal even when I had my glasses on. The ear casings move around a bit in all directions independent of the headband so you can adjust to the fit.

The headband of the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is adjustable in length, and folds inwards for easy storage. There are a total of five microphones on the headset – the bottoms of both earcups have big openings for microphones, and there are additional ones for noise cancellation on the outer sides of the casings and near the USB Type-C port.

All of the controls and inputs on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 are on the right side. There are three multi-function buttons to control power, playback, volume, and call handling, plus a slider switch to control active noise cancellation. There’s an auxiliary audio input and USB Type-C port. There are small status indicator lights next to the buttons and ANC slider switch.

Connecting a stereo cable to the aux socket automatically turns off Bluetooth connectivity on the headphones. Interestingly, active noise cancellation on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 operates independently of the main power controls; you can have ANC on even if the headphones are switched off or being used as a wired headset.

There’s no companion app for the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02, but this isn’t really a problem since most of its features, functions, and controls are quite straightforward and easy to operate. The headphones have 40mm dynamic drivers, with a frequency range of 20-20,000Hz. The Bluetooth version isn’t specified, but the headphones do support the SBC, AAC, and Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codecs. There’s even an IPX4 water resistance rating.

fastrack reflex tunes f02 review buttons Fastrack

Active noise cancellation can be controlled independently on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 headphones

 

Battery life on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is just about workable, given its form factor and price, but it’s far less capable than the Sony WH-CH710N, which is among our top picks of noise cancelling headphones priced under Rs. 10,000.

The headset ran for around 13 hours per charge, at moderate volumes levels and with ANC on. It took around three hours to fully charge from empty. I almost exclusively had the Reflex Tunes F02 paired with an Android smartphone using the aptX codec, and it might be possible to get a bit more battery life with the AAC codec, but this won’t make a significant difference.

Decent sound, average ANC on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02

Although relatively new to the wireless audio segment, Fastrack has gone big with its first products, and interestingly, this includes a focus on sound quality. Although not labeled or marked anywhere on its box or website, the Reflex Tunes F02 supports the Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codec, and combined with good drivers and tuning, this makes for very good sound.

While I typically use wireless headphones and earphones with an iPhone, support for aptX led me to use an Android smartphone as my primary source device for this review. Indeed, using the advanced Bluetooth codec improved sound quality a fair bit, although the headphones still sounded competent and entertaining when using the iPhone with the AAC Bluetooth codec.

fastrack reflex tunes f02 review folded Fastrack

Although active noise cancellation isn’t very good on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02, sound quality is decent thanks to aptX support

 

Starting with Paradox by Riot Jazz Brass Band on the Android smartphone, the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 sounded wide and spacious, making for the kind of soundstage that only big drivers and a proper around-ear fit can manage. The saxophone and trumpet riffs of this modern jazz track felt present and real in the virtual soundstage, complemented by detailed percussion and tight bass.

Support for the aptX Bluetooth codec brought all of this together with an impressive sense of cohesiveness that I haven’t experienced before on a pair of over-ear headphones priced under Rs. 10,000. Moving on, the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 kept up with the pace and attack of the quicker and more lively Envious by Aluna, while retaining the luxurious soundstage and cohesiveness that makes it such an enjoyable pair of headphones.

The sonic signature of the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 does give lows and highs a bit of a boost, but the mid-range wasn’t too far behind. The timbre and nuance in Aluna’s voice were clear and present, blending well with the cheerful beats and tune. I felt a significant difference in my ability to pick up on the faint details when using the headphones with the AAC Bluetooth codec; the sonic signature was retained, but the soundstage and detail levels didn’t feel as impressive.

While sound quality on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is very good for the price, active noise cancellation didn’t quite match up to the level of performance that I’ve heard with other options priced under Rs. 10,000. The ability to control active noise cancellation independently is useful, but the actual ANC performance was underwhelming.

Sound reduction was a bit too mild to truly make a difference even indoors; ceiling fans and air conditioners sounded a bit softer, but not enough to really matter. In outdoor settings, the ANC was even less useful, barely softening any ambient sound. That said, the comfortable around-ear fit and foam padding on the Fastrack headphones offer very good passive noise isolation, making up for the weak ANC to some extent.

Performance on calls was decent enough on the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02; I was able to hear and be heard clearly enough even in noisy environments.

Verdict

The affordable audio segment in India is crowded, but Fastrack’s first products have the potential to shake things up. Priced at Rs. 7,995, the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is an impressive pair of headphones when it comes to design, comfort, and sound quality. It offers the kind of performance you’d expect from headphones that cost much more. Although battery life and active noise cancellation performance weren’t up to the mark even for the price, the overall experience was largely positive for me.

Going up against the excellent Sony WH-CH710N and other competition from Sennheiser, Skullcandy, and JBL, the Fastrack Reflex Tunes F02 is a refreshing option that’s worth considering if you’re shopping for wireless around-ear headphones under Rs. 10,000.








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