In a market dominated by massive and well-established brands like Apple and Shokz, Oladance is a relative newcomer that’s been making waves because of its unique approach to earphones. Users are skeptical of new brands, which is understandable. But who is Oladance, what makes the company’s products different, and are they worth buying?
Oladance was officially registered in 2022 in Shenzhen, China. Prior to its formal establishment, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2021, aiming to bring its unique open-ear stereo audio approach to life. The founders of Oladance study how users interact with their earphones and then enhance that experience by creating products that combine comfort and exceptional sound quality.
Oladance’s reputation is quite impressive for such a young company, with plenty of online reviews singing its praises. Let’s dive a bit deeper to see how Oladance does things differently and why you may want to consider a set of Oladance earphones for your next purchase.
Who Is Oladance?
Oladance, a Shenzhen-based company with representation in Los Angeles in the United States, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in September 2021. It promised revolutionary new earphone technology that offers extreme comfort, an open-ear design, 16.2mm dynamic drivers, and a battery life of up to three times longer than its competitors.
This might seem like a tall order, but Oladance was committed to delivering on its promises and managed to reach over 7,900% of its backing goal, ending with nearly $400,000 by November 2021.
Since then, the company has released three separate headphone models: the OWS 1, OWS 2, and OWS Pro. OWS is the name Oladance uses for its unique approach and technology: Open Wearable Stereo. After the initial Kickstarter, Oladance’s newer models all feature even better specifications than the original statement specified.
What Makes Oladance Different?
Oladance entered a market that was already crowded with many other companies with well-established user bases. The company realized that the only way to make this work was to offer something other brands couldn’t, so it set out to do that.
On its original Kickstarter campaign page, Oladance explains that it noticed its competitors were so focused on improving sound quality and noise-canceling technology that they missed the most important thing: their users’ comfort and health. That became Oladance’s focal point, but without sacrificing sound quality and other technologies that its competitors excelled at.
Standard in-ear earphones or earbuds can cause various ear infections and other health problems. They can provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and wearing them too much can also cause compacted earwax, not to mention the potential for hearing damage since you can’t always judge their volume accurately.
Doctors recommend that you don’t keep earbuds in your ears for more than 60 minutes at a time, with 60-minute breaks in between. But how many people do you know that actually follow that guideline?
That’s one of the aspects that Oladance aims to improve. Because the earphones never go in your ears, they can’t cause ear infections or compacted earwax.
With its open-ear and non-intrusive design, Oladance already promises comfort. But what really takes comfort to the next level is the titanium wire frame. It gently nestles over your ears, ensuring even pressure distribution and sturdy fit. You can wear them all day and barely notice they’re there. The Oladance OWS1 and OWS2 models weigh 12.7g per earphone, while the OWS Pro weighs 13.8g per earphone, and they all have counterweights that fit behind your ears to keep them snug and balanced.
Having said that, comfort is a very subjective concept. What fits perfectly and comfortably for one person won’t necessarily be as perfect for everyone else. From what I’ve seen, people with more prominent ears may find them slightly uncomfortable after a few hours.
Are Oladance Earphones Worth It?
To answer this question, we have to see how Oladance measures up compared to its competitors.
While other earphone brands focus on improving noise-canceling technology, Oladance chose to focus on environmental awareness, making them compete head-on with bone-conduction headphone brands like Shokz.
But here, Oladance has a clear advantage. While bone conduction technology is improving rapidly, its sound quality is still sub-par. Oladance makes use of standard air conduction technology, so it has superior sound quality from the get-go.
But because the earphones don’t plug your ears, you still have full environmental awareness, making Oladance safer to use while running or cycling than regular earbuds.
Another arena where Oladance excels is battery life. With the OWS 1, you can anticipate up to 16 hours of non-stop playback at around 50% volume. The OWS 2 takes it a step further, offering up to 19 hours of battery life. As for the latest OWS Pro, it provides a solid 16 hours of usage. Furthermore, the Pro model comes with a charging case, extending its longevity to an impressive 58 hours.
Regardless, your earphones should comfortably last you all day on a single charge with that kind of battery power.
Oladance’s sound quality is pretty good for what it is. Remember that these are open-ear earphones, so you won’t have noise cancellation or sound isolation. The earphones are intended to give you environmental awareness, which means you will never have the sound quality you would expect from audiophile headphones.
But if we keep that in mind, the sound quality is quite impressive. The OWS 1 and 2 feature 16.5mm dynamic drivers, and the Pro’s is 23x10mm. The sound is full and personal, though it is slightly lacking in bass. If you’re an audiophile, these will not impress you. But if you’re looking for earphones with all the benefits of bone conduction but better sound quality, Oladance is perfect.
Making and receiving calls on Oladance earphones is quite impressive. Its microphones are pretty good at isolating your voice from background noises like mild wind and traffic.
Oladance’s OWS 1 supports Bluetooth 5.2, while the OWS 2 and OWS Pro both support Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint connectivity. This makes them highly compatible with practically any modern playback device and adds convenience since you can seamlessly switch between devices on the OWS 2 and Pro.
Overall, Oladance’s products are priced well within the expected range. Comparing them with Shokz’s OpenFit (probably its closest competitor), the OWS 2 is considerably cheaper. The Pro model costs quite a bit more than the OpenFit, but keep in mind that it includes the charging case, which is optional with both of the other Oladance models.
After spending some time with all three Oladance models and ignoring the inherent downsides to the open-ear design, the only significant disadvantage is the touch controls. They are great but far too sensitive. Even the slight touch of brushing aside my hair during a workout would often trigger a control.
This is a problem that has plagued Oladance from the start, and all three models have the issue, though it seems like it might have improved slightly with the Pro since it doesn’t happen quite as frequently as it does with the OWS 1 and 2.
Oladance set out with a vision to create earbuds with a different approach: one that prioritizes the user experience without compromising on sound quality. They uphold the philosophy that technology should adapt to the user, not vice versa. And overall, it seems the company managed to do that. The earbuds are comfortable, giving the impression that they were crafted with the user’s needs in mind, while still delivering excellent sound quality.
And yet, Oladance’s earbuds are every bit as technologically advanced as other brands. The company managed to do the same thing as its competitors, but from a different angle and with a unique perspective, which somehow makes all the difference in the world. I believe Oladance’s products are worth the money, and it’s a brand I will be keeping a keen eye on in the future.