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BuddyPhones POP Fun Review

Last updated: 7 days ago
10 min read
Editor
rating
3.9
BuddyPhones POP Fun headphones for kids

BuddyPhones POP Fun are perfect all-around headphones for kids, providing safe volume levels, surprisingly balanced sound, and a flexible, albeit plastic, build. They’re only missing water resistance to protect them against juice spillage.

BuddyPhones volume-limiting headphones are made specifically for toddlers and young teens to protect their hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss is widespread among headphone users, children included.

However, most previously tested headphones for toddlers didn’t meet our criteria for a safe listening experience. But it feels like BuddyPhones paid attention since the POP Fun are pretty much perfect.

Not only do they never play above the loudness target, but they also have a surprisingly balanced sound signature. More on that later.

The full review below will also discuss the headphone’s durability and comfort, so let us dive right into it.

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  • Smooth, warm sound that never gets harsh
  • Safe listening volumes ("84.4dB" in 85dB mode & "94dB" in 94dB mode)
  • Comfortable fit, even for adults
  • Lightweight & very flexible construction
  • Long battery life of 23.5 hours (in 85dB mode at 50% volume)
  • Washable earpads from anti-allergic materials
  • Not even basic IPX water protection
  • No carrying pouch included
  • Not the most stable for active kids
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CONTENTS (show more)

    Sound

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    BuddyPhones POP Fun are the most natural-sounding headphones for kids. But there’s still some bass boost to make the sound more appealing.

    I don’t know what kind of sound signature is the most popular among kids. But you can teach them how good music should sound from their very young years.

    That’s where BuddyPhones POP Fun step in. They produce a natural sound that is only partially veiled by the boosted bass. But who doesn’t like a little bit of rumble?

    Bass: Boosted and slightly muddy, but fun nonetheless

    If kids today are anything like they were 20 years ago, they love listening to powerful bass. 

    BuddyPhones POP Fun strike a fine balance between punchiness and muddiness. You get both, but in a quantity that doesn’t ruin the listening experience.

    That means your kids can enjoy punchy tunes (like “Baby Shark”) and something a bit more relaxed for school or instrument lessons.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun headphones
    Even though BuddyPhones POP Fun have on-ear cups and fabric pads, they produce a satisfying amount of bass.

    Midrange: Very natural

    BuddyPhones POP Fun truly shine in the midrange, presenting most instruments and vocals naturally.

    Only the electric guitars sometimes get a bit muddy, but most kids don’t listen to metal, so it’s irrelevant.

    Treble: Smooth as baby’s buttocks

    Making higher frequencies smooth and balanced is another excellent decision from BuddyPhones.

    That ensures headphones never become sibilant or harsh.

    Overall, these headphones are tuned perfectly for the young audience. Their sound is still fun without being too boosted in any area.

    Hopefully, BuddyPhones POP Fun can become a benchmark for kids as to what good headphones should sound like and be a starting point for young audiophiles.

    Or at least to start appreciating the natural tuning, which I never got to experience when I was a kid.

    Volume Limiter Performance

    Effective volume limiter in both modes that keeps the volume under 85 dB.

    Children’s ears are more sensitive to loudness, so you shouldn’t expose them to constant loud noises. 

    That’s why the best headphones for toddlers use volume limiters to keep the volume under specific loudness.

    I tested BuddyPhones POP Fun using different audio sources and amplification. I made all tests on my loudness-calibrated MiniDSP H.E.A.R.S.

    White Noise Test (with Bluetooth at 85dB & 94dB)

    White noise is a group of all audible frequencies (to humans) playing simultaneously.

    That reveals if headphones play specific frequencies louder than the others, resulting in noisier output.

    Here are my test results for BuddyPhones POP Fun at 100% volume, using white noise and 85dB and 94dB modes:

    Loudness modeResults
    85dB mode84.4dB
    94dB mode94.0dB

    Note that you can only change loudness modes when using headphones in Bluetooth mode.

    The results are truly impressive, with the one from 94dB mode precisely on point.

    It looks like the BuddyPhones team sat down and ensured their headphone sounded as accurate as possible.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun 85db measurement
    Screenshot from a “white noise” Bluetooth test with 85dB mode enabled.
    BuddyPhones POP Fun 94db measurement
    Screenshot from a “white noise” Bluetooth test with 94dB mode enabled.

    Music Test (with Bluetooth at 85dB & 94dB)

    For this test, I used the “Baby Shark” song by Pinkfong to recreate kids listening to music. By raising the volume up to 100%, I tried to see if the noise would get louder than advertised.

    Here are the results:

    Loudness modeResults
    85dB mode83.3dB
    94dB mode93.4dB

    Thankfully, even in this test, headphones didn’t go over the target loudness.

    It’s also worth noting that the results above represent the loudest point in the “Baby “Shark.” Meaning that, in general, the loudness was lower throughout the song.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun 85db (Baby Shark) measurement
    Screenshot from a “Baby Shark” Bluetooth test with 85dB mode enabled.
    BuddyPhones POP Fun 94db (Baby Shark) measurement
    Screenshot from a “Baby Shark” Bluetooth test with 94dB mode enabled.

    Wired Loudness Test (using laptop)

    You can also use BuddyPhones POP Fun as wired headphones, so I also had to test that. I used a standard laptop (HP 470 G8) for my audio source to present a real-world usage scenario.

    I tested the headphones with the included original cable and a third-party one to see if there were any differences (some cables have built-in loudness limiters).

    Here are the results using white noise (with included and third-party cable) and music:

    Audio type
    & cable
    Results
    White noise (original cable)93.2dB
    White noise (third-party cable)93.2dB
    Music (original cable)91.7dB

    Based on the results, headphones are targeting the 94dB limit. Fortunately, the laptop at 100% can’t make the POP Fun too loud, which is ideal.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun wired db measurement
    Screenshot from a “white noise” wired test using original cable and a laptop as a source.
    BuddyPhones POP Fun wired Baby Shark measurement
    Screenshot from a “Baby Shark” wired test using a laptop as a source.
    BuddyPhones POP Fun third party cable test
    Screenshot from a “white noise” wired test using a third-party cable and a laptop as a source.

    Wired Loudness Test (using a headphone amp)

    To push the loudness limiter to its limits and beyond, I also made a test using AudioQuest DragonFly Red headphone amplifier & DAC. I used the original cable.

    Here are my results:

    Audio type
    & cable
    Result
    White noise
    (headphone amp
    & original cable)
    98.4dB

    By pushing headphones to extremes, I made them 4.4dB louder than their target. 

    BuddyPhones POP Fun wired amp test
    Screenshot from a “white noise” wired test with a headphone amplifier.

    However, this scenario is implausible unless your kids have access to powerful audio amps to plug their headphones in.

    Moreover, some kids’ headphones performed much worse in a similar test, like Puro Sound Labs BT2200, which reached 111dB (almost concert-like loud).

    You can find all our loudness measurements in our best kids headphones guide.

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    BuddyPhone POP Fun have a relatively light clamping force, resulting in a gentle and comfortable fit. But they aren’t the most stable for energetic kids.

    Overall plasticky construction leaves a questionable first-test experience. 

    The headband is slightly dampened, with foam (I assume) hidden behind the silicone cover. And the fabric earpads are rather stiff and small.

    However, when you put them on your head, you realize you have been worried for nothing. BuddyPhones POP Fun are actually pretty comfy, even for adults.

    Moving back to the headband, it has a minimal amount of cushioning. But since the headphones are so light, they don’t cause any pressure to the top of your head.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun headband padding
    The headband has a minimal amount of padding.

    Furthermore, due to gentle clamping force, the stiff earpads are also a non-issue. Especially for kids, whose smaller ears will surely find the on-ear design comfier.

    Also, the pads are dressed in a breathable fabric that should prevent you from getting sweaty ears, especially during more physical activities.

    Speaking of which, the POP Fun don’t feel as stable as some other headphones in the BuddyPhones lineup, like the Explore+ model.

    Their stability should suffice for everyday activities like home listening or commuting, but not for running and jumping around.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    BuddyPhones POP Fun have a flexible design that can survive some beating, with washable earpads to ensure their freshness. Just don’t spill liquid over them.

    Much like most headphones under $50, these, too, are overwhelmingly plastic. However, they have a smooth, gentle finish and don’t rattle much when shaken.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun headband extender
    The headband extender has a cute symbol engraved into it (and some grease residue).

    Furthermore, POP Fun meet many kids’ health and environmental standards (RoHS, REACH, and PROP65) by using the safest materials. So you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions or anything like that.

    Flexibility is also a large part of these headphones. You can stretch and bend them, and they should also endure drops. Of course, any plastic can crack, so don’t test your luck.

    Another neat feature are removable earpads, which you can wash to clean off any sweat or dirt that gets stuck on them. Learn more on how to clean headphones in our in-depth guide.

    As for the replaceability of the earpads, BuddyPhones don’t sell replacement pads. Maybe in the future?

    BuddyPhones POP Fun removable earpads
    Earpads are removable and washable, so you can always keep them fresh.

    Strangely, this time BuddyPhones didn’t include any carrying pouch like with their other headphones.

    The lack of an IP rating is the only potential weakness of these headphones. That makes them vulnerable to spilled liquids. And you know kids can be a bit clumsy sometimes.

    Battery

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    BuddyPhones POP Fun offer a USB-C charging port and manage to play music for almost 23.5 hours on a single charge. Although you might get less battery than that. More on that later.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun Battery Comparison

    BuddyPhones POP Fun battery comparison

    At our battery life testing (using 85dB mode at 50%), we got:

    • 23 hours and 25 minutes of battery life on a single charge.

    That’s pretty much in line with the 24 hours claimed by the manufacturer.

    However, since headphones aren’t very loud at the settings mentioned above, your kid will probably want to raise the volume, resulting in lower battery life.

    Nonetheless, even if you get a few hours less out of BuddyPhones POP Fun, they’ll still last for a few days before needing a refill.

    Headphones charge using a USB-C port, which is strangely hidden on top of the right ear cup under the yolk. The placement seems impractical, so only BuddyPhones knows why they made this design decision.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun charging port
    Strange placement of the USB-C port under the earcup yolk.

    Regarding fast charging, there’s no mention of it on the box or in the documentation. However, you should expect between 1.5-2 hours to charge them from 0-100%.

    Features

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    BuddyPhones POP Fun have everything a kid can ask for, from a wireless connection, onboard controls, 2 volumes modes, wired mode, decorative stickers, and a foldable design. However, the mic quality is below-average.

    Regarding headphones for kids, it’s all about durability and practical features. That’s why you don’t get mobile apps since no kid will ever use them.

    Instead, you get helpful features like a foldable design to take less space in a backpack and an AUX port (and included cable) if the battery runs empty.

    Furthermore, as with all BuddyPhones, these also come with four different stickers to put on the earcups. You get a cool surfer, polar bears, abstract waves, and mermaid designs.

    Lastly, there are 3 big physical buttons behind the right earcup to give you complete control over your headphones.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun physical commands
    Three big physical buttons come in slightly different colors, so you can spot them more easily.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun controls:

    • Play/pause – one press on the Power button
    • Repeat/previous track – long press on the “-” button
    • Next track – long press on the “+” button
    • Answer call – one press on the Power button
    • Reject call – long press on the Power button
    • Change volume mode – press “+” and “-” buttons simultaneously

    Microphone Quality

    Unfortunately, the built-in mic inside BuddyPhones FUN Pop leaves much to be desired.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun Microphone Test

    Unlike BuddyPhones School+ with included detachable boom mic, the one in the POP Fun is built-in.

    And as far as I can see, there’s only one, which means there’s some heavy processing involved to try and clean up the sound.

    Sadly, the result is a very muffled and muted voice quality that is hard to understand, even in a quiet environment. Going someplace noisy makes your voice even more muffled.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun truly aren’t meant for making phone calls. In this case, I advise you to use your phone’s mic instead.

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    2.5 Average

    BuddyPhones POP Fun don’t do much to block outside noise due to insufficient seal. You might hear ambient sounds even during music playback.

    The outdoor noise can be pretty apparent depending on where you’re listening. The reason is an insufficient seal due to small earcups and breathable earpads.

    The latter is great for preventing heat build-up but poor at keeping ambient noise away from your music.

    Therefore, you will hear sounds like passing cars even when listening to music. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Hearing more things around you makes you more alert to potential dangers. That’s why mediocre passive isolation is actually desirable in headphones for kids.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun flexible design
    The manufacturer claims BuddyPhones POP Fun are highly flexible, which (of course) I tested.

    One thing that isn’t as desirable is sound leakage. While BuddyPhones POP Fun do suffer from it, it isn’t as noticeable. If your kid listens to “Baby Shark,” you won’t be forced to listen to it too. You can only hear it if you’re close and trying to figure out the song.

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    BuddyPhones POP Fun have a very stable Bluetooth connection up to 60 feet of indoor range. While they don’t support multipoint or only have SBC, that will hardly matter to kids.

    Headphones use Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure a stable connection. And stable it truly is, with no random stutters when having a phone in the pocket.

    Long-range indoor connection is also excellent, indicating headphones use stronger antennas than the competition.

    In my indoor Bluetooth test:

    • BuddyPhones POP Fun started stuttering after passing the second brick wall at around 50 feet (15.2 meters) away from the source. However, they continued playing until 60 feet (18.2 meters), when they stopped playing altogether.

    That’s an above-average result among all Bluetooth headphones I’ve tested. Although, there are better ones out there.

    How to pair BuddyPhones POP Fun?

    1. Headphones search for a device to pair as soon as you turn them on.
    2. To connect them to another device, you must turn them off and back on while holding the power button. Headphones go into pairing mode when you see the small LED light flashing red and blue.
    BuddyPhones POP Fun LEDs and AUX port
    An AUX port, 4 LED indicators, and a microphone hole.

    What Bluetooth Codecs Do They Use?

    BuddyPhones POP Fun only use SBC, much like the Play+ model. That said, that will hardly matter to anyone, as the SBC Bluetooth codec is more than good enough for most users.

    Is There Any Audio Lag in POP Fun?

    There is minimal delay when watching videos on YouTube and social media. But after a few minutes, you don’t really notice it anymore.

    On the other hand, you get almost half a second delay when playing mobile games. So if your kid is into mobile gaming, the wired mode is the best way to ensure zero latency.

    Should You Get BuddyPhones POP Fun?

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    BuddyPhones POP Fun are perfect all-around headphones that kids will love. And I could even see some parents using them when their kids are busy.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun folded
    BuddyPhones POP Fun are foldable but don’t come with any pouch for easier transportation.

    Headphones have a minimalistic yet cool, playful look. And that is very important if your kids plan to wear these in school.

    Most importantly, they’re the safest headphones your kids can wear regarding how accurate their volume limiters are.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun are most suitable for kids who listen to their music at home or on their way to school.

    On the flip side, they aren’t the best for sports or those who are invested in competitive mobile gaming.

    How do BuddyPhones POP Fun compare to the competition?

    • They’re wireless, unlike most kids’ headphones at this price (apart from the Play’ model).
    • They have a sleeker, more elegant design that’s equally flexible than the competition.
    • Headphones lack an IPX rating, which is common among the competition.
    • Battery life lasts around 20 hours, about the same as the competing headphones for kids.
    • They have “laggy” audio compared to the Play+, their only Bluetooth competitor at this price.
    • Headphones don’t have an audio-sharing cable in the box.

    BuddyPhones POP Fun Alternatives

    BuddyPhones Play+

    BuddyPhones Play+ on a plush toy

    BuddyPhones Play+ are a slightly more bassy and less balanced version of wireless headphones for kids, but still very fun to listen.

    They offer slightly better stability and passive isolation due to pleather earpads.

    Moreover, the Play+ have 75dB, 85dB, and 94dB modes, but they aren’t as effective in volume-limiting as the POP Fun.

    BuddyPhones Play + review

    BuddyPhones School+

    BuddyPhones School+ on a laptop

    Less bassy but also brighter-sounding headphones that, fortunately, never get sibilant.

    The School+ model uses similar fabric earpads for breathability but has smaller earcups, which affects overall comfort.

    However, thanks to removable cables and a detachable boom mic, they have a much superior call quality, making them a perfect option for online schooling.

    BuddyPhones School+ review

    BuddyPhones Wave

    BuddyPhones Wave folded headphones

    Sound quality on the Wave can be mixed bag.

    However, their biggest advantage is that they’re fully waterproof. Thanks to their IP67 rating, you can even submerge them underwater.

    Furthermore, they offer 3 loudness settings and a slightly better battery life of 24 hours.

    On the other hand, they aren’t as comfy due to the earpad’s design and aren’t as decorative as the POP Fun.

    BuddyPhones Wave review

    What’s in the Box

    BuddyPhones POP Fun accessories
    • BuddyPhones POP Fun wireless headphones
    • USB charging cable (type C)
    • AUX cable with 3.5mm connection
    • 4 pairs of stickers + blank stickers
    • User manual
    • Coupon for music school

    Specifications

    Type: On-ear
    Connection: Bluetooth & 3.5mm
    Back design: Closed-back
    Drivers: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Impedance: 32 Ohm
    Weight: 4.83 oz (137g)
    Mic & Controls: Yes
    Water resistance: None
    Battery life: 24h
    Charging time: n/a
    Active noise cancelling: No
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC
    Wireless range: 60 feet (18.2 meters)
    Microphone: Built-in microphone

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