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iClever BTH22 Review

Last updated: 2 weeks ago
11 min read
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3.2
iClever BTH22 with fishes

iClever BTH22 are a mixed bag. On one side, they have superb battery life and overall good durability. On the other hand, their sound is muffled, their audio latency is too high, and their volume limiters are too loud, which makes them a tough sell.

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  • List price (MSRP): $21.99
  • Manufacturer: iClever

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Our Conclusion

The marketing for iClever BTH22 kids headphones promises many good things, like safe construction materials, 2 volume limiters that comply with EU regulations, extra precautions regarding sound tuning to prevent hearing damage, and a 50% more flexible frame.

However, after testing them thoroughly, only a few things proved to be as advertised. Starting with positives, headphones pack 70 hours of battery life, have good mic quality for calls, and are truly quite flexible.

iClever BTH22 flexibility
Me testing the flexibility of iClever BTH22 by twisting them.

On the flip side, the sound signature is heavily W-shaped and muffled, the audio latency is too high for mobile gaming, and both volume limit modes go beyond their advertised loudness targets.

Consequently, I have mixed feelings about these headphones. Can they still convince you to purchase them, as they cost only $22? Or should you spend a bit more and get different Bluetooth headphones for kids? The review below should answer all questions.

Pros & Cons:

  • Flexible construction from safe ABS plastic
  • More than 70.5 hours of music playtime per charge
  • Comfortable & more stable than most competitors
  • Good-enough call quality for video calls & homeschooling
  • Low price
  • Muddy sound that lacks midrange
  • Volume limiters are too loud (in our test)
  • Audio latency of 250ms makes mobile gaming unplayable

Compare to similar headphones

CONTENTS (show more)

    Our Analysis and Test Results

    Our tests revealed that the iClever BTH22 frequency response is indeed midrange reduced but also a bit overly bassy. We also discovered that the headset‘s volume limiters are around 10 dBA louder than advertised.

    There were also positive results, like over 70 hours of runtime per charge and pretty clean call performance.

    Sound

    Star Rating
    2.0 Adequate

    iClever BTH22 are bassy, warm, muffled, and a bit shimmery in the treble, sounding worse than other iClever headphones and competitors. However, their sound quality isn’t meant to be good.

    Key points:

    • iClever intentionally lowered the midrange to protect children’s hearing.
    • Consequently, they made the sound unbalanced and predominately muffled.
    • Sound is stripped of all details and has inadequate technical performance, although that probably won’t bother the kids.

    When I say these headphones aren’t meant to sound good, I mean the official iClever’s decision to noticeably lower the midrange. Heavily midrange-recessed headphones never sound good.

    iClever BTH22 vs. BTH18 response comparison
    The red line shows a slightly more balanced iClever BTH18 compared to BTH22 (blue). You can see a huge dip at 4kHz and 6kHz, both responsible for a heavily muted sound. The peak at 8.5kHz adds some treble shimmer. There’s also more bass in both headsets, but due to a poor seal, our rig didn’t measure the entire bass response.

    The logic for the reduction was that frequencies between 2kHz and 4kHz are the loudest and, therefore, contribute the most to hearing damage.

    While there is some logic behind that statement, as human ears naturally amplify frequencies in that region, you still need to look at the loudness of all frequencies, not just a few selected ones. Especially since it has been proven that other frequencies also cause hearing damage.

    Bass: Irregularly boosted

    Bass is boosted and adds a lot of warmth to the sound. It has irregular swings, meaning it can be rumbly and quiet the next second. Surprisingly, it remains decently punchy, even when you try listening to rock music.

    Pop music is already more challenging, as it quickly becomes muddy. Some children’s songs are also quite bass-heavy, which doesn’t pair well with these headphones.

    That said, kids probably won’t mind the irregular and muddy bass.

    Midrange: Heavily recessed upper part

    The lower midrange, below 800Hz, is slightly boosted, making everything sound quite full, if not overly warm. On the other hand, from 800Hz and up, the tuning takes a nosedive right to the 4kHz.

    iClever BTH22 logo
    iClever BTH22 have a rather plain design, without included stickers to customize the look.

    As a result, instruments, especially electric guitars, are sometimes barely audible and lack clarity. String instruments, in general, sound very muted.

    In contrast, vocals retain some natural tone due to the lower midrange boost and some added shimmer from the treble. Meaning that your kid would at least understand the voice when listening to nursery rhymes.

    Treble: Shimmery but lacking air

    Treble or high frequencies are inoffensive and produce a pleasant shimmer, especially cymbals. They let you know they are there but don’t wow you with detail or airiness.

    You might hear some occasional sibilance, especially with female vocalists. But that usually happens on already harsh songs. For some reason, Rihanna sounds sibilant on these headphones.

    Sound comparison

    My conclusion

    I think iClever didn’t need to reduce the midrange to get a safer sound. They should’ve followed the Harman target curve, maybe slightly reduced the treble, and everyone would be happy. Instead, we got a kind of W-shaped tuning that isn’t fun to listen to.

    Volume limiter performance

    iClever BTH22 have 2 volume limiter modes, 74 dBA and 85 dBA. You switch between loudness modes by simultaneously clicking the volume up and down buttons.

    iClever uses the dBA scale for measurements and claims that their “Gen 3 Safe Volume” technology adheres to the EU standard EN50332 for safe listening.

    dBA (A-weighted) scale better represents how humans perceive loudness at different frequencies.

    iClever BTH22 rohs
    Headphones have a RoHS certification, meaning it isn’t made of hazardous materials.

    The above standard requires testing the headphones using specific equipment at specific power output levels, which would be okay if kids lived in a lab.

    However, in the real world, kids simply click the “volume up” button and raise the loudness. That’s why we use normal dBA measuring that reveals real-world loudness.

    To test the manufacturer’s claims, we used the following equipment:

    • MiniDSP E.A.R.S: Artificial ears for measuring frequency response and loudness. While probably not officially backed by the abovementioned EU standard, we are constantly calibrating our MiniDSP for loudness, so we stand by our test results.
    • Samsung 3.5mm audio dongle: A standard audio adapter that you might need when listening to these headphones via cable.

    Volume limiter results

    Extensive testing of the iClever BTH22 loudness revealed, that they’re way too loud (at least when compared to advertised values). They’re also the least accurate iClever headphones we’ve tested.

    We tried different methods to get the advertised values, using white noise, music, pink noise, and a sine wave at 1kHz, but none got close to that. So, let’s see the results.

    White noise test (with Bluetooth at 74dBA & 85dBA modes)

    White noise test showed a big difference between the target response (advertised) and the actual one.

    • In 85 dBA mode, we got 97.2 dBA, which is 12.2 dBA higher.
    • In 74 dBA mode, we got 85.2 dBA, which is 11.2 dBA higher.
    Volume
    Limiter Mode
    Measured Noise
    (White Noise test)
    74 dB85.2 dBA
    85 dB97.2 dBA
    iClever BTH22 white noise test
    Screenshots from my white noise test.

    Music test (with Bluetooth at 74 dBA & 85 dBA modes)

    Music test, which is slightly more representative of the actual noise, showed marginally better but still overly loud results.

    • In 85 dBA mode, we got 95.9 dBA, which is 10.9 dBA higher.
    • In 74 dBA mode, we got 83.6 dBA, which is 9.6 dBA higher.

    Note that we measured the loudest point in the song and that the overall loudness is around 2 dBA lower. However, that’s still louder than it should be.

    Volume
    Limiter Mode
    Measured Noise
    (Music test)
    74 dB83.6 dBA
    85 dB95.9 dBA
    iClever BTH22 music test
    Screenshots from my music loudness test.

    Wired loudness test (using Samsung audio adapter)

    When the battery runs out and you need to plug in the included cable, the headphones default to 85 dBA mode. The max loudness values are a few dBA lower than in Bluetooth mode but still not near the target.

    • The white noise test showed the max loudness of 95.2 dBA.
    • The music test showed the max loudness of 92.5 dBA.
    Volume
    Limiter Mode
    Measured Noise
    (White Noise test)
    Measured Noise
    (Music test)
    85 dB (wired mode)95.2 dBA92.5 dBA
    iClever BTH22 wired test
    Screenshots from my wired loudness test.

    My conclusion about loudness limiters

    iClever BTH22 are sadly among the loudest kids headphones we’ve tested. If you have these headphones or plan to buy them, ensure your child uses them in 74 dBA mode and for no longer than a few hours per day.

    Hopefully, iClever will make more accurate headphones in the future, as other aspects of their headphones (durability, comfort, and (sometimes) sound) are pretty good.

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    iClever BTH22 are decently plushy and have bigger ear pads than some competitors, but their stronger clamping force also makes them less comfy. In return, they provide a really stable fit.

    BTH22 have on-ear ear pads that are slightly bigger than the ones on iClever Meow Lollipop but smaller than the ones on iClever BTH18 (which are over-ear).

    iClever IC-HS25 Meow Lollipop iClever headphones
    Ear pad size comparison between iClever BTH22 (left), IC-HS25 (top), and BTH18 (right).

    They provide decent padding using regular foam. Soft protein leather is gentle on the skin, and iClever promises to use safe materials that comply with the RoHS standard. However, there is no mention of the hypoallergenic materials.

    However, to my adult ears, they don’t feel as comfortable as the iClever Meow Lollipop, despite weighing less. The reason is a slightly stronger clamping force.

    That said, smaller heads will feel less pressure, so kids might wear them for hours without experiencing discomfort.

    Furthermore, tighter clamping force means better stability. Headphones don’t fall off despite me shaking my head in all directions.

    Consequently, your kids can easily use them for running around and playing outside. Since they’re wireless, you don’t need to worry about accidentally tucking the cable.

    Compared to other similar models

    iClever BTH22 are comfier than most competitors from the BuddyPhone’s line of kids’ headphones but less than the IC-HS25 (Meow Lollipop) or the BTH18.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    iClever BTH22 are quite flexible without audible cracking noises. They also have folding and rotating ear cups, but you can’t wash or replace the ear pads, and there’s no water resistance rating.

    Manufacturer claims these headphones use improved ABS materials, which are “50% stronger than regular kids headphones.” ABS is a highly durable form of plastic that should survive a few rough drops on the floor.

    Housing materialPlastic, matte finish
    Earpad materialFaux leather
    Regular foam
    Official water resistanceNone
    Official dust resistanceNone

    Violently twisting the BTH22 during out tests confirms those claims, so your kid should have a hard time breaking these headphones. One little plate keeps opening, but you can fix that with some glue.

    iClever BTH22 plate sticking out
    This piece is constantly getting loose while twisting. Fortunately, you simply push it back in.

    As with all iClever headphones we tested, these also come with permanently attached ear pads. That can be a small problem, as it makes the pads non-replaceable and challenging to wash – learn how to keep the ear pads clean.

    Fortunately, the faux leather lip holding to the ear cup doesn’t stay out when you pull it. Unlike with the iClever IC-HS25.

    The next minor issue is the lack of an IP rating. Kids can be clumsy sometimes, spilling drinks on things, even headphones. Since they aren’t spill-resistant, that might be the end of them.

    iClever BTH22 ear pads
    You can’t pull out the earpads, as they’re permanently attached to the frame.

    Durability comparison

    iClever BTH22 are slightly more durable than iClever Meow Lollipop but less so than BTH18. Otherwise, they’re similarly flexible as any other kids’ headphones (at least the ones we’ve tested).

    Battery

    Star Rating
    5.0 Perfect

    iClever BTH22 have an outstanding battery life of 70 hours and 38 minutes, far exceeding all competitors, and should last you for at least 2 weeks. Sadly, there’s no fast-charging support.

    Tested battery life70 hours 38 minutes
    Official battery life60 hours
    Difference10h 38min (+17.7%)
    Quick chargingn/a
    Qi wireless chargingNo

    iClever BTH22 battery comparison

    iClever BTH22 battery comparison

    These headphones aren’t joking about battery life, which is easily their main highlight. In our battery life test, where we put headphones in 85 dBA mode at 50% volume, we got:

    • 70 hours and 38 minutes of playtime on a single charge.

    That’s 10 hours and 38 minutes more than what the manufacturer claims and is nearing 75 hours, which is how long headphones last in 74 dBA mode.

    Our testing result puts iClever BTH22 at the top of headphones for kids in terms of battery duration. As the manufacturer suggests, these headphones should provide around two weeks of music without charging.

    Unfortunately, unlike iClever BTH18, these don’t support fast charging (at least officially). The box states that it takes 2.5 hours to charge the headphones from 0% to 100%.

    iClever BTH22 charging port
    iClever BTH22 charge from the USB-C port. You can’t use it for audio.

    Battery rating comparison

    Features

    Star Rating
    2.5 Average

    iClever BTH22 have few features, with the call quality being a notable standout. That your kid will be heard loud and clear during phone calls.

    Unlike other iClever headphones we’ve tested, the BTH22 don’t have flashy RGB effects. Fortunately, you still have a foldable design and the possibility for a wired connection (if the battery somehow runs out).

    Another unfortunate fact is the lack of audio-sharing support, which is present in iClever BTH18. This means your kid can’t share audio with their friends via AUX cable.

    iClever BTH22 buttons
    Big clicky buttons are located under the right ear cup.

    Microphone quality

    iClever BTH22 are pretty good at call quality, naturally capturing your voice with minimal distortion. That is only present when exposed to louder background noise.

    iClever BTH22 microphone test: (no noise test from 0:00-0:24, with background noise test from O:24-0:48)

    When in a quiet room, a single built-in microphone captures your voice with good clarity. While you sound somewhat quiet, others shouldn’t have issues understanding what you’re saying.

    When exposed to louder external noises, the mic does a pretty decent job cancelling them out. Your voice gets more distorted, but it isn’t too bad. Still, for the best performance, your kid should stay away from noisy places.

    Features rating comparison

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    2.5 Average

    iClever BTH22 are moderately effective at noise isolation, mostly blocking higher frequencies and a little bit of human speech. In contrast, sound leakage is more noticeable due to overall high loudness.

    Measured average noise isolation9,21 dBA

    Having slightly bigger and plusher ear pads means these headphones can create a slightly better seal. However, on-ear is still on-ear, meaning you don’t get as good excessive noise isolation as with over-ear pads or ear tips.

    iClever BTH22 Passive isolation measurements
    Passive isolation is strongest at 4kHz. Headsets can also block some middle frequencies, but the measurement doesn’t show this due to a poor seal with our measuring rig.

    Nevertheless, isolation is sufficient for your kid to isolate himself when doing homework or during homeschooling. At the same time, he should easily hear you when you call him.

    Here’s a table of how effective is iClever BTH22’s passive noise isolation at blocking specific frequencies:

    FrequencyNoise reduction
    dB SPL
    Noise reduction
    dBA (A-weighted)
    100 Hz0 dB-19,1 dBA
    200 Hz+1,6 dB-9,2 dBA
    400 Hz+2,6 dB-2,2 dBA
    600 Hz+1,4 dB-2,2 dBA
    1 kHz3 dB3 dBA
    2 kHz15 dB16,2 dBA
    4 kHz29,1 dB30,1 dBA
    6 kHz13,3 dB13,4 dBA
    10 kHz20 dB17,5 dBA
    15 kHz17,9 dB11,9 dBA
    Average/9,21 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    How severe is sound leakage?

    Sound leakage is pretty noticeable, especially if you sit next to your kid. That’s because the ear cup’s plastic walls are pretty thin, and the audio loudness is high (as seen from our test results above LINKZ).

    You can use that to your advantage. If you can distinctly hear music from headphones, your kid has raised the volume too high.

    Noise isolation rating comparison with other models

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    iClever BTH22 offer a robust Bluetooth 5.4 connection with up to 65 feet of indoor connection. There’s also relatively invisible video lag but the latency during mobile gaming is enormous.

    Bluetooth version5.4
    Bluetooth range
    (no obstructions)
    200ft+ (60.9m+)
    Bluetooth range
    through a wall
    65ft (19.8m)
    MultipointNo
    Audio latency
    (audio delay)
    250ms

    BTH22 are one of the few new headphones that started to support Bluetooth 5.4, the latest and most robust version yet (learn what science has to say about Bluetooth headphones and radiation).

    It ensures stutter-free close-range connectivity, even in areas with many other wireless devices where you might expect connection interferences.

    Furthermore, headphones provide an excellent indoor range, easily surpassing two brick walls. In our Bluetooth test, they lasted:

    • 65 feet (or 19.8 meters) after completely cutting out the audio.
    iClever BTH22 internal wires
    To trim the weight, iClever needed to make some cuts, like not fully enclosing the ear cups.

    While some headphones can push slightly more, 65 feet is more than enough to run around the house without taking an audio source.

    Headphones don’t support Bluetooth multipoint, which is understandable, as kids probably won’t multitask and wait for phone calls.

    What Bluetooth codecs do they use?

    iClever BTH22 use SBC, AAC, and LC3 Bluetooth codecs. They’re perfectly fine for what headphones have to offer. aptX Low Latency might be useful, but that would also raise the final price.

    Is there any audio lag?

    Audio lag during videos is so small that you get used to it quickly. That works fine for videos on YouTube and social media apps.

    On the other hand, mobile games have a high audio latency of 250ms, which makes them essentially unplayable. In that case, since there’s no Game Mode, it’s better to resort to wired mode.

    Bluetooth rating comparison

    Should You Get iClever BTH22?

    Star Rating
    2.5 Average

    The iClever BTH22 simply offer too many compromises compared to the competition, even from the same brand. They’re strong in some areas but disappoint in others. Consequently, I would steer you toward the iClever BTH18, which offer much more for an extra $8.

    Pros & Cons

    • Flexible construction from safe ABS plastic
    • More than 70.5 hours of music playtime per charge
    • Comfortable & more stable than most competitors
    • Good-enough call quality for video calls & homeschooling
    • Low price
    • Muddy sound that lacks midrange
    • Volume limiters are too loud (in our test)
    • Audio latency of 250ms makes mobile gaming unplayable
    iClever BTH22 folded
    iClever BTH22 can fold but doesn’t come with any pouch to store them and protect them from scratches.

    Who are these best for…

    • Kids or parents who often forget to charge their devices, thanks to the headset’s 70 hours of battery life.
    • Playful kids who often drop things on the floor, thanks to the durable ABS plastic and tear-resistant ear pads.

    Who should avoid them…

    • Parents who expect accurate loudness limits and want to ensure their kids won’t listen to music at damaging high volumes.
    • Kids who enjoy playing mobile games, as the audio latency is too high, even for casual games.
    • Kids who also use headphones to practice instruments, as the lack of midrange mutes most instruments in songs.

    How do iClever BTH22 compare to the competition?

    • Battery playtime of over 70 hours is easily the best we’ve ever tested in the children’s headphones category.
    • Due to their better clamp force, they are slightly more stable than their competitors.
    • Comfort is better than in most competitors, but not all.
    • Microphone performance is good and overall better than in most other wireless headphones for kids.
    • Sound tuning is heavily recessed in the midrange, which we haven’t seen in other headphones for kids.
    • Volume limiter results are among the weakest we’ve tested.

    Here’s their value rating compared to similar alternatives:

    Are they worth the price?

    At $22, iClever BTH22 sound like a bargain. However, due to their underwhelming performance, you might want to spend a few more dollars and get a more feature-rich alternative.

    iClever BTH22 alternatives

    iClever BTH18

    iClever BTH18 headphones

    Similarly bass-boosted but without midrange reduction, so they sound much better overall. Moreover, they’re over-the-ear headphones, which increases comfort, and have RGB LED effects.

    Battery life is lower at 53 hours per charge (10 hours if you enable effects) and support fast charging.

    iClever BTH18 review

    iClever IC-HS25 (Meow Lollipop)

    iClever IC-HS25 Meow Lollipop headphones

    Very balanced-sounding cat-ear headphones with illuminated RGB ears. They’re smaller and a bit comfier but also less stable for energetic kids. They’re also wired and more prone to cracking the cat ears.

    iClever IC-HS25 (Meow Lollipop) review

    What’s in the Box?

    iClever BTH22 accessories
    • iClever BTH22 wireless headphones
    • USB charging cable (type C)
    • AUX cable with 3.5mm connection
    • User manual

    Specifications

    Type: On-ear
    Connection: Bluetooth 5.4
    Back design: Closed-back
    Drivers: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range: n/a
    Impedance: n/a
    Weight: 5.25 ounces (149 grams)
    Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in, physical
    Water resistance: None
    Battery life: 70.5 hours
    Charging time: 2.5h – USB-C
    Active noise cancelling: No
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3
    Wireless range: 65 feet (19.8 meters)
    Microphone: One built-in

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