The Air Joy Plus provides simple plug-and-play capabilities with the Nintendo Switch and some mobile devices due to the USB-C default jack type. While the sound quality was fairly impressive for the product, the microphone left room for improvement. The selling point for the Air Joy Plus comes from its lightweight design and its USB-C native support.
EKSA Air Joy Plus
USB-C & USB-A
We recently reviewed the EKSA E1000 gaming headset, which while a fair offering given the price range, seemed to lag behind some of the competition, primarily in its audio performance. So going into reviewing the E3Z Air Joy Plus, we were a bit worried it would have the same issues in the audio department. Let me say up front, however, that this wasn’t the case.
The Air Joy Plus is different from the EKSA E1000 though, in that these are specifically created to be used as mobile gaming headphones, while the EKSA E1000 is more aimed at traditional console gamers.
This is another budget headset choice aimed primarily towards a younger audience, so check out your audiophile hat at the door.
Off the bat, the Air Joy Plus has a toned-down aesthetic when compared to the E1000 with less emphasis on LEDs and sharp features. That’s not to say that the E3Z Air Joy Plus doesn’t offer some of that though. On the outside of each earcup is a breathing LED light that lies behind a mesh grid. This slow, pulsating light isn’t over-active or obnoxious, and instead adds a subtle bit of character to the headset.
One of the areas where the E3Z truly differs from the E1000 in terms of the intended use is that the Air Joy Plus uses a USB-C default connection type, which can be converted into a traditional USB jack with the cable provided in the box. The inclusion of the USB-C type port is clearly indicative of the Air Joy Plus’ intended market. These are made for mobile gaming, whether used with a Nintendo Switch or a mobile phone with a USB-C type connection port.
The inclusion of the USB-A connection extender, of course, opens these up to most device support though and during testing, we primarily used a desktop computer.
Build Quality & Comfort
In terms of comfort, one has to give EKSA their props when it comes to this headset. Their lightweight construction and earcup design do make for a comfortable experience, at least for myself. For individuals with larger heads, I again, similarly with the E1000, feel like there may be some problems. I found myself having to use the largest setting on the headphones in order to wear them comfortably. This could become an issue for those wearing any headwear. They will, however, fit the majority of children and teenagers.
While the cups don’t feel exceptionally soft to the touch, they do manage to impress with a fit that is very comfortable. I was able to use the EKSA Air Joy Plus for several hours without feeling any discomfort.
The EKSA Air Joy Plus doesn’t feel particularly sturdy in hand, while there are cheaper plastics out there in the market, it is tough to ignore the sensation that they may be prone to damage. Thankfully the fact that the earcups swivel, does reduce some of the risks of breakage in one’s bag or from accidental pressure such as sitting on them. Still, it’s tough to imagine these headphones surviving getting stood or sat on, especially around the swivel joints or the headband.
EKSA opted against having the volume control and the mic mute button on the cable, as they had with the E1000 and is more traditionally found. Instead, you’ll find both these controls on the earcup itself. This placement doesn’t necessarily take anything away from the product, but I did keep finding myself wanting to reach down for the volume control.
The jack cable doesn’t come with the same rope-wrapped approach as the E1000, yet it still feels quite strong and thick. Certainly a bit more rugged feeling than some other headphones on the market. The length of the cable was also an appreciated aspect, as I never found myself feeling like it was too short, yet didn’t feel too much either. Even before being connected to the USB-A converter cable, the original USB-C type cable had enough length to suit most uses with ease.
When it comes to sound, the EKSA Air Joy Plus really surprised me. Going into it, I was expecting similar sound quality to the E1000 that we had previously reviewed. I can confidently say that the Air Joy Plus has a lot more to offer in general sound quality.
The sound signature on the Air Joy Plus is focused primarily around crisp and clear mids and highs, though that’s not to say that the bass is completely flat. While you’re not going to be getting rich, heavy bass – you are going to still get some bass response that is sufficiently punchy and better than anticipated.
When comparing sound quality with the E1000 directly, the Air Joy Plus is able to provide much cleaner mids, without the same hollowness that can be picked up on with the E1000. The bass feels more punchy with the Air Joy Plus as well. In addition, the highs are more vibrant and wide too.
One also has to mention that the Air Joy Plus uses a method of 7.1 surround sound, which was hard to gauge the effectiveness of, as there isn’t an on-off control, such as you’d find with the Hyper-X Cloud IIs. You aren’t going to get quite the same directional quality as is offered by some of the higher-end surround sound headphones, but the Air Joy seems to do a good job for the price.
As far as gaming goes (after all, these are made primarily to be used on the Nintendo Switch), you’re going to be getting solid sound that should more than suffice. The fact that the bass response is quite decent means that the Air Joy Plus can also capture game sounds like explosions with a bit more life to them.
If you’re looking for noise isolation, you’re not going to find that here. Sure, you’ll get some isolation from your environment but there is a good deal of audio leakage out of the headphones. This isn’t an issue for most people who are gaming at home, but it’s not going to be the best option if you plan to use these on public transport for instance.
The microphone quality of the EKSA Air Joy Plus, unfortunately, doesn’t meet up to the standards set by the audio quality. It’s not the worst quality you will find but instead is just an average sound quality in this price range. My biggest concern though is how sensitive it is to direction. If you aren’t speaking directly into the microphone it can really come out patchy.
Below is an audio clip comparing the EKSA E1000 microphone with the Air Joy Plus.
You’ll hear that while the E1000 still tends to be a little spiked in the highs, there is a bit of a muted and muffled sound on the Air Joy Plus. Is this going to prevent you from communicating with friends and teammates? No. The microphone is still within the standards of the budget but could have been better.
The EKSA Air Joy Plus is a bit of a mixed bag. The aesthetics are more toned down than the E1000 which will appeal to some, especially since they are catering towards mobile gamers who may not want flashing RGBs while they sit on the train. The inclusion of the USB-C type connection is a strong selling point for these headphones. In conjunction with the good sound quality, they are able to have something to offer a specific niche audience.
It feels like EKSA has the ingredients to put together a really decent budget product, and I’m sure that some of their other devices may find that balance. But the E1000 seemed to excel in areas where the Air Joy Plus could have done better, and inversely, the Air Joy Plus seemed to do well in areas where the E1000 lacked.
The most unique aspect of the Air Joy Plus is that traditionally USB-C type audio is typically an in-ear design, whereas EKSA has opted with a more traditional over-ear build while keeping that same mobile support.
If EKSA is able to marry these qualities together in a product around the $30 range, they’ll have a really competitive product.
While at the time of reviewing, EKSA has the Air Joy Plus available for around $35, the RRSP according to their website is $50. At $30-$35 I can see a place in the market for the Air Joy Plus, however, the RRSP of $50 is just a bit too much to make sense as a consumer. If I had $50 to spend on a pair of mobile gaming earphones I’d probably opt for a pair of Razor Kraken with an AUX to USB-C converter, both of which can be purchased for around $50, or a traditional in-ear option which provides superior noise isolation.