Campfire Audio is a Portland, Oregon-based brand known primarily for its high-end in-ear monitors – some of which cost north of $3,000.
Normally constrained to the world of wired audiophile purity, the Orbit earbuds are an unusual departure for Campfire, and are its first crack at the true-wireless earbud market.
Coming in at $249, the Orbit buds are modestly priced, by Campfire Audio standards, but it’s a fair chunk of change to the rest of us. And it’s a touch more expensive than the feature-packed TWS staple, the Apple AirPods Pro.
With relatively few features and a bit of a polarising design, these buds won’t be for everyone. Still, we’ve got high hopes that the Orbit can bring some of the brand’s audiophile magic to a more convenient format.
- Matte-finish, dual-tone ABS body and case
- Stainless steel spout, golden-plated logo
- Weight: 11.8g with tips, 45g including case
The Orbit buds certainly aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. They feature an unusual two-tone colourway with an earthy pallet that’s present on the charging case as well as the earbuds themselves. The interior of the case is finished in a bright minty green, another bold choice, but one that pairs quite nicely with the natural colours of the exterior.
It won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it probably wouldn’t be our first choice of colour either, but it easily differentiates these earbuds from a sea of monochromatic competitors.
When the earbuds are in your ears, despite having pretty large housings, they look fairly subtle due to the fleshy tones of the plastic – obviously, this is only the case with certain complexions, and we don’t think it’s an intentional design choice.
Everything is pretty lightweight, which is great for comfort and portability, but it does detract slightly from the premium feel. Thankfully, the premium touches can be seen elsewhere, like the stainless steel spouts with large grilles and the wealth of included foam and silicone tips.
We don’t tend to pay too much attention to the packaging at Pocket-lint, but here it bares mentioning. The box is wonderfully designed, and opening it feels like opening a Christmas present. Plus, it’s entirely cardboard and very compact, making it nice and eco-friendly. There’s even a little badge included, so you can show off your Campfire Audio purchase without blocking your ears.
There’s a decent level of water and sweat resistance, so in theory, you could use these earbuds for exercise. Though, in practice, that’s probably not something we’d recommend. The fit isn’t especially confidence-inspiring, at least for our ears, and you certainly wouldn’t want to watch your fancy Campfire earbud bounce down the street when you’re out for a jog.
We found that creating a good seal was easy enough, but the short spout, in combination with the large housing, made it feel like they could fall out at any minute. In fairness, they never did, but you could tell it was one sharp head movement away.
We suspect this might be due to Campfire’s IEM-inspired design, where normally a cable could loop around your ear for added security – but this is pure speculation.
Battery life and features
- Qi-compatible wireless charging case
- IPX5 water resistant
- Campfire Audio app
Campfire advertises 8.5 hours of battery life on the earbuds with an additional 30 hours in the case – more than enough juice for our needs. We didn’t go as far as to time anything, but we can say that the battery life is more than sufficient. We’ve had them for a few weeks, use them pretty regularly, and have still only needed to charge once.
Charging can be done via USB-C, and there’s a cable in the box (although, it might be the shortest one we’ve ever seen). However, if you prefer, you can charge the case wirelessly with a Qi-compatible charging pad.
There’s a companion app for both Android and iOS and it allows you to adjust the EQ, update the firmware and slightly tweak the touch control settings. As it stands, you can turn the touch settings on and off, as well as disable individual touch gestures.
We’re glad to see that you can turn them off, as nothing’s more annoying than accidentally pausing your music, but it’s disappointing that you can’t change what the gestures control. This is likely a software-based limitation and could potentially be improved in future updates.
Interestingly, the EQ presets are numbered 1 through 7, and not named after genres like usual. This could make it tricky to figure out which one you like best, though we were satisfied with the default EQ and didn’t feel the need to tweak the sound any differently.
There’s also the option to create your own custom EQ, and you’re given seven sliders to play with if you’ve got the urge to tinker a bit.
- 5Hz–20 kHz frequency response
- 10mm dynamic drivers, LCP diaphragm
- Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC and AptX Adaptive support
With relatively few features and a premium price point, the Campfire Orbit are really banking on their sonic abilities. Rightfully so, too, as these earbuds sound exceptionally good.
It’s a bit of a bass-heavy approach, but one that we find really enjoyable. The low-end thumps with precision and impact while retaining clarity and spaciousness in the midrange and highs.
If you’re looking for something flat and clinical, these are not the earbuds for you – they’re lively and colourful and right up our street.
The staging is brilliant, too, probably the best we’ve heard from wireless earbuds so far. Impressive stuff.
We noticed that the choice of tip affects the sound signature quite dramatically. We found that the foam tips gave us the best seal and were almost as effective as some ANC sets when blocking out the outside world. However, they also made these ‘buds even more bass-heavy.
We quite liked the low-end rumble offered by the foam tips, but we can easily see it being too much for some tastes. Thankfully, this is easily remedied by tweaking the EQ, and the silicone tips provide a much better balance – at the expense of less isolation.