Table of Contents:
What is Axil
Axil is the product of over 60 years in the hearing enhancement industry. Axil has released some impressive hearing protection and enhancement options over the years. The Ghost Strike Series is the product of that evolution, bringing an All-In-One In the Ear, Rechargeable, Hearing Protection/Enhancement with, wait for it, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. There are other options available from Axil, but for this review, I’m looking at the GS Extreme.
Axil sent me their recently released GS Extreme Hearing Protection for review. Like I said before, I was skeptical because so many other companies promote this feature or that to try to make them stand out. Well, these earbuds have an endless list of features, so bear with me. There is a LOT to cover.
I first heard about Axil from a Facebook ad. I took a look at their website and have to admit that the site looks great, is easy to navigate, and more info on the different models is easy to find. They have quite a few options on the site, but I was interested in the GS series. The stats looked promising. They sent me a pair, and I put them through their paces. The following is my take on the Axil Ghost Strike Extreme All-in-one earbuds.
The first thing that impressed me is the customer service folks at Axil – all in-house, and they actually listened to what I’m trying to accomplish. The next thing that impressed me was the shipping time, less than a week to my door. The shipping cost is reasonable.
In the box was: one set of GS Extreme All-in-one earbuds, a USB charging cable, extra foam tips, and an instruction manual. Connecting to my Bluetooth-enabled device (Samsung S9) is pretty straight forward.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the fit … but ONLY at first. There are two control portions inline on the cable that runs between left and right buds. Here’s where I started to get impressed. Since the cable goes behind my head, the control portions are actually pretty balanced to keep them out of the way but accessible for on the fly adjustments, like volume, turning on/off the Bluetooth. The other thing that I wasn’t sure about was the ear hooks. After using them a few times, I have found them comfortable AND secure. I almost forget that I have them in at matches.
I didn’t have any matches to photograph when I received these earbuds, so I used them while mowing and trimming my yard, on the road while driving, and making deliveries. There were times I wasn’t sure they were on because the sound quality was so clear. Multiple microphones on each side and the built-in hearing enhancement are unobtrusive. It is almost like not having anything in my ears sound-wise. I can turn the ambient sound up or down as needed, and the omnidirectional aspect is incredible!
Unlike other hearing enhanced hearing protection, these are the best I’ve used with minimal distracting sounds coming through like crunching leaves. I can hear them; however, I’m not overwhelmed by them. Another thing I appreciate about the GS Extreme is that it does not feel or sound like I have my fingers in my ears when I talk (like most other hearing protection options).
Noise Reduction and Enhancement
The website and package show a Noise Reduction of 19-29db. The difference is based on what tips are used. The foam tips give the greater protection.
One thing that sets The GS Series apart from the (too many) other pairs of hearing protection I have is the way it handles sound over 85 db. All of the hearing protection I’ve used thus far DOES block ALL sound when it detects at 85 db or more. The GS Series ONLY blocks the sound OVER 85 db. This is nice because I can carry on a normal conversation at the range while gunshots are going off all around me. The conversation sound quality is pretty sweet too. It sounds very natural. With my other hearing protection, I find myself shouting since most sound is muffled. With the Axil earbuds, I can speak at a normal volume … because again, it doesn’t sound like my fingers are plugging my ears.
One of the two drawbacks is wind noise. Like other brands, they rely on the microphones in the buds to process the enhanced sound. I have found that moving my head a little will stop the wind noise. The enhancement is omnidirectional and accurate. If I hear it on the right, it is on the right. If I hear it on the left … you get the picture.
The website and packaging show a 12 hour battery life. This is with the Bluetooth turned OFF. I have gotten a solid 11 hours + with the Bluetooth OFF. With the Bluetooth ON, the battery life drops … a lot. These aren’t a good option for listening to Pandora all day. I only got about 3-4 hours with the Bluetooth ON and in use. So if you are going to the range to work on your shot cadence, you have at least 3 hours of battery with the Bluetooth on and in use. And since ammo is so scarce, that should be plenty of time.
The following are screenshots from my phone showing that the earbuds were in use for almost 7 hours with 70% battery life remaining. Note that my Bluetooth was connected, but not in use.
The Axil Ghost Strike Extreme is pretty sweet. The pricing right now is as low as $139 each. It is comfortable, seems durable, and the protection and enhancement are great. I have graded them with the following ratings on a 1 to 5 scale:
Build Quality: 5 of 5
Noise Reduction: 4.5 of 5
While not a deal breaker, the wind noise could be handled a little better.
Battery Life: 5 and 3 of 5
5 AND 3? Yes, with the Bluetooth OFF, the battery life is definitely a 5! With the Bluetooth ON, the battery life is cut by almost half.
Comfort and ease of use: 4.5 of 5
They take a little getting used to, but once you have it down, you are set!
Over All Value: 4.8
The Axil GS Extreme is a GREAT value. It easily handles the job it was designed to do. To get your hands on a pair (or 3), visit GoAxil.com and tell them you heard about then on ShootTactical.com. They have a 35-50% off introductory sale going on right now with a 3 pairs for $300!