Budget-friendly earbuds provide consistent sound quality but could use some improvements.

As a product reviewer, I get to test out all kinds of devices. No matter what I am able to get my hands on, headphones always seem to be my favorite to review. Even though there are many styles that are similar, I always find something unique about each set I review. The True Wireless Earbuds by Aukey (EP-T21S) are an incredibly inexpensive option for wireless earbuds and while they have some shortcomings, they are nice headphones. 

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DETAILS

The Aukey True Wireless Earbuds provide high-fidelity audio through 10mm enhanced dynamic drivers. They also feature MEMS microphone technology so that users can experience clearer phone calls. The earbuds charge through USB-C and are compatible with quick charge technology. They will provide approximately 5 hours of use on a single charge and can be recharged in about 1.5 hours. The charging case adds an additional 25 hours of use and also acts as a way to disconnect the earbuds from your connected device. The earbuds have simple touch controls and that can be used to manage audio playback as well as phone calls. The earbuds can be used as a pair or one at a time, too. The headphones are equipped with Bluetooth 5 and come in five distinct colors – black, blue, green, pink, and red. The package contains the earbuds, charging case, three pairs of ear tips (S, M, L), USB-C cable, user manual, and quick charge guide. 

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USER EXPERIENCE

The earbuds come with the medium size ear tips pre-installed. I always prefer the smaller ear tips so I swapped those out right off the bat. Changing the ear tips was a little more difficult than other earbuds I’ve done this with. After a few minutes, I was able to get it done though. The earbuds also have a plastic covering over their charging contacts. Once those are removed, they make contact with the case, they will begin charging and be available to be paired. I noticed out of the box, that the earbuds only had about 50% battery life. They did recharge quickly and once I took them out of the case for the first time, they immediately went into pairing mode. The headphones appeared in my Bluetooth menu almost instantaneously and I was able to start using them with my iPhone very quickly. The touch controls are easy to get used to,  but they only have six basic operations – play/pause music, skip to the previous track, skip to the next track, answer/end a call, reject an incoming call, and activate voice assistants.

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I tested these headphones out with a variety of music choices. I listened to everything from Hamilton to Metallica. And while the music quality was very good, I did notice a little bit of static noise when nothing was playing. It’s not so much that it’s overpowering, but it is present. I could not hear the static when music was playing; only when it was silent. I also felt that the voice prompts that the headphones provided were extraordinarily loud. There is no way to adjust this so I tried to leave the earbuds out of my ears when I knew that a prompt would be coming. 

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Another issue I had was that the headphones did not pause the music track when they were taken out of my ears. Most modern wireless earbuds have this functionality so I was surprised to find these earbuds did not comply with that trend. The only way the audio paused was if I took the earbuds off, placed them in the charging case, and closed the lid. This is the only way – aside from manually disconnecting them in the phone’s Bluetooth settings – that I could get the earbuds to disconnect. The user manual indicates that if the earbuds are powered on when placed into the case that the user should touch/hold the touch-sensitive panels on both earbuds for 6 seconds. I would rather see the automatic detection option be in place. It makes for a much better user experience.

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Finally, I saw an issue with the product description on Amazon. The name of the product on Amazon indicates that these are ‘noise canceling’ headphones. They are not. There is a certain amount of noise isolation you get from the earbuds, but they don’t cancel any noise out. I think this is something that should be adjusted so that people don’t think they are paying for that feature when they really aren’t. 

CONCLUSION

Even though I found a few things I’d love to see improved upon, the True Wireless Earbuds are really not a bad value. They currently retail for around $40 (depending on the color choice) and provide a lot of enjoyment for that price. I thought their sound quality was consistent, but I would love to see the user experience refined so there are fewer items that need improvement. 

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