With Headphone Jacks being phased out on many of the newer smartphone releases out there – more consumers are moving on to Bluetooth earphones. In the budget earphone category, there are many no-brand/lesser-known Bluetooth earphones in the market. Can the Edifier TWS1 stand out from the competition? Let’s find out.
Source: This earphone was given FREE to the lucky first 50 (including me) that snagged edifier’s voucher to redeem on Lazada. Currently it’s promotional price is at $55 (as of 20 April 2020), however since it has listed itself as a $99 Recommended Retail Price (RRP) product, I will review it objectively and expect it to perform at the same quality as earphones close to this RRP Range.
What I Loved:
-Great feature set for it’s street price (about $55 at time of review)
-Excellent, long battery life reduces the need to charge device daily
-Great noise isolation
What I didn’t like much:
-Soundstage and treble could be better (clearer)
-Lack of volume control on earphones
-Uses an outdated Micro-USB port for connection (why even…it’s 2020 already! 😂)
Specifications and Features of the Edifier TWS1
Off the bat, I was pretty impressed at the feature set that the Edifier TWS1 for it’s street price. Here are the specifications of this Bluetooth earphones
- Bluetooth 5.0 using Qualcomm QCC3020 Chip – for TrueWireless ™ Stereo Plus for easier pairing, better latency and connection stability.
- True Wireless Stereo (TWS) – Allows use in both stereo and mono configuration (But only Left side for mono, or Stereo if both earbuds are used)
- Bluetooth profile: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, AptX
- Effective wireless distance: 10m
- Up to 32 hours of playback with Charging Case (8 hour earbud battery life + 24 hours from charging case)
- Touch Sensitive controls for playback and answering/declining calls
- IPX5 splash and sweatproof
- Up to 10m (30ft) connection distance (with walls)
- Low-profile, ergonomic in-ear design with touch controls
- noise reduction for crystal clear calling
- Charging time: 1.5 hours
- Input: DC 5.0V 60mA (earbuds) & DC5.0V 500 mA (charging case)
- Advanced Bio-diaphragm driver with Driver Impedance of 16 ohms
- Magnetic Charging Case with Auto Connect and Shut-off
The earbuds came in a white box with a picture of the earbuds, with the back of the box showing the specifications of the earphones.
It also seems that Edifier really wanted to boast about the Qualcomm chip that is being used in the box. As you may have seen from the photo at the top of this post, “Qualcomm aptX” is printed in large size. Usually earphones at the $90 and above price range are using some form of name-brand (or good quality in-house developed chipset) for the Bluetooth function.
However, bearing in mind that this product usually goes at the street price of about $50, I’m impressed a true TWS chip from Qualcomm, which supports aptX, is being utilized. For the less informed, aptX is one of the best Bluetooth codecs (a method for your smartphone to transmit music to the earphones) that is widely supported across most devices (be it Android or iOS), giving better audio quality and lower latency than standard SBC, while being more power efficient than AAC codec (Which may be part of the reason for it’s good battery life). So I’m pretty eager to see how well the Edifier TWS 1 performs.
Okay, enough geek speak – back to the unboxing. In the box, we find the instruction manual, the earbuds with it’s carrying case, with medium sized silicone eartips, a pair of small and large silicone eartips for noise isolation customization, as well as a micro-usb cable to charge the earphones.
Carrying Case: 8/10
Well designed case that keeps the earbuds well, but it still uses a micro-usb port.
The Edifier TWS1’s Bluetooth charging case looks somewhat like an Airpod’s earphone casing – But in black. While glossy, fingerprint smudges aren’t really an issue unless you’re really looking for them (or have oily fingers). The top cover of the casing is spring-loaded and flips open and close with a good, magnetic snap to keep the cover closed when stored. Opening the spring loaded case also turns on a tiny light indicator in the middle of the case, to show that the charging status.
Opening the case, we see the 2 wireless earbuds – the star of the show. L and R is indicated on the top of the case to show you where each earpiece should go. There are strong magnets that keep the Bluetooth earpieces held tightly on the charging case – Even with Vigorous shaking with the top cover of the case open, the earphones didn’t fall out of the case. A nice touch, this makes it less likely to drop the earbuds while trying to wear or place them back in the charging case.
The earbuds are charged by 2 pogo pins present on the case, and the magnets on this earbuds has enough strength to line up the earbuds on the appropriate pogo pins without too much fuss.
The only reason why I didn’t give full marks to the Bluetooth case on the Edifier TWS1 was because of its use of a Micro-USB port. In year 2020 where most new phones in the past 2 years have begun featuring USB-C connectors, this means most consumers will need to carry and have an extra cable plugged in to their AC adaptor or laptop when charging the device. Fortunately, a micro-USB cable is included in the box.
Comfort (fit) and noise isolation: 9/10
Comfortable for most ears with excellent noise isolation!
While the earbuds are chunky, thanks to the contoured shape of the area that touches my ears, the earbuds fits my ears very well and can be used comfortably for long durations (3-4 hours). However, those with much smaller ears may want to test the fit first before committing on this earphones, to ensure it is comfortable on their ears as well.
One quirk to watch out for some other TWS earbuds are that some manufacturers thin the silicon tip flange distance to save space and keep the wireless earbud and it’s carrying case compact – however this usually cause difficulties when the user tries to wear the earbud, as the short flange distance means that the fit can become pretty finicky – Requiring extra care to allow the eartip to seal your ear canals well. Also, when running, they are more likely to drop out of your ears as there is not much material that holds the earbud in your ear.
Fortunately, the Edifier TWS1 does not have this problem. The Silicon Eartips, while being standard round shaped, were flexible enough and feature a pretty long flange distance (for a TWS earphone) – comparable to those used in wired earphones. This meant excellent passive noise isolation that works well without requiring too much care when attempting to wear them – Simply pop them into your ears. If the medium sized silicon eartips are too big or small for your ears, Edifier has also included smaller and larger silicone eartips for you to experiment with and improve the comfort and noise isolation.
The earbuds don’t come out of the ear easily thanks to the well sized ear-tips. Unfortunately it’s Circuit Breaker/Lockdown in Singapore so I didn’t get to test if the earbuds would fall out of your ears when running
This is a Bluetooth 5.0, apt-x supported earphones.
Connection was easy and painless – The bluetooth earphones was easily paired to my Smartphone.
Connection indoors is solid – I could walk about 7-8 metres away from my phone, be moving around and not face dropouts. However, when using outdoors in more crowded areas, there are some Bluetooth disconnects when there are too many other Bluetooth devices (i.e. too many other people using Bluetooth earphones) close to you. Also, the music is likely to drop-out a lot when one is crossing the road and there are many other vehicles passing by you. Unfortunately, most Bluetooth devices in the budget category have this issue as well (which is why I still have my wired earphones as a daily driver).
Also, while this earphones allows you to use it in Mono (using just 1 side of the earbuds) or Stereo (both sides in your ears), one slight issue is that only the Left side can be used for mono – In other words, you can’t use this just one side of the earphone, then try to switch to using other side to save battery. But since this unit has a long battery life, I don’t think this is much of an issue.
The Edifier TWS1 is also able to switch from Mono (left side) to playing stereo without interruptions (other than quick beeping sound to let you know the left earbud is connected to the right), which is nice!
On-Board Controls: 8/10
Touch Sensitive (Yes!) but no on-board volume control
This is the first time I’m using a touch sensitive earbud. Generally I found touch sensitive to be a much better option, compared to certain earbuds which rely on the button controls – simply because certain TWS earbuds have really difficult-to-presss buttons (which require you to fiddle with the earbuds on your ears). It feels like a more modern implementation – which is nice to see on an earphones that sometimes retails for just $50.
The diagram here shows the controls available on the Edifier TWS1. You can answer calls, as well as play, pause or skip to the previous or next track. Unfortuantely, there is no volume control – meaning if you want to adjust the volume, you have no choice but to pull out your smartphone to adjust it.
Also, there is a short time-lag (slightly less than a second) between the time you press the button to when something actually happens. But I didn’t see this as a problem.
Sound Quality: 7/10
Laid back sound signature which some may find lacking in definition, but very pleasant for it’s street price!
Being a single dynamic driver earphone (supposedly using a “advanced bio-diaphragm driver”, there isn’t much soundstage – for that you’ll need at least 2 drivers (to handle the bass and higher frequencies).
To test this, I use “Don’t Let me down – Illenium Remix” to confirm this. You won’t hear a much sound separation between the vocals, or stereo panning between the digital sounds. With that said, the audio quality still felt pretty good.
The Bass is very strong – somewhat boosted and punchy, making this perfect for EDM tracks such as the astronomia song that is now trending in a certain meme 🤦♂️. This strong bass Is likely helped by the the good noise isolation by this earphones, and coupled with it’s IPX5 splashproof certification, this makes the Edifier TWS1 bluetooth earphones perfect for running.
My experience tells me that Strong bass helps one feel the beat in songs more and think less about the sore legs you have while running 😂. But if you don’t like so much bass, you can always use your phone’s equalizer to turn it down.
Mids are slightly recessed, meaning that if you’re the type that likes to listen to lots of acoustic songs as fingerstyle covers, unplugged sessions, or are picky about vocals, this may not be your type of earphones. Don’t get me wrong, the mids are still there, but tracks such as “Closer – Peter Gergely Fingerstyle cover” sounded lacklustre, and Adele’s voice lacks body. However most budget earphones with a bass heavy sound signature tend to suffer from such issues.
Some will find that the treble also lacks definition. While there aren’t much discernable compression artefacts (which is good, likely due to the aptX codec workingg it’s magic), the weak treble quite apparent, with the “sss” and cymbal crashes showing a lack of clarity. This makes the overall sound signature feel quite laid-back, which may be great for long duration of audio listening, but may not suit more discerning audiophiles that desire absolute clarity (but such products usually cost easily double or more than the street asking price of this earphone.
Overall Sound (Considering price): 8.5/10
With all that said, Overall, the audio quality from the Edifier TWS1 is pleasant, with a laid back sound signature that is strong in bass. I see the Edifier TWS1 being liked most by EDM lovers, bass heads and people that are buying this pair of earphones for running or gym sessions. People that appreciate a more laid-back type of sound signature (preferring less treble) may also like these earphones.
If your device has an equalizer, you can boost the treble (4k -8k range) for a little more definition. This is my preferred setting, slightly reducing the bass and attempting to improve the mids as well.
Battery Life: 10/10
Battery life is where the Edifier TWS1 absolutely shines. With an 8 hour battery life, it is almost guaranteed to last through your longest exercise routine sessions, or for long e-learning or conference sessions. I used it to attend a class (on headset mode with mic on) for 4 hours and it was still going strong.
Mic Quality: Good
The built in mic in the Edifiers TWS1 support noise cancelling. However, playing back a recording of the headset mic when at home indicates that some background music can be picked up, meaning that in very noisy environments, this mic may not perform too well. The mic also seems a little soft. However, the mic quality has been good enough for taking calls outside when walking outdoors, and also worked well enough for class sessions (I haven’t had much complaints about it).
If your other party complains that your voice soft on the Edifier TWS1, you could try taking the Left side of the Edifier TWS1 and speaking close to the earbud. This will provide the strongest mic output for your other party.
Conclusion (Overall impressions) – 9/10
Overall, The Edifier TWS1 is an excellent choice for consumers on a budget and are looking for a Bluetooth Wireless earbud that is sweatproof with solid battery life and strong bass, and will satisfy people that love listening to EDM songs or are using this for workout or gym sessions.