The Edifier TWS5 earphones have been on the test bench with me for a couple of weeks now and there’s a lot of good things to say. Clearly they’re riding the peak of the wave that brought wireless earbuds to prominence, and working to refine the delivery.
A couple of weeks ago I tested the first set of earbuds and the experience was great with the Sudio Tolv. There’s only so much you can do with this type of technology, so switching to the Edifier TWS5 wasn’t a big challenge for me.
The technology of totally wireless earbuds is built around mobility. Each earbud has its own battery, has zero wires connecting it to anything and (depending on the model you buy) can each connect to different source devices.
At $129.99 this is a long way off the expensive end of the market, so clearly Edifier are shooting for the value for money market – have they delivered?
This will be a familiar story for anyone who has, or has read a review of wireless earbuds before. The case is a flip top that not just houses the earbuds, but a battery that recharges them when you place them in the case for storage. It’s a hard case that will offer you good protection for your investment. Much like other options I’ve seen, MicroUSB charging is perhaps a little bit of a disappointment but not unexpected and certainly not something I think would stop anyone buying them.
In the box you’ll find the daily carry case for the headphones, a charging cable and a few different ear tip options. I mentioned this in the review of the Sudio Tolv, but the fit for in ear sound is of critical importance to your final experience so take the time to find the right ear tips that suit you. Given them a try while you’re seated, walking, and running, and see which ones work in the environments that matter most – chances are it won’t be the pair that come fitted out of the box.
For me, at least, from a comfort perspective the ear tips that were fitted in the box were perfect. These earbuds don’t “just fit” well, they need to be twisted into your ears to fit and sit properly. After an hour on the treadmill, or a short ride on my mountain bike or general exercise – they’re still firmly where I put them and giving me a great user experience.
Despite the fact that they’re physically larger than other earbuds on the market, the Edifier TWS5 are really lightweight and very comfortable. The battery life was pretty consistent too, I was regularly getting 7+ hours of listening between needing to charge them. The case held 3 – 4 full charges for them so on a good week I wasn’t charging between Monday and Friday. In reality, between use and dropping them in the case the battery was getting a top up which meant I had a seamless and continuous experience when I wanted it. It wasn’t surprising to see that with higher volumes came higher battery use.
How do they go in the real world?
The Edifier TWS5 meet all of the milestones you’d expect from a set of wireless earbuds.
The having had really comfortable and really uncomfortable earphones in the past, it’s important to reiterate that (for me at least) the fit was super comfy. Adding the lightweight design into the mix and you’re on a winner for long listening sessions. Traditionally speaking I prefer over ear for the comfort, so for me to be this positive – they’re very comfortable. As with anything, they may not be for you so you should always do your own research.
The controls are get much as expected, which meant I didn’t have to bother with instructions. They’re very simple and touch (vs push button) Which is good because they’re easy to trigger and doesn’t bury them deeper in your ears. Conversely, they’re really easy to trigger which has the potential to become pretty annoying.
- Single press – play/pause
- Double press – previous track (left earbud) /next track (right earbud)
I’m a little surprised that there isn’t any control on the earbuds for power directly and there isn’t any volume control let either. That being said, in my limited experience to date, volume control on wireless earbuds is a bit janky. You’ll get better results controlling volume from your phone directly.
I like the ability to listen to audio with only one earpiece. This is particularly useful should you be in an area where you need to hear what’s going on or people talking to you. The problem with this is that some of the controls are ear dependent. So only using the right ear means you can’t go back a track with touch controls. That and my comment in the Sudio Tolv review stands: It would be great if you could customise the touch options on each ear, as well as for single ear listening.
How do they sound?
The short answer is: They are aptX compliant so they sound really good, but…
There are a few of the usual caveats on the sound quality you’ll experience. Starting with the fit of the tips that you get on them. There are several that come in the box and it’s worth trying all of them until you are confident that they are comfy and fit well. This creates a good “seal” in your ear canal and allows the TWS5 to produce the full range of sound you’d expect to hear.
I tried two of them and while the first was comfy and sounded pretty good, I noticed the sound difference immediately when I got the right fit. Initially the sound was pretty muddy (washed out and lacking clarity) to my ears. I found the upper range was flat, the mid range was ok and I couldn’t find any bass. Once I got the right fit, the difference was mind blowing!
The sound was full and well balanced, which means that they’re very capable of sound across a very broad range of listening which is extremely important for me. I’m extremely eclectic with my listening habits and can be listening to Five Finger Death Punch before lunch then orchestral scores after.
Once I got the fit right, I found the bass capability was what really made the TWS5 stand out. There’s enough “punch” to manage even some bass heavy music types, but it’s controlled enough for mellower music that would otherwise not sound as it should. I was really impressed with how well these were able to produce not just that punch I referred to earlier, but a strong drone in low register.
To my ears, out of the box the mid range sound was a bit flat. Not bad but noticeably less clean sound than I’m used to with some of my speakers and headphones (over ear) I normally use. Before I started playing around with it, the sound was really consistent but wIth a bit of a tweak on the EQ I use, the slight tweak made a world of difference to the final sound experience. I can’t recommend buying a decent EQ app for your phone or tablet enough – it will allow you to tune just about any sound output device to best suit your ears and listening habits.
No such tweaking was needed on the high range sounds. Straight out of the box, it was clean and crisp even when I hit high volumes. Combined with the impressive bass and solid mid range, the sound on the TWS5 from Edifier is very good and that’s before you take into account the really low cost in comparison to others on the market.
One thing I’ve found with earbuds over the last couple of years generally, while most of them aren’t noise cancelling, as is the case here – if you (yeah, we’re back here…) get the fit right, you’re going to block out a lot of the general surrounding noise. The other thing to keep in mind is that in-ear sound isn’t for everyone. If you’re not a huge fan, check out some of our recent reviews of other headphones such as the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, Sony 1000MX3 and Jabra Elite 85H.
Should you buy them?
If you’re thinking about checking out wireless earbuds, then the TWS5 are far better than an entry into the field. In fact I’d say they’re a really good pair of earbuds. They’re not without fault though, probably the biggest thing in my mind is the presentation and the out of box mid-range sound. The presentation isn’t bad, it’s just not quite as slick or “polished” as others I’ve seen on the market. Specifically the carry case: It’s a bit of a tank, so I wouldn’t want to carry them around in my pocket all day. The other notable thought with presentation is that the buds themselves are reasonably large, undoubtedly a contributor to the great sound delivery but makes them a bit chunky.
Dropping into the market at $129.99 they’re a really good value option and you can grab them online from a number of sources, including Edifier online.
Some of that chunk is also delivering the battery life I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks. I’ve been very impressed with this element. A full day on a single charge was an easy outcome. If you’re in and out of meetings or unable to listen to music for stretches at a time, putting the earpieces back in the case will give your charge a top up and give you seamless sound for most of the week without needing to charge the case.
They’re not just good value though, they sound really good and have plenty of battery. They’re not perfect but they’re really bloody good, outstanding if you look at the dollar value they offer.