“True Wireless” Earbuds are a very mainstream device these days thanks to the trend started by Apple with their Airpods. There are some design decisions and changes that can be made; do you go with the droplet style similar to Airpods or something larger like the JBL Reflect Flow that offers a more solid battery life and – in my experience with first-gen Airpod – better sound quality.
The Edifier TWS NB ear buds have gone with the larger physical earbuds, on paper offering very high-quality sound and great battery life. So when we were approached to try out these very early, there was no hesitation in our response.
The TWS NB boasts some impressive specs which are headlined by Bluetooth 5.0 and AptX codec compatibility. The earbuds are IPX4 compliant which means they’re “Splash and sweat resistant” not waterproof so don’t go in the shower or pool with them on.
If you’re on the move a lot, you’ll find the battery pretty reasonable as well. The listed battery life is 5 hours of playback for the earbuds with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) on and 11 hours with the ANC off. The case has a further 3 charges in it, so you can easily get a full 2 days on the move without too much fear of running out of battery unless you’re listening all day.
The sound response is 20Hz to 20KHz with a sensitivity of up to 94dB which – for earphones – is ridiculously loud to have music pumping straight into your ears.
They’re really comfy
For some time, simply due to the generic “one size fits all” approach from manufacturers, I just didn’t like in-ear sound. They didn’t fit well, often falling out and were really uncomfortable which left me not wanting to use them at all. My recent experiences have somewhat changed that, but the TWS NB is a game-changer for me outright. The comfort level is outstanding, the earbuds are well weighted and balanced and the sound is beyond surprising.
I had to change the ear wings but the tips fitted out of the box were the right size for me to get a great fit in my ears. One of the problems with a really good fitting set of earbuds is the loss of spatial and situational awareness, but the TWS NB covers that off too.
The sound modes
There are 3 sound modes available on these:
- Noise Reduction Off – where all sound you experience is what can penetrate naturally
- Noise Reduction On – this is noise reduction, it’s not going to kill all sound like a good set of ear noise-cancelling headphones. They are very effective against general chatter and background noise though.
- Ambient Mode – uses the noise reduction microphones to continue playing your audio but bring through some of the noise around you so you can remain somewhat alert to your surroundings.
I found myself using ambient a bit when I wanted to look like I was really busy and disinterested in conversation but wanting to remain aware of what occurred around me.
Switching between modes is as simple as a double-tap on the control button for either ear. A single tap will play and pause playback, a double tap on either ear will cycle through the noise reduction options on, ambient and off in that order. By default, the noise reduction is off. A long press triggers a skip forward on the right ear or goes back a track on the left.
What’s in the box?
In the box, you’ll find a simple set of hardware. You’ll get the earbuds, charging case, 5 ear tips (3 x Silicone and 2 x Memory Foam), 2 sets of ear wings, a USB C charging cable and of course some useless paper – I’m told that is a user manual.
The physical earbuds are a somewhat sealed unit so changing the ear tips and wings is very simple. The wings are in a groove around the device, so it’s as easy as putting a rubber band on a pencil. Changing ear tips is exactly the same as other earbuds.
What are they good at?
The design is outstanding and offers long listening comfort, great sound, long battery life and noise cancellation that is surprisingly effective for such small devices.
They’re well balanced, so when you’re listening there is no movement in your ears or uncomfortable pull-down which causes earache after a while. Unlike other in-ear options I’ve tried in the past, the buttons are easy to access. This is a big bonus because you then don’t push the earpieces into your ear further which can become uncomfortable, borderline painful. spending a bit fo time on bikes and treadmills, the in-ear security is a really important factor for me so these really hit the mark.
This all adds up well with the great battery life, a single charge lasted me nearly 7 hours of non-stop listening with noise reduction on. When the case carries three full recharges for the earbuds, the capacity for listening is quite substantial at nearly 30 hours before I had to recharge the case to ensure continued listening pleasure with the noise reduction on, with a further 10 hours plus if you use them without noise cancelling. The reality is you could extend that further if you keep the volume levels well down which – obviously – requires less power to produce.
Having already touched on a number of these areas but to cut to the chase, the sound is excellent. The first impression I got was one of wonder, I wondered how the hell sound that big came from something so small. In fact, I think my wife, was somewhat amused by the look on my face when the bass dropped and it really did so in a big way.
WIth the AptX compliance, while connected to my regular phone, I found the sound was richer, fuller across the various sound spectrum, clearer and just a delight to listen to. Simply put, these are the best quality sound production in-ear wireless earbuds I have had the pleasure of using. Even being very critical, listening to the same songs between the two I struggled to find much difference between my over-ear headphones worth substantially more.
Probably the biggest difference between the two is the noise cancelling capacity. The over-ear – understandably I’m sure – just did a better job of it. The fit is better, the cushioning contributes to the ability to reduce noise around you but that’s not to say the TWS NB did a bad job; far from it. The TWS NB does an excellent job of noise reduction, even on a flight to QLD there was little of the engine noise and general buzz of the plane that got through to me and I loved it.
Putting it simply, I had zero complaints and nor did anyone I spoke to on the phone. They said the sound was as clear as if I were using my handset microphone. That’s very impressive for something so small and that isn’t immediately adjacent to your mouth to capture sound.
Where do they miss the mark?
I have to be pretty critical, to the point of really nitpicking to grab more than basic faults on these. Probably the biggest issue I found was the physical size of the case, it’s just not conducive of being carried in your pocket. The fact that the case carries multiple full charges in it more than makes up for its size for me. Not everyone will agree though, I carry a messenger bag with me most of the time which make the size of the earbud case no issue.
The app could be so much more
While the app does serve some basic purpose, it really doesn’t do much. The basic functions are to see the battery level of each earpiece, turn noise reduction on and play/pause music. There are some other options such as turning on indicator lights, re-pairing the devices and turning them off but in my testing time with them, I’ve not once used these functions.
One thing that could be an issue for some users is the “wings” that you get with the earbuds. I’m lucky enough to have one that fits perfectly, but a couple of people I know have vastly different ear sizes to myself and may not be so lucky – an extra size would be a minimal cost but make them better fitting for a broader range of users.
The other issue I found was the long press to turn the earbuds off was extraordinarily long. Undoubtedly because there are long press audio controls, but it was frustrating if I was trying to turn them off but not necessarily put them back in the case.
Would I recommend buying them?
In a word, yes!
There’s so much to like and so little to annoy people with the TWS NB. They’re a lovely size and weight, they produce excellent quality sound, have really good noise reduction and have wonderful battery life.
At just $189.99 on Amazon or the Edifier website, they’re not a cheap option but they’re not heinously expensive either. While it’s somewhat subjective, I’d say that fit on the upper end of affordable when you take note of what you get for your dollars.
If you’re in looking for a set of True Wireless earbuds, then I would wholeheartedly recommend the TWS NB from Edifier. They really hit the mark with sound, comfort and price with no hugely noticeable compromises in the design or final product.
Due to hygiene reasons, Edifier have not requested the unit back.