Edifier is a brand that you may be more familiar with in speakers; the company manufactures and sells computer and bookshelf speakers and sound bars (we have even spoken about them on the Best Buy Canada Blog before). However, they also make headphones and have a broad set of alternatives in both wired and wireless options. This review will look at the company’s new flagship budget truly wireless headphones, the Edifier TWS NB ANC True Wireless Earbuds.
Edifier TWS NB Earbuds: Design
What’s in the box?
In the box, you get the headphones themselves stored in a fade-resistant aluminum charging case along with five extra sets of ear tips in a few sizes and materials along with an extra set of wing tips (giving you a total of two size options) as well as a USB-C charging cable. I was pleased that these headphones utilize USB-C charging; any pair of headphones released in 2020 should be moving to this standard.
Appearance In Use
The Edifier TWS NB Earbuds are budget headphones with a fairly standard earbud appearance for the category. The headphones themselves look good, but you’ll notice when you start to wear them that they stick out of your ear quite far. If you have larger ears, this may not be a problem, but I have smaller ears and they stuck out quite far, regardless of my choice of wings tips and ear buds. Outside of the buds, the aluminum case itself looks great but was fairly bulky. The case will fit in a bag, purse or coat pocket, but may be too bulky for a pair of jeans.
In use, the device nails the basics. It’s very easy to move between songs, change your noise cancellation and ambient noise settings and pause your music and podcasts. However, like some devices in the category, there is no volume control on the actual device. With only one button on each ear, voice assistant use also falls to that same button. When your audio is paused, you can access your voice assistant but this didn’t work consistently well for me. I found that Siri’s voice was always a little quieter than my music/podcasts.
As mentioned previously, you are given multiple different earbuds in different sizes and materials, but I could never find a set that made these headphones comfortable to wear for more than a 90-minute period. Again, I have very small ears, but I would usually have to adjust them or remove them for a few seconds every hour. Finally, you may find that placing the headphones back into the case might take some getting used to as they have to be secured in the case in a very particular way.
Edifier TWS NB Earbuds: Performance
In short, these headphones presented a bass-heavier sound but this isn’t necessarily a negative for the device. A song like Coldplay’s Adventures of a Lifetime will present Guy Berryman’s bass grooves very prominently compared to a less bass-focused device. What’s lost in the sound, is the mid-range. These headphones do a great job however, at isolating sounds in the different channels. If you take a song like dvsn’s Hallucinations that moves sound between channels very prominently at the beginning of the song, you will be able to hear exactly what the producer intended.
The noise cancelling was great for the price point and for the form factor of the device. When using them in a crowded coffee shop, for example, most of the noise from the surrounding area was cut out when music was playing. When driving in a car, the very low rumble and the sound of the vehicle in motion was cut out. When at the gym, I could hear the music slightly over the ANC of the Edifier TWS NB Earbuds. The device was not fully effective at cutting out some loud higher pitched sounds, but overall, very good for the price point of this device. As mentioned previously, you can switch between an ambient sound mode as well as a noise isolation or neutral mode as well on the device with a double-press or with the optional app.
The Edifier Connect App
There is an optional app that you can download called the Edifier Connect App. This app provides the most basic information about the device and can allow for slight control over some of the features of the headphones like turning the LEDs on/off and controlling the noise cancellation. Some of the secondary tabs on the app hadn’t been translated into English in the version that was tested.
Thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 protocol packed on-board the device, the manufacturer claims that these earbuds can provide up to 15 hours of total battery life with ANC on and 33 hours without ANC. During my entire nearly two-week test period, I only charged the device once and used it mostly without ANC. Your use-time will likely fall somewhere in the middle of these estimates provided by the manufacturer. The case provides additional charges, but I wish that there was a more granular way to see how much battery charged remained on the case outside of a four LEDs indicating the battery life on the back of the device.
Other Performance Attributes
Calls were a little bit challenging with these headphones. Hearing the caller was not an issue but on two occasions during my testing period, I was asked to turn off some very low background sound because it was difficult to understand my voice over the noise.
If you are used to using one earbud like with some other truly wireless headphones, you may run into issues depending on the device that you use. The Edifier TWS NB Earbuds allowed me to use one headphone easily with an iPhone, but when using a laptop, for example, the connection was severed when I tried to use one earbud with the device.
Finally, during my testing, the Bluetooth connectivity was very solid but at times there were some slight hiccups or connection issues. During a week-long period, these issues only happened 3-4 times. On the other hand, I was impressed with the range on this device. I could walk around my entire apartment with these headphones in and not have to worry about connection problems.
Edifier TWS NB Earbuds: Final Thoughts
If you are looking for an entry/mid-level pair of truly wireless headphones with active noise cancelling, you should consider the Edifier TWS NB ANC True Wireless Earbuds. They have some trade-offs for the price, but the active noise cancellation, sound performance and the battery life alone make them a worthwhile consideration.