The year is 2020, we’re all currently (6th May) in isolation due to COVID-19. Will that stop us from helping you spend your hard-earned cash? Definitely not! Today, we’re going to be taking a look at one of the MANY pairs of wireless earbuds available on the market today. The earbuds in question are the Edifier TWS NB (with Active Noise Cancellation).
I think starting off with the price is a good idea, given how swamped the market is for wireless earbuds these days. So, the Edifier TWS NB come in at a, very reasonable, £99.99 (Price as of 6th May 2020, Amazon.co.uk) just taking a look at the Amazon page for wireless earbuds around this price point (£90-110) you’ll see a HUGE array of products from various names. In that case, what makes these bad boys stand out from the rest? That’s what we’re going to find out!
I feel like the best way to show why the Edifier TWS NB stand out would be to show off a list of specs/features then break them down bit by bit.
- ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION (ANC)
- Ambient Sound Mode
- UP TO 33 hours of total playtime (Varies with ANC on/off)
- USB-C charging case
- 10m (33 feet) “effective distance”
- Relatively quick charging. Earbuds charge to full in roughly an hour
Active Noise Cancellation & Ambient Sound
We’ll go straight in with the big ones, ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION and AMBIENT SOUND. ANC is a fantastic bit of kit that uses the built-in microphones to help pick up lower frequency noises such as the whirring of a fan and put a block on them before it gets to you, so you get to enjoy your commute or your jog in peace. On the other side of the coin Ambient Sound uses those same microphones to help outside noises get IN, so you can hear the bus driver, or the clerk selling you that sweet sweet morning coffee that’s going to definitely help you get through your day after gaming until 5 am… Just me?
Anyway, quite simply put, around this price point you’re not going to find a lot of options that boast ANC or GOOD Ambient Noise and with the Edifier TWS NB being £99.99, I wouldn’t expect the ANC to place me in my own little bubble on, say a packed train or, as you’re leaving a stadium (unfortunately I can’t test these things due to COVID-19).
That being said, I’m currently in the house with my wife and our 2 children, one 7-year-old boy who we’re currently going through the steps for getting an ADHD diagnosis (there’s a point to this) and the other is a 1-year-old who LOVES the sound of her own voice. Now my boy gets REALLY excited about, well, most things, he’s super into Pokémon Masters at the moment and when things are going his way he’s loud and bounces around a lot when they aren’t, he gets… Shouty.
Add into the mix a 1-year-old who is really pleased that she now knows how to tell the dog to get in his bed (OG. OT, roughly translates to dog, out.) and constantly makes various animal sounds (cat, dog, cow, duck. It’s great (HELP)) these earbuds worked surprisingly well. They didn’t block out EVERYTHING but for £99.99 I would definitely say the ANC is more than acceptable. The Edifier TWS NB helped give me a moment of peace, and in these trying times sometimes that’s really important.
This helps us go swimmingly into our second feature, the Ambient Sound mode, as you can imagine, with little else to do, we’ve been digging out every corner of the house. Today we were doing our garage. Ambient Sound helped keep me sane, allowing me to listen to my music while choking on dust but, at the same time, every time my wife needed something? I could hear her.
Every time my boy shouted at me to show me he’d beaten another level on Pokémon Masters? I could hear him. Every time my daughter quacked? You bet I heard her and promptly switched the Edifier TWS NB to ANC (JOKING she’s adorable, seriously). I got to be in my bubble, but also not be disconnected from my family and really, that’s priceless.
Sound & Useage
For those who don’t know me, I really am one of those cliche “I’ll listen to anything, no seriously!” kind of guys. For me to find a product that hits the right notes across the board is going to be pretty tough. I like a heavy bass line but I also enjoy a good sing along, so when I test a new audio product I like to hit it with a good variation which thankfully suits me to the ground.
I normally start by testing the bass out, what better than to throw the Edifier TWS NB to the wolves with some Russian Hardbass? They handled this so well, the low end is very good. It exceeded my expectations quite a lot. Next, we tried metal, some with actual vocals and some with more grunting. In amongst the double bass kicks and the spicy licks, I was still able to hear the vocals rather clearly, always a plus.
Last but not least, we hit the Edifier TWS NB with some RnB and the results were just as good, solid bass response and decent enough on the high end. These opinions are when used straight out of the box, they were definitely better than expected for what I would consider a budget pair of earbuds.
Now, as always with something like this, your mileage may vary and unfortunately, due to the fact the app isn’t the greatest, there is no equaliser so you can’t edit them more to your liking. I had a little mess about with the equaliser built into Spotify however and I sent the earbuds from damn good to way better, all due to personal preference. One thing I did notice was that there was no way to turn down the volume with the on-device buttons, which is a little disappointing, but if you’re like me and your phone is basically attached to you at all times, this won’t be too much of a problem.
While the Edifier TWS NB do sound great, I did have an issue with latency with some forms of media. Edifier claims that these are “incredibly low latency” and while listening to music I couldn’t really tell if this was an issue, unfortunately when I was playing games or watching videos I did notice a distinct lag. One thing I noticed when watching video content on YouTube was that the sound was delayed slightly but then after a second or so it sort of lined itself back up with the video feed. Unfortunately, the sound didn’t sync back up in games, it was forever out of sync slightly. This may be a deal-breaker for some!
That being said, how long do the TWS NB last? Well, you’re going to get PLENTY of usage out of them. Edifier claims that with ANC on you’ll get approximately 5 hours of usage per charge with around 10 hours in the charging case for a total of 15 hours. If however you turn ANC off, you’ll be looking at around 11, yes, ELEVEN hours per charge with roughly 22 more hours in the charging case for a total of 33 hours and in my testing, I don’t think they’re far off with these numbers at all.
With all these numbers in mind, once you’ve danced your chores away and you’re out of battery in the TWS NB, you’re going to be looking at a full charge in about an hour, I’d say that’s a pretty solid number honestly. This, of course, means that, if you’re just wanting to run to the shop a quick 5-10 minute charge before you go will more than likely go the distance.
Another thing I should mention about the TWS NB before we move on is how these things charge. The earbuds charge simply by placing them in their designated holes, they go in and out with a pretty satisfying click and start charging right away. The case itself charges via an included USB-C cable, unfortunately, wireless charging isn’t available with this product, but at £99.99 I wouldn’t necessarily expect it.
Design, Comfort & What’s in the box!
As always when discussing the design of a product, it’s all going to boil down to personal preference! To me, the Edifier TWS NB feel like they have a somewhat industrial design, they’re a lovely metallic-looking grey colour with a pretty nice feel to them. One thing I feel I have to point out is the pictures make them look way bigger than they actually are, they do stick out a bit but nothing super noticeable.
I think the fact they’re a pretty dull colour, which is by no means a dig (see above), is going to help with this a lot as you’re not drawing attention to yourself with something really bright looking hanging out of your ear. In my opinion, the case is a little larger than I would like, however as mentioned above it packs an ample battery so I wouldn’t really say it’s a deal-breaker and I could still get them in and out of my pocket with ease, even if they were in the same pocket as my wallet.
The Edifier TWS NB comes with a variety of ear tips, 2 sets of foam and 3 sets of rubber, as well as 2 different sets of, what I like to call, wings. You know, the little deelies that keep them in your ear. It took me about 30 minutes of fiddling to figure out which was best for me, I went for the medium rubber tips with the larger set of wings.
One problem I had was, at first, I felt like the larger wings were far too big, but the smaller wings didn’t quite feel secure enough for me to, for example, mosh along to some metal. But after a little usage and fiddling with the position, I got them to a point where they were comfortable. The longest I’ve USED them in one session so far is a little over 3 hours and after that, I would say my ears felt fine. After the first hour, I did start to feel as if the wings were creating a pressure point, but after a little fiddling and twisting, I managed to stop that.
Oh, did I mention, they STICK? Once I got my config right, not only were they sitting comfortably for most of my session, they made themselves well and truly at home. While running on the treadmill, bouncing on the trampoline with my boy or headbanging along to some music, they didn’t feel like they were going anywhere and this, to somebody who loses everything he touches, is great news. That was always one of my big fears going into the wireless earbud market and thankfully, it’s not really a worry with these.
Conclusion (Edifier TWS NB TL;DR)
The Edifier TWS NB (ANC) are what I would consider a budget pair of earbuds, priced (as of 6th May 2020) at £99.99. I truly feel like you get a lot for your money here. If you’re looking to get a pair of wireless earbuds today and active noise cancellation is a feature you’re interested in, but you don’t quite fancy dropping upwards of, say, £150? I’d say these are a pretty solid choice.
I feel the TWS NB sound great across the board with fantastic bass response. They reach solid volume levels and they last plenty long. Once I found my right pairing of wings and tips I was more than happy with the fit and if my experience is anything to go by they won’t be going ANYWHERE if you’re an active person. Not to mention that to me, the design looks way more premium than the price would suggest.
Of course, it isn’t ALL good for the TWS NB, the latency issue could be a deal-breaker for some, especially if you game a lot on your phone, for example, the fact it somehow corrects itself and lines back up for video content made that a non-issue for me personally, no on unit volume control is a little annoying, the app could definitely use some fleshing out with its own equaliser and then of course to some the size of the case may be a bit bigger than they’d like, but again to me, the ample battery life makes that a worthy sacrifice.
All of this is going to come down to what YOU are looking for in a product and in a market space like this one, I feel you have to absolutely nail it to get a recommendation. Are there better options than the Edifier TWS NB out there? Yes, if you’re willing to spend a little more money you’re most likely going to get something better, however, are there better options out there AT THIS PRICE POINT? That’s a hard nut to crack for anyone, but personally I feel like I could be comfortable recommending this product to anybody who is looking for a pair of budget wireless earbuds.
Overall I’d give the Edifier TWS NB a solid 8.5/10 if they could fix the problems mentioned as a budget pair of earbuds I’d most likely rate them higher. However, with the product I’ve got in front of me. I feel 8.5 is definitely the right rating.
The Edifier TWS NB review was written by Stuart “Stubat” Hannon, check out his ramblings on Twitter by clicking HERE. And if you’re interested in checking out more of our hardware reviews, just click HERE.