One thing I commonly said at my sales job was how tricky entry-level products are. The attractively priced items come at a different cost that is often hard to narrow down. Typically it’s forgoing some feature, taking on a distinct disadvantage, low build or material quality and in some cases all of the above. Even though there is a reason for the drop, some companies, like Aukey, strive to deliver premium features at an affordable price. With in-ear detection, wireless charging, and IPX8 water resistance, is EP-T32 a winner, or does it cater to a specific market?
Given that Aukey considers EP-T32 part of their general line, the packaging is the rather familiar recycled cardboard we’ve come to expect. Given this is not a product designed for retail, a bunch of features or attractive branding isn’t present, it’s just a rather straightforward design that gives you an idea of what you’re paying for. Inside are the headphones, manuals, warranty card, and a small USB-C to USB-A cable.
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At first glance, EP-T32 is fairly bulky. The only True Wireless headset we’ve covered with a similar footprint was the HELM Audio TW5, though that is shorter and wider, making it a lot more pocket and bag friendly. For EP-T32 it’s about 3” for the length and width, with a height of around 1.75”. For reference, the equally priced 1More ComfoBuds is 2.7” x 1.2” x 1”. A lot of this goes with the design of the earbuds themselves since Aukey has to compensate for the ear-hook attachment. The closest competition to the same style headphones would be the PowerBeat Pro’s, which are about the same besides height, which is just an inch. What this basically means is they’re not the most portable headphones around. Something like the ComfoBuds can fit in my pocket with a pen, business card case, measuring tape and be fine, whereas EP-T32 dominates that or a good portion of my bags.
Size aside, Aukey went with a nice matte finish with EP-T32 that is more resistant to scratches or showing damage. Inside is plenty of room for the headphones, indicator lights for charge level, a small place on the top lid to hold the ear-hook in place, and a decent strength magnet to bring the headphones in the proper charging position. Each headphone has the same matte finish on the bud itself and uses rubber or similar texture for the ear-hooks. These hold the headphones firmly in place, even with glasses on, without really irritating ears. Also, while not the most secure headphones I’ve worn, EP-T32 feels secure even during more intense activities.
Where Aukey tried to go all out with EP-T32 is to load it up with features, though they can be hit and miss. For example, it boasts the same instant pairing as the aforementioned ComfoBuds, but instead of roughly five seconds to pair after opening the case, Aukey is at nine or more seconds. Surprisingly, Aukey uses less aggressive auto-play than 1More, so you can remove EP-T32 and your music will pause until you put them back on. I actually struggled to trick EP-T32 into resuming outside of my ear and it likely would not occur under normal conditions. These also boast Bluetooth 5 and I was able to listen to things from my phone anywhere in my house without an issue. In addition to that, there is wireless charging and it connected with my existing Qi-compatible chargers around my house.
One divisive feature is limited touch controls. These are performed by touching the plastic part of either headphone and doing a specific number of taps. One will either play/pause music or answer/end a phone call, three will bring up your voice assistant, and two will either go to the previous (left) or next track (right) depending on which earbud you do it on. These can’t be triggered off a person’s head. I can say putting them on there have been some accidents, though nothing too problematic.
The sound performance was surprisingly good. EP-T32 absolutely has a more bass-heavy sound profile but performed fine for general use. Where these struggle the most is really building a sound stage and delivering the clarity of details. On certain songs, the vocals were distant and weak or some of the lesser instruments were lost. Flatter songs or those without a wide range of sounds fared better, though similarly priced handled sound about the same to marginally better.
Communicating with people worked as expected. Be it Siri or someone on the phone, I had no real issues communicating with them. I wouldn’t call them crystal clear, but it also isn’t like you’re talking to someone in the middle of a hurricane either.
Aukey True Wireless Earbuds (EP-T32) Review – Verdict
Going back to what I mentioned at the start, EP-T32’s quality comes down to what is important to you. Ear-hooks and IPX8 resistance make them a strong choice for working out or general use. Their biggest disadvantage really stems from the hooks. If that isn’t a must-have feature, I’d strongly suggest a smaller or easier-to-carry case. Without the workout use case, I probably couldn’t justify the space and would opt for the ComfoBuds at that price range. If that isn’t a deal-breaker, they really do have a good number of features and are hard to beat for the price.
[Editor’s Note: Aukey True Wireless Earbuds EP-T32 were provided to us for review purposes.]