Right now the biggest craze is true wireless headphones. Apple proved its worth by offering good sound at an affordable price in an extremely portable package. With the market shifting that direction, many companies are offering their own take at increasingly more attractive price points. Aukey, known for their accessories, released their EP-T21S true wireless headphones for just $36. With such a nice price point, are they a killer deal or are they the devil in the details?
Like most Aukey products, EP-T21S comes in a rather bland recycled cardboard box. A small image and basic name say all one needs to know about the product, with the earbuds securely placed in a small insert. I enjoy Aukey’s rather simple take on many products, as they feel more genuine than some other brands in similar categories that want to list every feature under the sun.
As you’d expect, EP-T21S is rather simple. The plastic container and earbuds themselves feel rather basic and offer little to no thrills. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a cheaper plastic. Still, Aukey included some small touches, such as a magnetic lid and earbud charging, touch controls, and a USB-C charging port.
The fit was a little on the tight side but otherwise nothing noteworthy. Over time I didn’t face any unexpected discomfort or problems, making them a suitable choice for any number of activities. At most you might need to adjust positioning to keep it in the ideal spot but it really isn’t too bad.
Where EP-T21S falls short is really sound experience and features. Having listened to a lot of headphones over the years, EP-T21S leans heavily on a bass-centric profile. That set of frequency stands out, with everything else falling lifelessly to the background. For some, this might be fine, though it made me instantly double-check my source material with other headphones to make sure I wasn’t just hearing things.
Even if it’s a duller sound, it isn’t bad, just other similarly priced items handle it a bit better. Some of this can be corrected with equalization or playing songs with a more bass heavy beat, though things with a lot of highs can be rough.
Calls weren’t much better. Voices were a bit muddy and the mic wasn’t as clear as you’d hope for. It isn’t enough for people to complain, though I did have to repeat myself a few times and had some issues hearing certain things.
Features is a double edge sword for EP-T21S. On one hand, the connection was relatively stable and I got the range you’d expect from a Bluetooth 5 device. I also had no issues pairing with devices, getting them to sync, and overall perform. Yet, some of the other features make them feel frustrating to use.
These are easily some of the most sensitive true wireless headphones I’ve used. Just putting them on might turn my music on or off two or three times. Delays also made things a frustrating juggling act. Sometimes they’d turn off a second or two after touching, other times it wouldn’t register or do so a little be later. Often times I would expect one thing, get another, and constantly have to repeat it well beyond the point where it became inconvenient to use. Finally, the way communications work is a bit weird.
On most headsets, audio stops transmitting the second an earbud goes in the case. For EP-T21S, I can put both in the case, close the case and still hear songs playing. This will potentially lead to reduced battery life, additional phone battery life usage, and other unexpected annoyances. They will eventually stop, it just feels rather counterintuitive. Especially when touching the buds the wrong way will lead to the aforementioned touch issues.
Aukey True Wireless Headphones (EP-T21S) Review – Verdict
With EP-T21S it really comes down to what you’re looking for. For a little more I would suggest 1More’s Comfobuds, though at that point we’re almost twice what Aukey wants for EP-T21S. Given many of the small annoyances will depend on the person, heck, many of them can simply be adapted and overcame, it simply comes down to how important the experience is in relation to the expected usage.
[Editor’s Note: Aukey True Wireless Headphones (EP-T21S) were provided to us for review purposes.]