The fight between convenience and value has always been hotly contested by the latest innovative gadgets. TWS earphones are the newest entrants to join the fight and we should talk about what they are and who they are for. So, firstly – what are TWS earphones? Quite simply, they are ‘Truly Wireless’ earphones. In short, an earphone for each of your ears – not tied together by any physical band. Apple’s AirPods happen to be the most popular of these, but since their launch, a lot of other brands have made some exciting products worth taking note of.
So, let’s take a closer look at this exciting product segment and figure out if you ought to buy them or not.
The TWS Earphone Conundrum
Before Apple popularised the TWS segment, there was already a noticeable shift towards Bluetooth earphones and headphones. Again, the question of convenience vs value was thrown around. While the ‘no-string-attached’ music listening experience that Bluetooth earphones afforded was more convenient from the point of view of no tangling of cables, there was also the issue of charging one more device before you went to bed.
And while some users made-do with the fact that Bluetooth earphones provided enough convenience to ignore some shortcomings, most felt that the music quality compared to wired earphones was still not there. Moreover, Bluetooth connections tend to be unstable at times, an issue you don’t have to worry about with wired earphones. So, how did we get from this predicament to everyone wanting to own TWS earphones?
Understandably, the issue is more complex than we can explain. However, the ease of simply removing two separate earphones for each ear and putting them back into a case to regain lost charge was really appealing. Not just for a few early adopters but for the masses. Apple sold nearly 50 million of those in 2019 and now every Amar, Akbar and Anthony wants to own one.
But, should you buy these? If yes, which ones in particular?
TWS Choices: More the Merrier?
While they weren’t many options when Apple launched their AirPods in December 2016, now there are plenty of options available. Right from budget conscious variety to mid-range to high end. And it’s the mid-range that is particularly crowded, with the Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 8,000 segment throwing out more choices in recent times.
So, we took a look at two options to understand just how good TWS earphones have become. One which lets you use either left or right earbud as the Master and the other which works only in a Master-Slave combination. Confused? Well, when TWS earphones were designed for Bluetooth connectivity, they were so made that either the right or left bud became the primary source of connection. The other is a secondary connection, working off of the primary. However, there were brands that were already experimenting with making both the earbuds as primary connections.
So, let’s take a look at the LYPERTEK TEVI – which can empower primary connection for either its left or right bud. And the Jays m-Five, which works in the primary and secondary connection idea.
LYPERTEK TEVI: Specs King
The TEVI is an interesting proposition for the consumers: coming in a smart grey coloured fabric-covered case that is more rectangular than square (like the AirPods one). As soon as you take the earpods out of the case, they initialise and a simple double tap on the back of each will put them in pairing mode. There is a physical button on the back, which also has various combinations of double and triple taps for achieving different tasks.
The incredible thing about the TEVI, however, are the specs that it comes loaded with. They come equipped with a triple-core Qualcomm chipset to process the Bluetooth audio. The TEVI also support AAC and aptX TWS+ codecs. Additionally, these also have a Kalimba DSP built in, which amplifies the frequency of individual notes.
For easier understanding, let’s just discuss the good, quirky and bad aspects of the TWS earphones in question. For the TEVI, the number one upside is the excellent battery life. The brand claims about 10 hours of playback on full charge with an additional 70 hours from the case. Those numbers were exactly what I got in my testing period with them and even with average to high volume at all times, it was pretty close to it. There are possibly no other TWS pair of earphones that can match up to such a high output. Plus, the case has a USB-C port, which means charging time is also faster than most competition.
Another good aspect is the sheer comfort of wearing these and continuing your listening sessions for hours on end. Everyone’s ear shapes differ, so maybe your mileage may vary, but for me these fit snugly. Not only that, the sound of these earphones is so good that you want to listen to more and more songs. To me, they felt that the focus was more on the vocals. However, sound staging is impressive and the quality of each instrument being played is distinct. The sound signature is fairly balanced but if you’re looking for a more ‘exciting’ output, then these may not appeal to you. Purists, on the other hand, will appreciate how the Graphene drivers can deliver rich sound with superb detail on the low rumbling of the bass guitar or the high notes of violins.
They do sound bright and more forward than most other TWS earphones in this price range and even at high volumes, they retain the high resolution and details of the sound of each instrument. There is ever-so-slight roll-off at the high end but the sound won’t get you excited and up on your feet. It’s more reserved in that aspect and perhaps more suited for casual listening for all genres, if you don’t mind missing the punchy bass.
Some miscellaneous good things: since the case is covered with soft fabric, it feels really nice to hold and will not attract any fingerprints, dust or other issues that shiny cases present you with. Once the buds are inside the case, they are held in place with magnets and even if you hold them upside down with the lid open, the buds aren’t going anywhere. Plus, the TEVI themselves are IPX7 rated so you can wear them in the monsoon.
The physical button at the back is there to add more convenience for the user. Yet, it ends up feeling a strange addition. Because you really need to press it, and that just pushes the buds further inside your ear. And even though they have Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 noise cancelling technology for the mic, the mic itself doesn’t always pick up and project your voice loud enough. If you wish to use TWS earphones for calls, then really think twice or thrice about taking the plunge.
Plus, though the battery indicator for the earphones does show the percentage left – there is no way to tell the juice left in the right and left bud separately.
No wear detection means that even if you remove the earphones, the songs keep playing. Also, a better implementation to the press controls of the button would’ve been touch controls. Not that they are perfect but tend to be easier on the ear. Bass lovers would better be suited with other options as the more neutral signature of the TEVI makes them ideal for more balanced music than the more thumping or booming kind.
Pricing & availability
At the time of writing, the LYPERTEK TEVI was retailing at Rs. 6,999 which makes it an ideal TWS earphone to consider. Especially given its specs, performance, battery life and the comfort. You can check the updated pricing & availability here.
JAYS m-FIVE: Exciting & Surprising
I’m a touch surprised that the JAYS m-Five hasn’t got the kind of attention it should. The Swedish brand has got the right package in the m-Five: a competitively priced pair of TWS earphones that come with a case that has a matte finish and USB-C port for charging with an IPX5 rating. JAYS are marketing these as the ‘Motion’ (m) series – to enjoy life in motion. Makes sense, because these are equipped to give you simple joys of listening to music without too many hassles.
The m-FIVE, though, does have its set of quirks too. And some things that it can improve on. So let’s dive right into them.
The m-Five are incredibly easy to use on a daily basis. You remove them together from the case and they go in pairing mode. If you had paired them with any device then they pair automatically to that device. The Bluetooth connection is stable and solid for a good amount of distance and you’ll barely experience drops. The brand claims about 4.5 hours of battery on the buds and an additional 13.5 hours from the case – and it was pretty much the same I got on my testing, with average-to-high volumes at all times.
Now, the sound quality. The m-Five certainly sounds brighter and warmer than most TWS earphones in the price segment and also had a good seal in my ear (yours may vary) so as to negate the surrounding noises to a great extent. Once immersed in the music, you’ll notice just how exciting everything sounds. The resolution in detail is maintained even at full volume, which was quite a refreshing change for this budget and category combo. There is right amount of thump to bass and even at the high end the detail in every note is crisp.
The cymbals, claps, whistles don’t have added shimmer and the drums, bass guitar and beats don’t feel like they are overpowering the mids. Purists might be able to make out the shortcomings in the sound quality but I certainly couldn’t pick out one.
For my ears, the fit of the JAYS m-Five was a bit off. Naturally, your mileage may vary. The comfort also felt a bit wanting, especially considering these aren’t the lightest earbuds in the TWS category. The gestures, though well thought of, aren’t always on point. Sometimes I’d struggle with them and sometimes it’s not easy to remember what gesture does what.
The other weird bit is that the buds go in pairing mode ONLY if both buds are removed simultaneously. If you remove one, wait a bit, then remove the next – well, be ready to put them both back in and remove – to pair to a new device.
These earphones do have one issue: only one Bluetooth connection at a time. So if you had it paired to your laptop, phone or any other device – then switching between them is a manual affair. That can get tedious if you switch frequently. The call quality is also bothersome – the person at the other one could barely hear me no matter what kind of call we were on. Also, the USB-C port is at the bottom of the case, forcing you to place the case horizontally every time you charge.
Pricing & availability
At the time of writing, the JAYS m-Five were retailing at Rs. 4,999 from their original MRP of Rs. 5,999. This, in my opinion, is a great bargain for the package you get. For updated pricing & availability, you can check here.
Are You Buying?
With any tech purchase, there are many pros and cons associated with TWS earphones. If you manage to lose one, you’re doomed. If only one starts malfunctioning, you better hope it’s covered under warranty. But if everything goes well and you look after your product well, you’ll experience music with not just any strings but also without annoying neckbands. The small price to pay is to remember charging them every few days.
Now that the technology of wireless music streaming has got better, we hope our suggestions here can help you make a decision of taking a plunge. Or not. Either way, do let us know what path you took. And why.