In-ear headphones aren’t exactly stylish and there’s always this fear that you’ll easily lose either one. I used the Treblab X2 for roughly three weeks and this is how it went.
Before we proceed, I need to get a few things out of the way. This is by no means an expert review; I’m nowhere near an audio expert; I’m just like a lot of you — a casual listener who enjoys a good tune or two. With that said, let’s go.
When Apple’s AirPods were first announced, it wasn’t received warmly. Two small in-ear headphones sticking out your ear is not exactly a good look. It also didn’t look secure and appeared like one might fall off at any given moment.
These concerns remain true today, even for other in-ear headphones. I did a quick poll on Instagram stories to ask people if they dig the look of the Treblab X2. It was a landslide victory for the no votes.
While taking photos for this article, our Creative Director Chay even said, “It looks like there are tiny hammers sticking out of your ear.”
I have to admit, in the beginning, I shared this opinion. Not anymore.
The Treblab X2’s hammer-like design actually helps in keeping the headphones inside your ear. It’s something our Lifestyle Editor Isa isn’t too fond off, but it doesn’t bother me.
I had these on while doing some light basketball shooting drills for a little over an hour and not once did it feel like they were going to fall off. Those drills involve a lot of running and jumping, but even then, the Treblab X2 stayed firmly in place.
It also has an IPX4 rating which means it can withstand body sweat and even a little rain.
I did get weird looks from some people as I made my way to the basketball court. It went on as I was going through the drills. It may take a while before people are used to seeing in-ear headphones out and about.
Inside the box are, of course, the two in-ear headphones. Each one has two buttons and are labeled L and R at the bottom tip so you know which one goes where.
It also comes with a charging dock that doubles as a carrying case. The dock can provide one full charge for each earbud. There’s a carrying strap for the dock so it’s easier to grab.
You’ll also find three sizes of silicone eartips, three sizes of expandable foam eartips, and three sizes of X-Drop ear-fins so you can find the one that works best for you.
Pairing is a breeze. Turn on the right earbud first. When you turn the left one on, it should immediately connect to the right earbud.
Press and hold the power button for about four to five seconds. If you have them on, you should hear a voice prompt say “pairing.” Otherwise, there is an LED light indicator that should blink red and blue to indicate the device is ready for pairing.
The Treblab X2 is made of beryllium — it’s the same material used in other high-end sound devices. How exactly does it perform?
In a word: Fantastic.
I’ve had a rough go with previous wireless headphones. The previous two or three I used didn’t quite live up to their billing and would quickly disconnect from the device even if I’m about 10 or 15 feet away. That’s not the case with the Treblab X2.
It can be paired with two devices and has a range of 38 feet or roughly around 11.5 meters. Once turned on, it pairs to your preferred device right away. There were moments when I would wonder why no sound was coming from my phone. I didn’t realize they quickly connected to the Treblab, but that’s just me being stupid.
The pairing and quick connection is key for me since I’ve used Bluetooth headphones wherein the connection didn’t feel seamless. It’s a little detail that users should not have to worry about and Treblab does it well.
How about sound quality?
As mentioned earlier, I am by no means an audio expert. However, I do deal with audio a lot. I have been in the business of video production for roughly five to six years now (yikes, I’m old), so it’s imperative I always have a good pair of headphones with me to make sure audio is good for publishing.
It produces a clear and loud enough sound that I can maintain focus despite editing in a noisy environment. But it’s not too loud that it would hurt my ears.
The bass doesn’t come at you with full force. Using the Treblab X2 feels more like watching a low-key gig at a bar than being in a jam-packed coliseum concert.
Its passive noise cancellation is great for when you still want to hear what’s going on around you despite having the headphones on. That’s perfect since I also use them while walking to and from work.
I still need to hear if there’s anything coming my way despite “Sugar We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy blasting in my ear.
In case you were wondering, I like listening to upbeat tracks while walking so I can keep my pace up. Here’s my playlist if you want to give a try.
Its battery is supposed to last for up to 10 hours. During my test, it actually felt like it lasted longer. I’ve gone two days without charging and I usually use it for roughly six hours per day.
I don’t recommend having it on for longer than four hours. Make sure you let your ears breathe after two or three hours of use. That goes for any in-ear headphones.
Will I use it even after completing this hands-on review? The answer is yes. It does everything I need it to do and accompanies me while playing ball or walking home.
The Treblab X2 performs probably better than you would expect from any wireless in-ear headphones. The look might put some people off, but if you’re after headphones you can use while working out, this is a solid option.
If, like me, you’re fed up with wires magically getting tangled inside your pocket, I would give the Treblab X2 a chance.
Huawei Sound X with hi-end audio launches
Will work seamlessly with the P40 series
Huawei is slowly but surely venturing out into more and more devices. After wearables, the company is now showing off a hi-end speaker — the Huawei Sound X.
It’s never easy to describe sound on text but Huawei claims the Sound X “will revolutionize high-end acoustic technology with sonorous audio that leaves an enduring, life-altering impression on the listener.”
It was made in collaboration with Devialet — a global audio brand known for its High-Fidelity products.
It’s not a smart speaker in the way that there’s a voice assistant integrated like the Google Home or the Amazon Echo, but it does have some ‘smart’ qualities.
For instance, it will work seamlessly with your Huawei P40 series phone. Gently tapping your phone against the Sound X transmits audio to the speaker.
The audio, Huawei says, is lossless and low-latency and can be tweaked thanks to a proprietary EMUI 10.1 multi-device control panel. Think of like Huawei’s own version of Apple’s AirPlay.
Another thing that Huawei is proud of about the Sound X is how compact it is compared to other speakers that promise to deliver the same level of hi-end audio. It’s able to deliver 60W of bass despite being relatively smaller than other speakers with the same capability.
The company says the “exterior design was inspired by the golden dome of the black, glazed surface hints at the robust sound that seems to emanate from a bottomless well.” But it really just reminds of Darth Vader from Star Wars.
The press photos even have the Sound X in this red room of sorts. Screams Sith to me.
Imagine playing the “Imperial Death March” on this thing! Whether you see the resemblance or not, it does kind of look cool.
Qualcomm’s new chipset could bring noise-cancellation to budget earbuds
Expect affordable earbuds soon
Qualcomm unveiled two new Bluetooth audio chipsets intended for use in truly wireless headphones. For the end consumer, this could provide active noise cancellation (ANC), voice assistant support, and more.
It has unveiled two new chipsets — QCC514X (premium tier) and QCC304X (entry-level line). Both shall support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology that requires connecting via Bluetooth to just one of the earbud. It’s useful as it will allow either earbud to be used alone without interruptions.
The new chipsets will also produce better battery life – offering up to 13 hours of playback based on a 65mAh battery, according to Qualcomm. Usually, active noise cancellation consumes more battery power.
The dedicated noise cancellation hardware integrated into the chipset enables super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment. It enables genuinely natural awareness of the surroundings. It’ll also come handy when you’re onboard a flight or trying to concentrate in an office environment where ambient noise is higher than usual.
The chips also bring voice assistant support with them, but the premium QCC514X features always-on voice support. Meaning you won’t have to manually long-press a button to summon the virtual assistant. With direct support in the entry-level chipset as well, it’ll make this feature more widely available in affordable earbuds as well.
Qualcomm has also promised “premium wireless sound and voice quality.” The smartphone industry started omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of USB-C or wireless earphones. The wireless options have often been quite expensive, and with wired ones, you either have the opportunity to charge your phone, or listen to music or watch a movie. More affordable options should automatically start solving this dilemma.
5 reasons why you should stick to wired earphones
You don’t have to give up comfort and familiarity!
The advent of wireless earbuds has become gospel among my friends — techie and geeks alike. It’s like everyone’s preaching about switching to wireless like it’s some mandatory rite of passage for adults who’ve been in the workforce for god knows how long.
Though I have my own pair of wireless earbuds, I still have my trusty wired earphones — one that has a 3.5mm jack for my laptop, and one that comes in USB-C for my phone that has no headphone jack. Even before, wired earphones were my savior — from strangers and familiar people approaching me, to keep me entertained in between idle moments, and for being a companion in trying times.
Just like most people, I’m still having a hard time letting go of wired earphones. People had been asking me to stop using one, but I still stand to a few reasons why it’s perfectly okay to stick to the familiar.
You’re a plug-and-play person
A lot of times, I find myself having trouble with pairing my smartphones to my wireless earbuds. To ensure seamless pairing, you must be using top-of-the-line and/or premium earbuds. Imagine the time you spent trying to connect so you can listen to music when you can just plug your wired earphones to a headphone jack, play your music, and enjoy.
You love the feeling of being connected
I thrive in connections — whether it’s people, conversations, or earphones. I feel most reassured when I know I’m connected, and the tangibility of my earphones’ connection to my smartphone is comforting — especially when I’m commuting. I’ll know right away where my phone is, and having a wired connection makes my loving smartphone safe.
On certain occasions, my smartphone was saved from falling because of my wired earphones. It’s these prevented tragedies that reassure me a tangible connection is still a good choice.
You’re practical about your choices
Let’s admit it: wireless earbuds are expensive. As someone who follows a strict budget, wired earphones are a tad cheaper and is more accessible to most of us. There are plenty of us can’t live without music, and wired earphones sometimes become a necessity to keep us from falling apart in between trying times.
On the other hand, wireless earbuds are considered a luxury — a want, not a need. Imagine losing a pair, or even misplacing it when a pair of wireless earbuds is priced around US$ 100. I don’t have the money to replace it easily even with access to a credit card.
You find comfort in familiarity
Some people aren’t comfortable with change. Most are hesitant, and even resistant to it — even with the advent of functional and bang-for-the-buck wireless earbuds. If you find comfort in familiarity a.k.a. choosing wired earphones because you’ve been using it for a long time, that’s absolutely fine.
You don’t have to change your preferences in life just because someone asked you to do so. Stay unique and love your individuality!
You haven’t felt the urge to switch
Lastly, there comes a time in every modern individual where they need to switch to a wireless lifestyle. It could be for convenience, for more flexibility, or for safety during a commute. Whatever it is, you’ll always feel the urge to switch and when you do, heed the call.
When you feel like you’re being called to the other side, that’s when you take a leap of faith. If you’re still content with using wired earphones, just enjoy it and stop caring what the world thinks. You have your music with you, just keep playing!
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