You probably know UGREEN as a brand that sells cables and accessories. But do you know UGREEN also does true wireless in-ear headphones like its latest HiTune X5?
As you might expect, the UGREEN HiTune X5’s first feature is its affordable price point of S$99 (or cheaper depending which online store you are buying from).
And you can be forgiven feeling doubtful about it despite its long list of features. It is supposed to have 10mm dynamic drivers, four high-sensitivity microphones, Qualcomm’s echo cancelling and noise suppression algorithm as well as a water resistance of IPX5 (ie. splash-proof).
PRICE: S$99, available in Lazada and Shopee
DRIVERS: 10mm dynamic composite
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.2
WEIGHT: 5.1g (earbud), 47.6g (charging case)
However, the HiTune X5 has some surprises for you.
Out of the box, you get a glossy metallic black pill-box-shaped charging case with the earbuds inside.
There is the UGREEN logo on top of the charging case with a USB-C port at its bottom. In front, there are three white LED lights to indicate battery level. Behind, there is a reset button.
Open the lid, you find the earbuds being sited nicely in a way you do not need to rotate them when putting into your ears. Some earbuds in the market, like the Apple AirPods or Razer Hammerhead True Wireless, require you to do so.
+ Very affordable
+ Great audio quality
+ Comfortable to wear
– Glossy surface is smudge magnet
– No way to change equaliser settings
– Gestures will take time to remember
Each earbud of HiTune X5 has a glossy oval-shaped touch-sensitive stem with a medium-sized silicon ear-tip. You get three more pairs of ear-tips of different sizes, so you can find one that fit your ears.
For me, the medium-sized ear-tips offer perfect fit in my ears. Not to mention, it is very comfortable from the very first moment I wore it.
In fact, the earbuds are so lightweight that you probably do not realise you are wearing them. Perhaps, the only complaint is its glossy surface that makes them smudge and fingerprint magnet.
Unlike those premium true wireless earbuds with dedicated app or easy pairing, you have to pair the HiTune X5 via the Bluetooth menu of your smartphone.
To pair, remove the earbuds from the charging case and look for “UGREEN HiTune X5” on the Bluetooth menu. Tap on it to finish the pairing.
As such, there is no option to change equaliser settings, change gesture functions or update firmware update. Given its price tag, these are stuff I would not expect anyway.
But what I did not expect is its surprising great audio quality. The earbuds are able to pump out some solid bass with detailed mids and crisp highs.
Whether you are listening to catchy tunes like Lovesick Girls from K-pop band BLACKPINK or classical music such as Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, you will be surprised by the slightly-bass-heavy but otherwise balanced soundscape these earbuds offer.
In terms of audio fidelity, the HiTune X5 probably will not satisfy audiophiles. However, it should satisfy the most of us, especially given its affordable pricing.
The HiTune X5 even comes with a Game Mode, which is said to offer very low-latency for your gaming needs. To activate that, tap either earbud four times. To switch back to Music mode, tap four times again.
This sounds simple enough? But there are many gestures to remember for HiTune X5. For instance, to play or pause a track, tap once on either earbud. To go to the next track, triple tap on the right earbud. To go back to previous track, triple tap on the left earbud.
Confused? There’s more. To up the volume, tap twice on the right earbud. To lower the volume, tap twice on the left one. And to answer or end a call, tap once on either earbud. To decline a call, press and hold either earbud for 2 seconds.
As a result, I can never quite remember these gestures. I think it is easier to change all these settings on your smartphone.
In terms of battery life, the HiTune X5 is rated at 7 hours on a single charge. The charging case will add another 21 hours.
During my tests, I found the battery level dropped to 50 per cent after 3 hours of listening with volume set at 80 per cent. So, battery level seems to be as advertised. This is not bad considering most true wireless earbuds last around 4 hours.
In short, the UGREEN HiTune X5 is surprisingly cheap and good. While it is not going to good enough for those nitpicking on audio quality, but it is really good for its price.
BATTERY LIFE: 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10