Hands-on review: Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro and Ugreen HiTune T3 earbuds
Image credit: Tronsmart
Good sound, great value. That's the kind of headphone economics we can all get on board with.
We've listened to a lot of headphones and earbuds; it's one of the most active consumer technology spaces, with new products – and new companies – popping up constantly.
Mostly, we've lent our collective ear to the higher end of the market; those premium three-figure products collectively snapping at Apple's AirPods heel. This time, though, we're intrigued to hear what's happening further down the scale. Are there bargains to be had at the cheap and cheerful end of the market?
Much like a shark, technology keeps moving forwards. The chips and features that were top-of-the-line five years ago are often now merely standard, with prices tumbling accordingly. Undoubtedly, there are some fine products that belie their modest price tag.
Some of us might want a second pair of buds for the office, or the gym bag, or to take on holiday so we can leave our best buds safely at home. In these straitened economic times, many more of us are also obliged to be price-conscious shoppers, hunting for the best bang for our meagre bucks.
Two products of similar spec that have come across our desk in recent weeks are the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro true wireless earbuds and the UGreen HiTune T3 true wireless ANC earbuds. Both have a feature list that ticks all the primary boxes. Both hover around the £30 mark. Depending on where and when you shop, various deals and promotions can drive those prices down even further. In fact, while we were prepping this review, we found the Tronsmart buds available on offer from AliExpress for £23.13, including a free colour silicone case and free shipping all the way from China direct to your door in the UK. That is… remarkably cheap.
The Onyx Ace Pro true wireless earbuds come from our friends at Tronsmart, makers of fine Bluetooth speakers both big and small. Featuring a cutting-edge Qualcomm QCC3040 chip with aptX adaptive audio decoding and quad-mics with cVc 8.0 call reduction for high-quality listening and pin-sharp clarity on voice calls, the Onyx Ace Pros also have an IPX5 water-resistant rating (low-pressure jets of water, rainfall), up to 27 hours of playtime, Bluetooth 5.2 and a Gaming Mode, which aims to optimally synchronise audio and video. The buds are also compatible with the Siri, Alexa and Google voice assistants and feature the standard suite of touch control options.
A 13mm composite polymer driver helps push audio across in a very enjoyable way, with decent depth, balance and nuance. They sound good and are more than acceptable for everyday listening. They're also comfortable enough to be worn for long periods.
The USB-C charging case is the typical pocket-friendly size and style. A single charge is suggested to give around 6.5 hours of listening – i.e. more or less a full working day – with additional power stored in the case. Bluetooth 5.2 keeps the Onyx Ace Pro's output stable, and with lower power consumption, so there should be far fewer connectivity issues or audio glitches. We didn't experience any playback problems during our tests.
Bluetooth 5.2 is also present (and stable) in the Ugreen HiTune T3 True Wireless ANC Earbuds. Additionally, they also have an AI-controlled noise reduction feature, a fact that has turned a few heads at this price.
Featuring a BES2500 chip, the T3's 10mm PU and wool composite dynamic drivers push out a similarly decent sound as with the Onyx. The T3 earbuds also have the feed-forward active noise cancellation (ANC), which can reduce ambient noise by 25dB and which, in turn, allows you to focus more on the music and less on the noise around you.
The ANC technology was developed by the HiTune Acoustics Lab to provide a ‘no pressure’ feel for greater in-ear comfort. The 'Real Voice 4.0 AI Algorithm' environmental noise cancellation system effectively filters out almost all external noise. There's also a transparency mode, for those times when you want to let in more of the world around you. All of the key features can be controlled with touch.
The T3's charging case holds around 24 hours of playtime, with the earbuds automatically turning themselves off each time both are placed in the case to help preserve battery life. From a full charge, the T3 buds will play for seven hours and can be fully recharged in around 90 minutes. Even a quick 10-minute charge will be enough for another hour of playback.
Like the Onyx, the T3 have an IPX5 splash-and-sweatproof rating, so are fine for running, dancing, the gym, and other sporty activities bar swimming. They're a good and comfortable fit, too, so we never worried about them falling out as we moved around.
While neither the Onyx Ace Pros nor the Ugreen T3s are going to relegate our premium 'phones to the desk drawer, we're also not averse to grabbing them for a listening session or Teams call whenever the need arises. They're totally fine. No serious drawbacks. Very modest initial outlay required. Both products are also available in either black or white colourways, so you still have the luxury of a little choice there.
If you don't feel sufficiently moved, or financially comfortable enough, to spend a three-figure sum on a pair of earbuds (which does seem a trifle extravagant, now that we think about it), it's reassuring to know that with solid options such as these Onyx Ace Pros and Ugreen T3s available, you won't be aurally punished for being a more prudent shopper.
Ugreen HiTune T3
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