The best TWS true wireless earbuds under $50
A review of the QCY QS1/ QS2 and other great wireless earphones
Ever since I recommended great budget earphones from AliExpress, I keep receiving more and more questions about the best true wireless earphones. I’ve kept myself from writing about totally wireless earbuds a long time, due to many cases of connectivity issues and bad audio quality. However: times are changing! These are the best TWS true wireless earbuds under 50 dollar.
No, don't just buy fake Apple AirPods!
If you’re searching for true wireless earphones on Amazon or AliExpress, you’ve probably encountered the many Apple AirPods fakes out there. They’re not branded at all or go by names such as TWS i7s, i8, i9 and i10. Not to mention those clones have got fake remakes themselves too — really.
After lots of research, it's safe to say it’s a good choice to leave those Apple AirPod-clones alone. Not just because they are knockoffs; they simply aren’t any good. They all seem to have major connectivity problems from one earpiece disconnecting with the other. They sound quite dull and oh yes — due to the design, they fall out of your ear easily.
Happily, it’s not just AirPods-clones out there. The number of cheap true wireless earbuds is rapidly increasing and there are even some out there that are quite good.
The last months, I've bought many different wireless earbuds. After testing them thoroughly, biking and walking with them, listening to them for days and then comparing them, I made a comparison of the best ones.
In this article, I share my experience and hope to help you find the right one. So again: these are the best TWS true wireless earbuds under 50 dollar.
Best TWS true wireless earbuds under $50: QCY QS1 and QCY QS2
The best true wireless earphones under 50 dollar… cost around half! The QCY TWS QS1 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure a stable connection between the two earpieces and your mobile device and it delivers: the connectivity is stable and smooth. You take both earpieces out of their charging box and they first connect to each other and then instantly to your smartphone (or laptop). Putting them back in the charging box, turns them off again. It works like a charm.
The QCY QS1 TWS (also available as QCY T1c) have physical buttons on the earpieces, which work better than slow touch-sensitive buttons on many alternatives. Tap one time to pause the music, tap twice for skipping a song and hold the button a second to connect to your phone’s voice assistant. QCY made the right choices here — it works great. The battery is about standard for this price: they last about 3–4 hours on a single charge — and you can do about three full charges from the box.
The earpieces block outside noise impressively, and comfort is good too. The bodies of the QCY QS1 TWS stay steadily put in your ear while moving or shaking your head. They disappear quite a bit into average sized ears, which makes them suitable to wear under helmets or in bed. Phone calls sound a little tinny on both end of the lines, but that’s nothing too special for true wireless earphones. Sadly, watching YouTube movies does come with a small sound delay on iPhones. It doesn't on Android devies though.
The sound quality is nothing short of sweet. The QCY delivers a clear and detailed sound. The bass has a nice punch without overpowering anything and there’s a fine amount of nuances and clarity in the sound. On lower volumes, the QCY delivers a balanced background sound, on higher volumes vocals come alive. Lana del Rey’s voice on her latest tracks, makes quite an impact for example. These are perfectly well rounded — honestly impressive for this size and price.
Add the sound quality up to the great comfort, controls and connectivity — and the QCY QS1 are absolute budget true wireless earphone winners.
Also available on AliExpress: the QCY QS2 or QCY T2c. These are the exact same earbuds with the same sound, but have a bigger and somewhat heavy charging case with longer battery life.
Best wireless earphones for movies: Anomoibuds Capsule TWS review
Don't like the design of the QCY QS1/ T1C for some reason? Don't worry, there's a great alternative. The Anomoibuds Capsule TWS actually has two small advantages over the QCY.
The first is that the audio synchronises with videos on YouTube on iPhone too, next to Android. The other advantage is you can put the volume much higher on Android.
The tradeoff however, is a bit of sound quality. The Anomoibuds Capsule TWS doesn't deliver the amount of detail of the QCY, and it colours the music a bit more. Don't let that fool you though: these sound excellent as well! The bass is fun and engaging, there's plenty of room for vocals and instruments, and the sound is more spacious too.
On all other fronts, the Capsule or 'IP010-A' shares characteristics with the best in class. It's comfortable, pairing is a breeze, the battery lasts for around 3 hours and connectivity and is great. An excellent offering. The best even, if video synchronisation is really important to you.
Best cheap truly wireless earphone for sporting: Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds
If you're looking specifically for wireless earphones for sporting and fitness, you may want earhooks which ensure the buds stay in your ear while you're sweating. The Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds deliver — not just for sports.
The bodies of the Spunky Buds (isn't this the worst name ever, or what?) are quite big. Most of the earpieces stand way out of your ear. The part that goes in-ear, is small and has a little earhook you have to turn into the upper cave of your ear. Along with the IPX5-waterproof level, it makes the Tronsmart sweat resistant. As an added bonus, wind noise is blocked almost completely, making these ideal for outdoor use.
The Tronsmarts — let's just call em that- pair automatically by lifting them up from the charging case. They last three hours on a single charge, providing you with an engaging bass and accentuated higher notes. The sound isn't as detailed as the QCY's, but it sounds quite spacious. The sound character is just spot-on for for working out. The total package really makes the Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds the best cheap truly wireless earphones for sporting.
BONUS: Xiaomi Redmi Airdots review: popular, but not the best
Xiaomi was one of the first Chinese manufacturers to gain attention with a pair of true wireless earphones on a budget. That's why I also wanted to add an Xiaomi Airdots review in my comparison.
Previously, I wrote something about the original 45 dollar Xiaomi AirDots here. They… weren't that good. They didn't pair well together, didn't automatically shut off and reconnect, and their touch sensitive buttons were way too easy to press by accident.
Half a year later however, Xiaomi has come up with the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots. They solve solve all the troubles of the first ones. The Redmi's pair and connect instantly when you put them out of the case and the buttons are now tactile, so you won't pause or activate the voice assistant by accident anymore. The earpieces itself are smaller and more comfortable, and what's more: audio now synchronises great with video on YouTube, on iPhone and Android.
The buttons unfortunately aren't the most clever: it's possible to pause a track and take a call, but not skip a song. Instead, the Redmi activates the voice assistant like Google, Siri or Bixby. How often do you want to do that, opposed to skip a song?
The main shortcoming of the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots however, it the sound quality. It has lots of clarity, especially in vocals and higher notes, but lacks bass and warmth in the lower mids — giving some instruments, drums and thumps too little presence. Plussing the lower frequencies in an equalizer helps, but still the sound lacks the oomph and warmth of the QS1/ QS2 and Anomoibuds.
All in all the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots are excellent for their price… it's just that there are even better offerings out there.
Other cheap wireless earphones I recommend:
- Sabbat X12 Pro (45 dollar): best TWS for calls
These aren't in-ear earphones, but earbuds with an Apple earpod like design in your ear. Therefore, you can still hear your environments while wearing these. The sound is fairly detailed and bright. Video doesn't sync on iPhone, but these have other specialties: their batteries last five hours on a single charge and the these are the best in class when it comes to call quality.
- Mpow T6 (35 dollar): the deepest fit
The Mpow T6 are a great, more expensive alternative to the Anomoibuds Capsule. The T6 too has video sync on Android and iPhone, a nice engaging bass and a spacious sound. Highs are a little more natural than on the Anomoibuds though. These earphones go almost entirely, very deep into your ear canal, making for a very steady fit.
- Tiso i4 (20 dollar): bass lovers, unite!
Love a full bass ahead of anything else? The Tiso i4 has got you covered. An engaging sound with a pumping bass, but still plenty of detail and subtle, non-fatiguing highs. It doesn’t sync with video on iPhone, but you'll want to dance to these.
- Haylou GT1 (20 dollar): the most portable
This Haylou is a side project from QCY and it shows. The GT1 sounds vivid and balanced, with more emphasis on the bass than the QS1/ QS2. Video doesn’t sync unfortunately, but the earpieces are comfortably small and the battery case is ridiculously compact even. The QCY does offer more detail.
Other cheap wireless earphones I DON'T recommend:
- Xiaomi AirDots original (45 dollar): wrong choices
The original Xiaomi Airdots look amazing in white, but are letdown by various design choices. The earpieces don't always shut off by putting them in the charging case and have a hard time reconnecting again. Very frustrating. The sound is clear but lacks bass and you keep pressing the touch sensitive buttons by accident.
- Bluedio T-Elf (20 dollar): pairing and charging problems
The renown Chinese headphone brand Bluedio took a long time to come up with true wireless earphones… yet still screwed up. The T-Elf sounds spacious, balanced and good — but it has a big connectivity issue: it automatically reconnects with your device while it's IN the charging case. Unusable.
- DFOI AirBuds (20 dollar): bass earphones gone wrong
Very popular on AliExpress, but this is a true wireless earphone for bass lovers, gone wrong. Whenever the bass kicks in, all other detail gets pushed away instantly. These sound congested, they don't sync with video and the charging case is a bit too big.
- JT-T2C TWS (15 dollar): cheap and bad
On of the cheapest and thus most popular true wireless earphones on AliExpress, but at a cost. The earpieces don't always connect to each other, don't automatically shut off in the charging case and the sound is downright muffled.
This search will continue!
This article was last updated on May 19, 2019: I've added the Haylou GT1, Xiaomi Redmi Airdots and described my further recommendations more extensively.
I will continue doing research on the best cheap TWS earphones under 50 dollar by following, buying and testing new offerings in this brand new market. If you have suggestions or questions, please leave a comment.
I'd love to hear from you what wireless earphone you've chosen!
Disclaimer: affiliate links
Planning to buy one of the headphones or earphones listed? Please consider doing it via my buying links. These are affiliate links from AliExpress or Amazon, from which I’ll gain a little percentage of the price. I only put links on products I truly recommend. Buying a product via such a link won’t cost you extra, yet it will support me a bit in my research on affordable audio. ❤
Also read my other tests and articles:
- Best wireless Bluetooth headphones under 50 dollar
- The best cheap earphones on AliExpress
- My favourite earphones and headphones of 2018
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