Comparison of the best of Chi-Fi
Note: Want to preface this by saying that this review is going to have a lot of comparisons with Tranya T3 and Anbes 359/Kissral R18, with the purpose of pointing out where each comes out on top.
Design / Build
The case of the Mpow T5 has a very nice leather-like soft-touch finish to it that feels great in the hand, however it’s much larger and less pocketable than either Tranya T3 or Anbes 359. But it feels solidly built and has handy LED’s on the front to show charging status (as do the others). The use of microUSB, however, is disappointing when the much cheaper Anbes 359 uses USB Type-C (and has a much more unique and conversation-starting design). The earphones, which are surprisingly hard to get out of the case, are very attractive and have one of the best implementations of the indicator LED that I’ve seen — the LED shines through the perimeter of the button and hence doesn’t directly illuminate anything or shine too bright (the Tranya T3 is another excellent implementation, with the Anbes/Kissral unit being far too bright and blinked too much in my opinion).
The earphones fit in the ear quite nicely — neither too deep nor too shallow. That said, the neck of the eartips was quite large, and may be uncomfortable for ears with smaller ear canals. Here my preference lies with the Tranya T3 and Anbes 359 as the T3 fits my ear better while the 359 sits quite deep in the canal and the tiny size makes you forget you’re wearing them. That said, all ears are different, and all 3 sets are sufficiently comfortable to wear for an hour or two at the least. The T5’s earphones are also very standard looking and wouldn’t catch the attention of anyone, while the dark chrome finish on the T3’s might attract more attention. When comparing the isolation of the 3, I found that the Anbes 359 are far better at noise isolation than the other two — I use my TWS earphones while woodworking, and I can clearly feel that the 359’s protect my hearing more than the either the T3’s or T5's.
The buttons here were disappointing — the force required was far too great and the button placement meant that every time I was pushing the button, I was forcing the earphones deeper in my ear, causing an uncomfortable vacuum. The Tranya T3’s let you press at the far end of the button which uses the large button as leveral to reduce the pressure required. The Anbes 359 button, combined with the way they sit in the ear, were the least pleasant to operate.
Of course the sound quality is what really matters, and this is where the Mpow T5’s clearly come out on top (caveat: for most people; and Mpow T5’s use aptX, while other two use AAC). Unlike the Tranya T3’s, which tend to have a slightly overpowering bass, the T5’s bass is strong, but not intrusive, while also being stronger and more pronounced than that of the 359’s. The mids are also much clearer and have a crisper sound when compared to the T5’s, which have quite a warm sound signature. The mids on the 359’s are quite similar to the T5’s, but have slightly less detail. The highs are similar between the three earphones — clear and detailed without being shrill or sibilant — with only the T3’s warm sound signature and slightly overpowered bass causing the detail in the high’s to be less pronounced.
The soundstage on all three units is fantastic, but it really needs a good quality recording in order to show through. The Tranya T3’s have a slightly more intimate soundstage, whereas the soundstage on the T5’s is a little more technical.
Overall I really enjoyed listening to the Mpow T5’s — much more so than I thought I would. They have a very balanced sound signature and are the most neutral of the three. They are quite a bit more detailed than the warm and bass loving Tranya T3’s, and have quite a bit more bass than the Anbes 359. When listening to Diana Krall’s “Stop This World”, the T5’s capture the vocals perfectly and place them dead center, with the piano and cello flanking the vocals on either side and beautifully reproducing each instrument. By comparison, on the T3’s, the lower register of the cello tended to slightly overpower the vocals, while the 359’s (when comparing directly side-by-side) had a slightly recessed bass. The introduction in Small World Project’s “Chipmunk on Acid-Grass” sounded much more natural on the Mpow T5’s, with the voices sounding like they’re walking towards you, and instruments coming in beautifully and more detailed.
Unfortunately I noticed it was far too easy for me to cause the Mpow T5’s to drop out when working in the garage — having the phone in my front pocket and kneeling down was enough to cause issue. Though when using with the phone on the table, or even while walking, there didn’t seem to be any issues. Note though, that most TWS earphones that I’ve used have had some connectivity issues when you start blocking the signal (such as in the case above), it’s just that the T5’s are a little worse that the T3’s, which are in turn a little worse than the 359’s. That said, the best connectivity I’ve had from TWS earphones, came from TRN BT20’s, which are in a somewhat different form factor. I also noticed that the Mpow T5’s gave my phone the most issue — sometimes connecting as though I was on a call, and required the most on/off switching to work properly.
The audio delay and overall experience switching from music, to YouTube, to phone calls was the most pleasant on the Mpow T5’s — surely due in no small part to it’s QCC 3020 chipset. However, all three earphones performed quite well and were perfectly usable for all cases.
Talking on the phone had a clear winner my books, and, sadly, it was not the Mpow T5. The Anbes 359 had the absolute best phone call quality, mostly due to the difference in the microphone quality. The CVC on the T5’s caused quite a bit of modulation and muddied up my voice quite a bit, even in a quiet room. The T3’s were no good in this department either. Really only the Anbes 359 were usable for calls, however keep in mind that even these had quite a long audio delay while talking on the phone and picked up quite a lot of background noise. For any conversation longer than a few minutes (or for any Business calls), I would recommend a wired headset. Of course the reality of the matter is that convenience often wins out as long as the quality is “good enough”.
The conclusion here is that all three pairs of TWS earphones are fantastic and you wouldn’t go wrong with any of them. The Mpow T5’s have fantastic audio quality with a neutral and balanced sound signature and a strong but not overpowering bass — and would be the ones I reach for on a daily basis. But, the case is far larger than it needs to be, making it uncomfortable in the even loose shorts. The Tranya’s T3’s are much warmer with a far stronger bass that can be overpowering sometimes — and make for a really fun listening experience, best suited for modern pop. The case is much smaller, but uses materials that would scratch easily, and the earphones are quite large and somewhat attention grabbing. And the Anbes 359’s have a neutral sound signature with less bass than the other two (though still plenty), and one of the widest soundstages I’ve heard in TWS earphones — and are the ones I reach for during commuting, working in the office, or the garage. It’s case doubles as a fidget spinner or could be used as a bright Christmas tree decoration, but is the slimmest of the three, making it easily the most pocketable.
I promised myself that I would only keep two pairs of the three, returning either the Tranya T3 or the Mpow T5, and I’m finding it really hard to decide which one to get rid of. That in itself probably tells you plenty about the quality of these three earphones.