The number of earbuds on the market continues to expand at a frantic pace and choosing the right ones have become quite a chore. A year ago I reviewed the Edifier TWS1 Earbuds and for around £35 was impressed by the sound quality and comfortable fit. Recently I received a set though that are reaching for higher specifications with the addition of noise cancellation.
Retailing for around £79, the TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds available in black or ivory are targeting an audience that will expect an impressive set of features as this price range is no longer in the bracket of ‘cheap’. Therefore they have quite a lot to prove to justify the cost of the purchase. No pressure hey Edifier.
Unboxing the TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds was actually quite the experience. Sliding off the outside sleeve, you find an interior box with the Edifier brand logo emblazened on top, which of course you open. It was at this point I felt like I should be getting down on one knee, as the box opens similarly to presenting a diamond ring. It was a nice surprise as you can tell a lot of thought went into the packaging and it makes the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds ideal as a gift for the presentation alone.
The included charging case is also quite nifty, providing an extra dose of charge when the earbuds alone expire enabling in total around 32 hours. Even without the case, on my long walks the earbuds kept powering through even with the noise cancelling technology switched on. The charging case is also used to pair the earbuds to your device with its built-in pairing button.
Oddly compared to the Edifier TWS1 Earbuds, AptX support has been dropped in favour of just supporting the most standard AAC and SBC. This will only impact Android users really, but still a slightly strange ommision given the higher price point. What you do get though is of course noise cancellation, designed to cancel out a wide range of background audio that can interfere with your music listening pleasure. This is something that is touted on many higher price earbuds, earphones and headphones all with varying degrees of success, so I was certainly eager to see how these performed in the real world. Using the optional app provided by Edifier, I could toggle the noise cancellation on and off while I was in a large supermarket without any music on. Yes it works without music on too.
There are a variety of sounds in a supermarket, from the people chattering over what to eat for dinner tonight, the deep drone of the air conditionining and the bips and boops ringing out at the checkouts. The store had an upper floor, which gave me the perfect oppotutunity to stand below the air con vents directly. Much to my surprise, the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds completely cancelled out the low tone. Other sounds in the store were mostly removed too, except for audio pitches nearer the top end of the range – which all noise cancelling technolgies can struggle with. All in all, very impressed with how it handled the situation and indeed proved their noise cancelling credentials wherever I went. You will never get a perfect situation of course and certain sounds will always leak through as is the nature of the technology, but for the price I can’t complain at all in this area.
The Edifier TWS NB2 Pro are also very comfortable in the ear and unlike other earbuds where I often find myself having to reposition them for fear they will drop out, I had very little problems even when walking long distance.
The audio quality for music is generally impressive, sporting a good range of sound even when you consider the AAC audio codec it is limited to. The bass is impactful, the vocals clear and the high end quite distinct within the entire mix. As good as the earbuds are though, there is a slight mushiness to the overall sound that can creep in from time to time where you feel you are missing some of the finer details in the audio. Regardless, I have still enjoyed the music reproduction especially when out walking where the noise cancellation and good audio quality combine superbly.
There are modes also for gaming to help reduce latency and a spatial audio mode. To my ears at least, the spatial audio mode was pretty terrible and although it did make the overall sound stage appear wider, the quality you lose is not worth the trade off.
For phone calls, the twin microphones (one on each earbud) really help the clarity of your voice for the person you are calling. While walking, the person I rang could hear most of my chatter, only having issues when the wind slightly picked up. The microphones are also used for an ambient mode, so with both earbuds in, you can still hear the sounds around you. This is useful when someone is trying to talk to you or you are needing to be aware of the environment without having to take the earbuds out of your ears.
Once you have paired the earbuds with your phone, operation is simple and pretty intelligent. If you remove one earbud from the charging case, this one earbud will automatically re-pair with your device, allowing you to use just a single earbud. This is pretty handy for phone calls, listening to podcasts and audio books, but also if you want to hear what is going on around you too. If you pick up the second earbud, well then you have both paired and you are ready for stereo sound. It all just works!
The Edifier Connect app is an option you can install if you so desire, although it isn’t required. It does provide some nice on-screen controls for noise cancellation, sound modes, the ambient mode and also details the battery life for each earbud. However if you wish to do most of the operation from the earbuds, each earbud has its own set of unique controls, although trying to trigger with touch controls is not always the easiest operation. Just like the app, you can control noise cancellation while also skipping to the next track, accepting calls and so on. No way to alter the volume though.
Edifier TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds Specifications
- Noise-cancellation on: 7+18h
- Noise-cancellation off: 9+23h
- 60mAh (earbuds);
- 500mAh (charging case)
Sound pressure level:
- AAC, SBC
- ~1 hour (earbuds);
- ~2 hours (charging case)
- USB Type-C
For around £79, the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro Earbuds have to deliver and for the most part they do. The noise cancellation was certainly better than I was expecting for the price and the music quality overall impressive. There are some gimmicks like the spatial audio mode, which I won’t ever touch again however the comfortable fit, charging case and dual microphones make for one pleasing package.