There are a plethora of wireless earbuds on the market these days, and it’s getting a lot harder to really find some that shine amongst the crowd, like the Aukey Key Series EP-T18NCs. You’ve got your mega expensive £250+ Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2s or Apple AirPods Pros, right down to knock off brands like the i100 TWS at CHEAP that we’ve reviewed before on the website, and there are A LOT of headphones in between. And coming in at around $150, what makes the Aukey’s Key Series earbuds so special?
Aukey have decided to go with a stem design, which definitely stands out from the crowd of the many tear drop styles, but they very much resemble the style of the Apple Airpods. There are multiple buds supplied, and I must admit I stuck with the larger earbuds that came pre-installed, but inside the box you will find a medium and small size. Of course, all sizes are subject to your ears. Test them out to find the right fit for you. And this is important for not just keeping the earbuds in your ears when you’re on the move, but for noise isolation too.
For the most part, the headphones are very comfortable to wear, which is a little perplexing as the earbuds themselves do feel a little heavier to hold in the hand compared to others we’ve tested. They covered in a smooth to touch plastic, and have an IPX6 rating, which means these will survive in the rain or even sweat from workouts.
Each earbud has touch controls which fall in line with the kind of standard you see now. One touch will answer a call or play and pause your music, while two taps skips a track and three on either earbud will activate your voice assistant on your phone. If you hold your finger down for several seconds on either earbud, it will activate the active noise cancellation, which is a huge added bonus.
What stood out to me though when I first opened the box though against the sea of wireless earbuds on the market was the case. The case itself doubles up as a charger, which is the norm for wireless earbuds now. But the design is intruiging. It’s a near perfect circle, but instead of a lid that we’ve seen on countless earbuds in the past, it has a slide door. The door itself is semi-translucient, which gives you an idea of how much charge your headphones have, as the battery light is on the inside of the case.
On the left hand side is a USB Type-C charging point which to me, gets absolute brownie points for that. It’s nice to see the newer connection type come through on products like this. Next to that is a button that essentialy switches the charging light on on and off. I”m not sure if it’s linked to the actual power of the case, but click it once and you can see how much battery is left.
The case is also compatible with QI-charging and has a total playtime of around 24 hours. The headphones themselves will last for around 7 hours playtime before you need to stick them back in the case for a charge. Not the best by a long shot unfortunately on the headphones, but there are certainly far worse out there.
Connecting the Aukey Key Series EP-T18NC to my phone was an easy feat too. Both earbuds act as a single device which is so advantageous. Some other earbuds have a master and a slave unit, and your phone needs to conenct to the master before the slave can be picked up. Not here. As soon as I removed the Aukey earbuds from the case, my phone picked them up as a new device, and I clicked connect. That’s it.
The headphones are driven by a 13mm Titanium-coated dynamic driver which promises to deliver accurate sound with superior clarity. Not my words, that’s marketing speak for you from Aukey. But, jokes aside, these headphones sound absolutely fantastic. The audio is very seperated and comes through crystal clear. Soundstage could be better, but at this point I am definitely not complaining about the quality.
There’s also a surprisingly decent amount of bass that is punchy and precise, and hardly overpowers the music you are listening to. Even at higher volumes, distortion is kept to a minimum. One thing I did notice though is when the active noise cancellation kicks in, it adds a minimum amount of reverb to music, especially in more acoustic led tracks like Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s but this was in no way off-putting. It still sounded great.
The active noise cancellation works extremely well too, and I never noticed any kind of audible hiss that can occur with some cheaper ANC type headphones. But, they’re no Bose or Bowers and Wilkins headphones that we’ve tried in the past.
Call quality is where these headphones shine too. If you’re speaking to someone on the phone, then you can hear them very clearly. Furthermore, both earbuds have microphones built into them, so you’re heard clearly too, as two different sources are picking up your voice. This is definitely an advantage, with many wireless earbud manufacturers include one microphone in the master earbud.
I absolutely love the Aukey Key Series EP-T18NC wireless earbuds. It’s not often you find such a decent sounding set of earbuds at a relatively decent price. And with the added ANC thrown in as a bonus, it’s just an all around decent package. The build quality is also absolutely solid, and I have no reason to think these will break, especially the case lid which is generally the most flimy on wireless earbuds these days. The battery life is also above average by quite some way, but of course, we said there are options out there if you want longer, but 7 hours is decent enough. One thing I want to mention is price. Looking around the internet I’ve seen them for around $150, and a quick Google search threw back results from Amazon US. I’m in the UK, and the Aukey website says they’re sold out. So I can’t comment on UK pricing, but rest assured, if you do find these for around the £130 mark, they’re still a decent set of earbuds at that price. I can’t sing their praises enough. For more information on the Aukey Key Series EP-T18NC head over to the Aukey website.