When it comes to finding the right set of headphones for you or a loved one, there are more choices than you can shake a stick at. Every company out there, big and small, are venturing into the world of earbuds to get a piece of the pie. See, truly wireless earbuds started out as a “fad” but have turned into a necessity thanks to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack that we all knew and loved.
Thankfully, every once in a while, a pair of truly wireless earbuds comes across the desk that hit almost all the marks you would expect, at a fraction of the price. Enter the AUKEY EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds. AUKEY is primarily known for offering some of the best charging accessories for your smartphone, but the company has been steadily working on getting into the headphone game. So how well do these $60 headphones stand up? Let’s find out.
- Touch controls
- Battery Life:
- Up to 4.5 hours with ANC enabled
- Up to 7 hours with ANC turned off
- 0-100% charge in two hours
- Charging case provides a total of 35 hours
- 10mm dynamic drivers
- Dual microphones in each earbud
- S / M / L ear tips included
- IPX5 Water Resistance
Before you even take the EP-N5 Earbuds out of the box, you may notice just how light the box is, even with the headphones and charging case still in it. That’s because AUKEY opted to go with an all-plastic design, with the exception of a metal hinge on the back of the case, and a few LED lights on the front. These four LED lights offer a glimpse at how much juice is left in the case, steadily decreasing until it’s time to charge them back up. On the bottom of the case, you’ll find the USB-C charging port which is the only way you can re-charge the EP-N5s.
In the box, you’ll get the AUKEY EP-N5 earbuds, the charging case, some regulatory paperwork, and a few different ear tips to switch between. Once the EP-N5s are actually out of the box, you can really start to appreciate just how lightweight this whole ensemble is. It’s much lighter than just about every other set of TWE that we’ve tried, and that’s thanks to the plastic construction.
Even the earbuds themselves are rather light, which is rather nice considering that it helps to remove concerns about ear fatigue over long periods of usage. There are a set of ear-tips pre-installed, so you can throw them in your ears and determine whether you have the right fit. It’s important to use the right ear tips because of the Active Noise Cancellation offered by the EP-N5s.
Sound Quality and ANC
Without going into the specifics, I’m by no means an audiophile, but I do have an
addiction fascination with headphones, and specifically, truly wireless earbuds. With the EP-N5s, AUKEY packs dual 10mm dynamic drivers which offer surprisingly good sound and even better bass. In fact, I would go as far and say that the bass offered by the EP-N5s is better than anything that I’ve tried under $120. Then you start getting into the Galaxy Buds+ and Pixel Buds which provide better sound quality and bass, but are priced much higher than these earbuds from AUKEY.
As for the Active Noise Cancellation, AUKEY claims that these earbuds are capable of canceling out a maximum of 28dB of ambient noise. But the activation of the noise cancellation may be a bit frustrating at first. It wasn’t until I went back and looked through the paperwork for the EP-N5s that I discovered activating ANC can be done by pressing and holding on the touch-sensitive earbud for two seconds. But as a reminder, you’ll have to do this for each earbud if you want ANC activated in both ears. If you’re done with ANC or just want to stretch the battery out a bit further, touch and hold each earbud for another two seconds and it will deactivate.
When using the ANC on the EP-N5, I was pleasantly surprised that it canceled out much of my surroundings. I couldn’t hear things like my PC ramping up its fans because of too many Chrome tabs being open, nor could I hear the TV show my SO was watching in the living room. Some things, like voices, or your SO calling your name, aren’t canceled out, which can either be a gift or a curse, depending on your situation. Nonetheless, for just $60, the EP-N5s are a rather intriguing and surprising contender for the best wireless earbuds.
When you’ve tried out as many truly wireless earbuds as I have, your expectations for battery life have to be tempered. AUKEY claims that these will get up to 4.5 hours with ANC enabled, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I managed to get a little over four hours. But that was after having the earbuds for a few days, as my first listening session didn’t last more than two hours before needing a charge.
For those who want to forgo the ANC and just use these earbuds, AUKEY claims you’ll get seven hours of juice, but I didn’t come quite close to that. I was able to get around 5.5 hours before needing to pop them back in the case.
As we mentioned previously, AUKEY is known for some great charging products for your smartphones and tablets, and it used that know-how for the EP-N5s. Fast charging is onboard, and you’ll be able to go from 0-100% in roughly two hours. The charging case itself is rated for 35 additional hours of juice, along with fast charging, so the EP-N5s will be more than serviceable in the battery life department.
What we like
There’s a lot to like about the AUKEY EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds, from the Active Noise Cancellation, to the 35-hours of battery life, and four built-in microphones. AUKEY even includes IPX5 water resistance, which is a nice touch for headphones priced at just $60. No, we wouldn’t recommend taking these to the gym, but getting some housework done or getting caught in the rain will be just fine. Another nice touch is the inclusion of three different sets of ear tips in the box. It’s something that is overlooked by some companies, and you don’t want to get all excited for new headphones, only to think they don’t sound right and it has something to do with the ear tips not fitting properly.
- Long-lasting battery life
- IPX5 Water Resistance is a nice touch
- ANC is better than expected
- Three sets of ear tips included
What we don’t
Truth be told, while we didn’t suffer from any ear fatigue during our testing period with the AUKEY EP-N5s, the entire package is still too light for our taste. There were a few instances where I was afraid that I closed the lid with too much force. Another scary incident came when I put an earbud in my pocket and then sat down only to feel the earbud flex a bit and creak. That’s not to say that the EP-N5s will break at the first sight of pressure, but the “cheap” feeling just doesn’t sit well. You’ll also have to deal with the intermittent touch gestures, which will sometimes perform the right function, but more often than not, something else will be triggered, or you’ll have to keep tapping the earbuds over and over again, just to skip the song.
- Plastic material feels too cheap
- No transparency or ambient modes
- Touch Gestures are finicky and frustrating
- No companion app or equalizer available
Should you buy the AUKEY EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds?
While the build quality is not the greatest in our opinion, for just $60, the AUKEY EP-N5 True Wireless Headphones offer an incredible value that few headphone makers can match. Not breaking the bank on a pair of truly wireless earbuds is refreshing, especially with the holidays coming quickly around the corner. So should you buy these? If you want some truly wireless headphones for less than $100 that include some water resistance and Active Noise Cancellation, then absolutely. AUKEY did a great job here and definitely caught us by surprise with this offering.
- Advanced Active Noise Cancelation: With the advanced ANC technology, these earbuds detect and cancel a maximum 28dB of ambient noise so you can focus on your music. The 10mm dynamic drivers enhance...
- 35-Hour Playtime & USB-C Quick Charge: The earbuds offer 7 hours of music and calls on a single charge with ANC off (4.5 hours with ANC on), while the charging case extends that to 35 hours. USB-C...
- Dual Microphones: Each earbud has two microphones for improved voice pickup and background-noise suppression, which ensures that you’re heard clearly without interference