Cystereo (presumably pronounced Cy-Stereo) is a new company to me. I gathered they were another Shenzhen company and very nearly passed on the opportunity to review these. Not only have I never encountered their products before, but I couldn’t find too much about them online. That might be set to change thanks to the Cystereo Fusion TWS buds. They have to show me something the other TWS buds I’ve reviewed over the last few years haven’t, namely consistency. Let’s dive in.
- Excellent performance
- Good battery life
- Type-C charging only - no Qi
Overview & Unboxing – Cystereo Fusion
A small box greeted me on my doorstep a few weeks back. The Cystereo Fusion called out their “incredible sound, incredible fast charging” on the front of their box. “Okay” I thought, who wouldn’t want consumers to know about their audio prowess. It was upon reading the strapline beneath those callouts that I raised my eyebrow (or tried to – I’ve never really been able to do that on command). Sitting proudly next to an icon of a DJ turntable; “Enhanced EDM Quality”. Insert your choice or rolled eye GIF here.
Thankfully I stayed the course and continued with the review.
The box consists of:
- Cystereo Fusion buds
- Charging case with an internal 350 mAh battery
- USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable
- Small, Medium and Large ear tips
- User Manual
The Cystereo Fusion buds sit within a pill-shaped glossy charging case. Unlike a few buds I’ve reviewed recently, the case has a flat base to allow it to sit neatly on a flat surface. That sounds a given, but too many similar cases fall onto their back unless the charging cable is in place. On the front of the case is a small array of four notification LEDs which illuminate when the case is opened. These outline the remaining charge the case has.
Specification wise, there are some interesting things to note. First up, a claimed 26-hour battery life. Don’t get too excited – this is standby time. Then we have the use of Qualcomm’s QCC3020 chipset. This is important because it not only lends Bluetooth 5.0 and APT-X audio but also ultra-low power use. That power will be used to push audio through the 6mm drivers in these tiny buds as well as the touch control panel.
The buds themselves come in a number of colour options; black, white, blue and grey. Sadly we have the black version, but the other colours look very vibrant. They have a combination of matte and glossy plastic construction, with a small LED ring around the touch control panel. That panel sites on the outer edge which, depending on pressure required to actuate, could prove uncomfortable. I think they look smart, and whilst a little smaller than I usually like, seem very well constructed.
Performance & Use – Cystereo Fusion
As these buds are so small I felt sure that they wouldn’t deliver the required audio output and also wouldn’t stay sat in my ear. I was wrong on both counts thankfully. Let’s start at the beginning.
Opening the case and taking the Cystereo Fusion buds out powers them on and puts them into pairing mode. Pairing is easy; find the Fusion (left or right) bud and pair it in the Bluetooth settings of your device. The buds will then connect to each other and you’ll be notified by a subtle “Connected” vocal.
I spent the first hour of my testing session with the smallest bud tips on the Cystereo Fusion and didn’t really feel the need to change, other than to test. I found small or medium fit just right. The medium tips did push and stretch the ear canal a little which resulted in some fatigue. Switching back to the smaller ones resolved this. They fit incredibly snugly which helps with isolation. They might require some twisting upwards to ensure you have an air gap, but you’ll find a good fit within a few seconds.
Reaching for my phone, I turned on my go-to test playlist which is a mixture of Hip-Hop, Lo-Fi and Pop. I started with the Pop songs to attempt to understand the depth that the Cystereo Fusion might be able to deliver. I was surprised. In more acoustic tracks I could hear the different locations relative to the recording microphone of the various instruments. On some more snare-based tracks that depth gets diluted a little which suggests the highs can overpower the mid-tones, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
For me, it was when I switched to Hip-Hop that the Cystereo Fusion buds shined brightest. The lows were incredibly for 6mm graphene drivers. Truly deep, wide and rich bass which didn’t ruin the mids either. Really very impressive.
Hour 2-3 saw me start to scratch my ear a little and more the position of the buds. I’d still call them comfortable in that moment though.
I got through more than 4 hours of continuous use whilst gaming and writing articles and had largely no fatigue. This bodes very well on a few fronts; comfort, no matter the use, is probably, and battery life is also assured. I have no hesitation that they will reach the claimed 6-hours of continuous playback. If you intend to use them for that long, great, but the charging case is only a reach away. The included 350 mAh battery in there will deliver a 2-hour charge in just 10-minutes too. Unfortunately, whilst a Type-C cable is included there is no wireless charging in tow.
Another little note that I didn’t get to test out due to the lovely pandemic we find ourselves in, is the stated IPX5 protection. IPX5 denotes that these buds should be able to continue to function even if subjected to jets of water. Unless you’re into some hardcore fitness routines, you should be safe to go for a run and take them to a gym, but swimming is out!
Final Thoughts – Cystereo Fusion
I’m truly blown away by these. From a company I had never heard of before getting the chance to review them, to them never leaving my pocket when I’m out, is not something I expected.
I’d certainly have liked to have seen a few more additions such as active noise cancellation, and Qi charging for the case, but I’ll concede them for the raw performance these deliver at their stated price. That price is currently around £45 depending on the colour option you choose and where you shop. The Cystereo website has them listed for EU shipping for $59.99, and I think this is a very fair price.