“Another one!”. Yes, we’re going all DJ Khaled, and reviewing another set of TWS buds. This time up the UGREEN HiTune TWS is on the review bench. They bring CVC 8.0 noise cancelling, the Qualcomm aptX codec, Bluetooth 5.0, touch controls and nine hours of playback. Sounds good right? Let’s see whether those specs are worth the paper they are written on.
- Excellent battery life
- Clear lows
- Comfortable fit
- IPX5 rating
- Low battery causes connectivity issues
- Distorted mids in some genres
UGREEN HiTune TWS – Overview
Ever heard of UGREEN? They are another Shenzhen-based company specialising in smartphone peripherals such as headphones, chargers and cases. According to their marketing, their products have reached over 40-million users in 100 countries thanks to their online retail channel.
The HiTune TWS is their latest product to hit the market and it looks to make a splash in a rather saturated segment. TWS earbuds are, at this point a dime-a-dozen. The quality across the budget end of the TWS product stack can vary considerably. Depending on how much cash you part with, you can expect anything from poor connectivity and lacklustre lows to great battery life, premium features and a detailed soundstage. We’ll see where the HiTune TWS sit throughout this review.
The UGREEN HiTune TWSD buds come in a premium box, with call-outs for all of their features (see below). The buds themselves sit neatly within a matte soft-plastic charging case which has an array of notification LEDs near the lid to denote charging status. These are illuminated when opening the case to let you know how long you might get out of the buds.
The HiTune TWS buds themselves are a solid and premium feeling plastic construction. There are no buttons on the HiTunes and are instead controlled via touch on each bud. The package contents contain mixed sizes of silicone ear tips which are easily switched out. In addition to a manual and the buds and case, a Type-C USB charging cable for the cradle is included.
- Bluetooth Version Bluetooth 5.0 (HSP, HFP, AVRCP, A2DP)
- Bluetooth Range 10M / 33ft
- Audio Codec Qualcomm aptX, AAC, SBC
- 5.8mm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response 20Hz-20,000 Hz
- Speaker Impedance 32Ω ± 15%
- Speaker Sensitivity 105 ± 3dB at 1KHz
- Microphone Sensitivity 8dB
- Earbuds Capacity 2*60mAh
- Charging Case Capacity 300mAh 3.7V (1.11Wh)
- IPX5 sweat proofing
UGREEN HiTune TWS – Performance & Use
My first impression of the pairing of the UGREEN HiTune TWS buds was far from complimentary. The case didn’t have any juice in it and it became obvious the buds didn’t have much battery life either. Whilst they paired with my smartphone of choice easily enough there were a number of disconnections between the left and right bud. I’ve seen this before and this is usually a harbinger of doom. I’m happy to report that after a charging cycle no such disconnections exist.
A point on the charging first and foremost as the speed of charging here is excellent. A quick 15-minute charge in the charging case will deliver 2-hours of playback. At the lower end of the market that is excellent! Giving the buds a full charge will offer up over 9-hours of playback, and that is backed by our testing also. You can more than double that number with by throwing the buds into the charging case for a cycle. This is excellent compared to its competition.
When the buds are in the charging case, a nice little touch is that the three LEDs that usually show how charged the case is (when opening the lid) split into two distinct LEDs. These then denote how charged each bud is. Very neat!
More likely, now we are emerging from some of the post-COVID19 restrictions, is that the HiTune TWS buds get some sweat on them as the gyms re-open. The included IPX5 protection should see you right here during a workout. Just don’t wear them in the shower or for a dip in a pool unless you’re happy to shell out for new ones.
Those 9-hours of continuous listening can be a dichotomic experience. The lows are rumbling and aggressive which may suit many ears. I prefer a slightly more flat soundstage, but it’s not unpleasing. The highs provide adequate detail and don’t get pushed around too much by the lows, but in several scenarios, the mids were lost and even became distorted.
Let’s look at a few examples. Listening to “Rain” by Aitch and AJ Tracey, the piano and snare are prominent, but I also identified vocals I hadn’t previously heard. The rapping seems to step forward without diminishing the lows or highs. By way of an example, a few seconds into the track during the introduction instrumental, I had never noticed Aitch humming along to the beat. I’d missed this previously with all other headphones and speakers I’d heard the track through.
Skip over to “Only You Freestyle” by Drake and Headie One, the lows are once again rumbling. Drake’s verse, however, seems raspy and distorted. I’d tested this track with a couple of other buds and had not experienced the same.
Distortion only kicks in at extremely high and uncomfortable volumes; certainly higher than any individual will need the volume.
The volume will have to be controlled by the smartphone they are connected to as the touch controls do not extend to that level of control. The inability to control volume aside, UGREEN do get most of their control decisions correct. Whilst I do like the volume control on a bud, I’d forego it for the mix UGREEN opted for. A single press on either bud starts or stops the audio. A double-tap of the buds skip to the next track whilst a triple tap jumps the track backwards. I’m fed up with many TWS buds only having the skip forward and back feature on the dedicated left or right buds. It’s a nice not to have to think which bud to tap!
The included CVC 8.0 does help with clarity whilst taking calls on the HiTune TWS buds. I don’t seem to wear buds for the length of time other users might, so it’s unlikely I’ll receive a call on them too often. I cannot confirm that these work during general music playback but they certainly seem to. Switching between these and other buds in for review and these certainly seem to dampen ambient noises. My unscientific test includes fanning myself with a leaflet and there is certainly less white noise with the UGREEN HiTune TWS buds than others I’ve tested.
UGREEN HiTune TWS – Final Thoughts
Initially, the pairing issue worried me. The buds suffer some disconnections as the battery enters its death throes. That’s nothing new and as long as you keep these charged up you’ll have no such issues. Charging is easier thanks to that quick top-up technology in the charging case. Even without that, you’ll get through 9-hours of playback before you have to worry.
Audio is aggressively bass-heavy, but not oppressive in most genres. Bass-heavy tracks can suffer as the mids can get lost in these scenarios.
The UGREEN HiTune TWS buds are comfortable for reasonably long listening stints, and the touch controls are intuitive, even if the lack of volume control still irks me somewhat.
The UGREEN HiTune TWS buds have a lot of competition in the sub-£50 space. Coming in at £39.99 on Amazon UK, they don’t edge out the best of that bunch, but they come very close, and with the IPX5 rating and CVC 8.0 noise cancellation features, some may actually prefer these. You are going to deal with some form of compromise if you’re shopping at this level, and UGREEN makes some interesting, and mostly, successful decisions.