TWS true wireless earphones - under $25
ONE STAR - Bluedio was one of the first Chinese headphone brands in the spotlights, with one headphone after another than pleased a large audience. Their first attempt at a true wireless earphone, the Bluedio T-Elf, unfortunately is horrible.
Specs of the Bluedio T-Elf:
Design, charging and comfort
It's good to see that Bluedio has developed its own idea when it comes to its charging box. It's higher than it is broad and stores the earpieces under a robust lid, making the 640ma case light and standout from the rest. It's also charged by USB-C rather than micro-USB, meaning it supports fast charging.
The fact is, however, the Bluedio T-Elf has a mayor charging problem. As soon as the charging case fully charged up the earpieces, the earpieces automatically connect to your device again. This way, they steal the audio from your device, even if you're not using the T-Elf. It drains the battery of your device and earphones and it's just plain annoying. The only way to prevent this, is long pressing the buttons on both earpieces to shut them off completely. The ease of use is thereby gone.
The earpieces look cheap and dated, with their small bean shape in shiny plastic and a single button on the side. Their compactness make them comfortable for smaller sized ears perfectly, but that doesn't make their fit right per se. To me, the T-Elf were too loose in my medium sized ears. The T-Elf uses specific ear tips with a long rubber, but the delivered tips weren't big enough for me to hold their fit. Due to their special nozzle design, it's hard to get other tips that will make the T-Elf fit deep enough. If the seal isn't good, the sound isn't. That's a problem.
In short: there's a lot of wrong choices here. And it gets worse.
Connectivity and controls
As for the controls, Bluedio made some weird choices. A single press on the button (that presses the earpiece deep, however not painful into your ear) pauses or plays the music or takes a call. A long press activates the voice assistant. Pressing twice does not skip a song, an ever so welcome feature to have on your ears, but redials the last number you've called.
In how many situations would you do that directly from your earphones, rather than skip a music track?
The connectivity doesn't fare much better. The Bluetooth connection should hold up to around ten meter, but drops regularly when on the move. Also, the left earpiece disconnects from the right one regularly. Most of the times, such a dip in the music doesn't last longer than a second, but it can happen multiple times in a minute. It eliminates pleasure in listening to music.
Calling and watching movies
With a direct redial option on the button, you would think the calling quality may be above average on the Bluedio T-Elf. It's not though. The microphone produces a tinny and distant sound, and may not record your voice at all in some instances.
Watching YouTube videos on an iPhone or even gaming with the Bluedio T-Elf goes about average. As with so many competitors, there is a noticeable delay in the audio. I haven't noticed any audio delay problems on Android.
The thing is: The Bluedio T-Elf doesn't sound all that bad. In fact, it sounds rather good. It offers a balanced sound, with emphasis on the mids and highs. Vocals and instruments like guitars and violins sound clear and aren't pushed away by the bass. That one is purely supportive here. If there is any bass slam, it's minimal, and the same goes for a sub bass.
The Bluedio T-Elf therefore gives lots of room for detail in the mids and highs. In the newest album from sing a songwriter Milow for example, the male vocals are well separated from the guitar, and instruments can even be placed. The music is airy too.
The tonality is a bit off though - in some genres, mids sounds tinny and a bit distant. This is a tuning thing that many Bluedio products seem to have in common, including full sized headphones.
All in all, if you still care for sound quality after T-Elf's misses, you can do better at the same price as the Bluedio T-Elf.
It took Bluedio a while to introduce truly wireless earphones, yet they should have taken more time. The Bluedio T-Elf sounds quite okay, but looks cheap, has a flimsy fit, bad control choices, bad Bluetooth connection and is rendered useless by a mayor charging bug. Oof.
ONE STAR - TRASH
Buy the Bluedio T-Elf / check current price:
Buy Bluedio T-Elf on Amazon Europe (Germany)
I bought the Bluedio T-Elf for my own listening and review purposes. I test and review all audio products equally honest - read about it here.
Consider buying this earphone? I'd really appreciate it if you use the links in this article. It won't cost you extra, yet it will financially support me a bit in my ongoing quest for great affordable audio. <3