TWS true wireless earphones - under $50
THREE STARS - The Bluetooth headphones of Cowin seem to have many fans all over the world. Its first true wireless earphone, the Cowin KY02, doesn't hit the jackpot just yet - it controls too frustrating.
Cowin KY02 specs:
Design, charging and comfort
Cowin wasn't the first to enter the true wireless earphones market, but at least it managed to give their entrance at the market a unique shape. The side visible to the outside of the world is some kind of square with a kink in it. The backside of the earphone is round to provide a good seal in your ear - and it does. The KY02 should be comfortable in medium sized ears.
First, it's good to state that the charging case is capable of charging the earpieces full around 5 times, and gives you a clear four LED-indication of how full the battery of the case still is. You can push a button on the pack to activate the lights at any time - which is clever, because opening the lid of the case is enough to automatically pair the earphones. The Cowin KY02 uses USB-C charging - and has the charging slot on the bottom.
The earpieces itself hold their battery for around 4 hours in my tests. Unfortunately, they keep blinking even when in use, so you can't use them in bed.
What's great though, is that the Cowin KY02 comes with different sized rubber ear hooks too. If you pull those over the earpieces, the earpieces have a way tighter fit because of the ear hook sliding in the top of your ear. It makes this set very suitable for sports.
Connectivity and controls
There's a reason not everyone is fond of touch controls on true wireless earphones. It's models like the Cowin KY02. Cowin decided a single press shouldn't do anything. It prevents accidentally stopping the music when you touch the earpiece, but it has its problems.
Cowin opted for playing or pausing a song with two presses, skipping a song with a long press on the right earpiece (returning on the left), and three presses activates the voice assistant. It takes some time to realise you can only use the upper part of the square to activate the controls. Then even so, it continues to control a bit hard. The Cowin needs a slight second to respond to your input - and you end up mis pressing and activating the wrong functions many times because of it.
Meanwhile, several user reviews suggest that this is highly dependent on the model you receive. Other listeners state 'a gust of wind is enough' to control the functions on the earpieces. I experienced quite the opposite. It seems that Cowin doesn't have the production of the square, kinked touch buttons totally under control.
Unfortunately, it's not possible to change the volume on the earpieces.
The Bluetooth connection is stable up to 10 meters and automatic pairing goes flawless and instantly once you open the lid on the charger.
Calling and watching movies
Watching movies with the Cowin KY02 shouldn't deliver any problems on Android phones, but gives a bad experience on iPhone (X). There is very noticeable lag between audio and video, especially on YouTube.
Calling is quite decent. The receiving end of the line may hear a little echo in your voice, like you're in a bathroom. Other times, you can sound distant, soft and may even fade away for seconds when you're moving.
Happily, the sound of the Cowin KY02 saves this true wireless earphone from being a disaster. It's well balanced with not too much emphasis on the bass.
The KY02 instead puts the mids central in the music, giving instruments like drums, piano's and guitars the main role. They have their own place in the musical composition, mostly directly right or left from you, with vocals often sounding straight in front of you. The Cowin doesn't offer the instrument placement from the excellent Tranya T3, but it separates different layers of the music in a good way - giving the music some air.
The bass on the KY02 supports the music, however you won't often ‘feel’ it. It doesn't rumble real deep, it doesn't slam hard. It also doesn't colour the music too dark or too warm. However, the bass is capable of a nice kick and it's very fast too - music can sound lovely quick on the KY02.
Comparing with the excellent QCY QS1, which also has a 'supportive' bass, the bass on the QCY goes deeper and has more weight to it. The Cowin is also more flat sounding - with less pronounced mids and highs. It's a vivid, quick and yet more neutral sound.
Only if you're especially looking for a mid-centric sound or a pair of sports earphones, the Cowin KY02 is a true wireless earphone to consider. Mind you though - the first hours of controlling may be frustrating.
THREE STARS - WORTH CONSIDERING
Buy Cowin KY02 / check current price:
Buy Cowin KY02 on Amazon Europe (Germany)
I bought the Cowin KY02 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