TWS true wireless earphones - under $50
FOUR STARS - The QCY QS1 or T1 and QS2 grew out to be among of the most successful cheap true wireless earphones, thanks to its price and impeccable sound quality. Now, the manufacturer comes with its first Apple AirPods-like model. Is the QCY T3, also sold as the Xiaomi T3, as good as its predecessors?
Specs of the QCY T3/ Xiaomi T3:
Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC codec
IPX5 water proof (sweat and rain resistant)
+-5 hours listening on a full charge
Charging case can charge earpieces fully 4 times
Comes with 1 size ear tips and a micro-USB cable
The QCY T3 is also listed as the Xiaomi T3 on AliExpress. This then is also a Xiaomi T3 review.
Design, charging and comfort of the QCY T3
Let's start right off with the biggest downside of the QCY T3/ Xiaomi T3.
The T3 doesn't have a bean like shape earpieces, but has an Apple AirPods like design, with a stem attached to each earpiece. QCY thereby opted for a new kind of ear tip design. It isn't fully in-ear, with the rubber extending the nozzle to entirely fill your ear. But it also isn't half in-ear like the AirPods are. You can't just ‘hang’ them in your ear like the AirPods. You still have to press them in.
Instead, the QCY T3 has a rubber ear tip connected from the top of the stem to the nozzle. That's the rubber part you put in your ear. The T3 doesn't come with different sized rubbers to fit different ears, and that's a problem. It the standard sized ear tip doesn't fit you right, the QCY T3 won't stay firmly in your ear (!), it will be harder to control because of the loose fit (!) and the sound quality will be sub optimal, with a weak bass and harsh higher notes. If you read about bad sound quality in other reviews, I think a bad fit will be the cause.
The problem is: when ordering, you have no idea if the standard fit will be perfect for you.
I think this is the guideline for a good QCY T3/ Xiaomi T3 fit:
If you use the smallest ear tip on other earphones, the fit will likely be right.
If you use the medium or bigger sized ear tips on other earphones, the fit will probably be too loose for you.
Personally, I always use medium sized tips, so the fit was problematic for me. To still enjoy the QCY T3, I used my medium sized other QCY tips on them. They fit just fine… although you can't put the T3 in the charging case anymore without removing the tips.
Still, the light and compact charging case can top up the earphones fully 5 times and have a see-trough lid so you can see if the earpieces are charging. The earpieces deliver around 5 hours play time on a single charge. Both are seriously good feats in this price range.
Connectivity and controls
Unlike previous models, the QCY T3 offers touch controls. They take getting used to. Press on the stem twice to play/ pause, press two seconds to skip (right side) or return (left side) a song. Three presses activates your voice assistant and… this time, you can change volume. Sliding your finger up on the stem, increases the volume. Sliding down decreases it.
Unfortunately, it takes time before the T3 responds to your input, if it does at all. You'll likely wait for nothing some times, or activate the voice assistant rather than skip a track. Also: picking the T3 out of the case, or readjusting the fit in your ear, may just cause returning or skipping a song. Changing the volume too, can take multiple slides.
Pairing and connecting still is a breeze on the QCY's. Take them out and they connect instantly to each other and your device. The connection is stable up to around 10 meter.
watching movies and calling on the QCY T3/ Xiaomi T3
Now we're getting something! Thanks to the stems, the microphone on the QCY T3 is placed much further towards your mouth than previous QCY's and also many other true wireless earphones. Call quality on the T3 is excellent. Recipients will hear you loud and clear - like you're on the microphone of your phone even. It's perfectly doable to have telephone conversations with the T3.
Video playback to watch movies on the QCY T3 works just fine Android… and mostly on iPhone too. Except, for that one single app that only the Anomoibuds Capsule and Xiaomi Redmi Airdots seem to do right: YouTube. On iPhone, you'll notice lips don't sync in just that app.
For the sound quality on the QCY T3/ Xiaomi T3, I've taken a perfect fit in mind - with the delivered tips or with other ear tips that may suit you.
The best is saved for last: once again, QCY knocks off your socks when it comes to sound quality. The QCY T3 offers a balanced sound with boosted bass, great clarity and a sweet deal of detail.
The bass of the QCY T3 sounds darker, fuller and punches a fair deal harder than on previous models of the brand. The sub bass has a noticeable rumble, managing to shake in your ears, and the mid bass delivers a hefty slam. There's way more presence of the bass and lower mids than on the QS1 and QS2, competing or even surpassing good little bass-centric cheap wireless earphones such as the Tiso i4 and the Haylou GT1.
Vocals, mid tones such as guitars and higher tones (such as cymbals) are once again pushed forward, and are presented with great clarity and detail. The QCY T3 has excellent dynamic range, extending the highs, lower mids and upper mids without overpowering them - and the left-right stereo imaging is spot on. There's a great sense of stage, and instruments can often be placed exactly within the space that surrounds you.
Compared to the QCY QS1/ T1/ QS2, the T3 offers a more true-to-life tonality. Whereas previous models could sound a little tinny the first few seconds you put them in, the T3 toned down the brightness a bit, creating a more natural sound. The only complaint is there can be a little rough edge around the bass, passing trough a small crackle every now and then. What's to expect from earpieces this size?
Once again, QCY offers a friendly priced TWS that offers all the qualities to let you discover new detail in the music you've already heard a thousand times.
In order to get the most out of the QCY T3 or Xiaomi T3, you may need a pair of loose ear tips that you have to remove from the QCY every time you put it in the charger. It's a big discomfort - and along with the sensitive touch controls, it prevents the T3 from scoring five stars.
However: if you manage to find the perfect fit, there's so, so much to love. The call and sound quality of the QCY T3 are amazing.
FOUR STARS - VERY GOOD
QCY T3 vs QCY QS2
With the optimal seal, the QCY T3 has bigger bass presence than the QCY QS2 (also available als SoundPeats TrueFree and Dudios Air) and a somewhat more natural tonality. The QS2 does have a more controlled bass area, whereas the T3 can sometimes show a slight crackle when you have the volume all the way up. They both sound fantastic. Added bonus: the QS2 is a tenner cheaper.
QCY T3 vs Mpow M5/T5
The Mpow M5/ T5 is another outstanding truly wireless earphones under 50 dollar, with a big soundstage and excellent instrument placement. The bass is a heavy hitter, without ever becoming overbearing. It's more detailed than that of the QCY too - with lots of texture in the sub-bass and lots of punch in the mid-bass. Highs roll of sooner than on the T3, yet are still pushed forward, so vocals shine on the Mpow too.
QCY T3 vs SoundPEATS TrueCapsule
The TrueCapsule is a direct competitor to the T3, with its stem design. Its battery life is shorter - 3,5 hours against 5 - and there are no volume controls on the earpieces, but calling, fit and comfort are excellent. The sound is warm and full bodied, however, it lacks the impact, the detail and the liveliness of the QCY T3.
QCY T3 vs Ytom T1
The Ytom T1 (also sold as Wavefun X-Pods 3) has earpieces with a pebble-like design with a very small ear tip. They stay comfortable in your ear and the controls are a lot easier than on the T3. The bass of the T3 is tighter than that on the Ytom, which can sound a little muddy in bass-heavy songs. Highs on the T1 extend as good as on the T3 though - both sound very entertaining. The battery on the T1 is a tad better.
Buy the QCY T3/ check current price:
Buy QCY T3 on AliExpress (QCY Store)
Buy QCY T3 on AliExpress (alternative link 1)
Buy QCY T3 on AliExpress (alternative link 2)
I bought the QCY T3 for my own 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