TWS true wireless earphones - under $100
FIVE STARS - The Sabbat E12 got a lot of praise earlier this year for its detailed, big bass - but the sound wasn't perfect all around. Now, Sabbat has changed the chipset and tweaked the sound. Enter the Sabbat E12 Ultra. This time, it's a winner.
Sabbat E12 Ultra specs:
Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX and AAC codec
IPX5 water proof (sweat and rain resistant)
6 hours listening on a full charge
Charging case can charge earpieces fully 6 times
Comes with 7 sets ear tips and a USB-C charging cable
On the end of this Sabbat E12 review, you can see comparisons of the Sabbat E12 Ultra versus the Creative Outlier Air/ Gold, Samsung Galaxy Buds, 1more Stylish TWS and Edifier TWS5.
Design, charging and comfort
You won't see any changes to the design of the Sabbat E12 Ultra, compared to the regular E12. They both have a shiny black plastic case that crackles a bit when you open the lid. Both their cases can be charged wirelessly and via USB-C - and both of them have four LED-lights to indicate how full the battery is.
The stats remained more or less the same too. The Sabbat E12 Ultra, with its Qualcomm QCC3020 chipset, Bluetooth 5.0 and AptX and AAC-playback support, still offers a very decent 6 hours of playtime per charge. The case is also still able to recharge the earpieces at least four times fully. Those are specs nowhere near the Creative Outlier Air/ Gold or the Mifo O5, which offers 15 (!) recharges from the case, but 6 hours will prove plenty enough for normal daily use.
You can choose from different color earpieces for the Sabbat E12 Ultra. Some have camouflage paint in green, yellow, or red; the other option is to select one of the more classy, shiny options. There's red, purple, black, silver (nice choice - see the Sabbat E12 review) and a dark-coffee metallic - the one reviewed here.
You have to press the earpieces a bit to get them steady in your ear. No matter the seal you have; the Sabbat will still make you hear your environment around you a bit. It closes off worse than many competitors - which doesn't always benefit the sound, but it's great for your safety. What's also neat is the comfort. The Sabbat E12 Ultra earpieces are extremely lightweight, and you can wear them for hours.
Connectivity and controls
On the lightweight earpieces, you'll find small round tactile buttons in the center. The controls are spot on. You don't push the earpieces too deep in your ears, and the feedback is great so that you won't activate unwanted functions. A single press plays and pauses music, press two times to skip (right) or return (left) a song, and three times to increase and decrease the volume. Hold the button, and you activate the voice assistant. Even tapping thrice isn't too much, when comfort and feedback are so good.
Connectivity of the Sabbat E12 Ultra is fine as well. It has a stable Bluetooth connection up to ten meters, performs flawlessly inside and outside and also in areas crowded with wireless signals.
Calling and watching movies
Watching movies with the E12 Ultra works great on Android, as is the case with almost all wireless earbuds and earphones. On iPhone, unfortunately, YouTube-videos have a delay between their audio and video. It fares better on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and games, luckily.
The call quality of the Sabbat E12 is, once again, outstanding. It's perfectly doable to have a longer conversation with these earphones. The other end of the line will hear some metallic reflection of his/ her own voice, but your voice comes through clear and background noise is suppressed wonderful.
Sound quality of Sabbat E12 Ultra: Impressive
Just like the regular Sabbat E12, the Sabbat E12 Ultra comes with seven pair of ear tips. This time, however, the regular ones already deliver a fantastic sound. The Sabbat E12 sounds lovely bassy, yet is substantially balanced and offers lots of detail.
A summary of the original review: the earlier released E12 offered different sound signatures thanks to the big variation of ear tips that came delivered with them. They all fell just a bit short. One variety provided an impressive bass but muddy mids, another cleaned up the mids and highs good, but emphasized upper-mids a bit too much, causing harsh high vocals and cymbals.
This time, the strengths of both variations are mixed in one package. With the grey standard tips, the Sabbat E12 Ultra sounds excellent straight out of the box.
The biggest strength of the Sabbat E12 is its transparency. The soundstage is huge - with instruments and vocals coming in from everywhere, up close and far away. Not only is the sound spacious - it's also easy to place instruments in within the music. Listen to the Hell Freezes Over-variant from Eagles' Hotel California, and hear the music build up with cheering everywhere, guitars and cymbals on the left and right.
Now, more wireless earphones are covering the placement in that recording just right. The Sabbat E12 Ultra, however, does it while paving the way for the mids. The guitars don't play a background here, nor are they overpowered by the sweetly punching drums - they get the room they deserve. The Ultra offers mids that just come alive and highs, too, are accentuated. Unfortunately, some already emphasized vocals can be a little aggressive as a result, so you may want to decrease the volume suddenly. Here's looking at you, Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel.
Lower-mids, such as bass guitars and dark electronic sounds, is the only segment that plays a smaller part. It's the only frequencies where detail retrieval is less convincing. The bass segment of the Sabbat is often called enormous by reviewers - and yes, it really knows how to pump and slap. It knows how to tickle the senses - giving that buzz-y feeling in your ears. The Mpow T5/M5 and Tranya T3, however, actually offer more bass body. On the E12 Ultra, it pumps and dives deep only in songs requesting it. That's the beauty of it.
The Sabbat 12 Ultra can sound a bit harsh at times, but it has excellent instrument tonality, a sweet level of detail, and a lovely spacious sound.
Sabbat E12 Ultra vs Creative Outlier Air/ Gold
The Creative Outlier Air and Gold produce a more closed-in sound than the open and transparent Sabbat E12 Ultra. It's upper-mids and highs are more controlled, which makes for a more relaxing sound, but may result in a loss of detail. The Outlier offers a warmer bass and more emphasis on the lower-mids. It's made for less active listening and longer listening sessions instead. It makes sense: the Outlier Air offers 8+ hours of battery life, the Outlier Gold even 11+.
Sabbat E12 Ultra vs Shanling MTW100
The Shanling MTW100 is the most refined sub-$100 wireless earphone on the moment, with a big natural soundstage, great tonality and lots of detail. Highs extend further and get more room to breathe on the Sabbat, but at the cost of vocals and cymbals sometimes sounding a bit harsh on the highest volumes. The Shanling has better-controlled highs, its mids have more body and the sound is bit a warmer. Comfort is great on both.
Sabbat E12 Ultra vs 1more Stylish TWS
The 1more Stylish TWS offers a comparable 6 hours of playtime on a single charge. It has a more uplifting sound, with energetic bass and emphasized, but without the impressive mid presence and detail of the Sabbat. The soundstage of the 1more is also smaller - it even sounds congested in more crowded songs.
Sabbat E12 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Buds
Much like the Sabbat E12 Ultra, the Samsung Galaxy Buds also offers great instrument tonality, with drums and guitars sounding like you expect them too. The E12 Ultra has a way bigger soundstage, and instrument placement is also better. Whereas vocals can sometimes sound a bit too shouty on the 12 Ultra, they can seem a little too restricted on the Buds. The E12 Ultra offers a more engaging sound.
Sabbat E12 Ultra vs Edifier TWS5
Next to the Sabbat E12 Ultra, the Edifier TWS5 almost seems bass-light. The bass only kicks in with subtlety, making the Edifier a preferred choice if you'd like your music with a little less bass. The soundstage of the Edifier is solid, although the Sabbat E12 Ultra places instruments better within the sound. The Edifier offers a more relaxing sound.
The Sabbat E12 Ultra offers an impressive amount of detail in the sound, with instruments and vocals coming from all around you. The comfortable earpieces and tight controls make you want to listen to these for hours on end - time and time again. It's a great package.
Five STARS - excellent
Buy Sabbat E12 Ultra:
Buy Sabbat E12 Ultra on Amazon Europe (Germany)
I bought the Sabbat E12 Ultra for testing and reviewing purposes myself. 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