TWS true wireless earphones - under $25
THREE STARS - When is a pair of truly wireless earbuds that look like the Apple AirPods, still a knock-off? The Tiso iX offers a hugely familiar-looking AirPods alternative for around 20 dollars - with one exception: it has buttons.
Specs of the Tiso iX:
IPX5 water proof (sweat and rain resistant)
4 hours listening on a full charge
Charging case can charge earpieces fully 7 times
Comes with a USB-C cable
$20 on AliExpress - check current price!
Design, charging and comfort
You can't miss it on the backside of the charging case: designed by Tiso in China, it says. It's a bold statement. The Tiso iX looks very much like the Apple AirPods, with its long stem attached to the earpieces, and especially the ear tip itself. The Tiso iX has a half in-ear design, just like the AirPods. There's no rubber tip filling your ear canal on this wireless earphones - you hang the earpieces in your ear.
The most significant design differences are the curve in the stem and the presence of a button on the pieces. Surprisingly, this design offers a way sturdier fit than you might expect. The earpieces stay in your ear even when you're actively moving. The earpieces on the AirPods are a little bit more rounded and a bit more comfortable, however.
The big plus side of the half in-ear design is you can still hear your surroundings while you're listening to music. If you want a more isolated and engaging listening experience, an alternative like the SoundPEATS TrueCapsule may be more up your alley.
The charging case of the Tiso iX, too, is very AirPods-like. It has the same white round-ish design. You take the earpieces out of the case from the top, just underneath the lid. They then connect automatically. The earpieces last about four hours on a charge, and the case can recharge the earpieces around seven times fully. Solid scores.
Everything is good then. Just not very original.
Connectivity and controls
Connectivity isn't a problem on any Tiso, and the Tiso iX is no exception. The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is stable even in areas crowded with wireless signals. The iX connects automatically when you take the earpieces out, and the earpieces shut off when you put them in again.
A great feature of the Tiso iX is you can either listen to both earpieces, only the left one or only the right one. You can switch them at all times, and switching is imminent. It's hard to notice the earpieces activate and deactivate in the process - impressive.
Tiso opted for a psychical button on the earpieces, meaning you will press the earpieces a bit further in your ear every time you press it. It doesn't do wonders for your comfort, but it means wonders for the controls which fail so often on cheap AirPods alternatives.
Pressing once plays and pauses the music. Hold the right piece to skip a song, hold the left one to return a song. A double-tap activates the voice assistant on your phone. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to change the volume on the earpieces.
Calling and watching movies
When you have an iPhone, it's entirely possible to watch movies and shows on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime without noticeable delay in the audio. Watching videos on YouTube too, fares pretty well, which isn't a given on iPhone. There isn't any noticeable audio-video synchronization on Android also.
The calling quality, surprisingly, is a bit behind compared to other truly wireless earbuds with a stem-design, such as the QCY T3 and the SoundPEATS TrueCapsule. The microphone has dropouts in putting trough your voice, and outside noises will be able to rule out your voice completely.
Sound quality of Tiso iX:
The sound character of the Tiso iX is mostly shaped by the half in-ear design of the earpieces. Because the speaker isn't brought entirely inside your ear via a rubber tip, but rests on one side of your ear, the earbuds blast noise from one side into your ear. As a result, you can still hear the environment while listening. The music sounds airy too, because the speaker is further away from your ear.
The Tiso iX has an emphasis on the lower mids, such as bass guitars and drums. The darker tones drag the higher notes with them too, resulting in a warm and congested sound. Female vocals often sound high enough to be apart from the bass lines, but male vocals can come across distant. Especially in more crowded songs, mids and male vocals drown in the darker tones.
The sound quality is a big difference from the Sabbat X12 Pro for example, another model with a half in-ear design. That one sounds crystal clear - the Tiso iX sounds muffled instead.
The warm sound of the Tiso iX can be relaxing for background listening but isn't formidable for critical listening sessions. Competitors like the QCY T3 and SoundPEATS TrueCapsule sound more vivid and way more engaging.
The Tiso iX is a reasonable cheap Apple AirPods alternative, with a good fit and decent video playback capabilities. Just don't expect a pair of truly wireless earbuds for critical listening.
THREE STARS - WORTH CONSIDERING
Buy Tiso iX/ check current price:
Tiso sent the iX out to me, to test and review. 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