If you cannot afford that pricey white Apple AirPods that you see in all of your friend’s ears, you should check out these cool ones from Noise. The brand recently launched the X-Buds and they are worthy enough to tag along for your daily commute. We had them for a while and here’s what we have to say about them.
Noise X-Buds Design and Specifications
Noise is a brand that’s known for a while and they market affordable audio products that sound decent while keeping the style quotient intact. The X-Buds don’t look similar to the ones that Cupertino launched, but do pack features that can give the AirPods a little complex, especially when it comes to price. However, these are no match to Apple’s AirPods’ performance and features when it comes to sheer quality. Not that the Noise are as bad either. Matte-finished in a black plastic housing, these are simple, compact and weigh around 7g each. A subtle branding on the stem is a welcome, but that LED indicator on its rear is pretty irritating. They blink in blue, white and red, denoting standby, in audio mode and not connected respectively. The LEDs blink in a subtle breathing fashion, but we would have preferred if they were discreet altogether and only when connecting / pairing. Each bud features a single touch control surface that allows you to change the volume, switch tracks, answer calls or even summon your voice assistant. A tiny microphone on each bud is equipped at the edge of the stem, below the charging points. Each bud is pretty well designed, tiny enough to plug in, ergonomic enough to stay put and comfortable. They aren’t too large either, but when laying in bed, lying on one side could give you discomfort.
The earbuds comes with a charging case that sports a good magnetic lid and is easy to open/close and tiny enough to snugly fit into your pocket. Each earbud has a built-in battery that can last you around 4 hours of music/audio playback, while the 650mAh case can refill the buds thrice more, making the X-Buds give you a total 16 hours of runtime.
The X-Buds feature Bluetooth 5.0 with support for Qualcomm’s aptX for some good HD audio experience. However, using an iPhone or non-Qualcomm device will not allow you to tap into the full features, which also includes AAC audio codec options. Noise also did not give the X-buds any companion app, which is a bummer.
And lastly, the earbuds are IPX5 rated so sweat and rain cannot ruin them as easily. Make sure you don’t plan diving into a pool with them on.
Noise X-Buds Setup and Use
While using the X-Buds is pretty simple, it requires a good amount of time spent in learning the controls. Not that it’s difficult, it’s a bit tedious at times. Pairing is simple —pick out the earbuds and they enter into pairing mode by default. Run your Bluetooth settings and pair them and start using. The two earbuds automatically connect to each other in TWS mode and a voice in the earbuds announces the connectivity accordingly. Once paired with your smartphone, you can simply wear them and start using without any trouble. You can also use any single earbud as a mono receiver if you only want to use them for making calls. The pairing process would need to be repeated for each bud, but once only.
Using the earbuds’ controls is a bit annoying, as we stated earlier. Double and triple tapping to control the music tracks, single tapping and holding the tap to control the volume and muting, etc can be painful initially. Worse was initiating the talks with the voice assistant. Though it is the simplest — a tap and hold on any earbud will summon the assistant, but most times, when wearing the earbuds, this feature was accidentally pulled up. Noise should have a companion app to help the user disable the voice assistant or change the touch/tap/hold settings according to the user’s convenience. Nevertheless, over a period of time, things will be normalized as your brain learns how to handle the buds ahead.
Noise X-Buds Performance
These buds can perform pretty well, but overall they aren’t as great. Audiophiles should stay away. These earbuds are mainly intended for those seeking comfort and portability in the name of TWS, but are not for audio perfection. The highs are pretty mellowed down, while the bass is a bit too harsh or worn out, depending on the type of audio you are into. The soundstage is pretty decent too, but not as exciting as you would expect. Overall audio is pretty clear, especially the mids. Vocals are great with ample mid-bass required for voice, making it an ideal pair of earphones for movie buffs or casual YouTube and social videos. But if you are looking a pair of earphones that can give you rich audio where the highs are crisp and the bass is punchy, you need to look elsewhere.
Noise X-Buds Verdict
If you are seeking a good pair of TWS earphones, there are many out there. The ones that perform the best are usually expensive, but if you are on a lower budget, the Noise X-Buds could please you well. While the performance of the X-Buds is not great, they aren’t as bad either. While the bass is not as pleasing, and the highs are not well pronounced, they balance out and are good enough for casual music and movies. However, where the X-Buds gains points are for the features such as aptX support, touch controls and IPX5 ratings along with a compact and light form factor and definitely very affordable.