If you want some earphones that cost under £10, should the EasySMX KT-204 be the ones to buy?
In the box
With the earphones you get…
- A carry pouch
- An airplane adapter
- A shirt clip
- 3 sets of regular eartips (S,M,L)
- 1 set of Dual flange eartips
Quite an impressive selection considering the low cost of these.
Design and Build
The design of the earbuds is nice. They use a wood housing which is classy and they feel solid too. You can actually see the grain and it makes them look at little more expensive than the £9.99 price tag would suggest.
The wood is flanked by two sections of metal which are finished in a gun metal Grey and its a nice contrast against the wood finish. There is no branding too which in my opinion is a good thing as I think it would have spoilt the aesthetics.
The cable is made from TPE and is clear, that means that you can see the wiring inside. I personally don’t like this and I think that a fabric or Black cable would have looked nicer. But that is just what I think and I’m sure some of you will like the cables look. The cable is 1.2m long which is about ideal for use when out and about. Might be a bit short if you are on the taller side, but for me (I’m 5ft 9) its about perfect.
On the plus side it feels nice and its quite solid too. There is decent strain relief at the top and down at the 3.5mm jack. This is good as it reduces the chance of the cable breaking at these points.
The only area where it could have done with some strain relief. is the in-line remote. This doesn’t have any at all. On the plus side this doesn’t see as much wear as the 3.5mm but some would have been nice. While we’re talking about the controller its made from metal and feels solid. There is an inbuilt mic and single play/pause answer calls button. It’ll work with most phones. The button feels a bit mushy, but I wasn’t expecting it to be super tactile for the price. Plus it works well and its responsive so its kinda a null point.
Finally the 3.5mm is Gold plated and again made from metal, so it should be durable in the long run.
As a whole though, I like the style and they are very well made for the really low cost. My only issue is the clear cable. Not a fan of that, but if your like me, its usually tucked under a t-shirt anyway.
Now this is a bit of a downer for me, I don’t find these comfortable. The included tips are good, but the shape of them is a little uncomfortable for me. They fit okay, but they just seemed to cause more fatigue than my usual earphones (Xiaomi Hybrid Pro). I tried the dual flange tips as often they fit better, but these ones didn’t.
The straight shot nozzle on the earphones didn’t help either. I prefer the angled style as they fit me better. But this is just what I experience at yours will likely be very different. So they might be more comfortable for you. On the plus side though, they are lightweight at approximately 9 gram. So they don’t pull or tug at your ears when wearing them.
Noise isolation and leak
The EasySMX have no fancy tech to help here but the passive isolation is quite good. I do my testing on public transport and they do a decent job of blocking out background noise. Some sounds can creep through and its of course more noticeable during quiet parts of music, but they do manage to block out traffic, engine noise and also conversations. Now noise cancelling would do a better job, but even without it, these are quite good.
Leak is well handled too and kept to a minimum. I listened to them at about 50% and even sat close they barely leaked at all. Obviously if you have them louder they will leak more, but if you’re on a train they aren’t likely to bother anyone. In a library situation they’d be good too, if you keep them below around 60%.
I used the standard tips, but if you want a better experience then I’d suggest giving the dual flange tips a go. They didn’t fit me properly but they should improve the isolation and reduce leak even more.
Let me finally tell you about the sound and its quite good, I did the testing using my LG G6 and a older Xiaomi Mi5. So here is what I found.
Because they’re only 16ohm they get pretty loud with minimal effort from your device. That’s a good thing if you like your music on the louder side. Even on my under-powered Mi5 they got loud enough to cause some discomfort to me. I personally don’t have my music too loud as it can damage your hearing, but they get loud and distortion at higher volumes is kept nicely in check.
For my testing I kept them at around 50% instead of the usual 60 to 80. But let me break down the sound now.
Bass first and its quite thick and little murky. Not too much but its not as clear as I’d like. On the plus side the drop is nice and deep, it doesn’t struggle too much really down low and the transition through the lower frequencies is fairly smooth. Its decently potent too. If you are a fan of bass then they should be reasonably satisfying for you. By no means are they the deepest or punchiest out there, but its solid. Another plus is that the bass doesn’t spoil the sound (for the most part), like some affordable earphones the bass can be a little wayward and creep into the mid-range. That’s not what I’m experiencing here and bass is kept mostly under control. In really bass heavy tracks it can be a little overpowering, but never to point where its bothersome. As a whole the bass does more to enhance the sound rather than hinder it.
The mid-range is okay, its fairly clear and detail is decent. Of course these aren’t going to be on par with more expensive offerings, but they deliver a good experience (for the price). Like mentioned detail is decent, some finer points are not present, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be able to hear everything. These earphones are tuned for more casual listening rather than intense listening, so it’s going to be missing the minute details. In sound separation isn’t too great either, its not a jumbled mess nor it easy to distinguish every part of the track. It sits in the middle and delivers decent separation. Soundstage isn’t that great either, no this is no fault of the these earphones in-particular as its a fault that plagues most earphones. Overall the mids aren’t amazing, but they aren’t terrible either. They don’t suffer too much colouration and sit quite nicely in between warm (vibrant) and cool.
I know what I’ve sound wasn’t overly positive, but you have to remember that these are budget earbuds and they actually have a decent mid range for the price.
Vocals are a good point and have nice tonal qualities and deliver a good experience. They sound quite natural and again aren’t overly bright nor cool. They are nicely present, but not too overwhelming. They never bark or shout at you nor do they underwhelm. What I’m saying is that they are nicely judged and enhance the experience. By that I mean that they aren’t going to blow your socks off but they won’t disappoint either. Detail in the vocal isn’t massive and doesn’t have the range to do justice to Adele or Rag N Bone man, but all in all they produce good vocals. Highs are sadly not very present and to be honest I’ve rarely experienced them at all. For some of you that will probably be okay as they never sound tinny or harsh. But some of you though might like experience them.
Overall the sound is good, the bass is solid, the mid range is okay and the vocals are pretty good. They aren’t the best I’ve ever heard at the price, but they deliver a pretty good experience and they are enjoyable to listen to.
To wrap up, these are a pretty great set of earphones. They are well made, look nice, lightweight, do a decent job for noise isolation and leak, sound pretty good and are cheap. Yes I don’t find them all that comfortable but as a whole they are really good earphones for just £10.
Pick up a pair here via Amazon UK
EasySMX KT-204 High-Quality In-ear Earbuds (Dark Brown)