If you hate wires and really want to cut the cord are these fully wireless Treblab X11 earbuds the right ones to choose?
In the box
Included with the earbuds are
- A hard shell carry case
- Split design cable – charging both buds at the same time
- S,M,L silicone eartips (Red)
- S,M,L foam eartips (Black)
- The manual
The X11 is packing some decent specs, here are the main ones
- Bluetooth 4.1 and EDR
- Range up to 15m – this is
- Frequency range: 50Hz to 20kHz
- Ohm: 32
- Sensitivity: 101.7dB
Design and Build
The design of these is quite nice and they are fairly nice to look at. The main body is made from plastic and finished in a high gloss Black. It looks good but does attract marks and finger prints easily. Luckily they wipe down, so its not an issue really.
In the center they have the Treblab logo which doubles as a button. Its finished in Silver and its a nice contrast against the gloss Black. The logo also illuminates when in use and it also gives visible prompts. But more on that later. The button does feel quite nice though and offers some decent feedback. Its nicely positioned too making it easy to press.
On the sides there is a small Red cover that hides away the USB ports for charging. I like the colour contrast against the Black body, but to be truthful Red and Black as a colour combo is a little overdone and I wish they would have opted for a different colour or at least give the buyer a wider range of accent colours to choose from. Maybe Black and Blue or Black and White.
On the plus side if you don’t like this option, they do offer a few other colours too. There is White, Green and Pink.
On the inside there are two ear hooks, these are silicone and again Red. I’ll talk more about these in the next section of the review. On here though is the Left/Right indicator. Its a little hard to see, but they are there.
These also have sweat and water resistance, so they aren’t waterproof, but if you get caught in the rain, you should be fine. As a whole the look quite nice, just wish there was a few more colour options. They feel really well put together and solid too, so there are no complaints with the build quality at all.
This is a bit of a downer in my case. It probably will be different for you, but my experience was not that good. They are light so they don’t tug or weigh down you ears. Its just they seemed to cause me a lot of inner ear fatigue. The tips are decent enough but I just found the way they were positioned to be a bit off. I tried moving them around but they would come out and really only fit one way. Unfortunately that was the way that they were uncomfortable. They do have an angled nozzle which I usually find better, but again they just didn’t feel comfortable when wearing them and within 2 or less hours they started to cause a fair amount of discomfort.
The ear hooks like previously mentioned are silicone and they, although were a bit of a pain to put in, were not a source of discomfort. They fit reasonably well and they do a great job of holding the earbuds in.
I then tried to wear them as normal without the hooks in and they just kept falling out. So I couldn’t win really. But again everyone has different shaped ears and they may work better for you.
Using these earbuds is a mixed experience. The first plus is pairing them. I thought it was going to be be troublesome but in fact it was so simple. All you do is
Simultaneously press the middle buttons on both earbuds for 10 seconds. The light will flash Blue and Red, once this happens you need to release the buttons.
You then wait for them to pair together. This takes roughly 15 seconds. Once paired you’ll here a single beep left side and the same on the right. You’ll also get a cue that will say “connected”.
After these confirmation checks you’ll hear a single beep on both sides and the left side will rapidly flash Blue and Red. The right side will blink every 5 seconds. You’re now ready to pair to your device.
Turn Bluetooth on and click the search option. After a short while they should appear and you should see Treblab X11 as an option. Select that and let your phone do the rest. If asked to enter a pin its either 0000 or 1234.
After pairing the LED indicator will flash Blue and you’ll hear a double beep and that is pretty much it.
It sounds more complex than it is and it only took around a minute to complete. After initial pairing you have to turn both on at the same time and if you have Bluetooth turned on they will auto pair.
Another plus side they are compact and lightweight meaning that you can pretty much put them in your pocket and not even notice that they are there. Plus there is no big mess of cables to tie you down as its all wire free. Its great if you want to travel light and don’t need to take a bulky case with you. There is a drawback to this though as they could become damaged (cosmetically) if left in your pocket. So if you want to keep them looking fresh as new, then the case is a must.
Speaking of the case its quite small and if you have taken a bag with you, it won’t take up much room. It’s also small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, but its a little too big to fit comfortably in a pair of jeans pocket.
Its hard shell too meaning it can withstand a few knocks and should keep the earbuds safe.
The case is also plenty big enough to fit the spare tips and cable too.
Another good feature on the go is the call quality. Its decent quality and quite clear so you can hold a decent conversation without the need to break out your phone. If you’re in a busy public place or somewhere where a little more quiet is needed you should probably remove the right side earbud as you may find yourself talking a little too loud. The reason why you have to keep the left side in is because that side handles the call, so its mono only. Another cool little feature is that whenever you get an incoming call, the earbuds will speak the number from whomever is calling. Its handy if you can remember peoples numbers, not so much if you can’t. It would have been cool if they said the persons name if there number is saved into your contacts. That way you know who exactly is calling.
There are a few drawbacks of using these on the go and the first is, taking them out and placing them in again. With regular earphones its so simple, but with these you have to adjust the earhooks into to place and get them to sit right otherwise they can fall out. If you’ve got time they’re manageable, if you’re in a pinch then it can be tricky to get them to sit right. With more practice it will probably become easier, but even after a week or so trying I still find it awkward.
Another issue for me is the lack of volume control. This keeps the design clean, but trades heavily for usability. So if you want to adjust the volume, you have to get out your phone. In most everyday situations its not a deal breaker, but if you’re in the middle of a jog and a song comers on too loud, you have to stop and adjust the volume. This means you’d have to either set them a little lower beforehand or make a play list with tracks you know don’t have big volume changes.
Noise Isolation and Leak
Isolation is quite impressive. These don’t feature any active noise cancelling but they are good. I was at the bus stop approximately 4ft away from the main road and at 50% volume I could barely hear the passing traffic. Turning them up to around 70% blocked the noise out completely. A loud bike was the audible thing, but buses and cars were not. On the bus they completely blocked out all engine and traffic noise as well as surrounding conversations. Honestly I was impressed. If you pause your music then it becomes more noticeable but that is a given. However fully removing the earbuds let me know just how loud the background noise was and how well these did.
Leak is impressive, they barely leak at all. I tested them at my preferred volume and they barely omit any audible leak. So you should be good if you’re in a library or sat right next to someone on public transport. Obviously leak will worsen beyond 60%, but if you keep it around that level, then you’re all good.
The X11 uses a Li-ion Polymer 50mAh battery in each bud. This gives you a quoted time of up to 6 hours playback, I manged to achieve 3 hours 39 minutes on the left side and 3 hours 44 minutes at the right side at 65% volume. Yes they didn’t run out at the same time. So a few more times and the exact same thing happened again. I think its because the left side gives the prompts which uses more battery, thus reducing its life.
Charge time is stated at up to 2 hours, in my testing it took 1 hour and 32 minutes for the right side and 1 hour 37 minutes for the left side via my PC. Again tested multiple times and it kept happening. It wasn’t exactly 5 minutes each time, but that was the average. This time will vary however depending on what you charge them and keep in mind the small difference in charging times.
You also get a Red light during charging, this will turn Blue when it has completed.
When the battery is low you get a voice prompt that says “low battery” and the LED indicators will flash. You then have a stated time in-between 5 to 10 minutes to charge the buds. This all depends on how loud you are listening to them. In reality this is around 2.5 minutes at roughly 60% volume. Also if this feature was removed it would likely increase battery life a small amount.
The voice prompt is a nice touch and gives you a heads up before the impending out of battery situation. I think a time life left prompt would have been a great addition. For example the prompt could say “10 minutes playtime remaining”. The built in one is fine, but this would have made it that much more useful. I understand it would be more difficult to implement, but it would have given users a better idea of how long is remaining. On the downside, the voice prompt is a little obtrusive. Instead of just saying it once, it instead feels the need to tell you every 30 seconds. I honestly don’t get why manufactures do this as one voice prompt is enough. On the sorta plus side the prompt is only in the left side, so you can still hear your music. But in all honesty one prompt would have been enough.
With the X11 you also get
- Up to 6 hours talk time
- Up to 125 hours standby time
The sound has both good points and bad points. So I’ll break it down.
Bass is just as deep as some other rivals even though its only able to drop to 50Hz, most other earphones can extend all the way down to 20Hz, well some advertise it but don’t deliver, most known brands will (for the most part). But even though its only marked as 50Hz its drop is still pretty good and a little better than some of those that advertise 20Hz. So it just goes to show you that some listings of specs are not to be trusted. Treblab have been honest and listed truthfully, but listening to these and a rival pair with the listed 20Hz and there isn’t much noticeable difference in drop extension. It packs a decent punch and is quite full but not overly murky. Yes its not as good as an equivalent set of wired earphones, but its still not bad.
The mid range is where it falls down a little, but this is a common trait of fully wireless earphones. They just aren’t able to capture the full spectrum that’s offered via wired. The gap has closed a lot, but its still not there. Don’t get me wrong these are pretty good, detail is admirable, its a little trickier to pick out minor details but as a whole the mids aren’t bad. These are great for genres that you’re likely to listen to when doing exercise or just popping out for a bit.
Vocals are nice, the tonal quality is good and fairly natural. The sit in the middle of the colour space and are neither too warm nor too cool. The highs can be a little brash at times, but for the most part they’re kept under check.
As a whole for the casual listener they are really good, the sound is quite exciting and if you’re doing a workout then they can get you pumped. If you want to do some more serious listening, these aren’t for you, but for what they are intended for they are great.
So what do I think as a whole. Well if you can pick them up for their current price of £29.97 then they are worth considering. They have a good selection of accessories, the design is nice, there are some great alternative colour options, they’re well made, the noise isolation is brilliant, leak is kept to a minimum and the sound is solid for casual listening too.
The drawbacks are the comfort issues, the fairly annoying battery low prompts and the poor battery life. The last one may be the biggest deal breaker as it doesn’t get anywhere close to its suggested time, unless you listen to them at around 20% volume.
Can I recommend them?
If you can live with the sub par battery life, then they are good as a whole. Its just hard to see past that poor battery performance, as it really limits usability. If you really want better battery life, then wired Bluetooth earphones would be the better option as they don’t have to have two forms of pairing.
Pick up a pair here via Amazon UK
TREBLAB X11, True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, Best Wireless Headphones (Blue)