A Cheap Entry Point to TWS Earbuds: The SonicGear Earpump TWS 1 and TWS 2
Been thinking of going wireless but didn't have the dough to splash on TWS earbuds? Then grab a chair and sit down for this one.
Simply put, TWS stands for true wireless - and what's the difference between wireless and TRUE wireless, you ask?
Wireless headphones come in 3 main categories - the on-ears, the over-the-ears, and the neckbands. The first 2 look like regular headphones or earbuds, just without the cord that links it to your phone or device. The latter is comprised of wired earbuds linked to a neckband.
True wireless earbuds audio devices, however, come with absolutely no cords - zip, zilch, nada. They're literally like earplugs that play music - just shove them up your ear canal and they'll work right away.
Apple's Airpods paved the way for this brilliant concept - though they were initially met with ridicule, they've arguably become a staple in the modern tech consumer's arsenal of devices.
Those who haven't already been converted to the convenience of being wire-free are usually put off by the massive costs that come with going TWS - an average pair could cost anywhere between RM300 to well over a thousand ringgit. For instance, the AirPods Pro retails for RM1,099, while cheaper solutions like the realme Buds Air go for RM299.
An Affordable Entry Point
Sonicgear has kindly sent us 2 pairs of TWS earbuds for us to try out - the Earpump TWS1 and its successor, the Earpump TWS2.
What instantly stands out about these 2 models are their price points: a mere RM99 for the TWS 1, and RM109 for the TWS 2 (which is my preferred option - but more on that later.)
First up, the Earpump TWS 1.
SonicGear Earpump TWS 1
1 hour to full charge
6-hour play time + 12-hour battery case
Supports Siri and Google Assistant
Driver size: 10mm
Frequency Response: 50hz - 20khz
Design-wise, I'm going to be frank - while the casing looks simple and sleek, it's pretty lightweight and doesn't feel nice and hefty. This may be a plus point for those who don't want to add weight to their bags or pockets though.
The finishing is a nice pearlescent white that does suffer a bit of light leakage from the battery indicator; this didn't impede readability though. There is also a black version for those who prefer darker colours.
The earbuds themselves are one size fits all - they do not come with any detachable rubber tips though, so I experienced significant sound leakage as my ear holes are unfortunately quite massive.
The sound signature is bright and sharp, and the volume is insanely loud when maxed out, which frankly surprised me, coming from such a small thing.
The controls are simple enough:
Tap left to decrease volume, tap right to increase volume
Double tap either side to pause or play
Touch and hold for about 1.5 seconds to forward (right) or rewind (left)
The control scheme is simple enough, but suffers from some detection issues. Occasionally, double tapping to pause the song will adjust the volume by 2 steps instead.
Another reason why I prefer the TWS 2 to the TWS 1 is that the latter is still stuck in the last decade with a Micro-USB charging port instead of USB-C like any civilised product.
SonicGear Earpump TWS 2
Ah, my favourite child. To me, the TWS 2 is superior in many ways.
The specs on paper are identical to the TWS 1, except that it offers 7 hours playtime on the buds themselves instead of 6. However, there is a lot more to it that makes the TWS 2 a much better overall experience.
Firstly, the packaging is pill-shaped, which makes for a sleeker appearance that just feels nicer in the hand. The magnetic closure also feels much more solid than the TWS 1's, and snaps shut with a satisfying clunk. I received the black version which I vastly prefer, but they also have a white version if that's more up your alley.
Secondly, the earbuds are actually fitted to sit entirely in your ear canal, instead of simply dangling out of it - and you get 2 extra pairs of rubber tips, so there's a higher chance of you finding the perfect fit. This mitigated much of the sound leakage and made music sound that much better.
Furthermore, the controls aren't as janky as the TWS 1's - I rarely experienced misreading of my taps, if at all.
The icing on the cake is that it charges via USB-C, which means universal compatibility - hooray!
All in all, my recommendation is to just fork out the extra 20 bucks and get the TWS 2. There's really no reason for you to cheap out for the TWS 1, unless you want to look like you have AirPods - but only from 50 feet away, cause any nearer and you'll instantly see the 'Sonicgear' wording on the stem.
In comparison, the plain SonicGear logo emblazoned on the TWS 2 looks classy and simple.
You can get both models on their official Lazada store:
SonicGear Earpump TWS 1 - RM99
SonicGear Earpump TWS 2 - RM109