Tronsmart is no stranger to the TWS headset market. Previously we reviewed two models from this manufacturer. These were decent devices with good value for money. But what is happening right now makes no sense at all. I'm talking about Tronsmart Spunky Beat.
It seems that right now this is one of the best TWS-headsets that you can buy for an unbelievably ridiculous price - $20-30.
At the same time, in terms of hardware, comfort and reliability, it can well compete with similar products that cost 5 or more times more. Yes, like the previous Tronsmart headsets, this one also has flaws, but in general, I would call it a breakthrough, both for the manufacturer and for us, consumers. But let's talk about everything in order.
Features and equipment
To begin with, I propose to consider the list of characteristics and capabilities of the headset announced by the manufacturer, and during the testing process we will check how they correspond to reality.
To be honest, this data is really impressive if you follow the technology in this field at least a little. Judge for yourself, here are the key points: the latest Qualcomm QCC3020 chip, support for aptX and AAC codecs, the current version of Bluetooth 5.0, IPX5 moisture protection, Qualcomm cVc 8.0 noise reduction systems during conversations.
Battery life: Up to 7 hours from the batteries, up to 24 hours, taking into account the charging of the case (500 mAh), standby time up to 90 days
Connection Distance: Up to 15 m
And after studying the characteristics, the price seems even more incredible. I has been most intrigued and therefore was quick to purchase this product during the sale for an incredibly low price. In the Tronsmart official store on AliExpress has it for $20 on a Black Friday sale. And I also used an additional $2 coupon, so the whole purchase cost me $18! This was probably be the best bargain of my life.
But let’s move on. The package arrived quickly - only 12 days after payment, which is cool in itself.
The box is small and has a traditional design for the manufacturer. Inside there is a charging case, two in-ear headphones, a set of ear pads (only 3 pairs of different sizes, medium ones are already installed on the headphones) and a USB-C cable for charging. And of course, a few paper documents - instructions and warranty card. I note the excellent packaging - a sturdy box made of thick cardboard, inside all the elements are fixed in multilayer holders made of dense foam.
Appearance, materials, elements configuration, build quality
The appearance of the headphones is generally modest. The case outside is some kind of mixture of matte plastic and soft-touch. It does not look expensive, which is to be expected. But the cover is practical.
The charging case has industry average dimensions. You cannot call it miniature, but I saw larger options. Even from Tronsmart.
The design of the case as a whole is standard - a slightly flattened oval capsule with the manufacturer’s logo on top. But a boring appearance is diluted with several unusual elements. The first is a short artificial leather strap. The decision is controversial, as for me its appropriateness is doubtful, although the manufacturer demonstrates it in promotional photos with the ability to hang headphones, for example, on the handlebars of a bicycle. Well, I don’t know ... This item looks a little cheap.
The second, unusual and even unique element of the case is its own built-in short wiring for charging with a USB plug at the end. It is hidden in a recess on the bottom of the case.
And this is in addition to the ability to charge the headphones through a separate USB-C port at the back.
Yes, interesting, but I would not call this decision important. But maybe in some situation it will help you charge the headset if you forget or lose the USB-C cable.
But in general, I would prefer them to reduce the dimensions of the cover in height. 5 millimeters should really be possible.
The front of the charging case has a series of four small LEDs that display the battery level of the headphones. Three white ones and one orange. To check the charge at any time you need to open the cover and touch the sensor of one of the headphones.
The cover of the charging case is fixed in the closed position with a magnetic lock. But when it’s open, it just hangs there. And this moment spoils the impression about the build quality, although otherwise everything is very cool.
Inside the case is made of matte plastic. And the niches for the inserts are glossy. They have 2 contacts for charging headphones, which are held in place in the case by magnets.
Now the headphones. Their design is also simple. But at the same time, it’s optimal. Each earpiece is a small oval capsule with an anatomical shape inside and with a flat touch button pad on the outside. The inside of each earphone is made of matte plastic, and the outside of glossy, with the exception of the touch buttons, which are decorated with a pattern in the form of a concentric notch.
Around the button is an LED ring, which in various situations glows or blinks in blue or red, signaling the status of the headphones.
By the way, the LEDs on each earphone periodically blink blue during operation, indicating active connection. It doesn’t turn off, which is a little annoying in the dark. It’s good that at least they don’t do it often. Behind the indicator, closer to the nozzles, you’ll find microphone holes.
The headphones end with the fitting of the sound guide to which the ear pads are attached. The outlet is protected by a simple nylon mesh.
Ergonomics and control
In terms of convenience, this headset is simply superb. It’s not the smallest, but very close to that.
The earbuds fit perfectly in the ears. Ergonomic shape helps. In my personal case, the headphones do not protrude from the auricle. I can even lie on the side with my head on the pillow and hardly feel any inconvenience. You can also use the headset without problems in the cold season - under a hat or a dense hood.
1 - 3
Touch control in itself has both pros and cons. Ease of control functions with a light touch, but accidental clicks do happen. For example, you can move headphones on your head without pausing playback. But, in principle, touching the second time is not difficult and the music will play again.
In theory, controlling is easy. Play and pause with one touch, switch tracks with long presses - forward (button on the left earphone) and backward (right), volume control by quick triple touch. And you call the voice assistant with a double click. You can also accept incoming calls with one touch or reject them by holding any of the buttons and end the conversation with a single tap.
But in practice, not everything is rosy. It is necessary to get used to it all. If one touch and a long hold of the sensor works more or less stably, then a triple quick tap is not always. In addition, often immediately after connecting a headset, when music is already playing on both headphones, the sensor of the second earbud does not work the first time. But after a few seconds it “comes to its senses”, when you have tapped it three times. Often, instead of triple tapping, the system detects only two, thus calling the Voice Assistant.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that at the end of any action, the headphones should play an audible notification - a short signal when pausing and switching tracks and double when you call the Voice Assistant. And the first signal does not always work, although the action takes place. I understand that it sounds incomprehensible, but try to make sense of it. I have not figured what’s wrong, these things happen randomly. In general, some controls are very unstable, especially immediately after each connection with a smartphone. It takes a long time to get used to doing everything almost perfectly and with the “right” delays. And even then there is no 100% confidence in a positive result.
In product reviews on Ali, you can find messages from customers who say that volume control does not work for them. And I understand why. Simply mastering the “correct execution” of the triple click is quite difficult, especially at first.
You can generally refuse to control the volume, since the function is very glitchy and more often than not causes difficulties. But you can try to get used to it all. It works for me more or less. If anything, I recommend that you perform the actions clearly and with effort - with real tapping, and not with a light touch.
Great sound is definitely most important. Believe it or not, Spunky Beat are great in that regard. They easily beat Samsung Galaxy Buds, which was my favorite in terms of sound. There, everything with high and medium frequencies was okay, but I was forced to use two equalizers in parallel to squeeze at least some semblance of bass from the headphones. More details in the review.
But with our budget hero everything is fine out of the box. Moreover, these are the first fully wireless headphones in my memory, where, in principle, you can not worry about tuning frequencies. Everything is awesome by default. But you can use the equalizer to change the sound as you like.
Treble is clear and crisp, no worse than Samsung, midrange is fine, and bass is amazing. Not as boisterous as Tronsmart Spunky Pro, where they often merge into a continuous mess, which puts pressure on the ears and force you to use the same two equalizers to lower the bass and stretch the high frequencies. And here the bass is... elastic, or something, but at the same time soft. Low frequencies are felt at the level of infrasound, real tangible physical pressure.
Light, without going overboard, you can clearly separate the bass guitar from everything else. In general, the sound of Spunky Beat is very balanced, and the detail is excellent when listening to any musical styles. And everything is in order with the scene, the effect of presence is provided. The sound is surround, not flat. The main thing is to choose the right eartips (read the article).
Surprisingly, the sound in these cheap headphones reminds me of wired Hi-Res vacuum 1MORE Triple Drive which are 3-4 times more expensive. Unbelievable, but it is a fact.
In general, the audio capabilities of the Tronsmart Spunky Beat show itself at the highest level and for the sound of this headset you can forgive all the flaws, especially considering the cost. I don’t know how the manufacturer did it, is it the chip or the graphene drivers, but the result is amazing. And yes, aptX does make a difference. I use the headset paired with Huawei P30 Pro and I really like the result.
The headset can work in both mono and stereo modes. The headphones are paired with each other from the factory. At the first pairing, we first connect the first (any) headphone to the smartphone. It becomes the main one. Then we get the second one and it also connects to the smartphone. In the list of connected devices, exactly 2 copies of the Tronsmart Spunky Beat are displayed, which is normal.
In the future, you can get any of the earbuds from the case, insert it into your ear, receive a “Power On” notification in a female voice and then wait for the “Connected” sound notification. After that, if you want to get full stereo, take out the second earbud and the same thing happens with it.
Once again, I ask you to pay attention to the previous paragraph. Be sure to wait until the first headphone is connected and only then get the second one out of the case. Otherwise, there is a risk of getting an “incomprehensible” connection when both headphones are connected as separate devices. If this happens, then you will notice that something is wrong. The music will be out of sync, one of the headphones will periodically “fall off” every few seconds. Do not worry, just put both earphones in the case and wait for them to turn off - the earbuds will go into charging mode, the indicators will light up in red. After that, repeat the operation.
At any time, you can put any of the headphones in the case and use the headset in monaural mode. If you put in the earbud which was previously the main one, then the one remaining in your ear will become main and may give you "Connected" notifications. Most often it will work like that ... I don’t understand why notifications don’t always work, there is an element of randomness in this matter. Later, you can again get the second earbud and get stereo again. Just do not rush, connecting, disconnecting the auxiliary headphone and recovery does not happen instantly.
This headset provides almost the best connection quality from all the TWS headsets that I tested. Even very expensive specimens are prone to sudden breaks during the transmission of the audio stream. This usually happens in difficult conditions, mainly on the street - in public places where there are many Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connections and many working devices - phones, smartphones, laptops, mobile operators, in short, where the air is littered or there is strong electromagnetic interference.
For example, my colleague is experiencing constant problems near the tram lines. Music streaming is interrupted for a split second or one of the headphones “falls off” for a while.
I have been testing TWS for a long time and I can say for sure that 100% reliable headsets do not exist. In addition, I definitely know a few particularly problematic places where any Bluetooth headphones will begin to stutter. Some with more frequency, some with less. And I try to test all the tested gadgets in these locations.
And now I can say that Spunky Beat have just excellent connection stability, breaks are very rare, even in the most difficult places. I will not say that they do not exist at all, but issues are rare. For which, probably, you should thank the chip from Qualcomm. Cheap and impressive.
Is there lag in games and videos?
No! Of course, there must be some kind of delay, but an acceptable minimum, it is not visible to the eye, which means everything is OK. And this is another advantage of the headset, which for many users may be critical. The only thing I noticed, there is a noticeable lag in the Telegram application, if you launch a video directly in the chat, which was parsed by a link from an external source. So it’s better to go directly to the original video on YouTube, where the sound has no delay. In dynamic games, there is a delay, so I can not recommend a headset to gamers.
Let's move on to headset mode. That’s when QCC3020 chip once again comes to life. The noise reduction feature of cVc 8.0 works pretty well. Yes, again, not perfect (I don’t know if this is possible in principle). But it’s magnitude better than anything else. One note: for the noise reduction to work, two active microphones are needed, and accordingly, two working earbuds. Take this into account.
Yes, Spunky Beat is the first Qualcomm headset I tested; mostly I only tried Realtek ones (or obscure “no-name” chips). Therefore, I'm sorry if I'm not experienced enough in this matter. But quite famous Galaxy Buds and Huawei FreeBuds show themselves a little worse in similar situations. Huawei FreeBuds 3 are on the same level with Spunky Beat. At least without special measurements. But given the price differences between the products being compared, this is simply incredible success for Tronsmart. Inside there must be decent microphones. Although, even Tronsmart Spunky Buds was alright in that regard.
As for Spunky Beat, I tested the phone calls on both sides. The voice is crystal clear indoors, as if you are talking on a smartphone. If the conversation takes place on a loud street, it’s a bit muffled, as if in the distance. And this effect is amplified with increasing noise level. But the headset clearly performs the main task - everything is audible and you can unmistakably make out the words. The same cannot be said about Huawei FreeBuds. Perhaps you should speak a little louder and clearer in a noisy environment, but personally I do this intuitively.
In reality, you can listen to music for 4-5 hours, depending on the volume. As for me, 7 hours of playback, it seems to me, the manufacturer greatly exaggerated, although it may be possible at low volume levels. In any case, a decent indicator for these babies, the autonomy of the earbuds is almost at the level of Galaxy Buds.
I listen to music for about 2-4 hours a day and I have never been able to completely discharge the earbuds. And I charge the case several times a week. The process takes about an hour from the standard USB port.
Self-discharge of headphones, if any, is very minimal. Although it’s difficult for me to judge this, since I use the headphones actively and do not leave them to stay idle for a long time. But this headset does not exactly discharge as actively as the first TWS Tronsmart - Spunky Buds, to which such complaints were often received, and I myself noticed this phenomenon.
Tronsmart has publicly announced that sales of its products have increased FOUR TIMES (!) сompared to last year. And you know, I tend to believe this information. Personally, I see progress in product quality. Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a new star in the audio segment. The manufacturer has lots of bestsellers. In addition to headphones and headsets, the company also offers speakers, power banks and other accessories, some of which I tried myself and liked quite a lot.
By the way, Tronsmart recently released Onyx Neo TWS-headset, which I also ordered to test in the future. The characteristics are very similar to Spunky Beat (the same chip). But I hope that it takes into account all the shortcomings and has the necessary software improvements. It seems that the charging case has become more compact, since there is no built-in USB cable. It is also stated that the LEDs no longer glow in streaming mode. We will see.
As for Tronsmart Spunky Beat, I definitely recommend it. For $20-30 it is difficult to find anything better. Even without taking into account the cost and the budget, it will be problematic to find anything even as good. This is my opinion after testing several dozen other products.
The advantages of these TWS-headphones include compactness, good ergonomics, excellent implementation of the headset function and a reliable connection with a smartphone. There are also disadvantages - they are mainly related to connection and control, although you can get used to these points and get around them. Also, I do not like the LEDs that blink in the dark during operation. But for the excellent sound, I'm ready to forgive the headset all its issues. What about you?