At the end of September, Honor introduced the Honor Choice Earbuds X. The headset, although it has basic functionality, but it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. The first is the battery life (up to 6 hours on a single charge), the second is a nice price tag, about $40. In this review, we will take a closer look at the Choice Earbuds X and try to determine whether it’s as good as it looks on paper.
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Full specifications of the Honor Choice Earbuds X
- Type: TWS, Earbuds
- Drivers: Dynamic, 12 mm
- Bluetooth Version: 5.2
- Audio codecs: SBC, AAC
- Control: touch
- Battery capacity: earphones – 40 mAh, case – 500 mAh
- Time: up to 6 hours of listening to music and up to 4 hours of speaking
- Working time with the case: up to 28 hours
- Charging: wired (USB Type-C)
- Dimensions and weight of headphones: 33.0×17.4×18.4 mm, 4.3 g
- Dimensions and weight of the case: 60.0×45.9×23.6 mm, 37 g
- Water protection: IPX4 (headphones)
While Honor Choice Earbuds X are just getting ready for sales in many markets, the model can be purchased for $39.99 in the official Honor store on AliExpress. Right now it is available at full cost, but, taking into account constant sales, it will be possible to snatch headphones at a discount.
What’s in the box
The Honor Choice Earbuds X come in a laconic white box, which illustrates the device and the model name. We have a sample set, but there is everything here except the warranty card: a charging case, a headset, a USB-A –USB Type-C charging cable and a quick user guide.
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Design and materials
The buds are available in two fairly versatile colors – black and white. We have the second option on review. The Honor Choice Earbuds X case resembles a rectangular bo” with rounded corners and edges. The charging case is made of high-quality glossy plastic. It looks beautiful, but having experience interacting with a similar design of in realme Buds Air Neo, I can say that over time scratches and minor scuffs will form on it. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
In the pre-sale version, the case is devoid of any markings or inscriptions, but in the commercial model it won’t be the same. The upper and lower edges of the case have an even cut, which allows the case to be placed on a horizontal surface. The lid opens easily.
The main elements are placed on the bottom edge – here you can see the charging port (Type-C) and a multifunctional button with which you can switch the buds to pairing mode or roll back to factory settings.
There is an LED indicator closer to the bottom. The indicator lights up blue when opening the case and flashes the same color when switching the earbuds to pairing mode. It lights up red when the charge is low, as well as directly during charging. At the junction between the lid and the main body of the case, a small recess is provided to make it easier to open the case.
The headset has a concise design and a typical shape for earbuds. The marking is in place: on the left earphone you can notice the letter “L”, on the right, respectively, “R”. On top of the leg there is a slightly recessed touch control panel (it also has a matte texture), above which one of the microphones is located. The second microphone is located at the bottom, next to the charging terminals on the silver edge. A pair of microphones are used here to cut off noise during conversations, but we will return to this a little further. The headphones themselves have an IPX4 splash protection standard, which, perhaps, has already become the norm for TWS headsets in 2021.
Ergonomics and comfort of use
The Honor Choice Earbuds X are very comfortable. The headset is light (only 4.3 g per earphone) and compact, it does not interfere at all and you can use it without any discomfort for a long time.
In the case, the buds are held by magnets. When turning over an open case, they do not fall out, but at the same time they are comfortable to take out of the case, since they aren’t too deep. Everything is thought out and convenient.
Pairing with a phone
The Choice Earbuds X is a new model, so buds are not yet available in the AI Life app, which supports the Honor Magic Earbuds and the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite connect. This means that you have to connect directly via Bluetooth. To do so, simply open the case with the buds inside and hold the button on the case for 2 seconds. After that, they switch to pairing mode and are ready to connect. We turn on Bluetooth on the smartphone and find the Earbuds X2 in the list of available devices. That, in fact, is all there is. Now you can see the approximate remaining charge and, if necessary, switch between codecs. Extended functionality will be available at a later date.
Honor Choice Earbuds X controls
The controls are touch-sensitive and quite convenient. It works as follows:
- double tap any earphone to Play/Pause, accept or end a call
- hold the left earphone (2) for the previous track
- hold the right earbud (2) for the next track
- triple-tap on any earbud to call voice assistant
- touch and hold any earphone (2) during a call to reject a call
- touch and hold both headphones for 3 seconds to turn on/off game mode
The control panel is quite responsive and gestures are almost always triggered accurately. Only sometimes, when you do a triple tap to call the assistant, one of the taps gets “lost” and the buds perceive the gesture as a double tap, pausing playback or, conversely, turning it on. Otherwise, everything is working normally.
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Let’s start with the main characteristics of headphones. The Choice Earbuds X has dynamic 12 mm drivers with bio-diaphragm and aluminum fittings coated with copper. However, the meaning of the prefix “bio” and the features of such a diaphragm are not specified. In addition, SBC and AAC codecs are supported.
And what about the sound? The Honor Choice Earbuds X sound pretty good, and considering the price category, I would even say that it’s very good indeed. The bass is palpable, and in general the sound is quite pleasant. However, the basic settings are not perfect.
Out of the box medium frequencies prevail, and the sound itself lacks clarity. At the average volume level it’s not obvious, but the louder you listen to the tracks, the more flaws come out.
Later, when the app will be of any use, there will probably be various sound settings (bass boost mode and audio presets), but I used the usual regular equalizer installed in the smartphone. By slightly muting the middle frequency and pulling up the other frequencies, I managed to achieve a balanced, even more voluminous and clear sound. The faint background noise disappeared and the sound became clearer. In the end, I liked the sound and I think that the Honor Choice Earbuds X sound very good for budget TWS.
As for using Honor Choice Earbuds X for phone conversations, not everything is so smooth here. Usually the headset function is the weak point in the most budget TWS, so this did not come as a surprise in Earbuds X. There are a pair of microphones installed on each earphone in order to filter out noise when making a call in a noisy place. Indoors the buds perfectly transmit speech, but with an abundance of external noise, audibility is noticeably reduced.
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The Choice Earbuds X are very reliable. I connected the buds to both my smartphone and laptop, and there were no problems with the connection. For comparison, my realme Buds Air, which are in the same price range, have a good connection to my smartphone (although sometimes there is a problem with disconnecting one earphone), but they often loose the connection to the laptop. There are no such problems with the Choice Earbuds X.
The battery capacity of the charging case is 500 mAh, and each earphone has another 40 mAh. On a single charge, the earphones can last up to 4 hours in talk mode and up to 6 hours in playback mode at 50% volume. With the case, the total battery life reaches up to 28 hours.
When watching a video for an hour, the headphones lose 20% of the charge at 70% of the volume. In this scenario the buds can work up to 5 hours on a single charge, which, in my opinion, is an excellent result. And not only for an inexpensive headset.
The Honor Choice Earbuds X are excellent basic TWS earbuds. They have a nice design, good ergonomics, a very decent sound with tangible bass, which is a rarity for budget earphones, as well as excellent battery life. Such a combination in the range up to $50 is not easy to find. Yes, there are some issues with noise reduction during conversations, but in this regard, similar problems arise with much more expensive models. The Earbuds X is perfect as a first TWS, and will also surely appeal to more experienced users who don’t need ANC, auto-pause, wireless charging and other flagship features.
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Where to buy
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