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Root NationAudioHeadphonesSanag S5 Pro review: Open Ear TWS headset, MP3 player, audio speaker, recorder

Sanag S5 Pro review: Open Ear TWS headset, MP3 player, audio speaker, recorder

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Today we’ll take a look at the Sanag S5 Pro – a headset of the relatively new Open Ear standard, designed in the form of an ear clip. This format is becoming increasingly popular lately. Recently, we’ve already examined similar headphones from a well-known manufacturer – Huawei FreeClip, but the cost of this product is quite high. However, if you have a significantly smaller budget, you may be interested in the device from my today’s review. Moreover, it’s not just a TWS headset, but also an MP3 player, audio recorder, miniature speaker, and more. Surprised? Me too! Let’s take a closer look at this multifunctional gadget.

Sanag S5 Pro

Specifications and features of Sanag S5 Pro

On the Sanag S5 Pro headphones page on the AliExpress website, there is a lot of advertising and marketing information as well as bright pictures, but not very many specific, understandable product characteristics.

Sanag S5 Pro

Here’s what I managed to gather:

  • Wireless connection: Bluetooth v5.3
  • Connection distance: up to 10 meters
  • Codec support: SBC
  • Driver type: dynamic
  • Impedance: 400Ω
  • Frequency range: 20 – 20000 Hz
  • Microphone sensitivity: -38 dbv/Pa
  • Battery in the case: 500 mAh
  • Approximate autonomy: headphones – 9 hours, full – 48 hours
  • Charging time: 2 hours
  • Operating temperature: -20 to 70°C

Price and positioning

The Sanag S5 Pro is priced at approximately 80 USD. This might seem high for TWS headphones from AliExpress, but considering the features of the charging case, the price seems justified. Additionally, Sanag offers other models of similar clip-on headphones, but in a more conventional format – without the MP3 player and speaker in the case. Consequently, they are much cheaper.

Sanag S5 Pro on AliExpress

Furthermore, this multifunctional format can even be considered an exclusive from Sanag. Because personally, I haven’t seen similar devices before (if you know such models, please indicate them in the comments). One of my Twitter followers pointed out that supposedly Samsung had a similar concept of headphones that didn’t continue. But here we see not just a concept, but a fully realized gadget with stable functioning features. Of course, other Chinese manufacturers may start copying the concept of the Sanag S5 Pro in time. But for now, there seems to be some uniqueness to the model.

Sanag S5 Pro

What’s in the package

The headset comes in a black cardboard box of thick material. On top of the box, there is a colorful cover with an image of the product, main information, and characteristics. Inside, the case with the headphones is laid in a holder made of foam rubber. The screen of the case is covered with a separate protective sticker. As for additional accessories, there is only a USB-A / USB-C charging cable.

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Sanag S5 Pro UnpackingWe also have an instruction manual (in Chinese and English), a slip with a QR code for downloading the mobile application, and a VIP card with an additional discount code of 198 yuan. All the inscriptions on the card are in Chinese, but I translated them using Google Lens.

Design, materials and build quality

Let’s start with the case. It’s designed in the standard box format with a lid. The material is glossy plastic, feeling solid and thick. However, it reminds me a bit of the plastic used for women’s powder compacts. On top of the lid, there is a screen covered with thin glass.

Sanag S5 Pro

The color of the headphones I have for testing is dark blue. However, whether this option is available on the product page or if it’s considered black by the seller, I’m not entirely sure. Other available colors for this model include white, pink, and blue.

Sanag S5 Pro Colors

Inside the case, we find two earphones designed in the form of a clip, consisting of two parts – a larger bean-shaped part (which sits behind the ear) and a smaller pea-sized part that fits into the ear canal.

Sanag S5 Pro

The earphones are primarily made of matte plastic, with a color similar to the case – dark blue. The touch-sensitive surface is glossy. The connecting bridge between the two parts of the housing is made of a more elastic rubberized plastic with a soft-touch coating.

Sanag S5 Pro

In general, the quality of Sanag S5 Pro and the materials used can be considered high. As for the assembly, I have only one complaint – the charging case cover has a noticeable backlash that is felt when you take it in your hand. This spoils the impression of the product a bit.

Read also: Huawei FreeClip “Open Ear” Headphones Review

Layout and arrangement of elements

I’ll start with the case again. Of course – the main unusual element here is a round LCD screen on top.

Sanag S5 Pro

There is a microphone hole on the front under the lid cutout.

Sanag S5 Pro

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At the bottom of the housing, we have a USB-C port for charging and a microSD slot below with a factory-installed 32GB card. To the right of them is the only functional button, which is flush with the body.

Sanag S5 Pro

There are 2 small cutouts for speakers and a microphone on the sides of the rounded part at the bottom.

Sanag S5 Pro

Moving on to the clip earphones. On the larger part (the bean-shaped section), we have two charging contacts at the top, a touch-sensitive area with the manufacturer’s logo, and an LED indicator on the outer side, as well as a microphone hole at the bottom.

Sanag S5 Pro

On the smaller part (the pea-shaped section), there is a speaker cutout directed towards the ear canal, and on the opposite side, there is another opening, the purpose of which I am not aware of, perhaps for decompressing the acoustic chamber.

Sanag S5 Pro

Control

Everything here is standard: we have two touch panels that respond to touches. A single touch pauses audio playback, double taps switch tracks, and triple taps adjust the volume. Control of the case is done through a touch screen that recognizes touches and gestures, similar to a regular smartwatch. Additionally, there is a button on the case that activates and deactivates the screen with a short press and starts or stops sound recording with a long press.

Read also: HUAWEI FreeBuds SE 2 Wireless Headphones Review

Mobile application

The mobile application for controlling the additional functions of the headset cannot be found in the official Google Play Store, so you can download it from the manufacturer’s website using the QR code provided in the box. The application is simple; you can connect devices – the case and the headset separately – and switch between them because it is impossible to output sound to both the headphones and the case speakers simultaneously from one source.

In the settings window of the case, the entire interface is displayed only in Chinese. However, there’s essentially nothing useful here except for changing the watch face of the main screen (which can also be done through the case menu) and some kind of switch. Using Google Lens, I found out that it’s for enabling weather updates. But this feature didn’t work for me, regardless of the switch position. Additionally, there’s an option to update the firmware of the headphones.

The headset settings window is displayed in English. Here you can control actions for double and triple taps on the touch panel and switch between built-in equalizer profiles. This sums up the functions of the mobile application.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy Buds FE Review: Most Affordable TWS Earbuds from Company

Additional functionality of the case

The main feature of Sanag S5 Pro is not just one, but 2 separate Bluetooth devices to which you can connect. The headset, in the form of a pair of clips, is referred to as Sanag S5 Pro-EWS – this is the first device, while the charging case with the screen is S5 Pro_Audio – the second device.

Sanag S5 Pro

While the headset functionality is more or less clear, it’s necessary to delve deeper into understanding the charging case. This is because it can operate both as a client (slave) and as a server (master).

Structurally, something resembling a smartwatch is built into the lid of the case. In the settings, it is sometimes even referred to as a watch. Accordingly, on top of the lid, we have a large color LCD screen with a sensor that detects touches and gestures for controlling the interface.

Sanag S5 ProChanging watch faces can be triggered by holding down the main screen. Swiping down from the top opens a menu with quick access buttons; swiping left takes you to audio playback control, and swiping right opens the main menu, where various settings and additional functions such as weather (which I couldn’t get to work), stopwatch, timer, and even a calculator are available.

Additionally, among the unusual elements, at the bottom of the case, you can notice a slot for a microSD card and 2 speaker cutouts, essentially making it an MP3 player capable of playing local files and a miniature audio speaker – all in one body.

But wait, there’s more! It later turned out that the case can also serve as a voice recorder. To start recording sound, you need to hold down the button on the case until you feel a short vibration signal. Similarly, you can stop the process. Later, you can find the audio files in the “Record” menu.

The case can be connected to any source – a smartphone or laptop – and in such a mode, it will function as a speaker, outputting sound through its 2 built-in speakers. Alternatively, it can play music files from a memory card and again output sound through its own speakers or transmit via Bluetooth to the provided or third-party headphones or external speaker. It’s such a versatile device.

Read also: OneOdio OpenRock S TWS headset review

Sound quality of Sanag S5 Pro EWS

Overall, I want to immediately point out that discussing the sound quality of the Sanag S5 Pro and generally any Open Ear format headphones is a futile task. There are several reasons for such a statement.

Sanag S5 Pro In Use

The main reason is that each individual’s ear clips will sound different. As for me, I simply don’t hear low frequencies at all, only hints of a bass drum or bass guitar. But if you press the headphones a little, the sound character changes, and low frequencies seem to appear, although they are somewhere far on the horizon.

Sanag S5 Pro Open Ear In Use

So, the perception of music in such headphones heavily depends on the shape and size of your ear. The closer the “pea” with the speaker is placed to the ear canal, the louder and richer the sound will be in terms of frequencies. Therefore, if you have smaller ears (meaning you’re a woman), you’ll hear a completely different sound than I do. But this doesn’t mean that Sanag S5 Pro aren’t suitable for men. Obviously, each person is unique in terms of the shape and size of their earlobes.

If we consider the issue from a somewhat averaged position, I can note that the sound of the Sanag S5 Pro is very soft and pleasant due to its maximum volume. Since the ear canal is open, it creates the impression that you’re hearing sound from an external speaker, which is actually the case. However, because these speakers are not fixed in space, it seems like the sound simply fills the entire space around you. This creates a special immersion effect.

Sanag S5 Pro Open Ear In Use

As for the technical side of the matter, you probably noticed that the Sanag S5 Pro supports only one basic Bluetooth codec, SBC. This directly indicates that the headset does not claim any audiophile direction. Although the manufacturer tries to impose such a thought on us. For example, on the product page, it is stated that it is compliant with the Hi-Pure Audio standard, which simply does not exist in nature; it’s some invention of the manufacturer.

Sanag S5 ProThere are also slides that demonstrate the technical excellence of the headset’s speakers. I won’t comment on this aspect; I evaluate the final result – sound quality.

I can note that the sound here just exists. It’s decent and sometimes even pleasant, but with certain peculiarities. This sound mostly consists of high and mid frequencies, but I can’t call their reproduction super clear and detailed. As I mentioned before, the main advantage of these headphones is their voluminous sound.

Sanag S5 Pro

I can definitely recommend this device for listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or watching videos, movies, and series. You can also listen to music, of course, especially if it’s just background noise while doing everyday tasks. However, if you’re planning to enjoy high-quality music in the classical sense, it’s better not to rely on this for that purpose.

Read also: Defunc True ANC TWS in-ear headphones review

Sound of the Sanag S5 Pro case

What can I say… Imagine two speakers from a mediocre smartphone that aren’t very loud. Now you know how this makeshift speaker sounds. If there’s no other option to listen to music, it will add a bit of musical drive to your life. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Because in most smartphones, the speakers sound better. The speakers on the case are more intended for loud communication and quick playback of voice recordings from the recorder.

Sanag S5 Pro

Microphones and headset function

The Sanag S5 Pro is equipped with mid-quality microphones. Overall, the tone of voice transmission cannot be considered very pleasant; mostly, mid frequencies prevail. Although you probably won’t encounter problems during voice communication in most cases, as your interlocutors will hear you, especially if you’re indoors. The issue is that the microphones also pick up surrounding sounds, such as the sound from a TV in the room. From this, I conclude that there is no noise cancellation function during conversations with the headset. Also, your voice may feel somewhat distant. Outdoors, especially in noisy environments, you may encounter problems.

Furthermore, you can make calls through the case using the loudspeaker function, thanks to the built-in microphone and speakers. The voice transmission quality is average, comparable to that of an inexpensive smartphone.

Connectivity, communication and latency

The headset connects to the audio source in the standard way – through the Bluetooth menu on your smartphone or tablet. There are nuances with the case. If you want the case to work as an audio speaker (in “slave” mode), you connect it through the Bluetooth settings menu on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or player. However, if the case itself serves as the source (“master”), you need to use the connection menu on the smart case, where you need to find the external headphones or speaker and connect to that device to stream audio from the built-in MP3 player to it.

Thanks to the use of the modern Bluetooth v5.3 standard, the connection quality between the headset and smartphone is excellent in most standard situations. I haven’t noticed any streaming interruptions. Additionally, the connection holds even through a concrete wall in the apartment.

The main drawback of the Sanag S5 Pro, personally for me, is the inability to simultaneously connect the headset to two devices. For example, if the Sanag S5 Pro is connected to a Windows 11 laptop, it is then impossible to connect them to a smartphone either automatically or manually.

As for the delays, I can note that they are minimal and almost imperceptible (also thanks to Bluetooth v5.3), so you can comfortably watch videos or play games on your mobile device.

Read also: Realme Buds Air 5 Pro review: I would have paid more!

Comfort of using Sanag S5 Pro

As for the charging case, firstly, it’s worth noting that its size is larger than what is typically found in similar TWS headsets. This is understandable considering that inside, in addition to the usual battery and charging controller, there is additional equipment built-in – a player with a display, amplifier and speakers, microphone, and a memory card slot.

Sanag S5 Pro vs TOZO Goglden X1 vs Huawei FreeBuds Pro vs OneOdio SuperEQ S10
Sanag S5 Pro vs TOZO Goglden X1 vs Huawei FreeBuds Pro vs OneOdio SuperEQ S10

Therefore, the case is indeed large, and it may be inconvenient to carry in the pocket of tight clothing. However, it is still compact and lightweight enough and won’t take up much space in a bag or backpack.

Sanag S5 Pro vs TOZO Goglden X1 vs Huawei FreeBuds Pro vs OneOdio SuperEQ S10
Sanag S5 Pro vs TOZO Goglden X1 vs Huawei FreeBuds Pro vs OneOdio SuperEQ S10

I always try to evaluate how convenient it is to use touch-based headphones, for example, in the dark. And in this regard, the Sanag S5 Pro isn’t entirely good because the case is symmetrical, making it difficult to determine the top and bottom or which side to open the lid from. While there is a cutout at the front, it’s challenging to locate it by touch.

Sanag S5 Pro

Another point worth mentioning is the functional button on the case’s body. It is designed in such a way that it doesn’t protrude from the body, making it very difficult to locate by touch as well.

Sanag S5 Pro

Also, at first, I found it inconvenient to remove the earbuds from the case; it wasn’t clear how to take them out, especially with larger male fingers. And when putting the earbuds on, it’s very easy to accidentally touch the touch panels and activate music playback. Overall, this process requires some getting used to. It’s better to hold the earbud by the bridge that connects the two parts of the body.

Sanag S5 Pro

As for the convenience of using the earbuds, it’s quite an unusual experience for me when TWS earbuds don’t insert into the ear canal. And yes, this is probably better for your hearing by reducing pressure on the eardrum. Additionally, this headset configuration leaves the ear canals free, so they don’t sweat, and this likely eliminates the likelihood of irritation inside the ear. You can indeed use the Sanag S5 Pro for quite a while without experiencing any discomfort in your ears. However, after 3-4 hours, the outer part of the earlobe where the clip attaches starts to ache. So, this type of earbuds also requires some getting used to.

The touch controls for the earbuds are located in an unusual place – behind the ear. However, it’s also a matter of habit. After some time, there shouldn’t be any issues with control.

Sanag S5 Pro

In general, it’s important to understand that the open format is both an advantage and a disadvantage of the Sanag S5 Pro. You’ll also hear all external sounds, which you might be protected from by in-ear models with passive noise isolation or additional active noise cancellation.

Although, again, on the product page, there is mention of some DENOISE function – apparently, it is used to reduce noise. But in what scenario – when listening to music or during a conversation – is not specified. Personally, I haven’t noticed any noise cancellation in the Sanag S5 at all, so I don’t understand what they are referring to here.

Sanag S5 Pro DENOISE

Battery life

In terms of battery life, the Sanag S5 Pro performs excellently, providing an average of 9 hours of playtime on a single charge. I can confirm these figures; the headphones hold their charge very well and consume it very slowly. With the case factored in, the total battery life extends to 48 hours, and the headphones take approximately 2 hours to fully charge. The manufacturer claims that the headphones can remain in standby mode for up to 180 days, but I couldn’t verify this figure.

Read also: OnePlus Buds Pro 2 TWS headphones review: a versatile flagship

Conclusion

The Sanag S5 Pro is an intriguing multifunctional device with an original implementation and a design featuring a built-in display. If you’re looking to address multiple needs with a single purchase and acquire a headset, player, and recorder all in one gadget at a reasonable price, then you’ll find all of this in the Sanag S5 Pro.

Sanag S5 Pro review: Open Ear TWS headset, MP3 player, audio speaker, recorder

At the same time, the primary purpose of the device is the Open Ear headset, which performs decently but doesn’t exactly deliver stellar performance. I can also mention the feature of the built-in MP3 player, which can be useful to many users. Additionally, there’s excellent autonomy both for the headphones and the case. However, the speakers in the case lack quality and volume and are more suited for listening to recordings from the built-in recorder. Overall, I can recommend the Sanag S5 Pro for purchase considering all these points. Also, if you don’t need the additional functions of the case, it’s worth looking at other models of Sanag headsets, which are much cheaper.

Where to buy

Approved

Review ratings
Design
8
Build quality
7
Comfort and control
7
Sound
7
Mics
7
Battery life
10
Quality of connection
8
Price
8
Sanag S5 Pro is an interesting multifunctional device with an original design and construction featuring a built-in display. If you want to address multiple needs with a single purchase and get a headset, player, and recorder all in one gadget at a reasonable price, then you'll find all of that in the Sanag S5 Pro.
Vladyslav Surkov
Vladyslav Surkov
Co-founder of Root Nation. Editor, CEO. I don't care about nameplates and I don't worship brands. Only the quality and functionality of the gadget matters!
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Sanag S5 Pro is an interesting multifunctional device with an original design and construction featuring a built-in display. If you want to address multiple needs with a single purchase and get a headset, player, and recorder all in one gadget at a reasonable price, then you'll find all of that in the Sanag S5 Pro.Sanag S5 Pro review: Open Ear TWS headset, MP3 player, audio speaker, recorder
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