Bluetooth buds have been on trend since 2016, but do the Dudio Tic headphones tick enough boxes?
Ben Sellwood

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Founded in 2018 in Shenzhen, China, Dudios is an audio focussed design and production company with a range of products under its brand, such as headphones, earbuds, speakers and more. Thanks to the meticulous triple testing process and exacting manufacturing standards, they hope to ensure quality products throughout the world, and have a proven track record of year on year growth, even during times of economic uncertainty.

I didn't get into wireless headsets for a very long time thanks to constantly having production-grade headphones for making music at home. In recent years I have switched focus entirely from production to listening when it comes to music, and I am always on the lookout for a ubiquitous headset that suits a few basic needs. Firstly, they need to be lightweight. Secondly, they need to sound great to make my playlist pop. Finally, they need to be long-lasting on the battery front. When the Dudios Tic BT Headset fell onto my doormat I was hesitant to think that a sub £30 set of earbuds could be decent at all. Having seen and experienced Apple’s £200+ AirPods in person, I was dubious, to say the least, but I was compelled to see what a product at a fraction of that price could offer. Opening the extremely cheap but suitable packaging, the first thing you notice is how lightweight they are. Weighing in at less than 100g including the packaging, the box contains the earbuds, three sizes of rubber grommets, a micro-USB cable, a charging case for storage, and a set of instructions. Even without the user manual, connecting to my iPhone 8 plus was a cinch: simply remove the buds from the case, they automatically search for a BT connection, and within seconds finding and pairing on your phone you're toothed up. Rather brilliantly you can sync up just one of the two if you prefer to have one ear unobstructed to listen to surrounding chat, or when you're travelling to keep you aware of your surroundings.

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Technical Specifications:
  • Game Mode: Low latency for playing on consoles.
  • Battery Life: 4.5hrs music playtime, 70 hours standby.
  • Rechargeable case: Built-in 380mAh battery can recharge bud up to 4 times on a single charge.
  • Auto pairing: one-step pairing for easy connection.
  • Bluetooth: 5.0 for fast and stable transmission and lossless HD rendering.
  • Speaker: 10mm driver. 20-20KHz frequency range.
  • Controls: 8mm smart touch control.

The earbuds themselves are made up of simple plastic construction, which doesn't look very durable, but it definitely looks seamless, clean, and inherently waterproof. They each have removable rubber buds, the Dudios branding running down them, and they each have a microphone built-in for when you want to use them for phone calls. The dual microphones work so that one pics up voice and the other captures and nullifies ambient noise to increase the quality of your communications experience, and it works well. The fit of the buds is very good, it pushes comfortably into my ear, but doesn't push in quite as deep as I would have liked. They feel extremely light in the ear and at no point during testing did they fall out of my ears, and they provided a reasonably firm fitting for myself using just the standard medium bud that comes ready supplied.

The range on these buds are approximately 10m unobstructed, but in testing, I noticed around a 13m range before it got choppy. If you cover your ear while you have them in, you can cause it to cut out within 1m of your connected device which I thought was a bit strange, but then again how often would you do that? The case offers more than just a method to keep them together and tidy them away. The box actually contains a rechargeable battery with enough juice to charge these buds four full times, meaning on one charge you get up to 18 hrs of music or gaming, and nearly three days of standby time for when you find time to use them. The weirdest part of this set up is the fact that the supplied micro-USB cable is ridiculously short. The cable it comes with is barely 15cm in length, and even plugging it into one of my laptop’s side USB ports, I would get frustrated on how close it would be in my little working bubbe. Charging them overnight would have to be done either dangling from a mains USB plug/adaptor or you would simply have to use a more standard one to let you charge it on your side cabinet or nightstand.

I have to say that the sound quality is great for their price point. They are pretty loud buds, with high treble and actually a fairly decent but not overpowering bass response, but there is a definite flat point in the mid ranges. Blasting my usual selection for testing headsets I noticed a slight tinniness to the sound, and the bass seems to bleed into the mids making it muddy, and while vocals sound a little flat, I have to admit it provided a nice distortion-free sound that I really enjoyed, and the volume was amply loud enough. With the price being so affordable, the battery augmented storage case, and the quality being so admirable, these are a solid little set of buds.

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Button Functions:
  1. Power on: Remove from the case or hold MFB for 1s.
  2. Play/Pause: Double-tap the MFB.
  3. Play Previous: Hold and press the MFB of Left earphone for 2s.
  4. Play Next: Hold and press the MFB of Right earphone for 2s.
  5. Answer/Hang Up Phone Call: Double-tap the MFB.
  6. Reject Phone Call: Hold and press the MFB for 2s.
  7. Call Switching: Hold and press the MFB for 2s.
  8. Activate Voice Assistant: Triple tap the MFB of Left earphone.
  9. Turn on/off Game Mode: Triple tap the MFB of Right earphone.
  10. Power off: Hold and press the MFB for 8s or put back in the case.

There are no visible buttons on these earbuds (the images on Dudios site show an electric blue fingerprint, but that is just for effect). They do, however, feature hidden Multi-Functional Buttons (MFBs) which appear to be touch-sensitive rather than requiring any sort of pressure to physically "click" anything. Feedback is given in-ear as to which function you have chosen and considering there are only two MFBs, there are heaps of useful functions to get to grips with.

As you may have inferred there is categorically no ability to change volume or mute the connected device from the earbuds. This is a glaring omission in my eyes as control would have been intrinsically useful depending on the audio volume of the tracks on my phone, if someone is trying to talk to you, or if you just want to crank it up when your favourite beats come on. You have to use the volume buttons on your device to control them, which is disappointing for a device with so many great features. Another thing I noticed through general use was that taking out and putting in the buds can cause you to press on the touch buttons when you seat them back into your ears, and sometimes you can invoke a function, such as skipping to the next track, without meaning to.

Game Mode is a fantastic addition to this headset too. Triple tapping the MBR puts you into a lag-free mode that allows you to enjoy your games more unobstructed. I assume the reason "Game Mode" is not enabled by default is a battery constraint, but this mode really is worth using. Thanks to my iPhone 8 Plus having the Bluetooth 5.0 standard built-in I can take advantage of the low latency mode for games and chat, and when connected to any BT 5.0 enabled device like the Home Spot BT transmitter for the Switch, you can enjoy perfectly synced audio on the move.

The Dudios Tic BT Headphones are actually really nice. I love the simplicity, the functionality and the sound quality. I can solidly recommend these as a low cost, a mid-ranged alternative to exorbitantly priced official "pods" by bigger, more well-known companies. Sure, you don't get sublime audio that has been tailored by bass mechanics with 50 years of production and broadcast level experience, but the quality is pretty damn good. There was no hissing, no pop or crackle, no robotic juddering, and more importantly no distortion when using them in average scenarios. The build quality is also sufficient, and the overall experience exceeded my expectations for everyday use, which ticks a lot of boxes for me. Though I would have loved to say these are perfect in every way, the lack of volume controls and a few small niggles slightly roughen the edges of an otherwise glowing review.

Verdict
What We Liked . . . Easy to pair, even singularly, with a great 10m range A vast array of controls with just two buttons The game mode is latency-free thanks to BT 5.0 Rechargeable storage case What We Didn't Like . . . No on-ear volume control Not a great mid/bass response Pointless USB cable No noise cancelling
7.8
out of 10
Overall
I am pretty impressed with these earbuds. For just a bargain price of just £30 currently on Amazon, you get a superb set of earbuds that are quite simply fantastically well rounded and they sound pretty damned good for the money. The USB cable is pointless and the lack of volume control and noise cancelling are disappointingly absent but then again when you consider that this is the lowest entry in the Dudios range, its entirely understandable.
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