Review: Tribit X1 Wireless Earbuds (Hardware)
Wireless earphones have always been an awkward affair for me. Never quite willing to drop huge amounts of money on big names like Bose or Sony, I find myself browsing the lower end of the market with mixed results. Be it poor build quality, an absurd overemphasis on bass, or just being damn uncomfortable, I've been through pair after pair, none managing to outlast nor outperform my budget wired set. Much to my surprise, the Tribit X1 Wireless Earbuds are different.
The box is simple and contains everything you need to get started: the earbuds, the charging case, an assortment of different tip sizes, a micro USB charging cable, and a to-the-point instruction manual. Pairing the earbuds for the first time is as easy as removing them from the case and searching for them with any bluetooth-enabled device. No mess, no fuss, no awkward holding down of buttons in a manner no human can be expected to remember. When you remove the buds from the case on subsequent uses, the buds will automatically reconnect to the device assuming it has bluetooth enabled and is in range. Messing with my phone, my laptop, and my Walkman, I faced absolutely no issues. Swapping between devices is relatively hassle-free, just having to select the X1s manually by navigating to the bluetooth settings.
Featuring a physical button on each bud as opposed to a more standard touch-sensitive area comes with its own set of pros and cons, and though perhaps to be expected, I feel them worth mentioning. The main strength of using a touch panel is also its main weakness: its sensitivity. They're great for letting you just tap at your ear for the next song to play, to summon your branded voice assistant, or to stop your music altogether. What this also means is that you may be skipping songs and having Siri listening to you where you didn't want if you happen to catch it. The X1s don't have this issue; the cost is the tactile nature of its buttons. Where you would be able to use a single finger with a touch panel, you want to be using your entire hand here. With a single finger, you find the buds being pushed quite uncomfortably into the ear, where using a hand to holding it in place removes this issue. You won't be hitting these accidentally, but you also need to be putting a bit of effort in to use them. Whether this is better or worse is a matter of preference. As somebody who usually has devices within arm's reach regardless, it's a nonissue for me, opting to use the devices themselves for this functionality.
With 'true wireless' earbuds, you have two completely detached earbuds with no wires to connect them. By design they're exactly what I look for: extremely convenient and really quite liberating. There's nothing finer for me than doing miscellaneous household activities with some great music and nothing to hold me down. Both of these earbuds having to connect as one device, the X1s function as a 'master' earbud and a 'slave' earbud. The master is the one that connects to your laptop or phone, and the slave connects to the master. If you're always using both buds together, this system is flawless, but does impose a minor limitation in the fact the right earbud can't be connected to a device by itself. What this means is that if you happen to lose your left earbud or if for whatever reason it stops working, you're completely out of luck. Perhaps a quirk of this design also, it's interesting to see the buttons on each earbud sharing the same functionality. Where you might expect hitting the left earbud twice to go to the previous track, and the right to the next, both will simply advance to the next track when hit twice. Similarly, both will pause and play the music when hit once. It isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but it's a shame more couldn't be done.
In my ear, the X1s really do feel fantastic. Though I don't trust myself to listen to music while exercising outdoors, I found they do an incredibly good job in staying put despite my futile efforts to shake them loose. With three different tip sizes to be put on the buds, I'm fairly confident they'll be a comfortable choice regardless of your ear size. The plastic body feels sturdy and well-built and has an overall feel of quality, definitely more so than their price may suggest.
When it comes to the audio quality itself, I have to say I was greatly surprised. As I mentioned previously, I too often find cheaper earphones overcompensating with egregious ear-melting bass, to the point of drowning out anything else. Where I listen to musicals and other lyrical audio, the words would be muffled to the point of ruining an otherwise-great track. The X1s are different. My song of choice when testing this kind of thing is Blumenkranz, the antagonist's theme from hit anime series Kill la Kill. With its heavy bass, assortment of sounds, and softer-by-comparison lyrics, it's great to find if any particular area is being overshadowed by another. With the X1s, everything is clear, and everything is in balance. Whether listening to musicals, game soundtracks, or classical music, everything sounds as it should, and all in all I'm really quite impressed.
With the X1s lasting around three hours on a single charge, and the charging case providing around five additional full charges, they're perfect for long journeys or general day to day use. At their £35.99 price point, it's hard to not recommend them. Between their convenience, sound quality, and build quality, they're a truly fantastic product.
If you want to check them out for yourself, you can find them at the links below:
+ Incredibly affordable price point
+ Well-balanced audio
+ Solid build quality
+ Functional charging case
- Can't use the right earbud alone
- Limited button functionality
out of 10
Tribit have come up with something both affordable and functionally fantastic. If you're in need of a new pair of wireless buds, or just want something while you save for your extraordinarily expensive dream pair, the X1s come highly recommended.