A review of the Mpow T5, QCY QS1/ QS2 and other great wireless earphones
Compared: the best cheap truly wireless earphones
Ever since I recommended great budget earphones from AliExpress, I keep receiving more and more questions about the best true wireless earphones. I?ve kept myself from writing about totally wireless earbuds a long time, due to many cases of connectivity issues and bad audio quality. However: times are changing! These are the best TWS true wireless earbuds under 50 dollar.
Last updated August 9, 2019: I appointed a new top recommendation ? the Mpow T5!
No, don’t just buy fake Apple AirPods!
If you?re searching for true wireless earphones on Amazon or AliExpress, you?ve probably encountered the many Apple AirPods fakes out there. They?re not branded at all or go by names such as TWS i7s, i8, i9 and i10. Not to mention those clones have got fake remakes themselves too ? really.
After lots of research, it’s safe to say it?s a good choice to leave those Apple AirPod-clones alone. Not just because they are knockoffs; they simply aren?t any good. They all seem to have major connectivity problems from one earpiece disconnecting with the other. They sound quite dull and oh yes ? due to the design, they fall out of your ear easily.
Happily, it?s not just AirPods-clones out there. The number of cheap true wireless earbuds is rapidly increasing and there are even some out there that are quite good.
The last months, I’ve bought over 40 different wireless earbuds. After testing them thoroughly, biking and walking with them, listening to them for days and then comparing them, I made a comparison of the best ones.
In this article, I share my experience and hope to help you find the right one. So again: these are the best TWS true wireless earbuds under 50 dollar.
Best sounding TWS true wireless earphones under $50: Mpow T5
The Mpow T5 is a great allrounder at a formidable price
The Mpow T5 is the most complete and most detailed sounding true wireless earbuds under 50 dollars. Not only does it sound great; it’s also a great allrounder.
The Mpow T5 comes in a fairly big charging case with a faux-leather like design. The earpieces are tiny though, fitting in most ears comfortably. You operate them by pressing on the button in the middle. Press once to play/ pause, twice to increase (right earbud) or decrease the volume (left earbud). Skipping or returning a song is done by a long press, and three presses activate the voice assistant of your phone. Great to have all this functionality straight in your ears!
The battery life of the Mpow T5 is also terrific: you get 5 to 6 hours on the earpieces, and the charging case can charge the earpieces fully another 6 times. Call quality is clear when used indoors, and watching videos goes without noticeable delay in apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Only YouTube on iPhones has some synchronisation problems, sadly a problem of almost all true wireless earphones.
The best part of the Mpow T5, however, is its sound quality. The bass, mids plus highs all work together to create a cohesive sound, that is capable of playing all music genres with great ease. The bass and lower mids, such as darker piano strokes, bass guitars and drums, are somewhat emphasized, ensuring a warm and exciting listening. The sub-bass knows how to rumble deep and the bass can slam pleasantly in songs requesting it. The amount of detail is great too. You can hear nuances in vocals in easier going songs, and it’s even easy to place instruments around you ?there’s definitely a sense of stage around you on the Mpow T5. Outstanding for the price.
These are new best true wireless earphones under $50.
- Buy Mpow T5 on AliExpress
- Buy Mpow T5 on Amazon US
- Buy Mpow T5 on Amazon Europe (Germany)
Best cheapest TWS true wireless earbuds: QCY QS1 and QCY QS2
Unbeatable value for money: QCY QS1 and QS2
Want to spend even less on truly wireless earphones? The QCY TWS QS1 and QS2 are equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure a stable connection between the two earpieces and your mobile device and it delivers: the connectivity is stable and smooth. You take both earpieces out of their charging box and they first connect to each other and then instantly to your smartphone (or laptop). Putting them back in the charging case, turns them off again. It works like a charm.
The QCY QS1 and QS2 (also available as QCY T1c/ T2 and SoundPEATS TrueFree and SoundPEATS TrueFree Plus) have physical buttons on the earpieces, which work better than slow touch-sensitive buttons on many alternatives. Tap one time to pause the music, tap twice for skipping a song and hold the button a second to connect to your phone?s voice assistant. QCY made the right choices here ? it works great. The battery is about standard for this price: they last about 3?4 hours on a single charge. You can do three full recharges from the QS1 case, and 5?6 recharges from the QS2 case.
Pictured: QCY QS2 or T2C in white ? QCY QS1 or T1C in black
The earpieces block outside noise impressively, and comfort is good too. The bodies of the QCY stay steadily put in your ear while moving or shaking your head. They disappear quite a bit into average-sized ears, which makes them suitable to wear under helmets or in bed. Phone calls sound a little tinny on both ends of the lines, but that?s nothing too special for bean-shaped true wireless earphones. Sadly, watching YouTube movies does come with a small sound delay on iPhones. It doesn’t on Android devices though.
The sound quality is nothing short of sweet. The QCY delivers a clear and detailed sound. The bass has a nice punch without overpowering anything and there?s a fine amount of nuances and clarity in the sound. On lower volumes, the QCY delivers a balanced background sound, on higher volumes vocals come alive. Lana del Rey?s voice on her latest tracks makes quite an impact for example. These are perfectly well rounded ? honestly impressive for this size and price.
Add the sound quality up to the great comfort, controls and connectivity ? and the QCY QS1 and QS2 are absolute budget true wireless earphone winners.
- Buy QCY QS1 on AliExpress
- Sometimes the QCY QS1 is cheaper here
- Buy QCY QS1 on Amazon
Also available on AliExpress: the QCY QS2 or QCY T2c. These are the exact same earbuds with the same sound, with one exception: they go way louder on Android! On top op that, they have a bigger charging case with longer battery life. Truly recommended too.
Please note: The QCY QS1 is also available as the SoundPEATS TrueFree on Amazon (US/ EU/ UK); the QCY QS2 is also available as SoundPEATS TrueFree Plus on Amazon (US/ EU/ UK). They can also be branded as Dudios.
Best wireless earphones for movies: Anomoibuds Capsule TWS review
The Anomoibuds Capsule TWS, or IP010-A
Don’t like the design of the QCY QS1/ T1C for some reason? Don’t worry, there’s a great alternative. The Anomoibuds Capsule TWS actually has two small advantages over the QCY.
The first is that the audio synchronises with videos on YouTube on iPhone too, next to Android. The other advantage is you can put the volume much higher on Android than the QCY QS1. The QS2 can go as loud though.
The tradeoff however, is a bit of sound quality. The Anomoibuds Capsule TWS doesn’t deliver the amount of detail of the QCY, and it colours the music a bit more. Don’t let that fool you though: these sound excellent as well! The bass is fun and engaging, there’s plenty of room for vocals and instruments, and the sound is more spacious too.
On all other fronts, the Capsule or ‘IP010-A’ shares characteristics with the best in class. It’s comfortable, pairing is a breeze, the battery lasts for around 3 hours and connectivity and is great. An excellent offering. The best even, if video synchronisation is really important to you.
- Buy Anomoibuds Capsule TWS on AliExpress
- Buy them from Amazon
Best cheap truly wireless earphone for sporting: Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds
Review: Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds
If you’re looking specifically for wireless earphones for sporting and fitness, you may want earhooks which ensure the buds stay in your ear while you’re sweating. The Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds deliver ? not just for sports.
The bodies of the Spunky Buds (isn’t this the worst name ever, or what?) are quite big. Most of the earpieces stand way out of your ear. The part that goes in-ear, is small and has a little earhook you have to turn into the upper cave of your ear. Along with the IPX5-waterproof level, it makes the Tronsmart sweat resistant. As an added bonus, wind noise is blocked almost completely, making these ideal for outdoor use.
The Tronsmarts ? let’s just call em that- pair automatically by lifting them up from the charging case. They last three hours on a single charge, providing you with an engaging bass and accentuated higher notes. The sound isn’t as detailed as the QCY’s, but it sounds quite spacious. The sound character is just spot-on for for working out. The total package really makes the Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds the best cheap truly wireless earphones for sporting.
- Buy the Tronsmart Encore Spunky Buds on AliExpress
- Buy them from Amazon
BONUS: Xiaomi Redmi Airdots review: popular, but not the best
The original Xiaomi AirDots in white, the newer Xiaomi Redmi Airdots in black
Xiaomi was one of the first Chinese manufacturers to gain attention with a pair of true wireless earphones on a budget. That’s why I also wanted to add an Xiaomi Airdots review in my comparison.
Previously, I wrote something about the original 45 dollar Xiaomi AirDots here. They? weren’t that good. They didn’t pair well together, didn’t automatically shut off and reconnect, and their touch sensitive buttons were way too easy to press by accident.
Half a year later however, Xiaomi has come up with the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots. They solve solve all the troubles of the first ones. The Redmi’s pair and connect instantly when you put them out of the case and the buttons are now tactile, so you won’t pause or activate the voice assistant by accident anymore. The earpieces itself are smaller and more comfortable, and what’s more: audio now synchronises great with video on YouTube, on iPhone and Android.
The buttons unfortunately aren’t the most clever: it’s possible to pause a track and take a call, but not skip a song. Instead, the Redmi activates the voice assistant like Google, Siri or Bixby. How often do you want to do that, opposed to skip a song?
The main shortcoming of the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots however, it the sound quality. It has lots of clarity, especially in vocals and higher notes, but lacks bass and warmth in the lower mids ? giving some instruments, drums and thumps too little presence. Plussing the lower frequencies in an equalizer helps, but still the sound lacks the oomph and warmth of the QS1/ QS2 and Anomoibuds.
All in all the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots are excellent for their price? it’s just that there are even better offerings out there.
- Buy the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots on AliExpress
- Buy them on Amazon
Other cheap wireless earphones I recommend:
Mpow T6 (left), Sabbat X12 Pro (above), Haylou GT1 (right) and Tiso i4 (below)
- Tranya T3 (50 dollar): detailed sounding bass earphoneIt isn’t under 50 dollar ? it’s exactly 50 dollar. The Tranya T3 has large earpieces, but it’s the only one to let you control the volume on your ears. The sound is hugely impressive: it’s underlined with a textured and deep bass, is spacious and offers a great amount of detail. I review and compare the Tranya T3 in my separate article Best TWS true wireless earphones from 50?100 dollar
- Tranya T1-Pro (50 dollar): a brighter Tranya T3Another Tranya for 50 dollar. The T1-Pro has smaller bodies than the T3, but the buttons on them still require pressing them hard, pushing the bodies into your ear a bit. However: these too sound great, with a less prominent bass than the T3, and more ‘air’ and brightness on top.
- Sabbat X12 Pro (45 dollar): best TWS for callsThese aren’t in-ear earphones, but earbuds with an Apple earpod like design in your ear. Therefore, you can still hear your environments while wearing these. The sound is fairly detailed and bright. Video doesn’t sync on iPhone, but these have other specialties: their batteries last five hours on a single charge and these are the best in class when it comes to calling quality.
- QCY T3 (35 dollar): AirPod rivals from QCYThe QCY T3 may even sound better than the QCY QS1 and QS2! That is, if you have the perfect fit? because the T3 only comes with one pair of unique ear tips that may not suit everybody. Still, if they fit, these are fantastic, with their touch controls, battery life and sound. Read my full review here.
- Mpow T6 (35 dollar): the deepest fitThe Mpow T6 are a great, more expensive alternative to the Anomoibuds Capsule. The T6 too has video sync on Android and iPhone, a nice engaging bass and a spacious sound. Highs are a little more natural than on the Anomoibuds though. These earphones go almost entirely, very deep into your ear canal, making for a very steady fit.
- Anbes 359 or Kissral 359 (30 dollar): UFO designThis wireless earphones come with a case that is designed like a flying saucer. The earpieces are flat and comfortable, and pressing their buttons isn’t too intrusive. The sub bass of the 359 doesn’t dive as deep as on the QCY QS1/ QS2, but it delivers the same amount of detail. making these a great, comfortable pair.
- Tiso i4 (20 dollar): bass lovers, unite!Love a full bass ahead of anything else? The Tiso i4 has got you covered. An engaging sound with a pumping bass, but still plenty of detail and subtle, non-fatiguing highs. It doesn?t sync with video on iPhone, but you’ll want to dance to these.
- Haylou GT1 (20 dollar): the most portableThis Haylou is a side project from QCY and it shows. The GT1 sounds vivid and balanced, with more emphasis on the bass than the QS1/ QS2. Video doesn?t sync unfortunately, but the earpieces are comfortably small and the battery case is ridiculously compact even. The QCY does offer more detail.
Other cheap wireless earphones I DON’T recommend:
- Xiaomi AirDots original (45 dollar): wrong choicesThe original Xiaomi Airdots look amazing in white, but are letdown by various design choices. The earpieces don’t always shut off by putting them in the charging case and have a hard time reconnecting again. Very frustrating. The sound is clear but lacks bass and you keep pressing the touch sensitive buttons by accident.
- Cowin KY02 (30 dollar): the competition is too fierceThe Cowin KY02 is not bad by any means. Sure, you have to get used to the slow responding touch controls on the sides and get used that the lid of the case automatically (dis)connects the earphones, but they are comfortable and sound quite full. However: vocals sound a bit canned in here? and there are just better alternatives for 10?15 dollar less.
- Ausdom TW01 (20 dollar): everything just okA jack of all trades, a master of none. The Ausdom TW01 looks a bit cheap, but has a comfortable fit and decent call quality. It delivers a slight delay with video on iPhone and sound quality is? just okay too, with an emphasis on mids and less outspoken highs and bass.
- Bluedio T-Elf (20 dollar): pairing and charging problemsThe renown Chinese headphone brand Bluedio took a long time to come up with true wireless earphones? yet still screwed up. The T-Elf sounds spacious, balanced and good ? but it has a big connectivity issue: it automatically reconnects with your device while it’s IN the charging case. Unusable.
- DFOI AirBuds (20 dollar): bass earphones gone wrongVery popular on AliExpress, but this is a true wireless earphone for bass lovers, gone wrong. Whenever the bass kicks in, all other detail gets pushed away instantly. These sound congested, they don’t sync with video and the charging case is a bit too big.
- Nisheng 3D TWS (15 dollar): generic and muddyThis is the kind of true wireless earphone you’ll see appearing under lots of names. They can be recognised by the matte black case and earpieces, with a center metallic ring around the touch button. They will probably all sound as muddy and congested as this one ? although it’s somewhat better on high than low volumes.
- JT-T2C TWS (15 dollar): cheap and badOn of the cheapest and thus most popular true wireless earphones on AliExpress, but at a cost. The earpieces don’t always connect to each other, don’t automatically shut off in the charging case and the sound is downright muffled.
This search will continue!
This article was last updated on August 9, 2019: There’s a new winner in town! The Mpow T5 is now the overall favorite, the QCY QS1 and QS2 are the best cheapest options.
I will continue doing research on the best cheap TWS earphones under 50 dollar by following, buying and testing new offerings in this brand new market. If you have any suggestions or questions, please leave a comment.
I’d love to hear from you what wireless earphone you’ve chosen! You can also get in touch with me via mail: bart @ tekstmeister .nl.
Disclaimer: affiliate links
Planning to buy one of the headphones or earphones listed? Please consider doing it via my buying links. These are affiliate links from AliExpress or Amazon, from which I?ll gain a little percentage of the price. I only put links on products I truly recommend. Buying a product via such a link won?t cost you extra, yet it will support me a bit in my research on affordable audio. ?
Also read my other tests and articles:
- The best TWS true wireless earphones 50?100 dollar
- Best cheap Active Noise Cancelling headphones under 100 dollar
- Best wireless Bluetooth headphones under 50 dollar
- The best cheap earphones on AliExpress
- My favourite earphones and headphones of 2018
- All my reviews of true wireless earphones
Please follow me to keep updated with new tests and articles. See you next time!