Wireless sound for a fraction of the price
Chinese firm Dodocool has released its own take on the AirPod in the form of its True Wireless Earbuds. With Bluetooth 5.0 and CVC 6.0 noise reduction, they’re a long way from being cheap and nasty – and they even come with a charging case for when you’re not using them. A button on the side allows you to summon either Siri or Google Assistant (depending on what phone you’re using) and they’re also sweat-proof and water resistant.
Despite all of these cool features, it has to be said that Dodocool’s earbuds don’t make a great first impression. The charging case – while nice a compact – looks cheap, and when you open it up things get worse. Now, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in our opinion, the Dodocool earbuds look pretty horrible. They’re made of black, rubber-touch plastic with a silver plastic panel which acts as a button – used for pausing the music, skipping tracks or summoning your phone’s AI assistant. These silver panels are actually semi-transparent, and there are a pair of LEDs – one blue, one red – behind them. These flash or light up depending on what they earpods are doing, and it looks super-tacky.
However, when it comes to playing music, things are better. The sound quality is actually really good for something this cheap, provided you use the right silicon cup on the end of the earpod. The ones that come pre-attached to the earbuds are really small, and (for us, at least) didn’t fill the inside of our ear canal. As a result, the music lacked bass and was hard to hear when walking down a busy road. Once we’d switched to the medium-sized cup (there’s a large set in the box as well) then the problem was solved.
Pairing the earpods was something of a challenge as it’s very easy to accidentally pair them as separate devices (a feature which has been included in case you have the need to use one on its own – for calls, perhaps – and then loan the other to a friend for the same purpose). Thankfully, it’s easy enough to solve this problem – you have to power-down both earbuds and then power them up simultaneously – and once paired, they will automatically connect to your phone the moment they are removed from their case.
The earpods are good for around 5 hours of playback on a single charge, and when placed back inside the case will charge up to four times over. The case itself has a battery which needs to be topped up using the bundled Micro USB cable. When the earbuds are charging, you’ll know thanks to a series of white LEDs inside the case itself.
For £35, it’s hard to grumble too much about the Dodocool earbuds and the way they look. While they might not have the cachet of Apple’s desireable AirPods, they work well enough; not everyone wants to splash out over £150 on something they’ll only use on the way to work or when they’re walking the dog for 15 minutes each day. Sound quality is perfectly acceptable, even if it’s not quite up to the standard of Apple’s product, and the small charging case is easy to slip into your pocket when you’re leaving the house.
We just wish that Dodocool could have made these earbuds look a little more appealing, but that’s a relatively minor complaint when you consider the low, low price. Whether or not these earbuds will stand the test of time is another matter entirely, and something we won’t know for a few months yet, but if you’re on the lookout for some compact and truely wireless headphones – but you’re also on a tight budget – then you can’t really go wrong here.
Damien McFerran has been covering phones and mobile technology for well over a decade. An Android specialist, as well as an expert reviewer of phones, Damien is one of the best technology journalists working today. He is also editorial director over at the excellent Nintendo Life.