(Last Updated On: October 14, 2020)

With up-to-date technologies such as ANC implemented together with a decade of experience in consumer electronics, AUKEY launched EP-N5 to provide an affordable alternative to consumers.

AUKEY EP-N5
General Usage65.4 See Score Breakdown
Audiophile60.5

Pros:

  • »Pocket friendly case
  • »ANC implementation with affordable pricing
  • »Comfortable and secure fitting
  • »Sub-bass rumble
  • »Non-fatiguing sound
  • »Decent control symmetry on both earbuds

Cons:

  • »ANC amplifies wind noise, instead of cancelling
  • »Microphone incapable in differentiating voice from the user and noise
  • »Frequent drop-off due to interference of signal
  • »Exact location of touch sensor panel is unknown

Score Breakdown

Rating (out of 100) 65.4
75.9

Where to Buy

The AUKEY EP-N5 is available on:

Introduction

According to the company profile listed on Bloomberg, AUKEY is a consumer electronics brand founded in 2010 and based in Shenzhen, China. The company manufactures various consumer electronic products, from chargers to smartphone accessories.

AUKEY combines the cutting-edge technologies with over a decade of hardware experience to produce high quality consumer electronics and mobile accessories. Formed by a team of techies, they have common appreciation for the finer details and the utility of great design.

In order to continuously develop and expand their product portfolio with next-generation technologies, AUKEY expands their production to wireless audio devices – such as the EP-N5.

Can AUKEY extend their domination from consumer electronic industry to personal portable audio industry? We shall reveal it in this article!

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 28 hours
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: No
  • Battery Capacity: 500mAh

I was surprised when getting to know the charging case battery life of the AUKEY EP-N5. With such a pocket-friendly sized case, it’s able to provide up to four charges to the earbuds, which sum up to 28 hours. For my daily commuting of an hour to my office, it can last me more than a week per full charge. Amazing, right?

Being a consumer electronic company, AUKEY understands which charging interface will be well-received by consumers. USB Type-C charging port was EP-N5’s chosen one. The USB Type-C supports fast charging. It only takes 2 hours to fully charge the case.

The charging case of AUKEY EP-N5
The charging case of AUKEY EP-N5

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: Yes
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Four LED light indicators to display the battery level of the charging case

The case can be easily opened with a single hand. The lid is magnetic and it prevents the case from opening when you put it in a bag.The earbuds are secured with an even stronger magnet. The earbuds have a good level of protrusion from their seats in the case, making access easy.

They don’t fly out from the case even if I shake it while it’s open. Tested and proven!

LED light indicator on the charging case shows the battery level of the charging case.
LED light indicator on the charging case shows the battery level of the charging case.
AUKEY EP-N5 earbuds in the charging case
AUKEY EP-N5 earbuds in the charging case

Design

  • Shape of the case: Squarish with rounded sides
  • Material: Matte plastic
  • Build Quality: Good

The charging case of the AUKEY EP-N5 has a certain resemblance to Apple AirPods. The shape and the size are both similar. However, AUKEY did it better – the surface of the case is matte, instead of the smooth surface of AirPods. This makes the overall grip better.

The case can be opened single-handed
The case can be opened single-handed

Portability

  • Weight: ~47.8g (with earbuds inside – 5g each)
  • Volume: 5.5 x 6 x 2 = 66cm cu (~4 in cu)
  • Portability: Good

The AUKEY EP-N5 has good portability with its lightweight case and small volume. I can put it in my pocket and move around without any difficulties or irritation. I even bring it out with me for my daily jogging session.

Comparing the size of the charging case to an egg
Comparing the size of the charging case to an egg
Thickness comparison, with an egg again.
Thickness comparison, with an egg again.

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 4.5 hrs with ANC on and 7 hrs with ANC off
  • Charge Time (15mins): 2 hours playback time with ANC on

The battery life changes drastically with the ANC being toggled to on or off. With the ANC on, AUKEY EP-N5 can provide a noise-free environment to the user for 4.5 hours. This is sufficient for daily commuting or jogging. If ANC is toggled off, it can last for 7 hours of continuous music playback.

To fully charge the earbuds from flat to full, it takes 1.5 hours to do so. However, the first 15 minutes of charging is boosted. It, alone, can give the user up to 2 hours of playback time.

I like this feature especially when I realise the earbuds battery is low before I am heading out. Just leave it in the case for 15 minutes – it will last me for two hours.

UX

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Average
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
  • Mono Use: Yes (Only right side)
  • Lack of volume control
  • Good control symmetry on both earbuds (same gesture on either side will trigger the same function, no memorising needed)

The control on EP-N5 can be done by touching the sensor panel, which is located on the upper part of the faceplate. Due to the design, as a user, I am not sure where the touch sensor is exactly located. At times, when I tapped slightly lower on the faceplate, it’s not registered by the sensor.

EP-N5 has good control symmetry on both earbuds. ANC, picking up calls, ending or rejecting calls and voice command can be triggered on either side of the earbuds by specific gestures. The only difference between left and right is changing tracks – left is to the previous track and right is to the next.

One of the important features is neglected by AUKEY – volume control. I always have to take out my phone just to adjust the volume. I wish I could do it on the earbuds instead.

The sensor is located on the elongated faceplate but the exact location is unknown
The sensor is located on the elongated faceplate but the exact location is unknown

Design

  • Profile: Medium
  • Material: Plastic
  • Comfort: Good
  • Fit: Average

Not restricted to the case, the earbuds of EP-N5 have other resemblances to Apple AirPods. There is an elongated faceplate – which brings the microphone nearer to the user’s mouth – for a better voice pickup.

The earbuds are made of the same type of matte plastics used to build the case. The matte surface provides good gripping force, even when the user’s hands are sweaty or oily. Based on my experience in 5km of jogging with the EP-N5, it can hold on to my ears without any issues.

The nozzle of EP-N5
The nozzle of EP-N5
How EP-N5 look like on my ear
How EP-N5 look like on my ear

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: Average
  • Voice Pick-up: Bad

One of the selling points advertised by AUKEY on the EP-N5 is the microphones. There are dual microphones implemented on the earbuds to provide effective voice pickup. However, the reality is not as positive as what is advertised. After trying the microphones on the earbuds, I found that perhaps the noise cancellation is too strong, to the extent of cancelling part of my voice.

Mic Demo

There tends to be an intermittent cut-off when I am saying a sentence. I am suspecting the microphones recognise my voice as noise.

AUKEY EP-N5
AUKEY EP-N5

Sound

  • Driver: 10mm dynamic drivers
  • Sound Signature: Bassy
  • Sub-bass: Good
  • Bass: Good
  • Mids: Average
  • Treble: Average
  • Sound Detail: Average

Active Noise Cancellation

As a true wireless earbuds within the price range of USD$100, the ANC implementation in EP-N5 is definitely one of the selling points. However, the ANC actually irritates me sometimes. The ANC of EP-N5 is not able to recognize high-frequency noises, such as wind noise accurately.

When I am walking on the street and the wind is strong, instead of suppressing the noise, it amplifies the noise from the wind. Without a choice, I have to turn off the ANC and everything turns out better.

Overall sound quality

I would consider EP-N5 a pair of bassy earbuds. It has a better emphasis on lower frequencies than mids and highs. It’s enjoyable to listen to. The detail retrieval level is average as a pair of true wireless earbuds. No significant muddiness or congestions experienced within the reviewing period.

Bass

EP-N5 has a good sub-bass extension. The rumbles created by the sub-bass can definitely fulfill the cravings of a basshead audiophile. Due to the large dynamic driver used, the speed of the attack and decay are slower. This yields a slightly warm and colored tonality to the overall sonic performance.

Despite having a rumbleful sub-bass, the bass is well-controlled. I didn’t experience significant bleeding of bass towards the mids, which is a killer of overall clarity. The punchy bass makes EP-N5 a pair of good earbuds for sport usage. I have been using it for my daily jog recently and I enjoy the kick from the bass. It motivates me to run faster and further.

Mids

The mids doesn’t have similar emphasis on the bass. With its good layering, the mids is positioned in front of the bass. They are flowing parallel flawlessly – without collision. The mids have the warmth from the bass, making the presentation full-bodied and slightly colored. This midrange smoothens the overall presentation, making the listening experience comfortable.

Highs

The highs are more shy compared to the lows and mids. The trebles are positioned at the back, behind mids and lows. In some of the tracks with complicated bass and mids, the treble is often drowned in the complication.

Beside positioning, the shy treble is due to the warmth from the bass. Warmth in the sound signature tends to tame or smoothen the other frequency spectrums. In this case, the treble is the victim. However, this is great news for those who have lower tolerance towards bright sounding treble. EP-N5 is definitely not fatiguing to listen to.

EP-N5 with Lotoo PAW 5000 MKII
EP-N5 with Lotoo PAW 5000 MKII

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: SBC, AAC
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Auto-connect when: Taken out of case
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 3 – 5 times
  • Multi-point connection: No

There is no information regarding audio codec supported by AUKEY EP-N5. I checked the codec used while it was connected to my MacBook Air. Fortunately, it supports AAC codec – which my iPhone and MacBook use.

Running on Bluetooth version 5.0, I was expecting EP-N5 to have better connection stability. However, it disappointed me. While I am running, it tends to interfere with surrounding frequencies and causes intermittent signal drop-off. I didn’t face this problem as frequently when I am using other true wireless earbuds with Bluetooth version 5.0 implemented.

There is no multipoint connection for EP-N5 that I frequently used. I have a smartphone and three laptops on my work desk for different purposes. Most of the time, at least two devices will be in use so I hope the wireless audio device (speakers or earbuds) can be connected to both of them.

Healthy lifestyle - Run with EP-N5 and have some wholemeal breads
Healthy lifestyle – Run with EP-N5 and have some wholemeal breads

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: IPX5

The AUKEY EP-N5 is definitely suitable for sport usage because of its IP rating and secure fitting. As mentioned, I have been using it for my daily jog. The only concern for me is the intermittent drop-off of signal due to interference from surrounding signals.

AUKEY EP-N5
AUKEY EP-N5