๐ŸŽ‰ The Headphonesty Store is Open! ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐Ÿ‘€ Let’s Go

Review: Edifier Neobuds Pro – Affordable AirPods Pro Alternative

Featuring dual driver hybrid configuration and a fresh design, the Neobuds Pro are Edifier's flagship earbuds.
Featuring dual driver hybrid configuration and a fresh design, the Neobuds Pro are Edifier’s flagship earbuds.

Combining extraordinary ANC, excellent call quality, and magnificent sound, the Edifier Neobuds Pro are one of the best TWS earbuds under USD$150 and a great alternative to the Apple AirPods Pro.

Thank you to Lesley Li, from Edifier for providing the Neobuds Pro for review purposes.
General Usage 80.3
Audiophile Usage 93.3

Score Breakdown

82.8
81.1
55.0
What We Like
  • LDAC and LHDC Hi-Res codec support
  • Deep and powerful bass response
  • Smooth midrange
  • Clean treble
  • Good detail retrieval capability
  • Comfortable fit
  • Good inclusion of anti-bacterial ear tips
  • Excellent active noise cancellation
What We Don't Like
  • Battery life could be short if LHDC/LDAC setting is toggled to the highest
  • Insensitive touch control panel

Where To Buy

Introduction

The Neobuds Pro are a hybrid implementation consisting of a dynamic driver and a balanced armature, offering a frequency response of 20Hz to 40kHz. According to Edifier, the dynamic driver is tuned together with the Knowles BA driver to achieve a balanced sound using a digital signal processing (DSP) based active crossover system.

As the majority of TWS models nowadays only offer a single dynamic driver, the hybrid multiple driver setup and the DSP corrected crossover has the potential to bring sonic performance surprises. We will check it all out in this article!

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: No
  • Battery Capacity: 500 mAh

The caseโ€™s charging port is the now standard USB-C female connector. The case battery is rated at 500mAh.

It takes about an hour to charge the case to full, which is quite fast compared to other models in the TWS market. With a full charge, the case can add an additional 18 hours of playtime (with ANC off).

The charging port is at the back of the case, allowing the case to sit properly while charging.
The charging port is at the back of the case, allowing the case to sit properly while charging.

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: Need some effort
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Display charging status

The LED indicator enhances its eggshell, UFO appearance. The lights pulsate and move side-to-side in a motion similar to spacecraft seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The LEDs display helpful information including indicating charging mode, pairing mode, and scanning mode, and the LEDs pulsate differently in all three cases.

The red LED light indicator will run left to right when the earbuds are in pairing mode, or searching for last paired device.
The red LED light indicator will run left to right when the earbuds are in pairing mode, or searching for last paired device.

Design

  • Shape of the case: Egg-shaped
  • Material: Plastic with brushed metal
  • Build Quality: Premium

The charging case is not too large and it is made primarily from hard plastic, just like the earbud shells. The front fascia appears to be made from a brushed aluminum metal or a laminate.

Additionally, the Neobuds Pro charging case has an internal pairing button that initiates the pairing process. The Neobuds Pro will automatically connect to the last paired device when the case cover is opened.

The earbuds turn on when the case is opened, and they will connect to the last paired device immediately.
The earbuds turn on when the case is opened, and they will connect to the last paired device immediately.

Portability

  • Weight: 57.5g (With earbuds inside)
  • Volume: 6.5 x 5 x 3 = 97.5cm cu (~5.95 in cu)
  • Portability: Good

The charging case is extremely lightweight and easy to carry in your pocket. The rounded shape has no sharp edges.

The charging case is extremely portable with its lightweight and small form factor.
The charging case is extremely portable with its lightweight and small form factor.

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 6 hrs (AAC with ANC off)
  • Charge Time (15mins): 60 mins playback time

It is difficult to exactly determine the battery life of the Neobuds Pro. When using them with the AAC codec on an iPhone and with ANC disabled, the earbuds can last up to 6 hours on a single charge. This battery performance is not their normal behavior, however.

As ANC is enabled by default, battery life decreases to approximately five hours on an iPhone using the AAC codec – about average for ANC earbuds.

You will notice a substantial decrease in battery life when you switch to the Neobuds Pro’s Hi-Res codecs on Android. You can select the Android app’s LHDC/LDAC audio codec performance from three streaming options.

At the highest performance option, they can transmit three times as much information as a Spotify song, which can be advantageous if you play lossless audio tracks from your smartphone. Played at moderate volume, this will exhaust the battery in about 2-3 hours.

iPhone users do not have the Hi-Res codec option, and Android users who primarily use streaming services, such as Spotify or YouTube Music, should stick to the regular LHDC/LDAC setting. You will have excellent battery life for routine use.
Together with the charging case, the Edifier Neobuds Pro offer 24 hours of battery life with ANC off, 20 hours with ANC on.
Together with the charging case, the Edifier Neobuds Pro offer 24 hours of battery life with ANC off, 20 hours with ANC on.

UX

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Bad (can barely register touch)
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
  • Mono Use: Yes, both sides
  • Game mode (low latency) can be toggled on from earbuds

Certain features of the Neobuds Pro can be accessed through the touchpads on the side, such as the ambient and gaming modes. The touchpad is in a tiny area on top of the earbud stem and I have some trouble with their operation and sensitivity.

The sensitivity can be adjusted within the Connect app and I did play around with the settings. Regardless, I find that the touch controls work most of the time but occasionally fail to activate the desired feature.

Additionally, it takes some time to become accustomed to the touch controls. They work more consistently after figuring out the appropriate momentum and tapping speed, but the timing does take some practice.

The touch panel is located below the mircophone.
The touch panel is located below the mircophone.

Design

  • Profile: Medium
  • Material: Plastic with brushed metal
  • Comfort: Outstanding
  • Fit: Outstanding

Neobuds Pro are incredibly comfortable and easy to wear.

It appears that they form an anchor in the ear canal and lie just on the inner aspect of the lower lobe of the ear.

The Neobuds Pro feature a dual hybrid ANC system with a 42dB high setting and a 30dB low setting that dramatically reduces ambient noise. In addition, they also include an ambient mode pasthrough that allows you to hear your immediate surroundings.

One of my favorite features is the antibacterial rubber tips that are included in the box. I feel every tip manufacturer should use this material for the sake of sanitation. I dislike the fact that traditional tips must be continuously cleaned with alcohol to avoid causing ear irritation.

The angled nozzle of Neobuds Pro offers better passive isolation, which further enhances the overall noise cancellation.
The angled nozzle of Neobuds Pro offers better passive isolation, which further enhances the overall noise cancellation.

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: Good
  • Voice Pick-up: Good

Six microphones are used within the Neobuds Pro, three inside each earbud. Two of these microphones pick up the user’s voice, while the third monitors external noise, as well as helping reduce wind noise.

My voice is well-picked up as if I am speaking directly into them. The Neobuds Pro seems to utilize beam-forming technology to enhance the voice pick-up.

There is nothing I dislike about the microphone implementation.

Moreover, the design incorporates recessed microphones within a front mounted cavity, a physical method for reducing wind noise without electronic modification.

Mic Demo

Sound

  • Driver: Knowles BA driver and dynamic driver
  • Sound Signature: U-shaped
  • Bass: Outstanding
  • Mids: Good
  • Treble: Outstanding
  • Sound Detail: Outstanding

Active Noise Cancellation

Users can choose between high or low-level ANC modes on the Neobuds Pro. I toggle high-level noise cancellation when on a crowded commute and use low-level in a relatively quieter office environment.

In addition to reducing the volume of the noise around you, the high-level ANC function eliminates certain environmental sounds. Even when you are not playing music, the background radio in your office, the traffic you would otherwise hear through an open window, and nearby chatter will fade or disappear with the Neobuds Pro in your ears.

You will notice an immediate feeling of relaxation when you put these buds in.

The Neobuds Pro sit in my ears securely - the fit is as good as my AirPods.
The Neobuds Pro sit in my ears securely – the fit is as good as my AirPods.

Overall Sound Quality

Upon first listening, the Neobuds Pro appear to have a slightly U-shaped sound signature, but they are also quite balanced with a punchy bassline, especially when the dynamic DSP mode is engaged. Additionally, the midrange is smooth, and the highs appear vibrant with a good presence.

They offer a good amount of bass extension and can reproduce low notes without going into wasteful subsonic frequencies. The midrange response appears flat and smooth.

I was surprised to discover that they are a clean-sounding pair of TWS at high frequencies. I have performed numerous TWS reviews and find that most models have a very high noise floor in this region. There are few exceptions, but the Edifier Neobuds Pro are one of the best in this regard.

While the Neobuds Pro have a deep and tall headroom, the lateral presentation is reserved. The width of the set is realistic but not as wide compared to the best IEMs that feature excellent sound staging. With the Neobuds Pro, most elements are positioned somewhere in the foreground.

Images are pretty detailed, and a well-recorded panning effect demonstrates the Neobuds Pro’s ability to effectively utilize left and right sides to portray a real sense of positioning.

Bass

The Neobuds Pro possess an essential characteristic in terms of bass response, and the only way I can explain it is to imagine an excellent floor-standing speaker with impactful bass. While the speakerโ€™s bass impact is positioned farther out in front of the listener, the experience is similar to my ears.

The bass extension is quite deep, but the listener can always hear it centered in front. Every detail is audible and every note can be distinguished. The bass detail is sometimes overlooked, but the Neobuds Pro perform exceptionally well in this regard.

The brushed metal color scheme matches well with my laptop.
The brushed metal color scheme matches well with my laptop.

Midrange

The mid-range of the Neobuds Pro is very smooth and silky. It is charming to listen to. The midrange sounds tall, with a lot of depth and a reasonably realistic tone, especially when using a Hi-Res codec.

Generally, they do not diverge too much from a natural tonality and I find the Neobuds Pro particularly enjoyable for their smooth midrange and deep, punchy, and detailed bass.

I find the shape of the Neobuds Pro to be advanced - the stylish and modern design do not compromise the fits and comfort.
I find the shape of the Neobuds Pro to be “advanced” – the stylish and modern design do not compromise the fits and comfort.

Treble

There is a decent amount of high-frequency extension in the Neobuds Pro’s treble response as well. You can hear them without focusing much since they have good presence; do not mistake them for aggressively forward.

The Neobuds Pro highs produce a pleasing, realistic sound and seem somewhat airy, but they do not sound feather-light and have some weight.

Compared to most of the TWS models in the market now, you will find that the high-frequency section is well represented, balanced, and free from electrical noise.

In terms of their top end, the Neobuds Pro are almost uniquely distinguished by their noiseless performance.

The clean and well-controlled treble makes for an excellent overall sonic presentation.
The clean and well-controlled treble makes for an excellent overall sonic presentation.

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: AAC, SBC, LDAC, and LHDC
  • Bluetooth Version: V5.0
  • Bluetooth Chip: Not Stated
  • Auto-connect when: Case cover is opened
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 0-3 times
  • Multi-point connection: No

The Neobuds Pro support both LDAC and LHDC high-resolution Bluetooth codecs, which is quite impressive for a pair of TWS. Additionally, they support the standard basic AAC and SBC codecs.

This capability implies they can receive a sampling rate up to 96 kHz and 24bit HD audio over the air via Bluetooth 5.0. That is comparable to FLAC standards and starts to blur the lines between wireless and wired performance.

The Neobuds Proโ€™s connection is stable and I donโ€™t experience any dropouts when I am within the transmission range.

It can be challenging to initially pair the Neobuds Pro since you must time the process precisely. The button inside the charging case must be pressed while the LED is scanning. Otherwise, the LED becomes dormant, and you will have to repeat the process.

Once the initial pairing has been performed, synchronization takes place relatively quickly, and you don’t have to do much after that. Simply open the top of the Neobuds Pro case to begin the pairing process between the two devices.

The pairing mode button is located inside the case.
The pairing mode button is located inside the case.

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: IP54

Due to the Neobuds Pro’s IP54-rated dust and water resistance, users will not need to worry about sweat or rain while exercising. Together with the comfortable fit and the anti-bacterial ear tips, they are a suitable choice for sports usage.

Software

  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Shows battery level of earbuds and charging case
  • Equalizer and DSP settings
  • LDAC and LHDC settings
  • Customizable touch controls

Edifier Connect is a full-featured app offering all types of features such as equalizers with customizable settings, DSP presets, volume and balance settings, and some other features such as widgets to control features in the Android OS top drawer.

You can customize touch control functions, experiment with noise-canceling settings, or simply activate the game mode to significantly reduce latency for a better gaming experience. I find the gaming mode will fix any synchronization issues while watching a movie or video.

The Edifier Connect is a must for Neobuds Pro users - there are settings for LDAC/LHDC, equalizer, and ANC level.
The Edifier Connect is a must for Neobuds Pro users – there are settings for LDAC/LHDC, equalizer, and ANC level.

Conclusion

The inclusion of LDAC codec compatibility is one aspect that makes the Edifier NeoBuds Pro stand out in the vast sea of today’s modern TWS market.

Plus, I particularly enjoy the design of the case and the LED UFO effect, as well as the fact that they always stay in place with little effort and without fiddling around. In addition, I appreciate the inclusion of antibacterial tips.

My only real complaint is the responsiveness of the touch controls. Nevertheless, I seldom use touch controls, and generally, when I purchase an audio device, I am most concerned with sound quality.

High-res codec support, excellent ANC, hybrid drivers, a DSP crossover, and a full-featured app all combine for excellent sonic performance. As far as I am concerned, the Neobuds Pro outperform any TWS models I have heard, especially in this price range, and do so comfortably.

Leave a Reply