One of the best bits about my job is I get to listen to some amazing audio equipment including some very special earphones. One of the less good bits about this job is I often find myself listening to some questionable earbuds that aren’t all that good; a lot of very inexpensive earbuds can be quite awful.
So, imagine my surprise when a new budget pair of true wireless earbuds turned up for review recently. The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro cost just $35.99 and sound as if they should be three times that price. If you’re on a tight budget (and who isn’t right now?) then lend your ears to these amazing little earbuds and see what you think.
The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro are AirPod-style earbuds that it in the ear and don’t have any silicone ear tips to form a tight seal with the ear canal. That said, they fit very well with a slight twist and even though I don’t like earpod-style earbuds, these are surprisingly comfortable and secure.
At the heart of the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro is a Qualcomm QCC3040 Bluetooth chipset with support for SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive and a low-latency mode for watching movies and playing games. The styling of the earbuds is AirPod-esque and their storage case has four white LEDs on the front to show the remaining charge in the case. There’s also a button on the base of the case for resetting and repairing the connection to a smartphone or other device if there’s a problem. That’s a nice touch.
A full charge of the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro provides up to 6.5 hours while the case has a reserve charge of 27 hours including the charge held in the earbuds. That’s enough power for a couple of weeks of commuting. At this price level, there’s no wireless charging capability but a two-hour charge with a USB-C cable is all it takes to fully replenish the case and earbuds.
Like all these kinds of earbuds, the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro has touch controls on each earbud and they can be used to adjust volume, change tracks, pause the music, accept phone calls, reject calls, plus the controls can summon a voice assistant and switch into low-latency gaming mode by tapping the left earbud three times.
Thankfully Tronsmart has left out active noise canceling (ANC) from the Onyx Ace Pro. Some budget earbuds try to offer this feature but at this price point, it’s hardly effective or worth having. It’s much better to have better quality audio than trying to shoehorn in ANC as well. The budget simply won’t stretch that far.
Pairing the earbuds with a smartphone is simple and only needs to be done once. The driver inside each earbud is a 13mm dynamic type, which is a beast of a driver that can shift a lot of air and creates a loud sound. These are impressive earbuds and there should be no complaints about the volume being too low. They’re some of the loudest true wireless earbuds I’ve ever heard.
Each earbud has two microphones built in for picking up the user’s voice when making phone calls or issuing commands to Siri or Google Assistant. The pickup quality is very good and I’d be happy to use the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro for making and taking calls. And if you take calls while jogging in the rain or sweating it out at the gym, you’ll be pleased to know that the earbuds are rated at IPX5 for water and sweat resistance.
Now we come to the sound quality from those large 13mm drivers. The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro produces a big sound, but it’s a refined sound that has an impressive bass that doesn’t distort. The midrange is slightly recessed with a very faint nasal quality, but nothing like enough to spoil the music. Finally, the treble frequencies are clear and sweet. Occasionally the sounds of things like cymbals can be slightly splashy but, overall, the sound these earbuds create is superb. I even found myself tapping my toes as I listened to Zé Amaro’s excellent Homem de Sonhos album.
For those who don’t know Zé Amaro, he calls himself “The Portuguese Cowboy” and his music is the perfect blend of classic country music with a twist of Portuguese folk and a side order of Sertaneja. Running through this album like a silver thread is the feel of Bob Dylan’s Desire album from 1976. The accordion and violin weave their way through many of the album’s tracks and remind me of Desire. The violin is reminiscent of Scarlet Rivera’s playing on “Hurricane”, while the gentle accordion echoes the track “Joey”.
The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro was able to untangle all the intricacies of the instruments on this beautifully recorded album, separating everything perfectly and performing particularly well with the standout track, a duet with Spanish chanteuse Lucía Perez, called “Tudo Se Paga.” which reminds me a little of “Romance in Durango”.
Verdict: The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro earbuds are amazing value for money and produce a sound that’s big and bold but never uncouth or unruly. I don’t normally get on very well with earpod-style earbuds, but the Onyx Ace Pro worked fine with my strange ears. The beautifully balanced sound and the ample amount of volume made the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro a genuine pleasure to listen to. The decisive test of a good pair of earbuds is if you soon forget you’re reviewing a pair of earbuds and start getting into the groove of the music instead. That’s what I did with these affordable earbuds. If you want a pair of earbuds that sound great, don’t cost a fortune and won’t have you crying in your coffee if you lose them, then the Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro are the earbuds for you.
Pricing & Availability: The Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro are available now and cost $35.99 / £30.17 / €34.85.
More info: www.tronsmart.com
- Model: E2031
- Colorways: Black or White
- Type: Semi in-ear
- Audio codecs: aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, SBC
- Bluetooth version: 5.2
- Bluetooth range: 10m/33ft (Open Area)
- Microphones: 4
- IP rating: IPX5
- Play time: Up to 6.5 hours (Single Charge)
- Case charge: Up to 27 hours (with the Charging Case)
- Charging time Earphones: 90 minutes, Case: 120 minutes
- Driver: 13mm dynamic
- Frequency range: 20-20kHz
- Voice assistant: Supports Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc
- Weight: Earbuds 4g / Case: 37g