If silky smooth were a true Wireless earbud, it’d be the Haylou GT5. Refined, minimalist, with a machined look that’s unusual for an earphone in this price range, the GT5 brings a touch of premium to the pocket-friendly segment of the true wireless earbud market.
So, it looks good but does that silky smooth design engineering extend into the internals of this budget true wireless earbud? I’ve had the Haylou GT5 now for about three weeks, and I’ll answer that question in this review.
Let’s start by addressing what’s in the box.
What’s in the box
Like most earphones in this price range, the GT5 ships with just the basics, including:
A carry case, a USB C charging cable (no charger), six pairs of extra ear tips, a quick start guide, and the GT5 earphone itself.
Everything is wrapped in black packaging that’s in tune with the minimalist but still stylish design of the earbuds themselves.
If you’ve been shopping around for a budget earphone (or if you’ve read my reviews of those I’ve tested), then you’d know that simplicity is a common design theme. However, unlike most other earphones in its liege, the Haylou GT5 is simple with style.
The theme here is smooth and streamlined. The GT5 is pebble-shaped with well-rounded edges and a subtle profile that screams machined to perfection. It’s literally the smallest, most portable true wireless earphone I’ve reviewed yet. What Haylou has managed to do here is keep the overall design mature. Mine’s black, there’s no brand inscriptions, so it doesn’t scream for attention, and because they’re small, they sit in-ear almost unnoticed.
With a unique inset for the touch-sensitive pad, I’d say they’re the first true wireless earphones I’ve reviewed that I can recommend as a genuine fashion accessory.
Of course, build quality is also top tier. One look at the GT5, and you might be fooled into thinking it’s a unibody (made from one bit of plastic) build when in reality, it’s made out of at least three separate components.
That’s primarily because they’re no gaps nor seams between each piece. Everything latches into place as a testament to the genuinely refined build. I love the faux matte look of the plastic used here, and as you’d expect, given the size, the GT5 is feather-light.
Fit and comfortability
Being feather-light and with a minimal build profile, you’d also expect the GT5 to sit in-ear comfortably. It doesn’t disappoint. The fit is perfect and secured, all thanks to a protruding and angled stem for the earpiece. That stem goes into your ear canal, and the main bulk of the earphone rests in your earlobe in a semi 900 tilt.
The small build of the GT5 also makes it the perfect earphone for anyone with small ears as far as it concerns comfortability. I barely notice them in-ear, and I’ve gone well over 6 hours with these on without experiencing any signs of discomfort or pain.
The spec sheet
- A 7.2mm polymer resin diaphragm
- Soft-touch controls
- Low latency technology
- Noise-canceling technology
- Smart wear technology
- Wireless charging support
Active noise cancellation (ANC)
Active noise cancellation is standard on the GT5, and it works as expected. Each bud can cancel out low-level sounds and background noise quite well. Loud noises still manage to get through, though. However, unlike other TWS at this price point, the GT5 doesn’t produce any ambient swoosh sound in windy weather or when riding a bike/motorcycle.
Bigger is better with earphone diaphragms, and 7.2mm on the GT5 means this can produce a wide range of sounds with high fidelity, but more on this later.
Soft-touch controls with smart wear technology
The GT5 comes with active soft-touch controls that are sensitive and work perfectly. As an added perk, it also comes with smart wear proximity technology that automatically pauses your playlist once you take the earbuds out and then resumes it immediately they’re in-ear. It can do this thanks to an infrared sensor on its underbelly.
- Single tap ear increases the volume
- Double tap pauses the current item on the playlist
- Triple tap skips to the next item on the playlist
- Long press launch assistant
- Single tap reduces the volume
- Double ta pause the current item on the playlist
- Triple tap skips to the previous item on the playlist
- Long press launch assistant
- Long press while off – turn on
- Long press while on – turn off
- Long press three seconds – voice through technology
The GT5 has an extremely low latency rating of about 62ms. In practice, this means there’ll be virtually no lag in audio reception whether you’re gaming or watching a video on YouTube.
Charging the carry case, which in turn charges the earbuds, can be either via a traditional USB C power source or through a wireless charging pad. Hard to see a budget earphone with wireless charging capability, so this is nice.
Sound quality on the Haylou GT5
Four things stand out when it comes down to the Haylou GT5’s sound character.
- Deep bass
- Well elaborated trebles
- Deprecated mid-tones
- Awesome surround sound
Given its miniature build, I didn’t expect the GT5 to sound all that exceptional, but it does sound exceptional, certainly better than most other earphones in this price range and market segment.
You get deep clear bass with a tinge of instrumentals and very well elaborated trebles (low tones). Surround sound is amazing (not very good, amazing), and that’s saying a lot for an earbud that costs just $25.
Active noise cancellation and passive noise cancellation (because these are in-ear earphones) work to further enhance the listening experience so that overall you’re immersed in a true sounding, pure and smooth symphony of sounds anytime you put on the GT5. I’m a huge fan!
Calling and media playback
Call quality is above the fold on the GT5. I’ve not had any issues whatsoever hearing what’s been said or conversely with being heard through the time I’ve used the earphone. That said, it’s certainly not the best calling TWS out there – the Mpow Mpods does calls better with its more than six microphones.
One place where the GT5 ups the ante is with its low latency capability, which I mentioned before. The way this works is that it facilitates almost instant transmission of what’s said and what’s said to you through the earphones. With the GT5, there’s practically no voice or speaker lag.
If you’re a gamer, then this is something you’ll consider important because you ideally want instantaneous communication between yourself and your teammates. This feature also works to improve the video playback experience, so there’s no lag between picture and sound when you’re binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix or YouTube.
Battery life on the Hayou GT5 is as you would expect for an earphone of this price range. I’ve managed to get about 5 hours active on time, although Haylou officially says this will last four hours. On-standby, this can stay on for well over 24 hours, which is again good enough.
The portable carry case houses an extra 580mAh battery that can take the GT5 through 3 additional full charges. This means that you can conveniently get over 15 hours of active on time or 72 hours of standby time with the carry case. Neat.
Connectivity and range
The GT5 boasts Bluetooth 5.0 connection technology which is the gold standard in the market today. Bluetooth 5.0 on the Haylou GT5 allows for higher bandwidth translating to support for high-quality audio codecs and improved range of up to 10 meters.
The GT5 had no issue maintaining a connection over the advertised 10-meter range in free space. Even in the presence of walls, the effective range didn’t drop by much so that with my phone in my living room, I could move around without fear of breaking the connection.
Should you buy the Haylou GT5?
I love the GT5 for its looks and touch of class above pretty much everything in this price range or market segment. If you’re like me, who’s a sucker for the finer things of life, then the GT5 is a great buy, especially because it still manages to sound great, work great and pack in an extra dose of perks despite being the coolest kid on the block.