QCY HT01 review – premium TWS earbud at a budget price

I couldn’t wait to get started with this review, and that’s because I have so many good things to say about the QCY HT01. This thing blew me away – no kidding.

Whether that was because I’m yet to start testing the bigger boys of the market (very soon one day Bose), I can’t tell, but my, I was (still am) impressed. Okay, okay, enough rambling, let’s get into the review.

Buy the QCY HT01 on Amazon by clicking here

Or on AliExpress by clicking here

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Starting with what’s in the box

Image showing what's in the box of the QCY HT01
You get a USB C charging cable, an extra pack of ear tips, a quick start guide, the carry case, and the HT01

Right from the packaging, you could see that this was something different. First off, unlike virtually every other QCY TWS earphone, these were packed-in sealed. Then there’s the carry case. Usually, I’d list whatever was in the box, but Nah-ah, we got to take a while to absorb the beauty of the HT01’s carry case. I mean, look at it. It’s better than anything else I’ve reviewed so far!

For your customary list, you get:

  • A USB C charging cable
  • An extra pack of ear tips
  • A quick start guide
  • The carry case
  • And the HT01 itself

Design and build quality

Image showing the front view of the QCY HT01
Top-notch design and finishing on the HT01 give it a very premium appeal

The QCY HT01 is gorgeous, and take note I didn’t call even the Haylou GT5 gorgeous. First day with these in-ear, and a friend of mine already wanted them. For context, I’ve been changing over TWS earphones for the last four months, and this was a team member who saw me every day and saw all those earphones I’d worn in that time. This was the first she ‘truly wanted’ in her words, and it’s easy to see why.

Image of the QCY HT01 showing the purple-gold color combination
The purple-gold color combination is to die for

The QCY HT01 looks simple yet sophisticated. I’ve got the purple-gold variant, and the two-tone color styling with the gold inset complementing the sexy purple is just perfect. It’s not as smallish as the Haylou GT5, yet it somehow manages to look and feel more portable. I could go on and on, but words fail me at this point, and I’ll rather leave you with pictures to understand what I mean.

Image showing design and build quality of the QCY HT01
Again, design and build is amazing – probably better than anything else on the budget TWS market

Build quality, more like the design, is top-notch. The color profile and quality of the paint on this are probably the best I’ve seen in a budget TWS earphone. And while you could see the seams where the two plastic body components meet on this device, they’re so perfectly implemented that they come off as a design complement.

The impeccable build quality also carries over into the carry case. This is again the best carry case in any budget TWS earphones I’ve reviewed. The shape is unique; heck, even the lid opening mechanism has a premium feel to it – it’s ever so soft to open, and everything feels refined.

Fit and comfortability

The HT01 glides into your ear and stays there. It doesn’t have any semblance of the extra fitting appendage you’d find on the Mpow Mdots, but the fit is no less secured. I’ve used this for well over three weeks now, and not one time did the HT01 come off my ear when I didn’t want it to.

Image showing the pebble form factor of the QCY HT01
A sleek pebble shape allows to glide in-ear and stay there without any fuss

I can say this secured fit is mainly down to the shape of the HT01. In hand, it feels intricately molded into form. It’s unique and quite unlike anything I’ve reviewed before. Most importantly, however, it works perfectly.

Bungee jumping, cycling, running, or climbing, this will stay in-ear for as long as you want them in-ear – no stress.

Over 10, I’d rate the QCY HT01 a solid 9 when it comes to comfortability. While the body makes up most of the earbud, the clever shape of the HT01 makes it that most of its weight is transmitted to and borne by the ear tips in-ear.

This makes it so that none of its unwieldy plastic build pressures your ears. Instead, weight is borne by the soft ear tips, which then transmit it to the bony parts of your ear canal. If any of that seems confusing, take this one-sentence summary – you won’t feel any pain or pressure with this in-ear.

The spec sheet

The HT01 comes loaded with a slew of functionalities, including:

  • Active noise cancellation
  • Proximity sensing
  • Soft-touch controls
  • Bluetooth 5.1

Active noise cancellation (ANC)

The HT01 spots textbook active noise cancellation that works to dampen low to mid surround noise when you have them in ear. This feature works perfectly in my experience, but I especially love it for the control QCY offers with it.

So, the thing is, with most budget TWS earbuds, ANC is turned on permanently. When it’s not on permanently, figuring out how to toggle it on and off is like dark magic – hard to master. On the HT01 turning ANC on-off is something you can easily do by pressing on the touch-sensitive area of both earbuds for about 3 seconds.

This is important because most budget TWS earphones (including the HT01) emit a low background hiss noise with ANC turned on in quiet settings. When there’s no noise, ANC paradoxically becomes the noise, which is not nice. On most other TWS earbuds, I’ve had to deal with this, but on the HT01, I can simply turn off ANC and listen to pure-sounding music. Better still, ANC on the HT01 comes in three listening modes:

  • Off – which is great indoors with no noise
  • ON – which works indoors when there’s noise
  • Outside – which optimizes the ANC functionality to better catch and diffuse outdoor noise. Neat!

Proximity sensing

I’ve seen this on the Haylou GT5, and as was the case with that TWS earbud, it’s a nice feature to have on the HT01. What it does is sense when the HT01 is in-ear or off-ear. When it’s off ear – when you take it out to hear what someone’s saying, for instance – it automatically pauses whatever you’re listening to. In my experience, this makes it a whole lot easier to use the earbud.

Soft-touch control

The way I see it, of all budget TWS earbuds I’ve reviewed, the soft-touch controls on the HT01 come off as one of the very few soft-touch controls designed with user interaction in mind. What I mean is on most other TWS earbuds, soft-touch control feels like another slapped-on feature – something they have to put there because it’s the latest technology.

Image showing general view of the QCY HT01
A wide soft touch area and some clever tweaking makes this one of the most intuitive TWS earbuds on the market

On the HT01, the experience is different, thanks to some very neat tweaking. This TWS earbud ignores all single taps, so even though the touch area is very large – almost the entire outer surface of the HT01 – I’ve not for once registered a false tap.

When you add that to the responsiveness of the whole system and how accurate it is at recognizing actual taps, what you get is a soft touch mechanism that’s easy to use, convenient and fast. Super neat!

Right ear

  • Double tap pauses the current item on the playlist
  • Triple tap skips to the next item on the playlist
  • Long press to toggle active noise cancellation mode

Left ear

  • Double tap pause the current item on the playlist
  • Triple tap skips to the previous item on the playlist
  • Long press to toggle active noise cancellation mode

Both ears

  • Long press while off turn on
  • Long press while on turn off

Sound quality on the QCY HT01

Given how good the HT01 performs in other departments, you’d expect sound quality to be top-notch, and it doesn’t disappoint. Bass is smooth, and importantly, it doesn’t overshadow everything else. Mid-tones come out with punch – so you hear instrumentals and sound effects with subtle but absolute clarity. Vocals are clear and fine-tuned.

The HT01 produces a pure and luster-rich sound profile that allows you to hear music just as the composer intended it to be.

The overall music experience can be described as immersive. Because the HT01 also offers a bit of passive noise cancellation, that, paired to the highly effective active noise cancellation, immerses you into a pure-sounding musical expose. Absolutely enjoyed listening to my favorite tunes on this earbud.

Call and media playback quality

Image showing the microphones of the QCY HT01
wide bore microphones capture your voice in impeccable clarity

Using the HT01 for calls was smooth and effortless. Sound and voice quality was superb on both ends of calls, and as you would expect for a TWS with Bluetooth 5, Latency was almost nonexistent.

I did notice some bit of lag with YouTube playback, but not sure why that’s the case. It’s something that seemed to come and go, however – the more I use the HT01, the less I notice it. Not too much of a bugger, but I guess the QCY T12 and its ultra-low latency feature beats the HT01 in this regard – the only place where any other earphone trumps the HT01, so it was worth the mention.

Battery life

If you decide to get this, you can be sure of at least 7 hours of active music listening time. Passively the HT01 can stay in-ear for calls and occasional music for well over 24 hours. Those are great numbers for budget TWS, and only the QCY T12 manages to catch up with the HT01 here.

Image showing carry case and 800mAh battery of the QCY HT01
800mAh onboard the HT01’s carrycase is one of the best on the market

Better still, the carry case houses an 800mAh battery which again is a high number for budget TWS earbuds. When it’s fully charged, it can power the HT01 through an additional five 0 – 100% charges. That means with the carry case fully charged; you can get about 35 hours of active on time or 168 hours of passive on time (7 days) on the QCY HT01.

Connectivity and range

Like I mentioned earlier, the HT01 pairs to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0, and per my experience, the connection holds its own quite well. I did experience a few breaks at some points, but these were rare and occurred while my phone was at arm’s length to the HT01.

Bar those instances, the connection was stable, and the HT01 performed exceptionally well in my walk-to-all-the-other-rooms of my house test, only cutting off when I stepped out of my back door with my phone in the living room. Safe to say that this handles walls like a champ.

Of worthy note is the auto-connect feature on the HT01. It’s not unique to this TWS earbud. In fact, almost all other TWS earbuds I’ve reviewed have it, but as was is the theme with pretty much every feature of the HT01, the implementation is sublime.

Here’s how it works; when you take out the HT01 from its carry case, it automatically connects to your device’s Bluetooth as long as the Bluetooth is turned on. When you take it out of your ear, it automatically pauses what you’re listening to (using the proximity sensor). Once it’s in its carry case, it automatically powers off.

Should you buy the QCY HT01

Image showing the general view of the QCY HT01 and its carry case
The HT01 is all you’d want from a true wireless earbud and then some

From taking this out of its packaging; to seeing the carry case; to opening that carry case; picking out the HT01; connecting it to my phone; and then actually using it – I’ve absolutely loved this TWS earbud. There’s almost nothing to hate for the price, and without mincing words, this trumps virtually all the budget TWS earphones I’ve reviewed so far.

You might be thinking this is definitely pricier – that should be the catch. Well, for what it offers, the price is more than justified, and I’ll go on to say that you’re probably getting better value overall. The HT01 is what I’ve now come to describe as a budget TWS earbud that, unlike its peers (which do the basics right), does all the magic you’d expect from a TWS earbud.

Buy the QCY HT01 on Amazon by clicking here

Or on AliExpress by clicking here

If you need help with shopping on AliExpress checkout my guide here

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