If you wanted a budget TWS earphone that was not some crappy sounding copy of Apple earphones, then you probably should’ve come across something from QCY. The QCY T11 is one of the company’s latest releases, and I’ve had mine for almost a month now.
What do I think of the T11? Is it a good TWS earphone to buy? Does it sound half as good as the pricier QCY HT01 or the Haylou GT5? Well, I answer all those questions and more in this review.
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Starting with what’s in the box
The usuals for a QCY earphone including:
A USB C charging cable, an extra set of ear tips, a QuickStart guide, a carry case, and of course, the QCY T11 itself
The QCY T11 spots a very simple design. It’s a lot like the Haylou GT3 (and I’ve been told both brands are related), and if you’ve seen that earphone before, you’ll like its smooth and minimalist nature. The T11 adopts that minimalism but with some extra touches.
For instance, here, you get bolder design markings away from the smooth and seamless feel of the Haylou GT3. The led notification light is also brighter and more pronounced. I’ve got mine in black, and while many people prefer the earbud configuration for a TWS earpiece, I like the traditional earphone style, more so the way it’s affected on the T11.
Build quality is superb. Unlike the Haylou GT3, this comes in a glossy but still durable plastic finish. There’s an added advantage in that the build of the T11 provides more grip when in-ear, but more on that later when I talk about fit and comfortability. Will the QCY T11 stand the test of time and careless drops (if you’re anything like me)? You betcha!
Fit and comfortability
Like a traditional earphone, the QCY T11 gets in-ear and sits there comfortably. Because the design of this TWS earphone is neither small nor big but more in the mid-size range, this will work perfectly for every ear type – big or small.
Extra ear tips are on hand to help with fit. The default ear tip that comes with the T11 works well for me, so I haven’t even bothered to try those.
It’s the same case for comfortability as it was with the fit. The T11 feels soft and ‘unbothering’ in-ear. I’ve had this on for up to 7 hours in some cases, and not once did the T11 feel any bit uncomfortable. Also, because they stay in-ear securely, you won’t have any issues using these for physical activities, let alone binge-watching your favorite series while you roll and tumble over your bed (like I do).
The spec sheet
When you buy the QCY T11, you get:
- Noise isolation
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Quick charge
- A dynamic armature driver
There’s no mention of active noise cancellation on the QCY T11; instead, what you get is ‘four mic noise isolation.’ I don’t get how this works, but in my experience, the T11 was pretty adept at blocking out background noise in low to mid-level noisy areas. Not sure, however, how much of that is down to the noise isolation feature or the fact that the T11 offers some sort of passive noise cancellation.
Bluetooth 5.0 is pretty much standard on TWS earphones of this range (the QCY T12 actually ships with better Bluetooth 5.1), so nothing extraordinary here. That said, with Bluetooth 5.0, you get greater connection bandwidth for higher audio codecs, low latency, and improved listening range, all of which show on the QCY T11.
Dynamic armature driver
The dynamic armature driver setup appears to be the one true feature of the QCY T11. With this in-ear, I’m getting sound quality levels that straight-up match what’s obtainable one of my favorite TWS; the pricier Haylou GT5 . I’ll talk more about this in the sound quality section.
Quick charge allows you to get as much juice into each earbud in the shortest time possible. QCY advertises 10 minutes for 1 hour, and in my experience, this is true.
Soft touch control on the QCY T11
- 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
- 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
- Long press while off turn on
- Long press while on turn off
Sound quality on the QCY T11
For a $25 TWS earphone, the QCY T11 is punching far above its weight in terms of the quality of music it puts out. Bass is punchy, mid-tones come out with a bit of flair, and vocals sound original with a bit of polishing to make them refreshing.
It’s a sound profile I didn’t really expect on a sub $50 TWS earphone, and in my opinion, it matches what you’d get if you went for the pricier QCY HT01. There’s none of that synthetic feel you’d find with low-priced TWS earphones – no overamplified bass, roomy trebles, or subdued instrumentals – the QCY pumps out the sounds almost exactly how the song’s creators wanted you to hear it.
- To summarize, you’ll love it for:
- The original representation of all sound channels
- The pureness of the sound and
- The balanced tones on all levels, no one sound channel overshadows the other.
Call and media playback quality
For a TWS that hits the home run in sound testing, you’d expect call and media quality to be top-notch as well, and the QCY T11 doesn’t disappoint. There’re four mics on this earphone, and while the number of mics is not the hallmark for gauging call quality, on the T11, you can tell that these mics do their job.
Call quality was serenely pure on both ends – I could hear what was being said, and the other party had no issues making out what I was saying. With touch control for answering and ending a call also supported on the T11, I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences taking calls on this TWS earphone.
It’s the same case for media playback. Sound quality while listening to soundtracks from videos either on Youtube or from local video files was as smooth. Low latency means you don’t experience any lags between audio and pictures as well. If watching movies is what you’re getting these earphones for, you’re going to love it.
QCY advertises up to 3.5 hours of active playback time on the T11, but in my experience, I’ve been able to squeeze out even more. I get roughly between 4-5 hours of active playback time while jamming to my favorite tunes. Not the best in the market, certainly, but I guess this is made up for with the inclusion of fast charge technology – 10 minutes for 1 hour of playback is impressive.
Additional battery life comes from the portable carry case, which holds a 600mAh battery. It will take the T11 through five additional 0-100% charging cycles before needing a charge itself. Charging the carry case to 100% takes about one and half hours through a USB C charging cable.
Connectivity and range
As I mentioned earlier, the T11 pairs with your phone via Bluetooth 5.0. This connection is very stable, and in free space, the T11 holds its own for the advertised 10-meter range. It certainly passed my walk-to-all-other-rooms-of-my-house test without breaking the connection.
That’s to say this handles wall interference quite well; two – three consecutive walls between phone and earphone won’t break the connection as long as there are intervening doors or windows between.
Virtually all QCY TWS earphones come bundled with an auto-connect feature, and the T11 is no exception. Simply take this out of the carry case, and it’ll pair to your device provided Bluetooth is switched on, and you’ve done the initial configuration pairing.
Should you buy the QCY T11?
Overall, the QCY T11 represents the middle ground of fine QCY engineering – you get the premium sound quality of the HT01 and the low-level pricing of the T12, all in what I’d consider an excellent build for the price.
It’s not trying to be the best TWS earphone out there. Instead, and in typical QCY style, it’s trying to be the best TWS earphone that does all the basics right – in other words, a superb-sounding TWS earphone that sounds right and looks the part.
I certainly recommended it over the Haylou GT3, and that’s saying a lot cos at the base level, both are one same TWS earphone.