QCY makes some excellent earphones, but the design of the T12, I would say, was not ‘quite my tempo’ (cos like J.K. Simmons in Whiplash, I’m a very hard man to please). Regardless I still snatched one of these off Amazon, cos some of you might like its quirky look.
If you’re part of the bunch that loves this look, or maybe you’re here because looks don’t make all of a TWS earphone, I’ll help you decide if the T11 manages to do other things right. Does it sound nice? Is the battery life impressive? I answer that and more in this review.
Buy the QCY T12 on Amazon by clicking here
Or on AliExpress by clicking here
If you need help with shopping on AliExpress checkout my guide here
Starting with what’s in the box
The S in QCY is for simple (there’s no S in QCY), and as far as packaging goes, this is probably as simple as it can get. You get an extra pack of ear tips, a USB C cable, the very portable and stylish carry case, and of course, the QCY T12 themselves.
No charging brick in the box, but you probably already know this – a common practice for budget TWS earphones.
So here’s the deal with the QCY T12, the design; it’s not bad. It’s cool. I’ve just not come to resonate with it, you know. And that’s probably down to my taste and preference. It feels very chubby and elaborate, and if you know me, I like the fine, subtle, and more discrete things of life.
If you wanted a TWS that stands out of the crowd and looks like an Apple earphone while doing that, then the QCY T12 is a nice fix. It comes with a thick stem and an Apple-style earpiece, and like the latter, this doesn’t come with any rubber ear tips. If you wanted something that looked sleek and more in line with contemporary TWS designs, the QCY T11 or the Haylou GT5 are better fits.
The T12 spots an all plastic build. Again, if you’ve seen an Apple earphone before, it’s the same gist. I’ve got mine in white, which contributes to the stand-out factor I was talking about earlier. Not quite sure if there’s an option to get this in another color.
Build quality is excellent, surprisingly, even better than what you’d get from many entries in the budget TWS category. It feels durable, and you can tell that this would survive the frequent drops that’d come from a careless user like me.
One thing to note, because the carry case is cabriolet style, the QCY T12 is not as protected as it can be, at least, not as protected as its compadres from other manufacturers. One time I mistakenly dropped it (careless me, I know) and had to go pick up one ear from a distance of about 5 ft.
Fit and comfortability
Despite its rounded and somewhat bulky form factor and lack of rubber ear tips, the T12 fits nicely in-ear. The fit is slightly loose, certainly not as tight as what you’d get on the MPOW X3.
That’s nice, but it also means this won’t work with high-octane activities like footballing or skiing, etc. Merely rolling too hard on my bed gets the T12 off my ears.
No discomfort whatsoever came from wearing the T12 for extended periods. Again, that’s surprising considering the all-plastic build of this TWS earphone. I put that down to how light ( despite its bulky form) the T12 pans out to be.
The spec sheet
The QCY T12 is not trying to be some fancy TWS earphone, so you get the basics when it comes to specs, including:
- Soft-touch controls
- Active noise cancellation
- 13mm driver
- Bluetooth 5.1 (not 5.0)
Active noise cancellation (ANC)
Active noise cancellation is pretty much standard on TWS at this price range. Still, the real question is how good is the implementation? On the T12, it’s okayish. Low to mid-level noises are dampened quite well, and even though this lacks any passive noise cancellation of the sort, the music listening experience is good enough. Quick tip, regardless of its ANC feature, the T12 will work best in quiet, passive environments.
Again this is a standard feature at this price range, and again, the implementation is very well above the fold, certainly better than what you’d get on the Haylou GT3. Unlike the latter accidental touches (a major issue with soft-touch TWS earphones) are a rarity. It’s also responsive enough to register touches when I mean them.
- Single tap and hold 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 and hold 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 to turn on
- Long press while on to turn off
The 13mm driver on the QCY T12 sounds like a big number (and it is), but the sound quality doesn’t really reflect this. To illustrate this – the MPOW X3 comes with a smaller driver, but that legit beats the T12 in any sound quality test. More on sound quality later.
Bluetooth 5.1, better than 5.0, comes as standard on the T12, and it’s certainly reflected on the range and connectivity performance of this TWS earbud.
Sound quality on the QCY T12
I’ll go ahead and say that sound quality on the QCY T12 is not as exceptional as you’d imagine. In fact, having tested the QCY HT01, it took a long while to get comfy with the deemphasized bass on the T12.
I’m no bass junkie, but the difference is palpable and very unlike the Haylou GT3, where the low bass was matched by some excellent sound tuning that created an immersive, pure listening experience, the deemphasized bass on the T12 sort of leaves a vacuum in its sound profile.
Then there’s the issue of the somewhat noisy mid-tones. It’s such that vocals come off as hollow. You get a soft tinge of what happens when you activate the concert hall sound effect of your equalizer. It’s not that apparent in most songs, think hip hop, pop tunes, but you’ll def feel it where it matters in R/B and Alte songs.
But hey, the T12 is not terrible. In low listening volumes in a quiet place, it’s great. You’ll love it for
- The airy music listening experience
- The very well highlighted instrumentals
- Good enough surround sound
- Emphasized trebles
Call and media playback quality
Making calls is where the T12 shines above practically every other competitor in its price category. It’s in very short terms great. Audio quality on both ends of a call is clear, loud enough, and without any latency. This earphone ships with two well-placed microphones, so kinda expected.
Media playback is fantastic as well. Again, no latency here. If you’re planning to binge-watch your favorite series or go a long night of YouTubing on this, you’re covered. Audio and visuals were in perpetual sync, and there’s really no difference here compared to using a wired earphone.
For the price, the battery is phenomenal on the T12. I was able to get an excess of 7 hours of active listening time while using these TWS earbuds. Passively in-ears, the T12 can hold itself for well over 48 hours.
The portable carry case itself houses an extra 380mAh power reserve, similar to what you’d find on the Haylou GT3. Unlike that earphone, however, this takes the T12 through four additional full charges.
Connectivity and range
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.1, I’ve had no problems keeping the T12 tethered to my phone (or laptop) within the advertised 10-meter range. In my now famous (yeah, I’ll fake it till I make it) walk-to-all-the-other-rooms-of-my-house test, the T12 performed very well.
One or two walls didn’t break the connection, and with my phone in the living room, I could go as far as my kitchen store before the connection broke.
Worth mentioning that this doesn’t have any of the random intermittent breaks you’d get on the QCY HT01 or the Mpow Mdots. Once paired, it holds the connection flawlessly – no stress.
Should you buy the QCY T12
The QCY T12 is the ‘bare essentials of a TWS earbud. Think of a wireless earphone that has all the basics and does everything basically right. That might not seem like seem impressive, but when you consider its low price, then you’d understand the value proposition of the T12.
It’s a dirt-cheap TWS earphone for someone who wants a slice of the TWS experience on a budget. If you’re that person, then yes, the QCY is a fair buy as there are few other TWS earphones with this much bang for buck factor.