Honor Choice Earbuds X5 Review: Good Sound and Reliable Battery Life


Honor recently launched the Choice Earbuds X5 in India as the company’s latest truly wireless stereo (TWS) earphones with support for active noise cancellation (ANC). The wireless headset is claimed to offer up to nine hours of playback with the ANC feature turned off — or up to 35 hours in total with the charging case — while the earphones have an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. I’ve spent a couple of weeks using the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 and here’s what I think of this wireless headset.

Honor Choice Earbuds X5 review: Design and features

The Choice Earbuds X5 are available in a single white colourway and the charging case has a rounded design that is nearly ubiquitous for stem-style TWS headsets. While the case looks similar to its predecessor, the company has changed the position of the earphones so that the stems are next to each other, while the eartips are on opposite sides. I could open and shut the case easily with one finger, and the earphones are held firmly in place while charging.

Due to the all-plastic design, the Choice Earbuds X5 are very light. It has an individual weight of 4.6g (each earphone) and weighs 50g with the charging case. There’s an acoustic vent on the rear end of the earphones, while the microphone is located at the bottom of the stem, between the charging contact points. They don’t have a dedicated sensor to detect when you take them out of your ear, so music will continue to play until you use the pause gesture.

Honor Choice Earbuds X5 are available in a single white colourway

 

The earbuds and charging case have a glossy finish that attracts dust and smudge marks, and the latter has a single LED indicator on the outside that lets you know when it’s time to charge the headset. There’s a USB Type-C port at the bottom and the headset comes with three eartips in the box. While earphone fitting can be very subjective, I found that this headset was quite comfortable to wear for around an hour without much fatigue.

Honor Choice Earbuds X5 review: App and specifications

If you have an Android smartphone, you can download Honor’s AI Space app that allows you to pair the earphones and control various settings and features. The app requires you to sign up using your phone number, with no way to bypass the login process and just use the app. The AI Space app allows you to pair the earphones with your smartphone or tablet — the earphones automatically enter pairing mode for the first time, while you can also tap and hold the touch panel on either earphone to start the pairing process.

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Once you’ve paired the earphones, you can choose from three equaliser presets — more on these in the next section — that affect the audio output on the Honor Choice Earbuds X5. You can also adjust the tap controls on the earphones that offer single tap and double tap options, along with support for a long-press shortcut. The location of the touch sensor is higher on the stem, which means you won’t accidentally trigger it when you take the earphones out of your ears.

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Honor Choice Earbuds X5 can be controlled via an Android application

 

Touch controls on the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 are finicky, and I found myself tapping the small area at the top of the earphones’ stem repeatedly in order to pause music or switch tracks. You can tap twice to answer or cut a call and the same gesture can be used to control playback, or summon the Google Assistant/ Bixby. The triple tap gesture lets you switch to your previous device or enable the low latency gaming mode.

However, it’s worth noting that if you have an iPhone, there’s no way to access any of these functions. You can still pair the earphones on iOS and access the basic sound modes, but you can’t change equaliser modes, modify touch controls, or download and install firmware updates.

Honor Choice Earbuds X5 review: Performance and battery life

The TWS earphones are equipped with a 10mm dynamic driver and offers support for up to 30dB ANC, according to the company. They also feature environmental noise cancellation (ENC) during calls. They have an IP54 rating and are claimed to offer up to 9 hours of playback on a single charge.

honor choice earbuds worn ndtv Honor Choice Earbuds X5

Honor Choice Earbuds X5 TWS earphones are light and comfortable

 

The Honor Choice Earbuds X5 have three equaliser modes — Bass boost, Default, and Treble boost. The default mode offers clear audio playback when listening to most music genres, but you can tell that there’s some emphasis on the bass at the expense of some detail. The company hasn’t included a graphic equaliser, which means you’re limited to these three presets.

I found myself switching to the Treble boost mode when listening to Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F, Op. 90: III. Poco Allegretto by James Levine, and similar recordings that have a lot of detail. You’ll also want to use this preset on tracks like Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain, or Birdy & RHODES’ Let It All Go, so that the vocals aren’t affected.

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The mids are slightly muddied by the bass, and the vocals sound a little distant on some tracks, but these TWS earphones definitely punch above their weight, especially in these genres. I had no complaints with how the earphones handled Carnival of Rust by Poets of the Fall, but it was unable to handle Your Side of Town by The Killers, which is quite a busy track.

If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy tracks, the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 offers a lot of punch, even on the default setting. Drive (feat. Wes Nelson) by Clean Bandit & Topic sounds great, as do Dua Lipa’s Physical and Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam. The earphones also handle Trampoline by SHAED and Zayn quite well, with just the right amount of detail and reverb.

honor choice earbuds case ndtv Honor Choice Earbuds X5

The Honor Choice Earbuds X5 delivered up to seven hours of battery life

 

The ANC mode on the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 keeps low frequency rumbles and sounds from household appliances like vacuum cleaners and air conditioners. While it can’t deal with high-pitch sounds, it can “muffle” them a little, which is more than acceptable for a pair of TWS earphones at this price point.

Honor says that the Choice Earbuds X5 supports both SBC and AAC codecs, which means that you can use these on a wide range of devices — I was able to pair the wireless headset with an Android smartphone, an iPad, an iPhone, and even an Apple Watch. I got about five and a half hours of battery life with ANC on, and about seven hours with ANC off.

Verdict

If you’re looking to purchase a pair of wireless earphones that cost less than Rs. 2,000, the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 are a solid option to consider. The TWS headset is currently available at Rs. 1,999 and offers decent audio quality for this price segment, along with entry-level ANC support. It is compact and lightweight and offers reliable battery life. The inclusion of SBC and AAC codecs means they will work well on both iOS and Android smartphones.

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One major downside is the lack of an official application on iOS — while you can still pair the headset with an iPhone or iPad, there’s no way to configure any of the settings without using an Android smartphone. While there are multiple touch control options available, the limited surface means you might have to touch the earbuds repeatedly on some occasions.

While there’s no multipoint support available, you can quickly switch between the current device and the previous device with a single gesture — other budget TWS headsets in this price segment also offer the same functionality. This headset competes with the OnePlus Nord Buds 2R and Anker Soundcore R50i — these don’t offer ANC support, so if you’re looking for a pair of that comes with noise cancellation then it is worth considering the Boult Z40 Ultra and the Boat Airdopes Flex 454 which are similarly priced in India.


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