Honor is going strong as an independent brand, quickly restoring its positions from before the split in more and more markets and segments. The latest device we had for a review is the Earbuds Choice X – TWS wearables with a set of features much richer than the price tag suggests.
After spending several weeks with the white pair we obtained we are ready to share our impressions of what is great and could be improved.
The design and package of these earbuds are pretty straightforward – a rectangular case, two buds with short stems, and a small USB-A to USB-C cable are in the retail box. The case is flat on the top and bottom so that it can sit upright. The hinge is not very tight and opens easily, bus still feels sturdy enough so we have little to worry in terms of durability.
The buds are standard in-ear headphones that slide in the case smoothly, thanks to the magic of magnets.
There is a USB-C port on the bottom, as well as a circular button for pairing. The case comes with an LED light that pulses when the device is ready to connect and indicate battery charge level.
Honor equipped the Choice Earbuds X’s case with a 500 mAh cell, while each bud has a 40 mAh battery. The buds are IPX4 water-resistant, which basically means sweat and light rain are covered. There are touch-sensing areas on the side for controlling your phone.
Honor has a dedicated app for additional adjustments of its audio wearables, but the Choice X support isn’t enabled yet. We assume they’ll get in once actual market availability comes to the EU.
So we resorted to a simple Bluetooth connection, which was impressively quick. Also the automatic connection when you take the Choice X buds out of the case was instantaneous with no issues for the duration of our testing.
Sadly the one area where the Choice X’s cheaper price tag shines through is sound quality. They pack a large 12mm bio-diaphragm dynamic driver, but we get no clarification of what the bio part is supposed to mean in this context.
The fact remains that music sounds flat with lacking bass and limited definition of higher frequency tones. Things did improve a bit when we dropped the volume below 70%, but it was still nothing worth writing home about. If they get official app support and equalizers we might get a bit more control over the sound, but clearly the potential is limited so we wouldn’t hold our breath.
A far more crucial fix to be delivered by the official app support concerns the dual-mic array that works with “neural network algorithms for intelligent ambient noise filtering”.
This cannot be turned on or off, meaning random ambient sound are played through the earbud into the user’s ear – talk radio in the taxi, screaming kids at home or just the garbage truck outside on the street.
The two microphones are also not aligned greatly, so a phone conversation can be flawless only if the stars are well aligned – there is no surrounding noise, the buds are properly positioned in the ear, and there are no other people in the room.
One thing we loved about the Choice X is how comfortable they are. Weighing at just 4.3 grams, they remain in the ear even in rough conditions. A member of our team here at GSMArena took them for a six-hour run (yes, really) and they required no adjustment for the entirety of it.
The test also confirmed Honor’s advertised six hour battery life on a single charge (28 hours total) to be true. The Choice X went from full to flat in exactly 360 minutes at 70% volume.
There is also a Game Mode, which lowers the latency to 125ms at the expense of some battery life, but even that is a bit high for most dynamic titles.
The touch-sensing areas on the side are pretty standard – double tap to play and pause music and answer / hang up calls. The game mode is activated with a three-second long press on both buds simultaneously, while a single tap does nothing.
Two-second long press on the right earbud goes to the next song, while two seconds on the left one rewind back to the start of the track. In theory, it should also play the previous song, but that does not work in practice – the long press is two seconds, but if the track is past its 00:02 mark, it gets rewinded. This means the user should be ultra-quick to play the previous song right at the start of the current one, which is more frustrating than convenient.
We have to give praise to Honor for coming up with these wireless earbuds that are easy to pair. The battery life is impressive, the buds are comfortable and ergonomic with an overall nice design.
Availability is limited even at this moment, but users in a handful of countries can purchase the Choice X for € 50.
Sadly their audio quality is far from impressive, so they are far from a universal recommendation. If you are picky about that you are probably better off spending your hard-earned cash elsewhere. More casual listeners should be perfectly happy with Honor’s latest, though.