Over the past few years, a separate class of wireless headphones has appeared, separated by a wire. Traditionally, Apple AirPods headphones come to mind first (although the technological superiority in the question is more likely to belong to the Bragi startup with their Bragi Dash headphone model, successfully released on Kickstarter in 2014). However, on the market today, there are a considerable number of Chinese manufacturers (and this is not only about Xiaomi AirDots). They are much cheaper, so when one of these manufacturers, MPOW, approached me, it was interesting to find out what such headphones can do and how much their capabilities differ from branded counterparts. Moreover, there are now a lot of exciting new Chinese manufacturers on the market, whose products can be trusted (this is not only about leaders like DJI, but also, for example, ILIFE vacuum cleaners or a proper manufacturer of Baseus cables and chargers, which we recently told). Surprisingly, the MPOW T5 model was beyond praise, and given its price tag of $ 55, it can ask for all its few flaws.
What is it?
Model MPOW T5 refers to the so-called TWS-headphones. TWS or TrueWireless Stereo is a Qualcomm trademark that produces matching chips for such headphones. They are characterized by low power consumption and the ability to work simultaneously with two Bluetooth headphones. By the way, an advanced version of this technology called TWS Plus allows you to synchronize the sound between both headphones independently, making it easier for the user to connect to them. The MPWO T5 uses a Qualcomm QCC 3026 chip explicitly designed for low-cost, miniature headsets. Do not be confused by the word “budget,” technologically it has support for Bluetooth 5.0, aptX, and the proprietary noise reduction system Qualcomm cVc for the microphone. Headphones with QCC 3026 can work with 24-bit sound and 2-megabit audio stream, with two independent headphones. These headphones have IPX7 water protection and are positioned as a model for sports (they are not afraid of sweat and rain).
What kind of company MPOW is
Little is known about the company itself. The headquarters is in Hong Kong. Its Chinese founder studied in the USA and now successfully sells his headphones on Amazon (one of the top 10 best-selling brands of headphones there). The Cheetah + sports headphone model won the 2017 Red Dot Design Award. In general, everything looks like a new ambitious player in the market, able to compete with famous brands. The word MPOW itself, as I understand it, does not mean anything, but it causes an association with Empower or Power.
What is in the box?
In a simple, non-appealing cardboard box immediately attracts attention, there is a case for storage and charging, a micro USB USB cable, 2 additional sets of rubber seals 3), a very short lace for fastening the case to the bag (I suppose you need a carbine), a short user manual (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, but everything is clear from the drawings even without much knowledge of languages) and about sensible business card sized card with a reminder not use chargers with voltage above 5 volts.
The way it looks
The case looks simple – cheap plastic, a micro-USB connector on the back wall, and a textured surface embossed “under the skin.” It is curious that when the headphones are installed in the case, the “magnetic finishing” is triggered – they independently jump into the nests assigned to them. In front of the case are 4 LEDs that indicate the charge level of the built-in batteries. Each of them corresponds to the level of 25% charge.
The headphones themselves are miniature but slightly more substantial than, for example, Galaxy Buds, released this year. No touch surfaces, a button on each earphone with an LED ring under them.
How does MPOW T5 sound? Do they fall out of one’s ears? How long do they work?
Let us face it, taking into account the price, which is significantly lower than all the wireless headphones that I used before, I did not have any particular expectations, but the sound was surprisingly high. With all the responsibility, I am ready to say that they sound no worse than the reference Galaxy Buds – the music surrounds and rich, with good detail. It became a frank shock when I, on old, well-known compositions, began to distinguish all sorts of shades that I had not heard before. The MPOW T5 also turned out to be excellent soundproofing. Right volume margin – I, traditionally, got used to listening to music at maximum volume, but here I was slightly slowing down the level because even for me it turned out to be too high. In the ears, the headphones are held tight also. As for running, I will not say (sports positioning is more likely to be in the gym than to run), but you can safely leave the house with them – there is no fear of dropping in public transport. My work time was stable for about 7 hours, that is, almost full time. Charging case allows you to increase this time several more times. The manufacturer says that you can do this up to 6 times. However, this, apparently, for the conditions of some round-the-clock work in the non-stop mode with breaks for charging. I charged my headphones about once a day or two. I had enough charge for four additional cycles of charging the headphones, which is also quite a lot. That is, it is enough to charge the case once or twice a week and place the headphones in it every time they are not used (so it will be more difficult to lose them).
How easy it is to work MPOW T5
The main weakness of the headphones, I would call the lack of an application. That is, there are not all these trendy equalizers and bright settings that improve the sound. On the
other hand, with such a sound, they are not particularly needed, and without viewing the battery charge level, you can live and forgive them all thanks to their affordable price. For several weeks of using some other, worth mentioning flaws, I have not met. Is that the lack of multipoint, that is, the possibility of simultaneous connection to a computer and smartphone. At the same time to switch between devices, you had to insert the headphones into the case and turn off the Bluetooth on one device so that the headphones independently connected to the second one. They remember the last connected device, and if Bluetooth is turned back on, the connection remains with the connected device. The pairing is simple – two methods are displayed: Mpow-T5R and Mpow-T5L (right and left), you can connect to any of them, the second one connects on its own. As is the case with other similar headphones, any failures, if they arise, are easily treated by simple reconnection: you need to return the headphones to the situation and then remove them again. They reconnect independently.
The control is simple: to turn on, you need to press once the button of any of the headphones. To turn off – press and hold the button for three seconds: after a double beep, the headphones will turn off. Turn on, turn off, and connect are accompanied by voice commentary in English. When the battery charge level drops to critical, the headphones start beeping. It means that the charge will last for another 5-10 minutes. To activate Bluetooth-pairing, double-click on the button of the right earpiece. To remove all mates, you need to install both headphones in the case and hold both buttons for 15 seconds. During music playback, press once to pause/resume playback or answer a call. Long press hangs up during a call. Double pressing the right headphone button launches the next track, the left one – the previous one.
Despite the lower price tag than the famous competitors, MPOW T5 leaves a surprisingly good impression of the sound, not losing at all to more expensive models. To get things out in the open, after becoming acquainted with this model, I wanted to look at other TWS-headphone models for the same money and even smaller ones. MPOW T5 demonstrated the excellent sound level, and I liked it as a rich sound, excellent sound insulation, and unusually large volume reserve for miniature models. Another surprising discovery for me was the battery life, reaching 7 hours (taking into account the charging case, this is another 28 hours of music, but with a pause of one and a half hours for charging). All this allows not only to give this model an editorial award “we recommend,” but also to say that in the already crowded sky of electronics manufacturers, a new star was formed.