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Edifier TWS6 review: Sweet sounds, petite and discreet

Andy White
30 Jun 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

The Edifier TWS6 are ultra-compact true wireless earbuds that deliver top-notch audio but are let down by limited touch controls

Pros 
High quality audio and aptX support
Great fit and discreet design
Wireless charging
Cons 
Limited touch controls
Charging case is easily marked
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The Edifier TWS6 are the latest addition to Edifier’s range of true wireless earbuds, which includes TWS models numbered one to five and the noise-cancelling TWS NB. The TWS6 share many characteristics with their stablemates but what sets them apart is an ultra-compact design – made possible by the incorporation of Knowles balanced armature drivers – and the ability to be charged wirelessly.

What do you get for the money?

For £90 you get a pair of IPX5-rated true wireless earbuds that operate over Bluetooth 5 and support both AAC and Qualcomm’s aptX codec, which allows for 24-bit music streaming.

They’re light on features – there’s no noise-cancelling, ambient mode or EQ profiles to choose between – but are big on battery life, with up to eight hours of playback per charge and a further 24 hours provided by their charging case. The case can be charged either via the included USB-C cable or by using a wireless charger, although you’ll need to buy one of those separately.

You also receive five sets of eartips – small, medium and large silica gel options plus 11mm and 12mm memory foam plugs – and three different sized earwings, which can be fitted over the buds to help stabilise them in your ears.

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Are they comfortable?

The TWS6 won a 2020 iF Design Award and it’s easy to see why: at just 12mm in diameter, they’re extremely compact and fit discreetly in your ear. Each bud weighs less than 5g and protrudes out of your ear just enough to provide access to the touch controls while remaining unobtrusive.

After trying various combinations of eartips and earwings I settled on using just the large silica tips. The fit was very comfortable and stable, too, creating a solid seal without putting any undue pressure on my ear canal. Wearing the TWS6 for long periods didn’t result in any ear fatigue and at no stage did they work themselves loose or feel in danger of popping out.

The charging case mimics the earbuds’ compact design in that it’s slender, lightweight and pocketable. However, the shiny plastic it’s made from accumulates fingerprints quickly and is easily scratched, so you’ll want to keep it in a separate pocket from keys or loose change.

How do they sound?

Housed in the compact buds are balanced armature drivers produced by audio manufacturers Knowles. These drivers were first created for use in hearing aids and are typically a lot smaller than their dynamic counterparts, leaving room for a bigger battery and making them the ideal choice for the TWS6s’ dinky buds.

They’re also renowned for delivering excellent detail across mid-range and high frequencies and do just that in the TWS6. Listening to a 2010s Pop playlist on Tidal, vocal-driven tracks such as Adele’s “Someone Like You” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” were reproduced with real clarity and without any harshness. Instrument separation while listening to classical music proved spot-on. During the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, I was able to clearly place the woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings within the composition.

Fortunately, that focus on detail toward the higher end of the audio spectrum doesn’t see the bass reproduction suffer much as a result. There’s not quite the same low-end punch you get from most dynamic or hybrid driver setups but a UKF Drum & Bass 2016 playlist still sounded great. Tracks dominated by weighty basslines remained well-balanced, with low-end sounds prominent without ever becoming overbearing.

Microphone quality isn’t quite as impressive as the audio quality but the microphone itself functions perfectly well for calls. As with most true wireless earbuds, call quality suffered significantly in windy conditions but while indoors the TWS6 works successfully as a hands-free headset.

Are there any drawbacks?

Getting touch controls for true wireless earbuds right is a tricky balancing act. You want to offer the user as much control over their buds as possible without overwhelming them with too many combinations of tapping, pressing and holding. The TWS6 err on the side of caution with just three commands available, all of which are executed via a double-tap. Double-tapping the outside of the left earbud hails your voice assistant, while the same action on the right touch sensor plays or pauses audio. Double-tapping either bud also accepts or ends phone calls.

Personally, I found the controls too limited. There’s no way to increase or decrease volume or skip tracks, which in my mind should be staple inclusions in the touch control repertoire of a pair of earbuds. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s a shame these options weren’t included.

The TWS6 are also not compatible with the Edifier Connect app. This may not be too great a loss given the negative reviews of it online, but it does mean there’s no way to change any aspect of the TWS6. Sonically, I didn’t find that to be an issue – in my opinion, they sound spot-on just the way they are – but those in search of EQ options will be disappointed.

Should I buy the Edifier TWS6?

By using balanced armature drivers rather than dynamic drivers, Edifier has managed to create discreet earbuds capable of delivering great audio. The TWS6 are also comfortable to wear, gym-ready thanks to that IPX5 certification and have battery life that is up there with the best buds around.

While they can’t quite match the value for money of the Creative Outlier Air, they’re more compact and have the option for wireless charging, features which go some way to justifying the extra outlay. And they’re still significantly cheaper than the immensely popular Apple AirPods, which offer a similar audio experience and wireless charging for the princely sum of £159.

If you don’t mind controlling volume and skipping tracks using your smartphone and aren’t phased by the prospect of inevitable blemishes on your charging case, you’ll find the Edifier TWS6 to be a mighty fine pair of earbuds.

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