Aukey is a brand that is known for its chargers, dongles, cables, and more, but after my review of the Aukey EP-T32 Wireless Earbuds a few weeks ago, the company proceeded to send me the EP-N7 for review, too. Catered for more day-to-day use rather than sports and fitness, Aukey's latest earbuds are a nice alternative to Apple's AirPods. And, best of all, at $65, these earbuds are budget-friendly and won't break the bank.
Charging case and battery life
As usual, I'll begin by mentioning the charging case as well as the battery life for these earbuds. Unlike the EP-T32 Wireless Earbuds, the case with the EP-N7 is a lot more compact. It manages to fit in the palm of my hand and is even smaller than Apple's own AirPods case. The case itself also has a brushed plastic feel, which is pretty cool as it makes it feel a bit more premium. I easily slid the case into my jeans pocket when I went for a daily walk.
The pairing is the same as all other Aukey earbuds. When the earbuds are in the case, and the lid is opened, the earbuds will enter a pairing mode. Taken out, it will connect to the last paired device. The earbuds can be powered off at any time by holding on the touch controls and putting them back in the case. Again, it is pretty seamless, but you only can pair the earbuds to one device at a time. Bluetooth will need to be turned off on one device if you want to hand it off to another.
Now, for the battery life. Aukey promises up to 25 hours of battery life when on the go. After wearing the earbuds when editing our OnPodcast podcast, watching it the next day, and then while working the following day, I estimate that the battery is a little bit closer to 20 hours.
Battery life is not too much of a hassle, though, as the EP-T7 sports support for USB-C fast charging. The case can fully be recharged in 1.5 hours. There is no wireless charging, however, which is a bit of a letdown. It reminds me of the original AirPods, which didn't have wireless charging on board.
As for what's included in the box, you get three different size ear tips, as well as a short USB-C cable, and an instruction manual. I'll have more on the tips later. But keep in mind that the earbuds fit snugly in the case, just as Apple's AirPods do. There are magnets to pull the buds into place, keeping them snug in the case and at home when you're not using them.
The fit, the sound, the noise cancellation
But what about the fit? These earbuds are, overall, quite light and comfy. That means the EP-T7 is easy to fit in your ears, without "dragging down." or causing discomfort. I was able to keep the Aukey in my ears for my close to 5-hour workday without having to constantly adjust or move the earbuds around.
Visually, the stem of the Aukeys are black, and are small in length, giving it a slim profile when in your ear. There are also three sizes of silicone ear tips (small, medium, and large) to pick from. I choose the small ear tips, which create a more solid seal to my ears to keep out the outside noise. I loaned the earbuds to my mother for some photos for my review, and she also preferred the smaller tips, too. I think a smaller tip creates a better seal for optimum noise cancellation, as I'll get into next.
Regardless of which tips you choose, the sound quality is great. Of course, it won't be on the same level as AirPods, but for the $65 price, the EP-N7 does not disappoint. Aukey is using 8mm titanium dynamic drivers with AAC/SBC audio coding technology onboard the EP-N7. These are the same as what you find in their other earbuds, but I do think the quality is noticeably better on the EP-N7 than on other Aukey products.
The increase in audio quality is thanks to the hybrid active noise cancellation on board the earbuds, as well as the tight seal with the small ear tips. The tech behind this means the two microphones are able to work together to give you the best audio quality. Basically, the external and internal noise cancellation microphones work in combo to cancel out up to 35DB of ambient noise, according to Aukey. The microphones also work with a transparency mode, too.
To test active noise cancellation, I was sitting in the room with my parents while they were watching TV. The EP-N7 managed to cancel out the noise from the TV in the background, as well as their ongoing conversation, keeping me in my musical vibes.
And, when I was ready to switch back to paying attention to them, I tapped the earbuds to activate the Transparency Mode, which allowed me to join back in the conversation while still listening to the music. It's very reminiscent of what I usually do with my AirPods, where you don't need to take off the earbuds to have a conversation.
In testing the microphone quality, I gave my friend in Los Angeles a Facetime call. Normally, I'd use my AirPods for such calls. She noticed no difference in my voice, telling me it sounded like I was in the room with her. I just think it's a shame I could not control the volume with the earbuds. I needed to constantly reach down to the phone to change the volume.
But, overall, in my audio tests, I really enjoyed how the Aukeys are able to make rock music sound great. I noticed a slight elevation in the vocals of ACDC's Back in Black. In other songs, the earbuds balanced out treble and bass, though the mids aren't as great. I noticed this when listening to Tyla Yaweh's All the Smoke. I still think that if you like balanced music, then the EP-N7 will work well for you.
A final note here comes on the IPX5 rating. Aukey promises that IPX5 water resistance protects against sweat and rain. I didn't test these in the rain or when working out, as the pandemic limits my travel, but knowing that the EP-T32 wireless earbuds also sport the same resistance, it's reassuring.
The touch controls
To end my review, I'll touch on the touch controls of the EP-N7. The controls are very reminiscent of what you get with Apple's AirPods. You can tap or pause on either earbud to play or pause music. Double-tap the left earbud to go to the previous track, double-tap the right earbud to go to the next track. You also can answer or end calls by tapping either earbud or triple tap the earbud to get to your voice assistant of choice.
Overall, the controls are simple. It helps that there's a round touchpad on the earbud, too. This makes it clear where you need to touch to accomplish your task. I just wish the touchpads had volume control, like Microsoft's Surface Earbuds.
Enter our giveaway!
Overall, the Aukey EP-N7 is solid and will offer you a solid alternative to AirPods. The earbuds produce good sound for the price, the battery life is decent, and there's great active and passive noise cancellation. Just keep in mind there's no aptX codec support, and no volume touch controls, and no wireless charging. You'll have to spend more on more premium earbuds for this.
If you're looking for your own Aukey earbuds, you can check out our giveaway. We'll be announcing a winner on March 7 on the OnPodcast!