Cheap wireless bluetooth earphone showdown: Haylou GT1 Plus v Original i10 TWS v Samsung Galaxy buds SM-R170 clone v JHO A9

Left to right: JHO A9, Samsung Galaxy buds SM-R170 clone, Original i10 TWS, Haylou GT1 Plus

Left to right: JHO A9, Samsung Galaxy buds SM-R170 clone, Original i10 TWS, Haylou GT1 Plus #BestCheapTWS

Executive Summary

Four sub $25 great value true wireless stereo earbuds each with their own strengths.

GT1+ has the best sound quality, microphone quality and Bluetooth connection range though lacks volume control.

Original i10 is the easiest to pop in and out and forget one is wearing. A good all-rounder and the most fashionable though it lacks volume control.

Galaxy buds clone has the most enjoyable sound at very low volumes with the most deep rumbling bass. It is fashionable, coming in 3 colours and has volume control.

A9 is the cheapest and best suited to sports since very stable on the ear and has volume control and long battery life. The sound quality is enjoyable however the microphone quality is only barely acceptable.

Positions (best to worst)

Sound quality (10 is excellent)
1 – GT1+ (9; mids focus, no major issues)
2 – Original i10 (8; mids focus, less deep bass)
3 – Galaxy buds clone (8; less clarity)
4 – A9 (6; less clarity)
Playtime before recharge from case
1 – A9 (5h)
2 – GT1+ (4h)
3 – Galaxy buds clone (3h)
4 – Original i10 (2.5h)
Comfort
1 – Original i10 (easy to forget one is wearing)
2= – GT1+
2= – Galaxy buds clone
4 – A9 (pressing button pushes into ear)
Bluetooth connection range – distance in metres from house through wall to garden before drop outs start to happen
1 – GT1+ (28m)
2= – Original i10 (14m)
2= – Galaxy buds clone (14m)
2= – A9 (14m)
Microphone quality (10 is excellent)
1 – GT1+ (8)
2 – Original i10 (7)
3 – Galaxy buds clone (6)
4 – A9 (4; barely acceptable)
Controls
1= – Galaxy buds clone (touch pause, volume, skip, assistant but no audio confirmation of invocation)
1= – A9 (button pause, volume, skip, assistant)
3= – GT1+ (touch pause, skip, assistant)
3= – Original i10 (touch pause, skip, assistant)
Loudness
1 – Galaxy buds clone
2 – A9
3 – i10
4 – GT1+ (still gets adequately loud)
Price
1 – A9 (£12)
2 – Original i10 (£16)
3 – Galaxy buds clone (£17)
4 – GT1+ (£20)
AliExpress details

Comparison of Samsung Galaxy buds clone to Haylou GT1+

Samsung Adapt Sound equalisation profiles

All tests carried out on a Samsung Galaxy S7 mobile phone.

About the reviewer’s preferences

I own a $2000 Genelec studio monitor/sub combination and over 30 earphones and headphones (including studio grade Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser Amperior, Shure SRH840, Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro, KZ ZS5 v1 quad driver earbuds), most costing much more than those reviewed here.

Each has their pros and cons and a style of delivery – exciting (v-shaped i.e. more bass and treble), natural, analytical and bright (less bass and more treble), warm and smooth (more bass and less treble), etc.

My preference is for a true and natural sound that is also somewhat exciting (think Etymotic with more involving bass) and the GT1+ gives me at least 80% of the best sound I’ve heard in a physical form I find comfortable and convenient and at a price where I won’t be too sad if I lose or break it.

Nowadays, with the high quality of mass produced consumer electronics, for most people diminishing returns becomes a factor at a much lower price point than in the past. I can enjoy the musical experience from a $25 set like the GT1+ as much as that from my $250 Sennheiser HD600 headphones.

Microphone test recordings

To come..

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#BestBudgetTWS