Ameya DalviFeb 26, 2021 11:12:39 IST
We have two pairs of TWS earbuds, both priced at Rs 4,999, that promise to offer excellent audio output in this segment. While one is light on features, the other boasts of a few extras that are missing in its more expensive sibling along with excellent battery backup. Let us take a closer look at the Jays f-Five and Lypertek Levi true wireless (TWS) earbuds.
Jays f-Five True Wireless Review
The Jays f-Five is a unique case. On paper, it is extremely light on features. There is no IP rating for dust or water resistance, not-so-flattering battery backup figures and no support for even AAC codecs, let alone aptX. A near Rs-5,000 pair of TWS earphones with support for just SBC codecs is borderline blasphemous in this age. But, once you put them on and play some music, all of the above seems to be of little consequence. The Jays f-Five are all about lively sound output and nothing else.
These ‘designed-in-Sweden’ buds have a pleasant exterior and a rugged build. The buds resemble miniature golf clubs and fit snugly in the ear without causing the slightest discomfort. The default mid-sized silicone ear tips offer more than decent passive noise isolation (in my case). They have touch-enabled zones at the back that let you access all the key playback functions such as play/pause, previous/next track and volume control using single, double and triple tap. The touch input is fairly sensitive, and it executes the desired function most of the time, but triple tap can be a hit or a miss until you get the hang of the speed at which you need to tap the buds.
The accompanying charging case is made of good quality plastic with a smooth matte finish. It has four tiny LEDs to give you an idea of the remaining charge. There is a USB-C port at the back to charge the case, which is good to see. The company claims a battery life of 4 hours for the buds, with the case providing three more recharges, thus taking the battery life back to 16 hours. In reality, the Jays f-Five managed to exceed 4 hours every time, and the overall battery backup was upwards of 17 hours. While it is good to see the product exceed set expectations, 4.25 hours (buds) and 17 hours (buds + case) are still average by today’s standards. A minimum of 5 hours and 20 hours are good numbers these days.
Each bud is fitted with a 6 mm driver and weighs less than 9 grams. They are Bluetooth 5.0-compliant and pairing them with the phone was a simple and straightforward process. No issues with the wireless range either, with the buds retaining a strong connection up to 10 metres with a clear line of sight and up to 6 metres with a concrete wall in between. The call quality here is quite good. Both parties are perfectly audible to each other, and there is ample clarity on both sides even in noisy outdoor environments. Some ambient noise does seep through, but it is manageable. The only problem during calls is if you happen to touch the back of the earbuds to adjust them, you will accidentally end the call, because a single tap is assigned to the answer/end call function, which is not a wise decision. Double tap would have been a more logical gesture to end calls. There is no way to change this either.
Moving on to the sound quality, the Jays f-Five is a prime example of how earbuds can sound much better if tuned well, irrespective of the Bluetooth codecs they support. The sound output here is slightly on the warmer side of neutral but generally well-balanced. The bass is punchy but tight and does not overshadow the mids. Vocal clarity is quite good, though not exceptional, and so is the instrument separation for this price segment. The highs have just the right amount of sparkle without being sibilant.
There is a good amount of detail in the audio, and the soundstage is fairly expansive. The output is loud enough upwards of 50 percent volume level and doesn’t crack at high volume, which is another plus. All in all, the sound output is enjoyable across different genres of music. In fact, it sounds better than several TWS earbuds that are compliant with AAC and even aptX codecs in this price bracket.
The Jays f-Five sells for Rs 4,999 with a one-year warranty on Headphone Zone and other online platforms. Although these TWS buds lack a few features such as dust and water resistance and popular codec support, they more than make up for that with their balanced and enjoyable sound output. So, if sound quality is all you care for in your earphones, then the f-Fives are bound to impress you. If you are looking for more features and better battery life, read on.
- Warm and detailed sound output
- Good design and build quality
- Comfortable to wear
- USB-C charging port
- Good call quality
- Touch controls with access to all playback options
- No support for aptX or AAC codecs
- Average battery life
- No dust or water resistance
- Accidentally touching the buds during calls causes call drop
Price: Rs 4,999
Lypertek Levi Review
The previous product from Lypertek that we reviewed was quite impressive in terms of both sound quality and battery backup. The Tevi also made it to our list of the best earphones of 2020. The Lypertek Levi is a more affordable version of the Tevi. While it is understandably a notch lower in terms of audio quality and battery backup, it adds a few extra features, and yet sells for a couple of thousand rupees less. The Levi misses out on support for aptX codecs, and you have to make do with AAC. Water resistance has been reduced from IPX7 to IPX5, but that is not a big deal.
In exchange, you get wireless Qi charging and an Ambient Sound mode, both of which are missing in the Tevi. The charging case here is a bit too plasticky for my taste, and the finish isn’t that great, either. The case has four LEDs denoting the quantum of charge. You get a USB-C port for charging along with the wireless option. The buds are quite light, fit well in the ear and stay put even during jogs or workouts. With the right-sized silicone ear tips, they provide good passive noise isolation. Unlike the charging case, the build quality and finish of the buds is quite good.
The Lypertek Levi is Bluetooth 5.0-compliant and supports SBC and AAC codecs. Pairing the earphones with the phone was a lot simpler than its sibling, and a fairly standard process. Wireless range is good – close to 10 metres with a clear line of sight – but they start to stutter with a concrete wall in between. As long as the buds and the source device are in the same room, there shouldn’t be a problem. These earbuds do get one thing right that the majority of TWS earphones with a physical button do not – the placement of the multi-function button. It is present at the top of the buds instead of at the back. Not only is it more convenient to use, but also doesn’t push the buds deeper into the ear when you press it.
The button lets you adjust the volume, jump to previous/next tracks, play/pause the tracks and answer/end calls. Triple click enables Ambient Sound mode that lets some of the outside sounds in. It is quite handy for when you need to be aware of your surroundings (like when you’re crossing the road or for announcements at airports and train stations), or if you simply need to talk to someone without removing the buds. Each earbud is fitted with a 6 mm dynamic driver to handle the entire frequency range. You get three pairs of regular silicone tips and three more pairs of double flange tips in the package. I prefer the former.
The Lypertek Levi strives for a neutral sound signature, with no particular frequency band getting a boost. The mids are handled wonderfully with great detail in sound. The vocals are as good as I have heard in this price segment. Instrument separation is also impressive. However, the highs can be slightly overbearing at times, and do not have the same resolved detail as in case of the Tevi. The soundstage isn’t the best I have come across in the sub-Rs 5,000 segment and feels crammed.
The bass is tight and reasonably punchy, but not boosted, and those used to bass-heavy earphones may find it inadequate. I found it perfectly fine and it has better presence here than in the more expensive Tevi. It may not please the bassheads, but if you are looking for excellent vocal clarity, I cannot think of anything better for under Rs 5,000. Unfortunately, the same clarity cannot be delivered by the Levi’s microphones, and the call quality is below par. While both parties are audible to each other, you don’t sound all that great.
Though the battery life isn’t in the same league as the Tevi’s, it is quite impressive. The company claims a figure of 8 hours of play time for the buds on a full charge and four more recharges using the case, thus taking the total battery backup to 40 hours. The figures are bang on, and I did manage to get pretty much that out of them when listening at 60 percent volume. That is impressive indeed.
Just like the Jays, the Lypertek Levi, too, sells for Rs 4,999 on Headphone Zone with a one-year warranty. The sound output has a great balance, and the vocal clarity is top-notch. Very rarely do you get a TWS pair in the sub-Rs 5,000 budget that handles midrange frequencies as well as the Levi does. Add to that excellent battery life, wireless charging support, and you have a special product on your hands – if you aren’t a basshead.
- Clear and detailed sound output; impressive vocals
- Access to all key playback functions
- IPX5-water resistant
- Excellent battery life; close to 40 hours with charging case
- Smart placement of multifunction button
- Wireless charging
- Ambient Sound mode
- Can sound a little bright in certain tracks
- Unimpressive sound stage
- Questionable build quality of the charging case
- Below par call quality
Price: Rs 4,999