Sure those Apple Airpods are nice but my budget doesn’t stretch to that. So after many searches for cheap bluetooth headphones, my super cheap Rcool Twins TWS wireless earbuds arrived.
First impressions of the £11 earbuds:
I plugged them in with the short double headed cable (see above) and they produced a nice red glow – and when they were charged a nice green one
They don’t appear to have come with any instructions although all the descriptions say 1x User Guide – I probably need to double check the envelope in case there is a tiny slip in there
Anyway they fit nicely in my ear and feel secure (they don’t appear to have come with any alternative sized tips – but I’ve plenty of those as I always put the spares you get with most earbuds in my little stash…) Assuming you can actually change the tips on these of course!
Turned one on and the nice Chinese girl announced “Power on!” Held the button down and got “Pairing” – and then “Connected”
The sound is pretty good – definitely for my usage which is 90% podcasts. I’m no audiophile so I’m not that fussy – if I was to say anything about the sound music-wise it’d be that it’s perhaps a touch tinny.
The earbud let me listen to podcasts and music – neither of which the iPhone allows my (beloved but admittedly old) Motorola H350 bluetooth earpiece to do.
So far so good. Now it gets a bit odd… Turned on the second one – and the nice girl announced the power on – in Chinese (Mandarin I would have to assume…)
I decided to ignore that little oddity for now and carry on – after all, the Bluetooth operations are usually the same on all earpieces. Press to turn on, hold down to invoke pairing, etc. [That shows what I know… the rest of this piece was written “on the fly” as it happened while I spent a day in the hospital with my son waiting for him to have some minor surgery – he is fine btw and recovering well. Bear in mind I didn’t have any instructions and was trying to figure this out with a mixture of logic, experience and the help of Mr Duck Duck Go]
The second earbud paired as easily as the first but oddly identified itself as TWS 11 identically to the first. But no sound – only getting sound from the first one – tapped the button the on the second one to stop the playback – that worked, tapped again to restart and I’ve got sound in the second earbud but now the first is silent…This will need more investigation – perhaps with the help of the Duck.
If in the end it turns out they’re not really a “pair” in the true sense I think I’ll be a touch disappointed but not desperately upset – however I shan’t judge till I have investigated properly.
Note that these earbuds have no volume controls or anything like that – only the one big on/off and tap for start/stop, invoke Siri, answer/end calls etc. There is a tiny pinhole by the button at the “fat end” which I am assuming is a microphone – not sure what sort of quality that’s going to produce on a call but I’ll see later I suppose.
Ok the Duck found me this
- Two headphones connected to the phone to talk, only the left channel headphone works, when listen music, two headsets work.
- Two headphones for wireless stereo (TWS) connection can only use the left channel headset to connect the phone, if use the right channel of the headset to connect the phone,
- when the left channel headset automatically connected to the right channel headset after the phone connection will be interrupted. after the two headphones are connected with themobile phone successfully, the next time you turn on the two headphones, they will automatically return to the connected mobile phone, if you do not connect automatically, please press the left channel headset button, Back to the phone.
Seems I need to experiment a bit – why one is in Chinese I don’t know OK so I solved the Chinese thing with some help from the Duck, you need to power up, hold power to get pairing mode and then double click the control button really rapidly and the nice Chinese lady now says “English voice prompt” Interestingly this earbud seems a bit more muted/bassy/muddy sounding on music playback than the other one. Perhaps as a pair they’d give a good mix?
Just gotta find out how to get them to play together properly
Ah ha – I have cracked it, or perhaps more correctly the Duck did… And I quote:
How to pair with Your Bluetooth Device
- Ordinary mono connection: a: Long press “MFB”(Multi-function button) for 5 seconds, till Red and Green LED indicator light flashing alternately the headphone will report “ready to pair”. b: Enable the Bluetooth function of the device and search for available Bluetooth devices, then select “TWS 11” from the search results. c: the Red and Blue [actually it is green as they mention originally] indicator will stop flash, and you will hear a “Beep”, means it is connected.
[BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY…]
- Wireless Stereo Connections(TWS) 1:Long Press the power button of the 2 headphones about 10 seconds at the same time until the red and green lights flashing simultaneously. And then the 2 headphones will connect automatically. [To each other they mean]
- After the 2 headphones connected,the headphones will report “connected” and the 2 headphones will report “left channel” and “right channel” respectively,and then turn the 2 headphones off.
- Take the left channel headphone and long press the button till Red and Green LED indicator light flashing alternately to enter into pairing status.Enable the Bluetooth function of the device and search for available Bluetooth devices, then select “TWS 11” from the search results.
- Take the right channel and turn it on.the right and the left channel headphones will connect automatically. Then you can use the 2 headphones on your cellphone at the same time.
The secret of my success? Forget both previously paired TWS 11 devices from the iPhone, turn off Bluetooth on the phone…. turn both earbuds on simultaneously and hold the button down till they connect TO EACH OTHER… and one says left channel and one says right channel like the instructions say. Turn them both off and turn on Bluetooth on the iPhone. Now turn on the left channel earbud and pair it to the phone. THEN – once that’s going turn on the right channel and it connects and you get “second device added” followed by the report of left channel and right channel – and then you have glorious 360° stereo. Only the left earbud is actually paired to the phone – the right is effectively a slave to the first one as far as I can tell. It’d have been a lot easier if I’d found the instructions in the pack when I opened it I am sure!
Still it’s kept me occupied – something to pass the time while I sit here waiting.
Now I found how to make them work correctly for £11 and £1.50 postage these are pretty excellent. Nice fit for me, comfortable and light, they feel secure in my ear. Good enough sound quality, responsive controls with a large easy to find “MFB” (as they so eloquently described it). Only downside I can find atm is no volume control on the earbuds themselves. I can live with that though.
Final thoughts: Spent most of the afternoon using them to listen to podcasts and Amazon Music. I must have wrung maybe 6 hours out of them before they said “Low Battery… Please charge!” and that strikes me as pretty damn good. I have already liked them so much I have ordered a second pair for the wife. 😀