In a world awash in earbuds, it’s not easy for lower-end products to keep their heads above water. But some manage to do it through solid overall quality and a good feature spread, like the new Ugreen T3 HiTune ANC Wireless Earbuds.
They’re not going to compete with many products at mid-to-high price points, like AirPods Pro and competitors. But the T3s offer bass to burn, an OK fit and a range of solid features at $40.
What you don’t get is top-notch sound across all frequencies, stellar ANC or a sense of tremendous build quality.
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Ugreen T3 HiTune Active Noise Canceling (ANC) Wireless Earbuds
The HiTune T3s’ design brings to mind AirPods, with significant stems that slide down holes in the vertical charging case. Buds and case sport a high-gloss finish in black or white.
The stems slot into the middle of the case, with the ear tips facing outwards, to accommodate the case’s slender oval design. And it’s the design that renders the case unable to stand upright. That’s a bit odd, but probably not a dealbreaker for most people.
On the front of the case you see three LED lights. They indicate battery life. A small button on the bottom of the case lets you change which devices the earbuds are paired with through Bluetooth 5.2.
Generally, the case and its design are fine, though they don’t a great sense of solidity. Durability could be worth wondering about.
Good fit is crucial, but these were a bit tricky for me
As with any earbuds, you’ve got to be sure they fit comfortably. If they don’t, or if they seem prone to falling out, you’re not going to wear them no matter how great they sound. But they might not sound great with a “meh” fit, either.
Anyway I had about a mediocre fit at the price point concerns seemed allayed at first. They seemed comfortable. But soon enough I began to doubt I was getting a good enough seal to help ensure full sound and help with noise cancellation.
The trouble is that an earbud that fits great in one person’s ear may not suit another’s. I turned and jiggled the T3s to settle them in. But I struggled a bit to get them far enough into the ear canal. The earbud body seemed to interfere with the tip pressing far enough in.
Physically pressed in, the buds’ full sound was apparent, with heavy bass. Otherwise, the audio could sound thin.
The buds come with four sizes of gel ear tips (extra small, small, medium, and large), so you can swap out the default size for a better fit.
Whether sitting at my desk, moving around the house or going for strolls, I rarely felt like the buds might fall out. Higher impact exercise might cause an issue though. There are other buds for that.
The buds sport an IPX5 rating, so they’ll stand up to some sweat or damp weather, but don’t submerge them.
Reasonable bass-heavy audio quality
Until recently budget buds sometimes favored high frequencies at the expense of bass. But the T3 buds seem to go the other way. Whether they push too much bass is a matter of opinion, of course. And, as noted above, it also depends on how the buds fit.
At any rate, they present decent volume but don’t sound particularly well-balanced. The bass becomes a bit of a wash, with individual notes poorly articulated. Meanwhile, the mids and highs aren’t so well-defined, either.
That doesn’t mean the buds have bad sound for their price point. But they’re certainly not for audiophiles, or audiophile wannabees.
For folks who just want to play tunes through their smartphone and prefer a bass emphasis, these could be fine. And they do a good job with spoken word, as with radio programming, podcasts and phone calls.
But you should note, there is no companion mobile app. That’s pretty common with low-priced buds. But that means you can’t adjust default frequency tuning through an EQ or any other settings. With these buds, the sound is the sound.
- Drivers: 10mm PU + wool composite dynamic
- Frequency range: 20Hz-20kHz
- Active noise cancelation: Yes, up to 25dB
- Solo bud mode: Yes
- Bluetooth version: 5.2
- Supported codecs: AAB, SBC
- Battery Life: 7 hours for the buds, 24 hours with the charging case
- Charging: USB-C, no wireless
- IP Rating: IPX5
- Earbud weight: 5.1g
- Case weight: 33.5g
- Ear tips: 4 sizes total (extra small, small, medium, large)
Easy to use but ANC is underwhelming
Overall, the T3s are straightforward earbuds that are easy to use.
They automatically turn on when you pull them out of their case and automatically turn off when you slip them back in.
They support solo bud mode. That means they’ll play audio when you use one bud at a time.
Instead of physical buttons, they use touch controls. The touch control area is quite sensitive, though, so it’s not hard to trigger actions through accidental touch.
And a nice “touch,” so to speak, is that the buds play a quiet tone to let you know you’ve activated a control.
The range of touch controls is brief, so you won’t have to learn a lot. One tap on either bud lets you play or pause audio. A double-tap on the right bud skips to the next track. A double-tap on the left bud takes you to the previous track.
You can also take calls. Double-tapping either bud lets you answer or end a call. Pressing and holding either bud for two seconds lets you decline a call. Call quality is decent, not great. Each bud has two microphones.
To activate your voice assistant, long-press the left earbud for two seconds. The same action on the right bud toggles through ANC, ambient sound mode and normal mode (no ANC). To adjust volume you’re stuck with your device’s controls.
The T3s’ ANC is not particularly strong. The settings block noise, but not much. You may find the full ANC mode is about equivalent to another earphone’s ambient setting.
Charging and (good) battery life
The T3 buds appear to have plenty of juice. They last for about 7 hours on a single charge, and the included case gives you up to 24 hours. The case charges via USB cable. It’s not wireless for Qi charging, unfortunately. But that’s not surprising for $40.
It takes about an hour and a half to recharge the earbuds fully and something on the order of two hours to recharge the case. While there is no dedicated fast-charge option, the charging speeds aren’t bad.
The bottom line
Generally, I found Ugreen’s HiTune T3s to be a pretty good value. Their default sound profile with excess bass and lack of frequency tuning didn’t impress me but also didn’t appall me. The decent audio quality, especially for uses like movies, podcasts and calls, will be fine for many folks.
Good battery life, comfortable fit and straightforward touch controls help these buds out. Better ANC, a companion app and truly premium sound would help, but they still check a bunch of boxes for sub-$50 buds. And if you’re into bass, they might work for you, at least as backups.
Where to buy: Amazon
Ugreen provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.