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Review - QCY T5 (Sub 50€ TWS)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 



I seem to have tried out more TWS stuff in the past month or so than anything else. To say that I am a person that prefers cables wherever possible (not just in audio but also cable vs wifi, power vs battery etc.) it has actually been fun to move around with these TWS IEMs in my ears and not be tied down.

I very recently reviewed the KZ S2 which I thought was a pretty decent option for the 20€ that it cost me (you can see the review here: Review - KZ S2) but that was at a discount price and the QCY T5 that I have here now is 20€ at it’s normal price, so, I’ll give my impressions on this IEM but I’ll also compare it to the KZ along the way as they are competing at the same price range (although I think the KZ is now more expensive).



Build and comfort…

The T5 is presented in a simple white box with a see through top and the contents basically identical to those included with the KZ S2: the IEMs, the case, a couple of spare silicone tips, a charging cable and a user manual. The only real difference is that the T5 has a micro-USB cable whereas the S2 used a USB-C cable for charging.

As far as build quality, it’s not very impressive. A plain black plastic case that feels cheap and a set of IEMs that sort of mimic the shape of the Apple Airpods but in a more generic way. The plastic used is a matt black finish and just looks cheap in general. I guess the case and the IEMs look cheap because they are. 

With the KZ, I mentioned that the case was very light, well, in the case of the T5 it is even lighter, that is due to the case having even less battery capacity (380mAh instead of 500mAh on the S2) and I already complained about the KZ being week in this regard. The battery capacity of the IEMs is actually identical, at 40mAh, but they do seem to last longer on the QCY (I got 4 hours out of them at reasonable volume instead of the 3 I got from the S2)

There is no quick charge function here either. It is a basic micro-USB charge port with half of the input of the S2 but still takes around the same amount of time to charge (as the battery is smaller). At least QCY haven’t put the charge port on the bottom of the case though!

As far as comfort, they are actually very comfortable, at least for me personally. The are easy to place in my ear and give me a good seal even with the standard silicone tips that came with them. In fact, I have again found that I prefer silicone tips on these IEMs rather than the foam tips I usually use.



Functionality…

I find the QCY T5 to be strange as far as functionality. It’s probably just a case of getting used to them but they are different to all other wireless IEMs (and headphones) that I have tried so far (at least, as far as I can remember). Personally, I just don’t find them logical.

The on and off part is simple enough, just like any other TWS IEM, you place them in the case and they turn off and start charging, you remove them from the case and they pair, so far so good. However, for play and pause it is a double tap, for next or previous track it is “keep pressing until it changes”, a triple tap on the left is assistant and a triple tap on the right takes you into gaming mode. It also took me a while to work out where to touch exactly. I still find myself confused at times and there seem to be times when it just doesn’t acknowledge my touches. I am not sure if I just keep hitting the wrong spot or if the IEMs are just ignoring me.

Again, these IEMs lack volume control functionality, something that I would prefer to have on a BT earphone/headphone.

The manual also mentions something about a “3 way calling” function, which allows you to put phone A on hold while answering Phone B and then put Phone B on hold and answer Phone C. I haven’t tried this function as I spend enough time on calls with one phone, nevermind three!



Connectivity…

The IEMs connect quickly to each other and are also relatively quick connecting to the last device, however, I did find the range rather disappointing. When more than 5 or 6 meters away from the device, I would start to get some stuttering and going outside the room, even when very close to the device, they would soon start to have issues.



Sound…

The sound signature of the QCY T5 is very different to that of the KZ S2. Where the S2 had a large emphasis on bass, the T5 is much more balanced and has much less of a dip in the mid frequencies.

As far as bass goes, there isn’t really a lot of sub-bass, at least down in the lowest registers, which means some tracks that depend on this can seem a little lacking when used to listening to them on other IEMs or headphones. Where songs like “Royals” by Lorde, “Way Down Deep” by Jennifer Warnes were far too exaggerated on the S2, this is not the case with the T5.

In the mid and higher bass frequencies, the T5 does a nice job. It keeps the bass defined and clear, without becoming overpowering, and is good at presenting even complex bass passages. “Elephants On Ice Skates” was very enjoyable on the T5, as were other similar styled songs.

When moving to the mids, there doesn’t seem to be any bass bleed that I can hear, and as the bass is a little more retained and the mids do not have the huge dip found on the S2, the transition to the mids is much better, allowing a much better presence of vocals. 

The lower mids stay well defined even when busy and although they are not boosted, they still have enough life and warmth to allow acoustic instruments, such as spanish guitars and basses, to sound natural and avoid any boominess as found on the S2.

The voices sound lifelike and are present, mainly due to a bump somewhere around the 3kHz region. This made many tracks that I enjoy a pleasure to listen to. Nothing really seemed recessed.

When getting to the treble, again, I found them to be pleasurable. There is no huge dip to eliminate sibilance but at the same time, it is not so present to be irritating. On my typical tracks for testing this, there was still a slight presence of sibilance but nothing that made it uncomfortable to listen to. In fact, I found the treble to be pretty well balanced in regards to the other frequencies in general and presented a better sensation of “airyness” than the S2, due to not having that huge dip in the 10kHz region.

The width of the soundstage is pretty much typical for IEMs in the lower price tiers, not very wide, however, placement of images is decent and again makes for a pleasurable listen.

Dynamics and resolution are not outstanding, I wouldn’t expect them to be for 20€, but they do defend themselves well and don’t seem to turn to mud when presented with busy tracks. They are not on the level of some of the wired IEMs I have tried lately but are more than acceptable.

Gaming mode…

With a triple tap on the T5, it takes you into what they call “Gaming Mode” and this is basically the exact same function as the “High Performance Mode” on the KZ S2. This mode reduces the latency and, although I have tried it with video and not gaming, it does a very good job. Again, as with the S2, there is virtually no detectable lag between image and sound when watching videos, although this does reduce battery life.



Conclusions…

I said when I reviewed the KZ S2 that they were a more than decent option for the 20€ that they cost me but I would look at other models if they were twice the price. The QCY T5 are not only the same price but they are in fact cheaper as their normal price is 20€ whereas that was the “Super-Early Bird” price for the KZ.

As far as looks, I prefer the KZ, and the same goes for functionality, I just find the KZ to be more logical for my own use. The battery life is similar on both (although the battery on the S2 is larger) and the charge time is also pretty much identical. 

The “Gaming Mode” on the T5 does the same thing as the “High Performance Mode” on the S2 and I have no complaints with either of them.

Where things do change is in sound signatures. The KZ S2 has a huge amount of bass which can actually overpower the rest of the frequencies quite easily. This bass, along with a huge dip in the mids, does not just make voices seem recessed but also can affect the treble when a track has a lot of bass presence. The KZ also lacks some “air” and a bit of treble in general.

The QCY T5 is a different approach, with a lot less exaggeration on any specific frequency, giving a more balanced and neutral approach. I personally find the T5 to suit my tastes much more than the S2 and presents my usual music in a way that is much more palatable. 

They are not perfect in any way, but they are enjoyable and provide the same commodities that the S2 do with a better (in my opinion) sound signature.

I still feel that that the S2 is a decent buy for 20€, I just think that the T5 is a much better buy.


SenyorC