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> Ugreen BT5.0 TWS Earphones (CM338), Real World Usage...Music & Calls. (Review)

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TSvoncrane
post Dec 29 2019, 06:30 PM, updated 3y ago

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Hey all, this thread will be about Ugreen's premiere True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones, model no. CM338. AFAIK, they initially debuted in Malaysia as a promotional item during the previous 11.11 sales on Lazada (possibly on Shopee too). Given typical Ugreen products, this too appears to be met with decent expectations & acceptance. In my typical fashion, this review is a real world review, having used the device as a daily driver for about 3 weeks. So let's get on with it....

Some customary official images to whet your appetite;
Attached Image Attached Image

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Box & Actual Hardware
» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

Yup, it does look nice and all. Moving on to things I consider pros and others cons. Though I'll have to agree that some cons are more of me nitpicking than actual deal-breakers. But hey, these cost around RM100...So bear in mind, this isn't marketed or even priced as a luxury product or audiophile level. There's that. .. on with it then.

PROS
*Pairing is easy enough as with most TWS earbuds. You take them out of the case and both immediately enter pairing or connecting mode. The latter happens when a previously paired device is on and ready to connect.
*Each box ships with 3 different earplug sizes.. Small, Medium & Large. Obviously they aren't independently labeled, but you can tell the differences by looking at them. I encourage you try a couple out and see which fits you the most.
*With a single earphone battery capacity of 30mAh. Playback lasts around 4 hours. Charging using the case takes about an hour from depletion to full again.
*Charging the depleted case (480mAh) itself takes about 2 hours. The fully charged case is capable of recharging the earbuds 4 times (both earphones used), and 9 times if it's just one being used the whole time.
*Case is small and slick enough to fit comfortably in most pockets and for some, without showing any bulge. The roundness and smoothness helps tremendously here. As it can move around without getting stuck in a cerain position, say fighting with keychains, etc.
*Case's build quality is solid when closed. Though it doesn't come without its demerits. See cons below.
*Box states its for Android & iOS, however it does work on Windows PCs. Test carried out with a Windows 10 PC, earbuds and mic work as intended.
*In-built Microphone on both earbuds. However, only one side works at a time. Usually the earbud that's brought out first. I didn't notice it until I was testing it via windows PC. Cuz you can see the bars on the screen moving in relation to input strength. Not much of an issue per se, but worth pointing out. So if you (like me) typically brings out the right earbud first, then expect that mic to be the functioning one. I would guess this to be a battery saving "feature" as opposed to a technical limitation.
*The following modes are supported when connected to a mobile phone (Primary test-bed: Android);
...Phone Calls
...Media Audio
...HD Audio:AAC
...Contact Sharing
*Voice assistant wake-up works.
*Android Smart lock is supported. This may or may not be a blessing to you. Sure, it makes it easier to unlock your device.. On the negative side, all a robber has to do is walk away with both your buds and the phone. Not so great now is it.. tongue.gif So, I'd say be careful which devices and or locations you enable this feature with..
*Voice prompts (English Only) are present to affirm various statuses, such as;
...Source Connected/Disconnected
...Single earbud connections
...Pairing mode activation
...Power On/Off
...Left/Right Channel connected
...You have an incoming call.
..."Reject" for when an incoming call is rejected from the earbuds.
..."Over" for when a call is ended from the earbuds.
*Touch button commands are included..The basics are all there, though I feel it could have been more intuitive. Currently, it operates as follows;
...Answer/End calls: Double tap on either earbud.
...Reject an incoming call: Long press the touch button for 2 seconds.
...Play/Pause: Double tap on either earbud.
...Previous song: Long press the touch button on the Left earbud.
...Next song: Long press the touch button on the Right earbud.
...Activate Voice Assistant: Ensure you are connected to the device and in a standby state. Tap three times on either bud to call up Siri or the Voice Assistant (Not just Google's) on some Android phones. "Some" is used as not all Android devices have proper functioning Voice Assistants.

CONS
*Can only be connected to a single source at a time.
*Sweat-proof, not waterproof.
*Magnetism between the earbuds and the case should be stronger, for a slightly more convenient storage.
*In-built mic is poor when out in public...Tried using it on the street and in malls. Same experience...Worse off than others as it only utilizes one of the 2 available mics at a time..other party had difficulty hearing me. Works alright in closed-off reasonably quiet environments though (i.e home, car, etc). So I advise to only rely on it at such places.
*No volume increase/decrease touch button commands. IMO, for a truly wireless experience and comfort, I would like to not have to always reach for the audio source's volume controls every time.
*No ANC... Not really a con at this price point. But for those interested.. There is some noise canceling effect cuz after-all, it's still an in-ear earphone. Unfortunately it's not so ideal, as I can still hear typing sounds from my regular non-mechanical keyboard, on a desk in front of me.
*No Qualcomm® aptX™ HD Audio support. As such there's only a barely noticeable lag. It would be nice to have that in the next revision. Higher resolution audio & significantly reduced latency.
*Both earbuds are marked "L" for left & "R" for the right side. However, they aren't exactly legible to read and both shapes are identical. Meaning that unless systematically removed from one's ears and straight into their respective slots, either of the buds will fit in the other's slot. Causing slight confusion when blindly taken out and re-inserted back into one's ears and playing audio with distinct left and right channel signals.
*To put it simply...I dislike the case's material. TBH, Glossy black plastic shines when clean & new and is great for photo-shoots, etc. But practicality-wise, it's a wrong choice for anything that requires constant touching and usage. Smudges, fingerprints, dust, etc.. It attracts & retains them all. Particularly with the shape of the case. Our palms tend to get wet and or oily, making one-handed fish, grip and flip open motions, harder than they should be. On more than one occasion, I found myself making multiple attempts to open it up in a fluid motion. Most times, I just give up and use both hands. On the up side, cleaning is easy. Just a simple wipe or 2 and we shiny again.
*Lastly, there's a weak point with the case's hinges (at least with my unit). Opening or once opened, they feel weak and wobbly. I feel there should be more tightness to them to offer us a sense of increased durability. Thankfully there are magnets to help snap the case shut. But it was the first thing that concerned me after unboxing the device.

Conclusion
All in all...Let's forgo the cons and nitpicking.. They fit nice and snug. Won't fall off during mild activities and the bass is (dare i say) just about right...Nothing too heavy or too light. The Mids are okay and the Highs are quite good. Best thing about using them is speech clarity. Using them to listen to audio podcasts (talking) makes for a truly enjoyable experience. I find that I don't have to crank the volume level too high, in order to clearly hear the proverbial pin drops. Easily maintains connection with the source 30ft+ away in the same room. Put the usual obstacles between it and as expected audio drop-outs occur. So I'd say the earphones performed okay. They are from Ugreen and having used a couple of their products as daily drivers. I can attest to their durability and reliability. Though seeing as this is an entirely new category for them, time will tell how well-built these particular model is. Nonetheless, I've got high hopes for it.

Many thanks to Ugreen for providing this unit and allowing me to review objectively. Feel free to get units from their official stores below;

Lazada Store
Shopee Store
Aliexpress Store
Official Ugreen Website



This post has been edited by voncrane: Dec 29 2019, 06:40 PM
TSvoncrane
post Dec 29 2019, 06:31 PM

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From: Wakanda


Placeholder for updates...
blurjoey
post Dec 29 2019, 11:21 PM

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Another good review voncrane

 

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