AirPod inspired headphones are flooding the market. Most aim for just a cheaper price point, while some aim for a better product. We got our hands on a pair that’s supposed to offer a better product with active noise cancellation, premium audio, and silicon ear tips for a great in-ear seal. Ausounds AU Stream ANC are true wireless earbuds with a familiar look and a familiar charging case.
The AU Stream ANCs are true wireless earbuds clearly modeled off of Apple’s popular AirPods. This means there are no cables and the buds have a long thin stem coming out of the bottom. The discernible differences are that AU Streams are not glossy white, but matte black, and they have silicone ear tips for a truly in-ear fit instead of a molded ear tip that don’t seal inside your ear.
Shaped like a smooth pebble, the charging case also shares similar features. And while the buds are similar in size and feel similar in terms of build quality, the Ausounds’ case is larger and noticeably more plasticky, with a much less premium feel and the AirPods carrying case. While chunkier, the Ausounds case is still pocketable. My cat was kind enough to conduct an unplanned drop test from counter height and the case survived intact. We’d be surprised if it could survive a few more, though.
The buds come with three different sized silicone ear tips so that you can find the most comfortable fit with the best seal. They’re really comfortable to wear and most people will find they do a much better job staying in-ear than Apple’s AirPods. Most buds fall out of my ear, and AirPods barely stay in. Ausounds stay in for most normal activities, and only start to loosen from more intense gym activities with a lot of head movement. While the case doesn’t feel so premium, the buds themselves feel as high quality as Apple’s.
There are no physical buttons on the buds, but the outside logo is a touch button with the same functionality on both buds. It can skip tracks, answer calls, toggle noise cancellation, and activate your voice assistant through a series of taps or long holds. We’re sad to say these functions are mostly unusable. It’s really tough to get them to work reliably, so we mostly gave up aside from the long press-and-hold to toggle active noise cancellation.
The active noise cancellation feature (ANC) is hit or miss on these buds. It’s highly dependent on the environment and your preference. In a generally quiet room, they work really well. An office, or a room with the tv on and some chatter in the background, are examples where noise is greatly reduced without any hiss or anti-noise sounds. In louder environments, like on a plane or a train, the noise cancellation comes with a pretty annoying hum. It will, however, allow you to hear your music or podcast, but you may find the anti-noise him to be even more annoying than the actual noise. We like having the feature and toggling it when necessary. We’ll usually accept the annoying hum when we can’t hear what we’re listening to. The silicone ear tips also provide pretty good passive noise isolation, better than Apple’s AirPods.
One thing we do love about Ausound’s case is that it charges with a standard USB-C cable! And not just that, it can also charge wirelessly with any of the standard Qi-certified chargers. The buds have a 5-hour battery and the case packs an additional 15 hours. These numbers are great for true wireless buds, definitely above average, even if they fall a bit short from Apple’s AirPods.
On to audio quality — They feature a 13mm titanium driver and the brand supposedly places a large emphasis on sound quality. We’re pleased to say they sound excellent. We found them to be more enjoyable than Apple’s AirPods with much better bass and natural warmth. Our only criticism is that the mid-range audio sounds a bit light and recessed, and we’d prefer to hear a touch more detail there. Aside from that they’re pretty well balanced, with little distortion, and are suited for any genre of music. A proper fit with the ear tips and a good seal also contributes to the enjoyable sound experience.
As far as the microphone goes, these headphones are better than average. Voice quality is very clear, even though some ambient noise can still be heard. Apple wins in this category but we were still pretty impressed.
We’d rave about the Ausounds AU Stream ANC True Wireless Earphones headphones if they weren’t priced about the same price ($149.95) as Apple’s AirPods. That said, they certainly offer a better fit than Airpods due to their silicon ear tips, they have noise cancellation that works well in certain scenarios, and they sound better. However, their case is chunkier and cheaper feeling, the touch buttons barely work, they’re a little buggy, and there’s no app. While we think they’re a bit pricey, if you dig the style and don’t care that noise cancellation doesn’t work well in loud environments and the touch buttons are hard to use, then they could be a great purchase for you. Ausounds AU Stream ANC True Wireless Earphones retail for $149.95.