Aukey EP-N5: Entry-level ANC that gets it (mostly) right
Macworld|April 2021
Good sound and decent active noise canceling for a wallet-friendly price.
BEN NORRIS

Not too long ago, you would have been right to doubt the quality of any true wireless earbuds with active noise canceling selling for less than $100. The $60 Aukey EP-N5 thus serve as a pleasant reminder that the technology is no longer as out of reach as it once was. These buds still fall short in features like mic quality and water resistance when compared to pricier competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Sony, but they’re worth checking out if you’re hunting for good sound and decent ANC above all else.

From a distance, the EP-N5 earbuds look even more expensive than they actually are, in part because the design of both the case and the buds pulls so heavily from Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro— save for the fact that they only come in black. The difference in build quality is more apparent once they’re actually in your hands, as Aukey crafted them in a lightweight plastic that doesn’t feel super durable but does help keep them comfortable when worn for hours at a time.

The case itself is a smooth and pocketable little thing, which grants around 35 extra hours of play on top of the seven or so hours you’ll get from the buds themselves without ANC flipped on. With the ANC on, unfortunately, the buds’ battery life drops to roughly four hours, especially if you like listening to music at high volumes. On the bright side, a row of four LED lights on the front of the case keeps you updated on how much juice the case has left, and the USB-C charging port ensures that you should easily be able to find another cord to charge it with if you can’t find the short cord that comes in the box.

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