The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are great value true wireless earphones that can go head-to-head with models costing twice as much. Their sound is energetic and vivid, and the active noise cancellation is truly effective. Some modes spoil the sound and drain the battery when they’re not in use, so they lack some of the user-friendliness of the big names – but other strengths make up for it.
- Engaging and vibrant sound
- Very powerful sub-bass
- Great active noise cancellation
- The battery will run down in standby if you’re not careful
- One mode spoils the sound
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are among the best true wireless earphones you can get for under £100, or $130.
If you have’t heard of Edifier before, these earbuds may appear like one of the many no-brand models that pop up on searching for earphones on Amazon. But they are a cut above.
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro offer highly effective active noise cancellation, solid battery life and sound that’s a lot of fun to listen to. Edifier uses an ambitious driver array, with a dynamic driver for the bass and a balanced armature for the higher frequencies.
It’s like having a speaker system with a separate subwoofer, and sounds like it too. Bass is deep and powerful, and doesn’t fog up the sound in the way that some earphones with deep bass can. The bass is over-emphasised somewhat, so the Edifier NeoBuds Pro aren’t quite neutral-sounding earphones.
But should you expect audio perfection for under £100? Probably not. What we do get here represents an excellent deal, however.
- Slightly larger than some
- All-plastic outer design
- IP54 water resistance
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are reasonably large true wireless earphones. A striking angular stem attaches to a little ball of plastic, in which sit the drivers.
For the first few weeks of using these earphones I assumed the silvery outer part was metal – it looks like anodised aluminium. But it’s actually plastic, like the rest of the housing.
One of the advantages of an all-plastic outer is that it helps to keep the weight down, and theses buds certainly don’t feel heavy, nor liable to fall out when worn.
I’ve used the Edifier NeoBuds Pro for at least a half-a-dozen runs now, and they handle the job perfectly. They don’t gradually move out of your ear canal, and their IP54 ruggedisation rating offers good enough protection against a bit of rain or sweat.
The Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 come with significantly better IPX7 water resistance, but I imagine it’s easier to achieve this on earphones that lack active noise cancellation. These earphones have three microphones, each offering a way for water ingress to become an issue.
These mics aren’t simply engaged for ANC, either. The Edifier NeoBuds Pro have the best noise reduction for calls I’ve used in some time. I can only go by second-hand reports here, but the earphones are able to pretty much eliminate loud nearby traffic noise for the person on the other end. This isn’t the kind of thing I’d necessarily expect from an “affordable” brand such as Edifier.
- Strong active noise cancellation
- Up to six-hour battery life
- 24-hour charge case
Even more important, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro’s noise cancellation is great too, significantly better than I expected.
I’ve used these earphones on several train and London Tube journeys, and they almost completely nullify low-frequency noise and a good chunk of mid-range outside sound, too. As IEM earphones, the physical barrier provided by the silicone tips also attenuates treble, giving you the full package.
There are also two levels of ANC power, which you switch between using the Edifier Connect app on your phone. “Low” is marginally less powerful than “High”, but I recommend sticking to Low, for reasons we’ll get to later.
The one issue I have with the Edifier NeoBuds Pro ANC is loud, high-frequency sounds such as putting metal cutlery back in the drawer can cause nasty high-pitch spikes that come across distorted. This isn’t a common occurrence, only certain kinds of near-field noise tends to set it off. Maybe switch off ANC before unloading the dishwasher.
Edifier’s app provides access to a bunch of different extra features. There’s the Game mode, which claims to reduce latency to 80ms. I haven’t noticed a huge difference toggling the mode, but only because the Edifier NeoBuds Pro passed the lip-sync performance test without it anyway. This will probably vary based on the wireless codec your phone uses.
You can also customise the Edifier NeoBuds Pro’s controls in the app. There are no slider controls here, just capacitive taps on the left and right buds. Single taps do nothing, but double- and triple-taps can be set to do the following:
- Volume up
- Previous track
- Next Track
- Game mode
- Voice assistant
- Mode selection
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro have no concept of reducing the volume. You can, however, alter the sensitivity of the tap feature through the app.
Edifier even delivers a truly unusual level of control over the quality of the signal coming from your phone. Use a recent Android device and you may have access to LHDC streaming, support for which was added in Android 10. You can choose between 400Kbps, 560Kbps and 900Kbps streams. The higher ones offer better quality, but may impact signal reliability.
LDAC support is present, too, and you can choose between a 96KHz or 48/44.1KHz sampling rate. I used this since my Motorola Moto G60S doesn’t seem to support LHDC. LDAC and LHDC support help make these HD audio earphones.
I’m generally unconvinced by claims about HD audio in affordable buds, because the tuning and driver quality is (almost) always what defines the limits of the sound, rather than the quality of the stream. But Edifier has gone above and beyond here.
These earphones last up to six hours between charges without ANC, or five hours with it. This seems roughly in line with my experience; I’ve worn them for about four hours with ANC engaged and haven’t received any battery warnings. However, I have found that these buds drain down on their own all the time.
If you take the buds out of your ears with ANC switched on, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro will continue to drain their battery, even if no music is playing and they’re not connected to a phone.
This is a positive in terms of flexibility. It means you can wear the earphones in the office, without any music playing, just to keep external noise at bay. However, there’s no physical button to switch them off, and no ear sensor to help them determine instances where they might be sitting on your duvet, cancelling out sound with no-one listening.
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro need a “battery saver” mode in the app that puts them to sleep when nothing has been played through them for a certain length of time. Right now, every time I come to them, they’re dead.
Best practice is to put them back in their charge case when they’re not in use, something I never remember to do. The case here provides the usual three charges, for up to 24 hours’ total use. It isn’t ultra-small, but there’s a neat little “animated” red LED light bar along the front and, unlike the earphones themselves, the plate on top that looks metallic is actual metal.
- Powerful sub-bass
- Well-textured and detailed mids
- Too bassy on “High” ANC level
I’ve been on a bit of a journey with the Edifier NeoBuds Pro’s sound. At first, I loved it. A few weeks in, though, I started wondering if I needed to stop reviewing headphones entirely – because I was clearly wrong.
Good news: the Edifier NeoBuds Pro sound is actually excellent, and there’s only one way that you can truly mess up their audio balance. Let’s start with their sound character.
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are some of the most exuberant, fun and dynamic-sounding true wireless earphones you can buy for under £100. I listened to them for a couple of days before becoming aware of their price, assuming in that time that they were in the £150-180 range, rather than £100. That alone is enough to get them a recommendation.
Their dynamic driver is used to deliver low bass and sub-bass that, at its most punchy, feels like a boxing glove to the face. Edifier seems to have treated this dynamic unit like a real subwoofer, making its territory the 100Hz and below register, rather than using the companion balanced armature as a treble-only tweeter.
This approach also explains the part of the sound signature I appreciate even more than the bass power. The Edifier NeoBuds Pro deliver mid-range with texture and refinement, which has no place in a bass-heavy set of earphones at this price.
I’d put this down to the use of a balanced armature. These used to be quite common in earphones of around £100 and above, back before wireless units became the norm – and for reproduction of mids and treble, they outperform dynamic drivers.
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro sound so spacious and wide that the otherwise brilliant Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 seem quite small in comparison. There’s great vibrancy here, alongside engaging stereo imaging and an expansive sound.
Where are the downsides? The bass is too pronounced and powerful to consider this close to neutral audio. And here’s the bit that made me think the Edifier NeoBuds Pro were poor earphones for a while: if you use the “High” noise cancellation mode, the bass appears to receive a boost of an extra couple of decibels.
Thanks to the dedicated bass driver, this doesn’t result in the sound becoming muddy. However, I just couldn’t understand why bassists were suddenly upstaging vocals, as if you were listening to the band during a practice session rather than on an album.
This is probably deliberate. In noisy environments the bass loses out, so adding more bass can make the sound more robust. But it’s just not necessary when the Edifier NeoBuds Pro already deliver decent noise cancellation. At one point I spent a noisy 30-minute train journey trying to EQ out this bass boost. I’ve probably spent hours messing about with the in-app EQ total doing so. All I actually had to do was turn off ANC, or set it to the default “Low” – which took me a further week or so to realise.
It’s maddening stuff. That I still rate the Edifier NeoBuds Pro so highly is surely a sign of how good they are, then.
Should you buy it?
Want great sound quality and active noise cancellation for less than Apple or Sony charge? You’ve found the perfect pair of earbuds to suit.
If you’re sensitive to bass-boosted sound and find it tasteless, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro probably aren’t for you, since the added low-frequency excitement can’t be fully dialled out.
The Edifier NeoBuds Pro are excellent true wireless earphones for commuting, for runners or gym fans, and are just all-out fun to listen to. Their sound is wide, expansive, vibrant and engaging.
While many will appreciate their super-powered sub-bass above all else, there’s plenty here in terms of mid-range tonality and texture to please the earphone snobs. They’re not neutral-sounding, and the bass goes overboard if you use one specific sound mode, but the Edifier NeoBuds Pro are among the very best sub-£100 true wireless earphones you can buy.
They sound good enough to justify the price even without ANC. That they also offer great noise cancellation and excellent call performance is just a bonus.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested with real world use
Tested over several weeks
Tested with music streaming services
Used as main headphones for review period
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No, high-quality streaming codecs here are AAC, LDAC and LHDC.
They have IP54 water resistance, which is good enough for a bit of sweat or rain, but not much more than that.
No, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro use a USB-C connector to charge.