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Tronsmart Apollo Air+ Review

Verdict

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The Tronsmart Apollo Air+ are interesting buds, offering decent sound quality and several nice mod-cons to make a good first impression. But with a poor companion app, an uncomfortable fit and unconvincing ANC, they fall short of greatness.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Light design
  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • So-so ANC
  • Buggy app
  • Uncomfortable for long periods of use

Key Features

  • AptX supportSupports higher-quality Bluetooth streaming
  • Tronsmart appApp features EQ customisation

Introduction

In 2021, releasing new wireless earbuds isn’t a task for the easily deterred. Amidst a heaving sea of options available at multiple price points, making a product with a unique offering is only half the battle; standing out at all is the real struggle.

Enter small vendor Tronsmart with its Apollo Air+ earbuds. These are among the most premium products in its lineup, and as such are its most definite statement of intent regarding where the company hopes to go. These are the buds that it hopes will ignite the market, making a name for the company among the public.

They come sporting a host of features, including active noise cancellation (ANC), a Qualcomm QCC3046 chip, wireless charging, in-ear detection and a companion app. However, whether this shopping list of specifications coalesces into a coherent and desirable product isn’t a certainty, and the competition is tough.

Availability

  • UKRRP: £74
  • USARRP: $100

The Tronsmart Apollo Air+ is available now from Tronsmart and Geekbuying for prices starting at £74/$100. They’re available in just one colour option (Black).

Design

  • AirPod-clone design
  • Charges via USB-C
  • Constructed from glossy plastic

In general terms, the best way to stand apart from the crowd is to offer a distinctive design. Something that catches the eye, in a good way, and that will fit in anywhere but without also being bland.

Tronsmart has gone for each of these points – but, unfortunately, has managed to miss the mark on both counts.

Tronsmart Apollo Air+ on table

To begin, although the buds are pleasantly light, they’re made from a glossy plastic. In addition to feeling a little cheap, we found in general use that these buds easily picked up skin oil and various other human debris. The more fastidious will want to keep a microfibre cloth handy when out and about with these buds.

The buds follow the design first popularised by Apple back in 2016. The buds aren’t secured in the outer ear and have stalks that poke down past the earlobes. The Tronsmart logo, etched in silver, can be found on each bud. However, the combination of the silver colour and the logo itself gives these earbuds the appearance of a BlackBerry imitation product.

Tronsmart Apollo Air+ in the ear

More aesthetic points aside, I found that the Apollo Air+ are generally comfortable to wear, but that their position in the ear can result in slight chafing with extended use. This will in part be due to unique ear shape; nevertheless, those who listen to their music for long periods will want to watch out regardless.

The case is small, around the size of a box of floss, and will fit into most pockets and bags with ease. It also offers wireless charging, which is a nice touch for those who have the necessary equipment to hand.

Features

  • Offers a companion app
  • Wireless charging case
  • Active noise cancellation

Hitting a certain price point nearly always entails a degree of sacrifice on the part of a manufacturer. And with the Tronsmart Apollo Air+ buds, it is clear where these sacrifices lie.

From first appearances, the buds have plenty of features, more so even than some options at higher price points. However, soon the cracks begin to show. Perhaps the best example of this is the included app.

This offers the ability to set an equaliser preset, to change touch controls and more, and with an Android phone I had no issues doing this. Move to iOS and even after a week of trying and using different devices, I was unable to get the app to recognise the buds. As such, those invested in the Apple ecosystem may wish to look elsewhere.

Tronsmart Apollo Air+ close up

The ANC, too, suffers a few issues. Although it does drop the volume a few decibels, the effect is decidedly subtle in its approach. This was the case with the included pass-through mode, too, which didn’t work quite as advertised, failing to bring the outside in to any noticeable degree.

A slightly more positive point is the call performance. Boasting six microphones, I found the buds managed to pick up voices quite clearly, to the effect that callers couldn’t easily tell that I was speaking over Bluetooth.

Sound quality

  • AptX HD offered
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Equaliser available through app

If it’s easy to disguise earbuds as premium and different through design, it is very much the opposite with sound quality. Without the appropriate investment in tech and tuning, budget buds generally sound flat, muddy and bass-heavy, even at the relatively high £/$100 price point.

Luckily, then, the Tronsmart Apollo Air+ buds stand above the crowd for their sound quality, and not a lack thereof. This is in part aided by the their relatively snug fit – the seal created does a better job of creating isolation than the ANC.

Tronsmart Apollo Air+ on wooden floor

The resulting profile is pleasingly bright and dynamic; the buds showcase some energy and decent warmth in the bass. There’s also a decent stab at some stereo separation, with good spacing between instruments. This suits complex tracks well, especially classical arrangements.

A weak point is an occasional appearance of sibilance in certain tracks, although this may be a byproduct of Bluetooth connectivity rather than an inherent characteristic of the buds.

In all, some occasional hiccups aside, the Tronsmart Apollo Air+ buds make for an entertaining listen and are well suited to a variety of genres, with no particular weak points. To achieve such a well-rounded performance at this price point is no mean feat, and for this the company is to be commended.

Should you buy it?

You listen to a variety of music genres The Tronsmart sonic characteristics make them well-suited for a range of music genres.

You need effective ANC The passive isolation offered by the earbuds’ design does a better job of insulating you from external sounds than the ANC does.

Final thoughts

Standing out in the current headphone market is no easy task. There are hundreds of TWS buds available at almost every price point, each of which is trying to be better than the rest or to do something different.

The Tronsmart Apollo Air+ are a solid if unremarkable entry, offering good sound quality and so-so design, but no real reason for excitement of any kind. They’re mostly comfortable in daily use, offer wireless charging and a sound profile that will work well with most genres of music.

But with a finicky app, poor touch controls, some issues with sibilance and, on occasion, uncomfortable design, Tronsmart still has plenty to do before claiming these as the best ‘premium’ budget buds.

Ultimately, however, there are better options available at the price point, or for less. There’s plenty of potential for improvement here, but for the moment, the Tronsmart Apollo Air+ don’t get our full recommendation.

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How we test

We test every headphone 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.

FAQs

Are the Apollo Air+ waterproof?

Yes, they’re waterproof to the IP45 rating, so they’re resistant to dust and water.

Do the Apollo Air+ have a USB-C connection?

Yes, they do.

Do the Apollo Air+ support on-board volume controls?

You can control the volume on the earbuds themselves.

Specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
Manufacturer
IP rating
Battery Hours
Wirless charging
Fast Charging
Weight
Release Date
Driver (s)
Noise Cancellation?
Connectivity
Colours
Frequency Range
Headphone Type

Jargon buster

aptX

Qualcomm’s aptX codec can support higher quality audio than Bluetooth alone.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth - named after 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark’s tribes into a single kingdom - is a method of wireless transmission that allows for the exchange of data between devices over short distances.

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