If you like your bass and plenty of it, the Ugreen HiTune T3 are your kind of wireless earbud. The bass heavy-performance does skew the audio balance in a manner that would better suit casual listeners than audiophiles, but with its good levels of comfort and effective noise cancellation, the HiTune T3 is a credible alternative to some of the bigger brands below the £100 mark.
- Rich, warm sound
- Effective noise cancellation
- Good comfort levels
- Stable wireless connection
- Really good value
- Bass performance is a little hard
- Battery life not quite at quoted levels
- Noise cancellation affected by wind noise
- Focus on bassUgreen’s 10mm PU+Wool Dynamic driver set-up carries a very bassy signature
Ugreen is a company with relatively few years on the clock, born in 2012 it’s another Chinese firm whose speciality is mostly to do with accessories: cables, chargers, USB hubs and the like, but also do true wireless, of which the T3 model is their cheapest offering.
It has active noise cancellation, transparency mode and carries Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. Previous cheap true wireless with ANC have taught us to be a little weary of the end result, but the HiTune T3 has us taking a different viewpoint – and a positive one at that.
- Good comfort
- Responsive touch controls
- Long stem design
To say that the HiTune T3 looks like any other true wireless is not of much help – but they do look much like any other true wireless, specially buds that opt for the long stem-based design. Consider a meld of Oppo’s Enco X and Free2 wireless earbuds and you virtually have the Ugreen’s appearance.
They come in black or white finishes, both quite glossy and liable to pick up fingerprints from use but the Ugreen looks more looks more expensive than its £39.99 / $39.99 asking price suggests. Considering the sea of plastic earbuds that litter this price range, this is a step up on the aesthetic front.
They’re also comfortable to wear, slotting in easily and rarely giving the impression that they’d fall out. Longer periods of wear (40 minutes to an hour) did cause a little discomfort but I’m not sure as to whether that was the fit or a little fatigue from the earphones’ bass output. Four ear-tip sizes are provided in large, medium, small and extra small to find a fit and seal that works for whatever size ear.
The Ugreen website isn’t much of a help when it comes to the specification, but the manual reveals an IPX5 resistance, which is strong enough to resist a low-pressure spray of water – say, a spray from a tap, for instance.
Touch controls are located at the top of the stem and cover play/pause, track skipping, noise cancellation and voice assistant activation on a mobile device, so for changing the volume you’ll still have to consult your smartphone. Both taps and holds are responsive, the former doesn’t require much in the way of force to operate. And more importantly with this type of design, taps and holds don’t dislodge the Ugreen from their position, which helps to maintain the seal. It’s a good performance, especially at a price point where touch controls can often leave some true wireless completely flummoxed.
The charging case is bantam class in size: light, pocketable and sharing the same glossy (i.e. fingerprint magnet) finish of the buds. There are three LEDs on its front that reflect its current charge, plus a Bluetooth pairing button on its underside next to the USB-C port. From comfort to aesthetics and operation, the Ugreen impresses at this price.
- Effective noise cancellation
- Stable wireless connection
- Decent enough battery life
If there’s a trend with to be drawn with cheap true wireless in 2022, it’s the introduction of noise cancellation. The Mobvoi Earbuds were the first I noticed that were priced below £50, and the likes of the Creative Outlier Air V3 have Active Noise Reduction (slightly different technology that aims to do the same thing). The Ugreen feature feed-forward noise cancellation that uses microphones on the surface of the earphones to block sounds, and it works effectively so.
The noise isolating seal of the design forms a decent platform for the HiTune T3’s ANC performance as it tackles bassy sounds (like the bumps in train tracks on a commute), dulls the screeching sound of the train’s brakes and ambient, environmental sounds with no false sense of confidence. I’m not talking Bose levels of noise cancellation with the Ugreen, but in light of the price it’s an efficient performance.
The noise cancellation also manages to detune voices well enough, and cars are audibly reduced as they pass by, and while there’s still a degree of ambient sounds that end working their way past the HiTune T3’s noise cancellation, once music starts playing, external noises aren’t much of a distraction at all. There is an issue with wind noise that is noticeable, and there’s not much that can be done than to switch from ANC to the ‘Normal’ if it becomes too annoying.
The Ambient sound mode works in making everything clearer, adding, well, more awareness and while it’s not the clearest or crispest performance, I don’t think that’s as huge an issue at this price as it would at more expensive levels. It’s effective for hearing announcements and such and getting a sense of what’s around you at the very least.
The wireless connection the Ugreen supports if Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC and AAC Bluetooth codec support, and that’s acceptable for the money – it’s not often aptX Bluetooth is supported below £50. You’d need to look closer to £100 if that feature is a priority.
Nevertheless, the strength of the connection has been a plus over the course of testing. There was only one moment where the connection dropped (I must admit I can’t remember where), otherwise, from train stations to busy public places, the Ugreen held steady.
Battery life is claimed at 7 hours over a single charge and 24 with the charging case. An hour’s use brought the Ugreen down to 80% charge, which would suggest a figure close to 5 hours. If that is the case, then I wonder whether the figure Ugreen quotes (reflective of its own testing) is sans noise cancellation. Fast-charging is supported with 10 minutes providing an hour of playback.
Call quality was solid enough for a true wireless. The person on the other end of the line commented that my voice came through clearly, and that background noise wasn’t an issue (sounds came across as an indistinguishable rustle), btu they did say that my voice did go up and down in volume, perhaps a side-effect of suppressing outside noise.
There is no app support, which would have helped in terms of customising the sound and features of the HiTune T3, but it’s also not a feature often seen at this price, so that is that on the feature front.
- Wide soundstage
- Rich, inviting sound
- Bass can overwhelm
The Ugreen’s 10mm PU+Wool Dynamic driver set-up carries a very bassy signature that might turn of audiophiles (if they’re shopping at this price) but might appeal to casual listeners. If you enjoy music with an emphasis on bass then the HiTune T3 provides that in spades, though there are positives and (slight) negatives to that approach.
The obvious positive is that bass is granted a big, emphatic presence with the frequency range, not something that’s a guarantee for cheaper true wireless as bass can often be a weakness at default volumes. That is not an issue where the Ugreen is concerned.
The negative is that the sound can become a little fatiguing if you listen to lots of bassy tracks, as the HiTune T3’s characterises bass with a little hardness that creeps in with rap and hip hop tracks such as Dr Dre’s The Next Episode and Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. Pushing the volume up only increases the hardness.
That’s not enough to sink the Ugreen’s party but it does serve to qualify the performance a little. These aren’t subtle buds in their approach but that’s not the direction they’re going in – these earbuds have a rich, warm and inviting presentation with clear (if slightly rolled off) highs, likeable levels of detail, clear vocals and a soundstage that’s wide enough to not feel as if voices and instruments are bunched together.
These wireless earbuds are much more entertaining, and much better than I would have expected for the price. They’re very good value in that respect.
Should you buy it?
For affordable noise cancellation The noise cancellation at this price is much better than expected, clearing out a decent amount of external noise
If you prefer you music balanced and not bassy The bassy nature of the earphones does make them an acquired taste if you’re not interested in a big bass performance
The Ugreen HiTune T3 have a likable, rich sound that will appeal more to casual users than it would do to those after a clinical and altogether more balanced performance – like the Cambridge Melomania 1+.
However, those earphones don’t boast noise cancellation, which the Ugreen do, and combined with their good comfort, better than expected ANC and decent battery, if you are in the market for affordable earphones with noise cancellation then forget about the notion that Ugreen as a company might be an unfamiliar name, performance-per-pound these true wireless are right up there with the best below £50.
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 over several weeks
Tested with real world use
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There is no app for the Ugreen earphones, so no means of customising its performance, touch controls or upgrading its firmware. What you see is what you get.
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