Aukey EP-N5 True Wireless ANC Earbuds | $45 | Amazon | Promo Code KINJAEPN5
I’ve misplaced my earbuds enough to know that I’m not willing to spend hundreds on the best pair. While you’re getting what you’re paying for when investing in genre juggernauts like the Sony WF-1000XM3, that’s too rich an investment for me considering the risk involved. Given the chance to test Aukey’s new EP-N5 earbuds, I jumped to see how well something so affordable could hold up.
Open the box and you’ll find inside a matte black flip lighter style charging case cradling two waterproof (IPX5) buds with remarkably oblique earpieces. Unfortunately, they didn’t work so well for my ear shape out of the box, but I also have a shoddy history with golf tee earbuds and I much prefer the twist-lock style. The EP-N5's shape seems to fit better in my ears than other similar products, though, and there are two extra tip sizes if your ears don’t agree with the default.
Those tips also help create a crucial seal between your eardrum and the outside world, and that alone blocks out a good range of noise, but add in surprisingly effective active noise cancellation, and I’m not exactly dying to own a pair of AirPods Pro right now.
Whether or not ANC is engaged, you’re in for some solid sound. I ran the dual 10mm drivers into the ground with a wide variety of content, noticing nothing that’d throw a red flag. These buds get loud, and not only that, there isn’t much distortion or information loss at the upper end. Bass remains tight and powerful without overpowering the mids, and Aukey pulls off a delicate balance with its tuning.
As with any pair of ANC headphones, there’s a slight difference in quality with the feature disengaged, but the gap isn’t noticeable. It was key for Aukey to get this right because the buds only last about 4.5 hours in ANC mode. Turning it off awards you a roomier seven-hour runtime. You’ll get 35 hours total with the case, which is enough to charge them up to four times before needing to tether.
The case itself fills up in under two hours through quick USB-C charging. These figures are right in line with contemporaries. I only wish we could get better runtime with ANC, but you can always just turn it off when you’re anticipating heavy usage days.
Another big feature often missing from this price bracket: touch controls. Here’s every action you can perform:
- Answer Call: Tap Either Earbud
- End or Reject Call: Touch and Hold Either Earbud for Two Seconds
- Play or Pause: Tap Either Earbud
- Previous Track: Double Tap Left Earbud
- Next Track: Double Tap Right Earbud
- Voice Assistant: Triple Tap Either Earbud
- Toggle Active Noise Canceling: Hold Either Earbud for Two Seconds
It’s only missing volume control from my personal list of essentials. The gestures are intuitive on Aukey’s unit once you master them, and the touch sensors are responsive—almost too responsive. I like to wear these lying in bed, and I can count on more than one hand how many times I’ve accidentally paused a track or dropped a call because my shoulder lightly grazed my earlobe.
And remember how my ears are basically the Grand Canyon? Yeah, I have to adjust them a lot. Thankfully, Aukey kept the bottom third of the golf tee dead and you can also squeeze the sides of the earpiece to wiggle them around without accidental clicks, so it’s just something to get used to.
One last petty annoyance, if you can even call it that: Aukey placed the charging indicators on the rear side of the earbuds, which face toward the charging bay’s door while it’s open. It requires turning the case around and peeking between the gaps to expose the tiny red dots that indicate charging, and since the LEDs face different directions when slotted, this means you have to rotate the case twice for a full status report.
It’s not a major downer, but I’d have loved the ability to see the LED indicators for both the case (the four green lights for which are always exposed on the front) and the buds in one swift motion.
For the sub-$50 price point you’ll sometimes be able to catch this—and even for the usual $60—the Aukey EP-N5 offer impressive sound performance with some of the best noise canceling I’ve heard in this range.
ANC works so well on these, actually, that I used them for a walk in the park with nothing playing because while I enjoy hearing ambient noise, I don’t like it as loud as the world offers, and headphones help me deal. These lowered the volume a bit too much, which is a testament to Aukey. Even without ANC, the Aukey EP-N5 pack very good sound quality for music, podcasts, and video content.
I only worry about the battery’s long-term vitality. The 4.5 hours you get with ANC engaged is just above my threshold to feel like I’m not charging them more than listening. This will surely degrade in time. I’d be perfectly happy paying extra for these with better battery life, and Aukey could throw Qi contacts inside to deal with the increased charging frequency you’ll experience.
Interested in trying them yourself? The Aukey EP-N5 are available for purchase today, and you can grab ‘em for a special $45 price for a limited time. Just use the exclusive promo code KINJAEPN5 at checkout. Thank you to Aukey for the review unit, and for providing our readers a chance to grab their own pair on the cheap!