disclaimer: I have reviewed several soundpeats/dudios branded bluetooth earphones in the past and was approached by dudios to review the latest product the Dubuds powerbank TWS. The dubuds incorporate a powerbank in the case for the earbuds to help keep both your buds and our phone charged. To purchase, see Amazon. Depending on where you live, these may be marketed as either Dudios Dubuds or SoundPeats Trubuds so check their websites for more details and availability in your area.
Unboxing / Packaging:
Dudios packages most of their products in the same black boxes with labels of different colors for the various models. The dubuds use a light blue label with an image of the case and earpieces on the front. They do not have specs on the packaging and for those you have to hit their web pages. Opening the bookfold style box reveals a foam surround with the case and a narrow box down the hinge edge of the box that contains the charging cable. Overall the kit is fairly minimal, but remember this is a consumer level TWS that retails for sub-$75.
Ok, no point in beating around the bush there are a ton of products that are designed to mimic the Apple Airpods and most of Dudios products follow that formula. The Dubuds bud itself very closely mimics the airpods shape with an oval sound port at the front and a triangular port on the under side of the shell. The stick is more squared off than the Airpod, but has all the egdes beveled for easy wear and no sharp edges. The lower outside of the stick has an indicator LED while the inside has two contact points for charging and a L/R indicator. The rear face of the earpieces is a touch sensor and allows for control of the earbuds without having to touch the source. Dubuds are rated at IPX4 so are good for gym use, but avoid submersing them.
The heart of dubuds is a Realtek 8763 bluetooth chip paired with a 14.2mm biocellulose dynamic driver. Specs for impedance and sensitivity were not available at the time of this writing. The realtek chipset supports bluetooth 5.0 with SBC and AAC codecs. This covers the majority of phones but does not take advantage of recent advanced protocols like LDAC. I found the working range to be roughly 10-15 yards in open space but walls did defeat the connectivity in many cases and multiple layers of internal walls almost always caused the dubuds to drop out. I found them solid when keeping a phone in pocket with no cut outs when sitting on the phone or otherwise obstructing the path between source and earpieces.
Controls / Bluetooth:
Pairing is initiated by removing the earpieces from the case with automatic detection of previously connected source devices and re-connection if available. Either earpiece can be used in mono mode for taking calls simply by leaving its partner in the case. Returning the buds to the case disconnects them and immediately starts the charging process. Controls are simple, and work quite well. Double clicking either earpiece will pause or restart music when in music mode or answer or hang-up the phone when in conversation. To raise or lower volume you simply tap the corresponding earpiece R for raise and L for lower is a good reminder of which is which. Long press of the left earpiece functions as back while the same on the Right earpiece will advance to the next track. That gives a fairly complete set of play/pause/forward/reverse and volume adjustment without having to touch the source device.
All of the various TWS models have a charging case, that much is a given, but how many have the ability to charge other devices in addition to the earpieces? The Addition of a large capacity battery (advertised as 2600mAh and 3000mAh on the web pages) makes the dubuds a unique option. In my testing I found the battery to be roughly 2300 mAh which is still respectable and differences in testing methods and discharge rates (I used 1A) may account for the differences in measured and advertised values. Earpieces themselves have roughly 150mAh battery capacity which is good for about 2.5 hours runtime before they need to go back in the case for a recharge. This gives the case enough capacity (when fully charged) to charge the earpieces 15 times before needing to recharge the case. When you do need to recharge the case, a USB type C connector means most phone chargers or other current electronic device chargers will handle the task. It took about 5 hours from completely spent to completely charged (again using my test gear to monitor charge rates and capacity) using a standard 1.4A USB charger. The case does support quick-charge and can draw up to 2.1Amps in my testing. Another unique feature is the USB Type A female port at right end of the case that allows you to use it to charge other devices from the case. In my experience it may not be capable of completely recharging today’s power hungry phones (Samsung S10, Iphone 11) but it is enough to connect the phone and use it to make emergency calls if the phone battery is completely spent. My one complaint is when you remove the earpieces from your ear, you have to reverse them to put them in the case.
Remember when reading the graph that this is an earbud and not designed to be sealed as is the case when testing. This graph does not accurately represent the end-user experience with this product. Also worth noting, I had to fidget with placement of the buds in the ear to get the best sound. With the buds not properly seated they lose most low end and leak considerably to the outside.
Bass is very dependent on position of the earpieces in the ear as without proper positioning the bass is much lighter and sub-bass vanishes entirely. At its best, sub-bass is behind the rest of the signature and is under-stated. Mid-bass is more present with the bulk of it being above about 75Hz. These are not designed for the bass enthusiast, but will do well with genres that do not require artificially elevated or digital lows. I found the bass likable for jazz and classical, but a bit light for metal and hip-hop due to my issue with getting a proper seal. There is some id-bass bleed present but not enough to obscure the lower mids. It does give the dubuds a little warmth which they really need as they are fairly bright in the overall.
Mids are fairly linear with a small boost to the upper mids that does bring some extra life to higher vocals. Male vocals are step behind female vocals but still maintain good weight. Strings are less realistic as they lack a bit of weight and the tonality is influenced by the upper-mid/lower treble push and is brighter than natural.
Lower treble is pushed forward but rather than a single plateau with the upper-mids, the dubuds have a grainy treble with several small peaks and dips before rolling off fairly quickly as it reaches about 10kHz. The Dubuds are quite bright as a result of this treble push and can be a bit strident. Snare rattle is good, but cymbals are a bit metallic and don’t have a very natural presentation. I found that the dubuds did react to EQ fairly well and with a little tuning the cymbals could be improved considerably.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is usually pretty good on non-sealing designs like this and the dubuds share in that with good proportion and depth. Seating the orchestra is straight forward but I did find a few overlaps as separation is not the dubuds strong suit. Imaging is reasonably good but not particularly precise but movement around the stage is easily tracked. Layering is only average and the dubuds do show marked compression when tracks get busy.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The dubuds combine features of several models by dudios that I have reviewed previously with the biggest differences being in the case rather than in the ear buds themselves. The market for inexpensive Airpod-esque buds is huge right now so every maker is looking for a gimmick to differentiate their product line. I think Dudios has a good idea with the battery bank case but might need to take it a step further in capacity with today’s power hungry devices. Sound wise, the dubuds are somewhere between the tic and shuttle models and have a very bright signature that was exacerbated by a poor fit in my case. If they fit properly, they are fairly bright, if they don’t all bass is gone and they are extremely bright. For that reason I have to say audition these for fit before you purchase. The dubuds are a cool idea, but for me they need another generation or two to really be a solid option.
- Bass - 5/105/10
- Mids - 5.5/105.5/10
- Treble - 5/105/10
- Soundstage - 5/105/10
- Imaging - 5/105/10