PCMag’s Wyze Buds Pro Review
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The PCMag’s Wyze Buds Pro Review
Quality ANC (Active Noise Canceling) doesn’t come cheap, and we rarely see true wireless noise canceling earphones for under $100, but there are some notable examples. At $59.99, the Wyze Buds Pro cost significantly less than our Editors’ Choice winner for affordable wireless ANC earphones, the $79.99 Anker Soundcore Life P3, making them the most affordable pair on the market. They deliver surprisingly good noise cancellation for the price, which is significant in itself. With a bass-forward, sculpted sound signature, they sound good too, as long as you’re not looking for accuracy. Unfortunately, they fall short of on-ear controls, and their companion app is unnecessarily complicated if you don’t own a Wyze smart home devices. If you can spend $20 more, we’d continue to recommend the Soundcore Life P3, but if you’re looking for the most affordable ANC true wireless earphones possible, the Wyze Buds Pro offer satisfying noise cancellation and sound quality.
A simple design with clunky handling The black Buds Pro have a no-nonsense, stem-style design. The plastic is glossy and can feel a little slippery, but the in-ear fit is secure, thanks in part to a larger housing than some of the earphones we see. A total of three pairs of silicone earplugs in sizes small, medium and large are included. Internally, 10mm dynamic drivers deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz.
The on-ear controls are arguably the least intuitive we’ve seen in ages for several reasons. First, the touch-sensitive panels right out of the box have severely limited capabilities. A single tap does nothing, a double tap controls play/pause or answers a call, and a triple tap calls up your voice assistant or ends a call. It’s very different from the almost standard control scheme of a single tap serving as play/pause/answer. You can assign a single tap to control playback, or fully customize the functions of all three taps, but only with the app. Unfortunately you will not find any of this in the quick start guide, which tells you to download the app for information about how to operate the earphones.
wyze buds pro An IPX4 water resistance rating isn’t impressive, but it’s common among true wireless ANC earphones. The earbuds can withstand sweat and light rain, but don’t expose them to real water pressure (such as a faucet) or submerge them. And the case isn’t water resistant in any way, so don’t place the earbuds in the ear until they’re thoroughly dried.
The oval charging case has an eggshell finish and, like the earphones, is a bit on the slippery side. The included USB-C to USB-A charging cable plugs into a USB-C port on the bottom of the case and there is a status LED on the front panel. The case can also be charged wirelessly with Qi-compatible chargers.
Wyze estimates the Buds Pro’s battery life is about 6 hours (or 4.5 hours with the ANC on), with an additional 18 hours in the case (or 13.5 with ANC on), which is slightly below average for this category. Your results will also vary with your volume levels.
The Buds Pro are Bluetooth 5.0 compatible and support AAC and SBC codecs, but not AptX.
The Wyze app is a one-size-fits-all Android/iOS app for many Wyze products, including the comprehensive smart home device selection. Once connected and paired, the app will recognize the Buds Pro and immediately offer to download and install any available firmware updates. Unfortunately, the app makes you enter an email address and password to use it. It makes sense if you invest in the company’s smart home ecosystem, because it provides an account for setting up and control all the different devices in your home, but it’s frustrating when you just want to use your earphones without giving away any personal information. As mentioned, the included quick start guide does not provide operating instructions, so if you want to customize the Buds Pro or even update the firmware, you’ll need to provide Wyze with your email address.
If you decide to register through the app, you’ll gain access to an on-screen switch for ANC on/off/transparency modes, the ability to customize the on-ear controls, and access to a wide range of features which have nothing to do with the Buds Pro (they are primarily for Wyze’s smart home devices).
You will also find one feature in the app labeled Bass Booster, which isn’t really a bass boost at all, but Adaptive EQ. (Wyze reps claim Bass Booster is a typo that will be switched to Adaptive EQ in a future app update.) Enabling it will automatically adjust the audio based on what you’re listening to – podcasts get an EQ targeted on vocals, for example, while pop music gets a different treatment. This is not an EQ that you can adjust, so we recommend turning it off if you want to take the purist approach. That said, there’s no harm in checking it out as long as you understand that the sound signature adjusts based on what you’re listening to.
Wyze Buds Pro Good noise cancellation for the price The Buds Pro offer decent noise cancellation, especially when you consider that they cost well under $100. It doesn’t seem to have any obvious impact on audio performance, which is a good thing because sometimes with cheaper ANC circuits, the audio sounds different when the ANC is on. As with most affordable ANCs, there’s some audible hiss added to the signal, which isn’t unpleasant (think faint white noise), but is a common sign of less than first-class noise cancellation. That’s to be expected for $60, and is certainly not a deal breaker.
See how we test noise canceling headphonesSee how we test noise canceling headphones
The ANC significantly reduces the deep low-frequency rumble you would hear on an airplane. These are the easiest frequencies to eliminate, yet the Buds Pro’s ability to attenuate them is better than we expected for the price. They also do a very good job of eliminating mid-range frequencies. A recording of a noisy restaurant played at high volumes through near-field monitors was impressively reversed in the mids and lows.
However, the earphones really struggle with the treble in this scenario – it’s almost as if the transparency mode is partially activated and you hear a thin layer of clear frequencies over the rest of the callback sounds. Again, these are $60 earphones, and high frequencies are some of the harder ones for ANC to block. If you want cheap noise cancellation that isn’t terrible, this is about as good as you can get.
Strong bass, sculpted highs The test results below describe how the drivers sound when the Adaptive EQ function is turned off. On tracks with intense sub-bass content, such as The Knife’s “Silent Shout”, the Buds Pro deliver powerful low-frequency depth. At high volumes, they don’t distort, even when they get quite loud. At more moderate levels, the bass depth still sounds strong and matches the treble well.
Wyze Buds Pro Bill Callahan’s “Drover”, a track with much less bass in the mix, gives us a better idea of the overall sound signature of the Buds Pro. The drums get an extra helping of deep lows, giving them an almost thunderous presence, and Callahan’s baritone vocals also get a bit more low-mid richness than is typical. The treble and treble are also chosen up up to a point, in the name of balance. This is a bass forward sound signature with some sculpted highs up the other end.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop gains enough high-mid presence for its attack to retain some of its punchiness, but the added thump the barrel gets is more noticeable. The creaks and hiss of vinyl usually relegated to the background take a step forward, so the high mids seem to be boosted a little less than some of the slightly higher frequencies. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with plenty of power and depth, but not to the degree we hear on serious bass-forward in-ears. In others wordsWyze dramatically boosts the low end here, but not enough to sound really thunderous. Vocals are rendered cleanly and clearly, with no added hiss.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene of John Adams’ The Gospel Against the Other Mary, get a little too much oomph in the bass department, pushing the lower register instrumentation out of its subtle anchoring role and into somewhat unnatural territory. The brass, strings and higher register vocals maintain their clear presence despite the added bass, so it still sounds relatively balanced even with too much bass in the mix.
The six-microphone array provides solid speech intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone, we were able to understand every word we recorded, even if there were some typical Bluetooth audio artifacts that made the audio less than crystal clear. The microphone signal is also strong and easy to hear, and callers should have no problem hearing you.
Solid $60 earphones with some compromises The Wyze Buds Pro deliver some pretty good noise cancellation for the price, along with a bass-forward, highly sculpted sound signature. However, the controls are clunky out of the box, and the app to customize them requires you to register with your email as it’s the same app as Wyze’s smart app. home devices. Still, the big picture is generally positive for the Buds Pro, as you won’t find better noise cancellation for under $60.
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