These reasonably priced earbuds serve up crisp audio and great connectivity, albeit with quite a basic appearance.
Over the past few years, the earbud market has expanded significantly, with a lot of the top technology brands all serving up their own take on the hardware. While a lot of these devices come with a premium price tag, there are cheaper alternatives, alternatives that deliver a device with top-notch qualities without requiring you to shell out a bigger sum of cash. This is precisely what Tronsmart has brought to the table with its Onyx Prime Dual-Driver Wireless Earbuds, a gadget that presents quality and ease of use, albeit with quite a basic appearance. I've been testing these earbuds for a little while now and have some thoughts about them and whether or not you should be looking to grab a pair.
Coming as part of a neatly packaged and folding box, the Onyx Prime comes as part of a parcel that also includes a manual, various different sized silicone tips and pieces, and a USB 2.0 to USB-C charging cable. There's not a whole to really delve into here, aside from the fact that the silicone pieces come in four different sizes so that you choose the perfect one to fit the shape and size of your ears, which is always a plus.
As for the actual Onyx Prime system, this is split into three parts: the case, the left earbud and the right earbud. The case is a pretty typical size for wireless earbuds, measuring 70mm by 48.3mm by 30.4mm, and comes in a rounded off rectangular shape in purely black, bar a tiny LED light that graces the rear of the case just above the charging port, and serves as a charging and battery indicator. When you flip open the lid, which seems to be marginally magnetised to ensure a secure fit, you'll find that both earbuds take up the majority of the body, except for where they rest over the bottom centre of the case, where the charging cable connects.
As for each earbud, alike the case, these come in pure black as well, except for having a grey Tronsmart logo on its side, and a LED light just below that flashes when you use the various touch commands it offers. In terms of their appearance, there's really not a lot to say. These are around 35mm long and 15mm wide, and aside from the minimalist and blocky design, the only other part that stands out is the arching silicone piece that fits just a little behind the actual silicone tip, with the purpose to better fit the shape of your ears and hold the earbud in place more firmly. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the look this silicone piece gives the earbud, but considering removing them leaves an indented space on the earbud, I found it better to leave them on.
While they aren't the most eye-catching or exciting looking earbuds, the Onyx Prime does make up for this by delivering clear and high-quality audio, regardless of whether you're listening to chaotic rock or bassy electronic music, or even simply just streaming a movie or playing a game. These earbuds display a broad and deep audio range, and this remains true even when you crank the volume up significantly, which is a situation where a lot of earbuds commonly begin to show distortion and a drop in quality.
The reason why this isn't the case with the Onyx Prime is down to the Qualcomm QCC3040 chip and the hybrid Dual-Driver technology that combine to create a device with a wider frequency range capable of delivering a greater and clearer audio profile. Match this up with Bluetooth 5.2 technology and Tronsmart's TrueWireless systems, and you get audio and a device that is both clear and defined, but also lag-free and capable of serving this up even at ranges that are over 10m away from your actual phone or whatever you are connected to.
In terms of the fit of the actual earbuds, I've found this to be a little all over the place. Even after switching out the various silicone extra parts, my right earbud fits comfortably and firmly and with a solid seal, which helps serve up a better listening experience, but my left earbud, despite a lot of trial and error, always seems to lack the same seal, making for a fit that often feels like its about to fall out - even though it never actually does. I haven't ruled out my ears being the problem here, but considering this is an issue I've not encountered with other earbuds, it seems to be related to the Onyx Prime first and foremost.
As for how the earbuds feel while wearing, they are light and barely noticeable, and thanks to the use of silicone tips, you don't get the same level of lack of comfort after hours of use, as first generation Airpods often served up, as an example.
Building on using the Onyx Prime for hours, from my experience with these earbuds, I can add that you'll never really have an issue with battery or charge. The buds are expected to last for seven hours on a single charge, with the case and its extra charge adding an extra 33 hours to that total, assuming you are playing music at around 50% volume for that duration. If you prefer a louder listening experience, like me, you'll still get plenty out of this system, but it won't be the promised full 40 hours, before needing to charge it back - which only takes a couple of hours to fully do so as well.
As a final couple of points, I'd like to mention just how easy the Onyx Prime is to set up and connect to your device, and how the touch controls work. Connecting simply requires you to lift the lid on the case with the buds inside, and then selecting the Onyx Prime from your phone/tablet's Bluetooth available connection list and then you're off. It's really that simple.
Looking at the touch controls, these are pretty basic and allow you to skip songs, adjust volume, answer calls, power on/off, and more. The idea is to tap where the logo is on the side of the earbuds, and for the most part, this works effectively and fluidly. It's not perfect and there are times where you'll be doing an action a couple of times before it clocks it, or rather you'll try doing one thing and it'll do something else instead, but this seems to be fairly typical for earbud touch controls in general, in my experience.
All In all though, considering the Onyx Prime is quite a cheap set of earbuds, retailing for around £45-55, there's not a lot to dislike about them. The audio is surprisingly clear and high-quality for a system on the cheaper side of the spectrum, and the ease of use and connectivity only serves to elevate the experience. Granted, they don't really have the most eye-catching or exciting appearance, but that's hardly a reason to not grab a pair if you're looking for some capable earbuds for a reasonable price, as the Onyx Prime ticks all of those boxes.
8 / 10
Crisp and clear audio profile. Easy to use and great connectivity. Lengthy battery life and short charging time. Reasonable price tag.
Not the most exciting looking earbuds. Fit isn't always the best.