QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

After a successful presale on the YouPin crowdfunding platform, QCY has officially launched a new line of wireless earbuds called QCY M18.

I cannot call the design unique, but the technical features surprised me quite a lot, especially when I found out the cost of this device.

Anyone can buy budget TWS wireless earbuds at a very sweet price of up to $ 25. Recently, even inexpensive headphones have been able to surprise the advanced user.


What is special about the new earbud model? The first thing that sets the M18 apart from the rest of its competitors is the Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connection. In addition, the earbuds received a large 13 mm dynamic driver, a game mode, a proprietary application, and long battery life.

That is, these budget earbuds received technical features as a mid-budget option. But how will the QCY M18 behave in real life? Let me tell you my opinion in detail and about all the features in a detailed review.

QCY M18: Specifications

QCY M18:Specs
Impedance:16 ohms
Driver unit:13 mm Dynamic driver
Connectivity:Bluetooth 5.1
Frequency response:20-20000Hz
Bluetooth protocol:AAC and SBC
Charging Time:90min
Music Time:4h

Unpacking and packaging

New wireless earbuds are delivered in a small and compact box. On the front, you can find the headphone pattern, model and company name, and even the YouPin logo.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

On the back, there is a list of technical features in two languages ​​- Chinese and English. Therefore, I had no problems with readability. For example, here you will find information about the model, operating and charging times, and other information.

The box itself looks very modest and naturally not premium since for a price under $ 25 you will not get high-quality packaging. The package bundle is typical, like most semi-in-ear earbuds. That is, I found inside the box – this is a charging box with earbuds inside, a charging cable with a Type-C connection, as well as for instructions in English and Chinese.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

Thus, the package is modest, but I was glad to receive a Type-C charging cable, instead of the outdated Micro USB connection. Now let’s check what materials the earbuds are made of and their quality.

Design, build quality and materials

The appearance of the new model of QCY M18 wireless earbuds has received a similar design to that of the top headphones from Apple. But I don’t want to say that this is an exact copy of it, as there are other design elements here.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

For example, you can find a gold ring in the middle of the leg, which makes the appearance unique and gives the earbuds a certain freshness.

And most importantly, the earbud case is made of white matte plastic. I am a proponent of glossy plastic, so matte plastic is the most practical and best option.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

Now a little about wearing comfort, everything is fine with the QCY M18 model. I could wear the earbuds without stopping and did not feel any discomfort. Of course, I think this is due to the weight, which lies in the 4.3 grams for each earbud. Also in the ear canal, the earbuds fit well and no questions asked.

If you are interested in protection from water, then I want to please, it is also present here, but the minimum is IPX4. Therefore, it is impossible to completely wet the earbuds underwater, but they are afraid of sweat or light rain.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

On the outside of the case, you can find an LED indicator that does not flash while listening to music. Also located here is a touch control panel, which I will talk about a little later.

There is a proximity sensor on the inside of the device. It is designed to auto-pause automatically when you remove one of the earbuds from your ear or vice versa. At the bottom of the leg, there are charging contacts and a microphone hole.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

The charging box is also made of matte white plastic. The build quality is good. For example, I did not find a strong backlash when opening the lid.

On the front of the box, there is one LED indicator of the battery level, and next to it there is a button for pairing or resetting settings.

Meanwhile, there is a Type-C charging port at the bottom of the case. Naturally, as for ultra-budget earbuds, it will be superfluous to look for wireless charging, since it is not here.

Connection, latency, and touch control

As I have already noted, one of the main features of the QCY M18 is almost the latest generation of wireless connection – this is Bluetooth 5.1. Sometimes even mid-budget TWS earbuds only have Bluetooth 5.0. But I’m glad budget earbuds are getting one of the latest connections as well.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

The earbuds are paired with a smartphone without any problems and are connected via the AAC codec. At the same time, I did not find any problems with the signal transmission quality, since throughout my entire test the signal was stable and did not have interruptions.

If we talk about the delay, then there is practically no latency. But you should use the game mode. For example, when watching videos on YouTube, there is no lag at all, but during games such as PUBG Mobile, there is practically no lag.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

The last thing I wanted to talk about in this section is touch control. Yes, it is not ideal, since sometimes false clicks fly out, but it has all the necessary control functions.

For example, you can switch tracks, control the volume level, answer calls, and call a voice assistant. Although it is also worth noting that all these functions can be configured in the proprietary QCY application via a smartphone. In addition, in the application settings, you can adjust the equalizer and see the percentage of the battery charge.

Sound and microphone quality

A 13 mm dynamic driver is responsible for the sound quality. Considering that these earbuds are made in the form of semi in-ear earbuds, you should not expect surround sound from them.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

For example, the bass is very weak and primitive, so the sound is flat. But the advantage of this model will be a good volume level.

High frequencies play pretty well, there is enough detail. But if you listen to music at 100% volume level, then they will wheeze. Although, as I said, there is enough volume level, and listening to about 80% of the volume level will be just right.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

If we talk about competitors, then I would prefer to use Vivo TWS or Oppo Enco Free, as they sound better sound quality. But the price tag for these earbuds will be much higher.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

As for the quality of the microphone, here I was pleasantly surprised. Since the microphones on the QCY M18 are really worthwhile. For example, the interlocutors heard me clearly not only in a quiet room but also in noisy places. Therefore, you should not worry about the quality of the microphone, as for budget earbuds.

Battery and run time

Each QCY M18 earbud uses a 35mAh battery. Of course, one should not expect a high result. But if we consider that this model has received a Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connection, in which energy efficiency will be better.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

During my tests, the earbuds lasted about 4 hours at 50% volume. And if you use the charging box, the total battery life will be about 20 hours.

Fully charging the earbuds over the Type-C connection took about 1.5 hours.

Conclusion, reviews, pros, and cons

If you are looking for your first wireless earbuds then the QCY M18 is a good choice.

QCY M18 Review: Budget TWS Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.1

For example, these earbuds received a very comfortable fit, high-quality and durable plastic, as well as multifunctional touch controls and many other features.

But there were some drawbacks here, for example, the sound quality is difficult to call ideal. At the same time, given that these earbuds are made in the form of semi in-ear earbuds, that is, there is no natural sound insulation and the sound is scattered in the air.

Price and where to buy cheaper?

But I cannot pass by this model, as the price tag for the QCY M18 is very attractive at only $23.97.

Therefore, I can recommend the earbuds for purchase, as they have a low cost and many other useful features.


Competitor and Alternative

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