Wireless earbuds are tricky business, mainly because really, by and large, random $10 pairs from Amazon are perfectly suitable for 90% of needs. So the second a pair tries to charge you around $50 (or $80, when not on sale, in the case of the GT1s), it sparks a question: What does this product do that its vastly cheaper competition doesn't? The answer in EKSA's case, is straightforward: Aesthetics. GT1s look cool.
Bottom line: The GT1 buds offer good sound and a respectable mic, for a price that's well within established industry norms. But you can get similar goods for a lot less if you go with a no-name brand.
- Blue and black TRON aesthetic is sleek
- Good audio quality
- Solid mic
- Expensive for what it is
- Can be finicky
- A tiny bit uncomfy
EKSA GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds: What I like
The aesthetics of the GT1 are neat. They're TRON-themed: Glossy black with a few cyan lights scattered throughout. They're cool on a color level and shape-wise, they're at least a bit more interesting than the stupid-looking white elephant trunks of Apple's AirPods that have come to define most all wireless earbuds. With that said, though they're different than the elephant trunks, they're not nearly different enough to look sexy and subtle. In short: Great color scheme and a decent shape that works within the confines of modern wireless earbuds' form-factor constraints but still doesn't completely break from an unsatisfying mold.
As for sound: The GT1s are solid. The in-bud operator (who tells you "pairing," "connected," etc.) is too loud, and the sound adjustment increments when using the buds on mobile are a bit too far apart for Goldilocks users, but when it comes to the actual task of listening to music and game audio, everything's perfectly fine. The audio of the little buds is surprisingly crisp given the fact that they are buds, though it's still nowhere near rivaling the output of the best wireless headsets. Here are some tech specs to help paint the picture:
- Driver diameter: 10mm
- Resistance: 32Ω
- Frequency response range: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Total harmonic distortion: 10%
- Latency: 38ms
The range on the buds is solid. They were able to keep pumping jams from a PC that was multiple rooms away, on the other end of my house. And if you're a fitness fan, good news: These things snuggle in well enough that you can go jogging with them, even though they don't have ear hooks. Battery life is a bit of a toss-up, given the mixed messaging EKSA provides. The instruction manual claims six hours of playtime, while the box says 30 (ostensibly referring to the case). While the six-hour mark is easy enough to pass, I can't confirm the advertised 30 hours of overall charge.
EKSA GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds: What I don't like
The dislikes are simple and straightforward: These buds are expensive given that a lot of the tech in here can be gotten for under $30 (again, a couple of $10-hit wonders on Amazon fit the bill) from your favorite online retailer. The GT1s are, in large part, angling themselves based on their cool aesthetic. Though a product's quality should be judged on its own merits, its price has to be compared against the rest of the industry.
The other drawback of these buds is the finicky touch controls. Given the angular shape of the buds, there isn't a flat, easily defined pad or space to tap them, and which taps will (and won't) register is always a bit of a gamble, meaning you may end up looking a bit stupid repeatedly thwapping your ear.
Also, this isn't really a dislike, but more of an "eh" item: The advertised game and music audio modes, as far as I can tell, don't make a difference. Audio sounded the same when switching between modes whether I was playing Cliff Empire, Sonic Mania, Sonic 4 Episode 2 (yes, really), or Lethal League Blaze on PC, messing about with mobile games, or jamming out to Daft Punk's TRON Legacy score and the incredible Anarchy Reigns soundtrack.
EKSA GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds: The competition
If you want a more expensive alternative that puts an emphasis on battery life and comfort, there are the xFyro Pro ANC earbuds. And, of course, don't forget the ever-goofy-looking Surface earbuds, should you have come to Windows Central looking for Microsoft products.
Alternatively, if you hate earbuds shaped like frisbees or elephant trunks, there are the bean-bodied Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. But, to reiterate: Every option just listed is a lot more expensive than EKSA's GT1 buds, and even those are a lot more expensive than random, nearly-as-good buds on Amazon.
EKSA GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You like TRON.
- You want a better value than the big-name competition.
- You mainly care about sound and mic quality.
You should not buy this if ...
- You want your earbuds white and elephanty.
- You want the absolute best value overall.
EKSA's GT1 earbuds are perfectly fine for what they are, and if you need a pair of good all-around buds for light fitness (I did not sweat test them to the extreme), PC and mobile gaming, and general music listening, they'll fit the bill. However, know that a large chunk of the GT1's price tag is going toward aesthetics.
There are certainly worse options in the earbud realm that you could be asked to overpay for. And, as such, EKSA's offering holds up pretty well against the competition. But in the deep depths of Amazon, consumer reviews can guide you toward the ultimate value. That value just won't come with a cool, glowing blue finish.
Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.