I'm fascinated by the budget tech gadget category, especially for audio tech like headphones and earbuds; the tech gets better every year, while the prices mostly remain the same or get even lower. Just about four years ago, wireless earbuds users were just grateful for being able to stream audio without the constraint of wires, and the sound quality was nothing to write home about. Then sound quality became better, and with it came onboard controls like volume control which were previously thought impossible with the small form factor of wireless earbuds. Fast-forward to circa 2018, waterproof and dust resistance (IPXX) ratings began to appear in true wireless earbuds, firstly available only in premium models and eventually trickling down to budget ones. Today, we have true wireless earbuds under $50 that offer good sound quality, an array of onboard controls, have IP ratings for water and dust resistance, offer 5+ hours of battery life, amongst other features that have become a standard on devices like this. The FIIL T1X is one such true wireless earbuds.
The T1X is the company's entry product into the true wireless earbuds market, and it's an impressive one at that. But as an end-user, you do not care whether a gadget is its producer's first or 1000th; you just want a device that works well for what you need it for, one that gets the job done. The FIIL T1X might be that, depending on what you want out of budget earbuds, but here's an overview: they perform excellently for the price, and pack features - 24 hours total battery life on a single charge, touch controls, lightweight and sturdy build, great wireless (Bluetooth) connectivity, app integration for customization & EQ controls, etc - that make them almost perfect at their price range, but skimp a bit on what I consider the most important aspect of audio devices - sound quality. We go over it all in this FIIL T1X Review.
In the Box
Opening the box would reveal the two earbuds and the carrying/charging case nested in a compartment made of foam and cardboard.
You'll find the user manual after taking this compartment off, and another compartment below it houses two pairs of wing tips (3 pairs in total - the earbuds come installed with one pair), three pairs of ear tips (4 pairs in total - the earbuds come installed with one pair), and a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging the case.
The last content of the package is a Quick Start Guide leaflet containing instructions for quickly setting up the earbuds for use.
Here is a list of all contents of the FIIL T1X Package:
- FIIL T1X True Wireless Earbuds.
- Carrying/Charging Case.
- User Manual.
- 3 Pairs of Wing Tips.
- 4 Pairs of Ear Tips.
- USB-A to USB-C Charging Cable.
- Quick Start Guide.
FIIL T1X Review - Design & Build Quality
The FIIL T1X earbuds reinforce the design theme that has become pretty much the standard of true wireless earbuds in general; compact, lightweight and sturdy build. The earbuds weigh 4.8g each and the case 40g, and while I've reviewed a smaller and lighter pair of earbuds - the Treblab xFit - before, the build of the T1X earbuds and case is impressive.
As you would expect of a budget device, the FIIL T1X earbuds and case are made from plastic, but the glossy finish on the outer side and matte finish on the inner side of the earbuds help erase, or reduce greatly, that feeling of cheapness when they're handled. The buds feel durable too, and I'm positive I wouldn't be alarmed if these fall from a high surface or get sandwiched between objects.
The same can't be said of the case, unfortunately. I was skeptical of its durability from the get-go, and my suspicions were confirmed not long after I started using this device, when the case fell and suffered a split on the right side of the lid from the side to the top. I suffered this so you don't have to folks - handle this case with care.
The T1X case doesn't look bad, but it definitely looks and feels budget-y, and isn't very durable. Luckily, earbuds cases spend most of their time in backpacks, pockets and on stable surfaces (when used to actively charge the buds), so this shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Adding to the impressive build quality of the T1X earbuds is the IP65 rating, which certifies them safe for full protection against dust, and low-pressure jets of water from any angle. In essence, you can use these earbuds for activities like workouts where you'll experience sweating, or in light drizzles of rain without risk of damage to the device. You might want to keep your exposure of the earbuds to dust and water accidental as much as possible, though, as I've learnt from my experience with other waterproof budget earbuds that constant exposure to these conditions degrades the build quality over time.
I've noticed an upward tick in the number of budget earbuds that come with touch controls, and the FIIL T1X turns out to be one of those. The touch controls on these earbuds aren't as fine-tuned as you would find on premium earbuds, but these are actually decent and won't give you unnecessary hassles.
The glossy finish on the outside of the earbuds goes a long way in improving the interactivity of the touch controls, and the fact that they're not overly sensitive means you can avoid pushing the buds further into your ear canals while using the controls, a common downside of button controls on earbuds.
I do have a grouse with the control scheme of the FIIL T1X earbuds; they're unintuitive. The convention I've become used to based on my experience with other earbuds in the past reads something like this: single tap/click to play/pause music, double-tap to skip and triple tap to go to previous track (and to increase and decrease volume respectively on the other earbud, for those that come with volume controls), and a single tap to answer incoming calls or end ongoing calls. The FIIL T1X control scheme is a complete departure from these conventions.
It's cool to want to do something unique and unconventional, but when it comes to gadgets like this, it's best to stick to what people might have gotten used to over time, especially when there are numerous other similar devices in the market that follow a convention, and there's no inherent advantage to the different scheme you're trying to push. You might eventually get used to these, but I've found myself fiddling with the controls especially when it comes to phone calls, and I eventually give up and use my phone instead, which defeats the purpose of onboard controls.
How Well Do These Fit?
The FIIL T1X earbuds come fitted with the small-sized ear tips and medium-sized wing tips out of the box, but there are 3 more pairs of ear tips (Large, Medium, and Extra Small) and 2 more pairs of wing tips (Large and Small) in the box to help you find the perfect fit for your ears.
I've always wondered who could be using the largest set of ear tips and wing tips packaged with earbuds...what their ear structure would look like...okay pardon me, I digress; I tried all the different combinations of ear and wing tips, and eventually settled for the Extra Small ear tips and Medium wing tips for my daily use.
This combo ensures that I don't have to push the earbuds deep into my ear canals as this causes me discomfort, and the medium wing tips keep the earbuds IN my ears when I'm moving around. Getting a good fit and seal in the ear is crucial to getting maximum audio quality out of earbuds, so make sure to try out all possible combinations of the tips before settling on the best one. Talking about audio quality...
FIIL T1X Review - Audio Quality
I've been using these earbuds almost every day for about a month now, and my opinion of the sound quality was mixed at first, but it has balanced out in the past couple of days before writing this review.
I'll say it: I'm not a fan of the default sound profile that comes with these earbuds. The highs (treble) are harsh, and music sounds metallic sometimes. Additionally, the lack of adequate soundstage - which is, by the way, a general issue for true wireless earbuds due to their necessarily small form factor - had me frequently switching back to my over-ear headphones and speaker.
However, after many hours of constant audio playback on the earbuds due to my battery stress tests and daily usage, the earbuds appear to have been properly burned-in, and the sound profile is a lot more neutral now. The treble is no longer harsh to my ears, and the bass response is now more balanced and flat. The mids had always been excellent and still are, and while I've definitely had a better bass response in the even smaller Treblab xFit earbuds, it's okay on the FIIL T1X.
The earbuds have a decent level of noise isolation, provided you've achieved a good fit with the combination of ear and wing tips available. They also have excellent leakage performance, so even if you're jamming music at the highest volume, it'd be hard for anyone around you to notice, especially if you're in a crowded or (even slightly) busy area.
FIIL+ App Integration
FIIL has an app called FIIL+ that can be used to manage the company's range of audio devices, and the FIIL T1X is supported. There are different versions of this app available; the one available on my country's App Store was FIIL+: Global Edition, but they all perform the same function. I did not know about the existence of this app for a long time as it's not properly mentioned in the user manual or anywhere else in/on the package, and only stumbled upon its obscure single mention within the fine print of the user manual as I was flipping through the pages for the thousandth time, looking out for things I might have missed in preparation for this review.
The app is pretty easy and intuitive to use. Grant the required permissions the first time you launch the app, and select your earbud from the list of connected Bluetooth devices, and you're good to go.
The homescreen shows the Battery tab by default, and you can switch to the EQ tab to switch between the 3 basic EQ modes (Bass, Original, Treble) or 11 other advanced ones.
You can swipe up on the home screen to view the control scheme for the earbuds, and the menu at the top right grants you access to the following customization options for the earbuds: Easy Mode which disables the double-click and long-press controls for the right earbud, Low Latency Mode which aims to reduce audio latency for video streaming and gaming, and High Sensitivity Touch (L & R) for increasing the sensitivity of the touch controls. There are also options for upgrading the device firmware and re-syncing the left and right earbuds.
The app is a nice accessory, especially as you don't have to keep it around on your smartphone; settings are saved on the earbuds once applied, and you can uninstall the app if you no longer have need for it.
Are the Microphones any Good?
The base of the glossy outer layer of the FIIL T1X earbuds houses one microphone each, and the recording quality on these is just like other budget earbuds I've tested; it's decent when you're in a quiet environment, but it's barely usable when there's a lot of background noise.
Battery Life & Charging
At its price point, the FIIL T1X has one of the most impressive battery life and charging stats I've seen in budget Bluetooth earbuds. The earbuds last approximately 6 hours on a single charge, and this is at 100% volume, meaning they'll last even slightly longer at reduced volumes. I popped the earbuds into the case at 0%, and just 10 minutes later, they were charged up to 60%. It takes just about half an hour to fully charge the earbuds.
The case packs 3 full charges for the earbuds, and charges from 0% to 100% in just about 1 hour 50 minutes via the USB-C port on its base. You can also choose to charge one of the earbuds in the case while streaming audio via the other; they work independently of each other, thanks to the device's Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
Wireless Connectivity (Bluetooth)
The FIIL T1X comes with Bluetooth 5.0 with a connectivity range of 30m (~100ft). I've not had any issues with connectivity since I started using these earbuds with my iPhone XS, my HP Envy 15 laptop and a housemate's Google Pixel 4a, and the device stores information for the last audio source it connected to and automatically connects the next time it's powered up.
It's quite disappointing that you can't connect to more than one device at a time on these earbuds, but the signal strength of the Bluetooth connection on the FIIL T1X is very impressive; I don't experience any stutters in audio transmission even when there arre multiple walls between the earbuds and the audio source.
If I had written this review just a week ago, my conclusion would have been to look elsewhere if you're looking to getbudget true wireless earbuds, and that's just because of the audio quality issues I had with the device at first. But given as everything has balanced out now, I have a different and much better opinion of the FIIL T1X.
In summary, the audio quality on the FIIL T1X earbuds is good, but given that I've previously used better-sounding earbuds in the same price range, I can't recommend these based solely on the audio quality. When you however take into account other features of this device, most of which it impresses at, the difference in audio quality seems a small tradeoff for the whole package you're getting at its price point.
The FIIL T1X is currently (at the time of publishing this review) on sale on Amazon for $49.99 at a 38% discount, and I'd recommend you only buy it if you can get it for less than $50; there are better true wireless earbuds for its list price of $79.99.