The speaker manufacturer Tannoy has recently added Life Buds to its range. They are compact and completely wireless in-ears. They offer a comfortable fit with stable support, device control options and an integrated microphone, plus they support Bluetooth Version 5.0. Despite their extremely attractive price, they are designed for everyday use and offer respectable sound quality.
These ergonomically shaped in-ears fit snugly into the ear without protruding too far and provide a comfortable fit even over long periods. They are lightweight at just five grams on each side, but the Bluetooth headphones are very stable, offering sufficient support for light sporting activities. With a robust appearance and sturdy design, they are also practical and simple to clean. Designed to resist sweat and water they also offer protection against weather-related moisture.
In terms of energy, the earphones have batteries with a capacity of 50 mAh per side, offering a running time of at least three hours at a slightly raised level. Used in combination with iOS systems, the battery level is indicated by a display next to the Bluetooth symbol. If the batteries are empty, the Life Buds can be fully recharged three times in the transport case, which also serves as a charging station. A charging cycle takes around an hour. Including the reserve, the unit has a service life of more than twelve hours, which is pretty good going considering the compact handy format and the low total weight of just 43 grams.
The in-ears support standard Bluetooth 5.0 and offer a range of about seven metres when tested with various Android and iOS devices within an urban environment. Pairing takes place automatically when the charging case is opened. This switches on the buds and turns on pairing mode. To switch them off, put them back into the case. Alternatively, there is the option of holding down the multifunction button on one side of the buds until the system switches off. You can also use just one bud in single-mode by removing it from the transport case on its own. The system detects whether one or both of the buds are active and automatically switches mode accordingly.
When a radio connection is established, you use the multi-function push-button to control the play/stop function of the coupled device and to accept and end telephone calls. It is also possible to select a track by double-clicking on the left-hand side to jump forwards, or backwards using the right-hand bud. In single mode, however, this function is limited, since depending on both sides, only forwards or backwards navigation is possible. From my point of view, this is an unfortunate button assignment, which competitors have solved better by offering full remote functionality even in single mode. In addition, the volume control has been omitted, meaning that this must be done on the device itself. On the other hand, the voice quality when telephoning is extremely good.
The Life Buds have a powerful bass foundation that extends into the deep bass range. Despite their presence in the low frequencies, the overall sound character is quite natural and largely without embellishment. Only the highs tend to overdraw hissing sounds at higher levels, otherwise the tuning sounds pleasantly balanced and covers a broad musical spectrum. The presence of a slight background noise, which can be perceived as disturbing in a quiet atmosphere, is worthy of criticism. Apart from that, the Bluetooth headphones score points with their convincing sound quality and offer a high output with good reserves in view of their price. Due to the direct start and a well-structured stereo stage, there is also an appealing liveliness that makes listening fun.
Tannoy’s entry into the headphone market has certainly been a success. The remote control of the wireless Bluetooth in-ears could be improved, but otherwise, there’s not much to criticise. If you’re looking for lightweight, truly wireless headphones, with good sound at a reasonable price for everyday use, you might find what you’re looking for in Life Buds.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable10 g
What's in the box
- Silicone ear tips in 5 sizes
- USB charging cable
- Transport bag
- Charging case
- BT version: 5.0
- Battery life: up to 12 hrs.
- Weight incl. Case: 43g