Edifier NeoBuds S Review Snapdragon Sound Earbuds

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Edifier's new NeoBuds S earbuds are capable of true CD-quality lossless audio (~800Kbps) over Bluetooth, using AptX Adaptive to delivery higher quality audio than you can currently get with AAC earbuds (around 256Kbps).
Aesthetically, the new NeoBuds S earbuds are virtually the same as the predecessor - Neobuds PRO. Same thick style V shaped stem and rubbery clamshell charging case with a cool light bar that looks a lot like the famous Knight Rider light bar. The NeoBuds S light bar color can be changed (from 8 colors) via the Edifier Connect app. Worth pointing out that the light bar effect cannot be changed, only the color.
The NeoBuds S earbuds come with touch sensitive panels located on the front side of the stem below the small metal grille mesh concealing the feedforward ANC microphone. Speaking of ANC (active noise cancellation), the Neobuds S earbuds have a hybrid ANC design (feedforward + feedback), as well as a third microphone located at the bottom of the stem for talking. During calls, the microphones are able to filter plenty of background noise to help the call clarity.

The NeoBuds S earbuds support 10 minute quick charge, which gives you 1 hour and 30 minutes of playtime. The earbuds take 1 hour to fully charge, whilst the charging case also takes 1 hour to charge. The NeoBuds S charging case does not support wireless charging; hence it is recharged only via USB-C connection. A charging cable is included. The NeoBuds S charging case weighs 47 grams and measures 6.5cm long, 5.5cm deep and 3cm high. 

The NeoBuds S earbuds weigh 6 grams each and the body shell is entirely made of hard plastic (non-rubberized) but the fit is relatively secure, thanks to the angled long nozzle and thick stem which acts like an anchor. Another advantage with having a long nozzle is that the NeoBuds S earbuds insert deep inside the ear canal, which increases the isolation and dynamics of the audio.

Opening the charging case triggers automatic bluetooth pairing, which allows you to maintain an active bluetooth connection whilst the earbuds are charging inside the case. This is a useful feature not all earbuds come with and also allows you to be able to quickly answer an incoming call without having to wait for the earbuds to automatically re-connect. The bluetooth chip supports aptX Adaptive, SBC and AAC codecs, as well as a low latency game mode, which reduces lag down to 89ms.

The Edifier Connect app has a seamless connection, connecting automatically to the earbuds. From the app, you can check the battery status of each earbud as well as the charging case. The Edifier Connect app has a neat user interface, which is easy to navigate. You can access equalizer settings, game mode (low latency), anc/ambient mode and tweak other features such as ANC sensitivity and enable/disable wind reduction (same as TWS1 Pro 2), which automatically decreases the sensitivity of the outer feedforward microphone to minimize wind noise. 

 Accessories included inside the box are an unbranded charging cable (USB-A to USB-C), colorful silicone eartips and a drawstring pouch. The silicone eartips are custom and really nice, thanks to the soft grippy flange with thick inner bore, which helps maximize passive noise cancellation. The snazzy carry pouch is also very nice. It is made with a suedette lining and viscose outer shell which feels like silk.
If you are wondering whether to buy the older Neobuds PRO earbuds or newer Neobuds S, they are basically the same product. Same weight, same dimensions and similar key features such as hybrid ANC, game mode, lossless audio support, mobile app support, same IP54 sweat/dust resistance, dual driver per earbud (Knowles armature driver + 10mm dynamic driver), noise cancellation for calls. 
The main key differences between the two is the audio technology used to deliver lossless audio. NeoBuds S delivers lossless audio via Snapdragon Sound codec, while NeoBuds PRO delivers lossless audio via LHDC and LDAC codecs. Both Snapdragon Sound and LHDC and LDAC have to be supported also by the connected device; hence it's a good idea checking whether your smartphone supports these codecs.

Phones with a Snapdragon 888 SoC (or newer) such as the Galaxy S21, OnePlus 9 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3 are technically capable of supporting Snapdragon Sound but the only phone manufacturers that currently have Snapdragon Sound certification are Motorola, Xiaomi, Vivo, ZTE, and Black Shark.
 Another potential deal breaker for the NeoBuds S are the lack of multipoint connection, limited touch control functionality and limited touch control remapping. You can only remap the double tap and triple tap gesture controls and, you can only have call control (answer/end) and two playback controls per earbud, which controlled via double tap and triple tap. There is no single tap gesture control no and long press gesture control, which is strange.

The touch control functions available from the Edifier Connect app include play/pause, skip track to previous, skip track to next, game mode, volume up, volume down, voice assistant and noise cancellation control with 3 options you can choose from from a total of 5 options available (normal mode, low noise cancellation, high noise cancellation, ambient mode and wind mode). 
The biggest selling point for the NeoBuds S is no doubt, the Snapdragon Sound chipset, which enables lossless audio, stronger bluetooth signal, reduced latency (89ms) and aptX Voice for clearer calls - perfect if you're someone stuck on conference calls all day and need a quality microphone.The companion app (Edifier Connect app) is a strong selling point too. The app doesn't require any account registration and connects to the earbuds automatically. 
The Edifier app lets you access and adjust many features too. You can adjust the active noise cancellation, activate wind reduction mode, adjust the voice alert prompt, remap touch controls, adjust the touch sensitivity, set automatic power off and customize specific frequencies to create your own unique sound signature.

Other selling points include a premium packaging box presentation, and no status leds on the earbuds, which means no blinking/flashing lights when listening to audio. This is a good thing as earbuds with blinking lights can be annoying/distracting to people sitting next to you. On the other hand, the earbuds status leds can be useful for quickly checking whether the earbuds are connected or not. 
The battery life performance is also very good. At 50% volume and ANC ON, the runtime is 5.5 hours for the earbuds and 16.5 hours for the case, bringing the total combined battery life to 22 hours. With ANC OFF, the runtime for the earbuds is 6 hours and and 18 hours for the case. Having game mode turned on shortens the battery life almost by half. You can buy the Edifier NeoBuds S from amazon.

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