These earbuds from the Chinese tech company EKSA offer a lot of positives in a reasonably priced package.
Around a month ago, I published a review on the EKSA E910 Wireless Gaming Headset, a device that came from the Chinese tech company EKSA and offered solid performance at a price tag that is cheaper than what a lot of premium headsets go for these days. But, that headset isn't the only device that EKSA has on the market, as it is also offering the GT1 Cobra True Wireless Gaming Earbuds, for those who favour in-ear devices rather than over-the-ear peripherals. I've been using the GT1s for some time to see how they compare to the E910, and from my experience, these have some positives that even elevate them above truly premium earbuds such as Apple's AirPods Pro.
Before I start to pick apart why I've come to really like the GT1s, it's worth being transparent. These are $79 (currently available for $50) earbuds, meaning they aren't exactly aiming to offer the same level of audio clarity as what AirPods Pro does, for example. That doesn't mean the audio quality they offer is bad at all, because it isn't, but I do believe that their strengths lie elsewhere. However, I'll get to all of that in a moment.
For the time being, let's talk about the way the GT1s look because these are about as 'gamery' as you could get. The case is a triangular shape with various accents and neon blue LED lights that display the charge remaining both in the earbuds and the case itself. While it's not made from the same high quality and weighty plastic as AirPods are, the design is solid and not at all flimsy, and its size allows the case to be carried around in one hand with ease, even if it is about twice the size of an AirPods Pro case, as a point of comparison.
As for the earbuds themselves, when you look at them closely, they too have that 'gamer' aesthetic, but from a bit of distance, they are much more subtle than the case is. The buds are light and do have quite an inexpensive plastic feel, and while they don't scream premium quality like some of the more expensive earbuds do, their design and weight allow them to have an incredibly firm fit, unlike anything I've experienced before in the earbud market. Where I've frequently had issues with AirPods Pro in particular feeling insecure, even occasionally falling out, the GT1s have at no point given me that impression, and this also extends to the seal in your ear, which is far tighter than what I've experienced in a lot of earbuds.
Another major highlight for these earbuds is their battery life, which is incredible. They can run for six hours on a single charge, and then the case can extend that life span by a further 30 hours at full charge. And if you're wondering about recharging the case, this is done via a USB-C cable and takes only a few hours to fully juice it up.
The earbuds are also splash-resistant and have an IPX4 design, which means they'll be fine in light rain - but don't take them in the shower. They also use Bluetooth 5.0 and a 38ms latency speed, making them both super fast to connect to your device without showing any wireless lag. This is both handy for anyone who intends to use them for gaming, or just regular music, as you can take solace in knowing that the connection won't fail you. And to really emphasise these differences, the GT1s also have a gaming and a music mode, that can be changed by simply double-tapping either earbud, with music mode offering a little more audio depth and gaming mode prioritising the finer details necessary for keeping you on top of your game.
I will say that I've had a few issues with the touch control registering. The earbuds often find it challenging determining on whether you want to switch modes, or simply just pause audio playback, which can be frustrating to deal with.
Anyway, the audio quality. The GT1s are pretty run-of-the-mill when it comes to audio playback. They won't fail you, and they aren't bad to listen to music through, but at the same time, they don't compete with premium earbuds, or what a lot of headphones offer. As you crank the volume up, the audio becomes a little distorted, and it's challenging not to notice this effect. For gaming, where the quality of the audio is less of a factor as it is when listening to music, this effect is less obvious, but it is still there regardless.
But with this being said, I've come to really like the GT1s. These are pretty reasonably priced earbuds that offer a lot of positives in a tight package. Whether you're looking for a gadget to listen to some music on during the morning commute, or rather a system to play your favourite games with, what EKSA has created with the GT1s is hard to dismiss as a worthy competitor.
8 / 10
Reasonably priced. Great fit. Long battery life. Reliable connection.
Very 'gamery' appearance. Audio quality isn't always great. Case is quite large.