Boya BY-AP4

General Information

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Sleek, compact and lightweight; Boya’s AP4 True Wireless Stereo Earphones are stylish and pack an audio-punch. They have a long battery for prolonged use and with that, they have been designed to be comfortable for all-day use. The earbuds are charged via a USB-C charging case that is small enough to put in your bag or back pocket and the case has charging indicator lights, so you’ll know when the earbuds are good to go. They are operated by a touch system on the buds themselves which is simple and easy-to-use at a moments notice.

Boya AP4 True Wireless Stereo Earphones Key Features:
  • Bluetooth V5.0 connectivity
  • Supports wireless charging
  • A long 22H playing time
  • Open cover connection
  • Working distance more 10m
  • Water & sweat proof
  • Super-lightweight
  • Comfortable wearing
  • Smart touch operation
  • Single/double ear mode
  • Ultra-low latency
  • Charging indicator lights
  • USB Type-C charging case
What's in the box?
  • 2 x Earbuds
  • 3 x Pairs of Silicone Eartips (S/M/L)
  • 1 x Charging Case
  • 1 x Type-C Charging Cable
  • 1 x Warranty Card
  • 1 x BOYA 1 Year Limited Warranty
http://www.boya-mic.com/byap4earbuds.html

Latest reviews

Not enough for the price tag
Pros: Case, ergonomics, call quality, PNI, comfort, hall switch mode
Cons: Codecs, audio (until EQ'd), soundstage, no app, no ANC
How I review:

Sound Quality

What I measure here is the subjective and objective. I listen to a few key tracks, some FLAC, some bad quality mp3's, streaming services, audio books and tracks I know have been so badly produced they will probably clip the top or the bottom end. Usually I listen to one album in particular on FLAC, which I know very well, and also Bolero, which again I also know inside out.

I then test a few key variables such as FR and Spectral Flatness using an acoustic mic setup. Depending on the results I may go a bit further and check some other things which will be elaborated on during the review.

I test on a Poco X3, Apple Iphone 8 and Windows. Mostly I'm reviewing bluetooth headphones so no need for any complexities. If there is an app I'll test the EQ settings, and if not I'll use Wavelet and custom EQ.

I do this just for confirmation of what I'm hearing. I'm not Scarbir, I'm not The Sound Guys. I have a demanding day job, study, and have three kids, so no long essays in these reviews.

I test using:

Stock tips
Spinfit Silicones
Tronsmart Apollo Bold tips (which seem to fit me perfectly)

INAIRS foam tips (where appropriate)
ikko i-planet foam tips (where appropriate)

Microphone Quality

I conduct a few different tests, as follows:

Indoor, static, silence
Indoor, static, ambient noise 40-60 dB-A
Indoor, static, high frequency ambient noise
Indoor, static, low frequency ambient noise

All of the above but moving
All of the above moving away from the receiver

Outdoor, static, ambient noise 40-80db
Outdoor, moving, ambient noise 40-80db
Outdoor, under a nearby railway bridge where lorries pass through
Outdoor, in the wind and rain when possible

On Zoom or Microsoft Teams
On IOS (Iphone 8)
On Android (POCO X3)
On Windows 10

All are recorded for 1-3 minutes for future comparisons. I look for voice clarity, voice clarity among noise and glitches, suppression, naturalness and consistency.

Where possible, I ask my kids to also test to see what sounds the CvC or compression method is really trying to stifle and whether it succeeds

ANC (where applicable)

As per the call quality tests, I usually test the ANC at the same time, looking for low and high frequency performance. I simulate white noise, use a fan, then take them down to a railway bridge. PNI is also attributed and scored where applicable. Ambient mode is also tested, and particularly important for earbuds designed for exercise.

I suffer from vertigo, jawache and migraines when the ANC is really strong, so I will highlight this where applicable. To date no earbuds have induced this from the ANC alone and the last headphones to do so were the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Comfort

I use earbuds in four activities - calls, exercise, commute and relaxing. All three are taken into consideration to try to find the use-case, as finding the perfect earbud is, lets face it, never going to happen. For fitness I am looking for the ability to stay in the ear, for calls they would need good all-day comfort, and for comfort they need to pass the pillow test and stay in overnight.

Connectivity

I find most perform almost identically, but do the usual walk test, especially around congested 2,4ghz wifi areas. I leave a router on 40MHz just in case it messes with it, why the hell not?! When possible I would take them out and see how they perform in the pocket.

Other Features

Wireless charging, long battery life, a feature rich app, intuitive controls, good codec support, dual-mode and multiple latency modes are amongst the attributes that get the high scores.

Ok, so onto the review:

Model: Boya BY-AP4

Price: £59.73

Vendor: Aliexpress (currently on sale for £54 through Magical Audio Store)

Link: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001230947029.html

Manufacturer Blurb:
  • Product Name: BY-AP4
  • Bluetooth Version: V5.0
  • Frequency Response: 20HZ-20kHZ
  • Transmission Range: ≥10m
  • Earbuds Battery Capacity: 50mAh*2
  • Charging Case Battery Capacity: 450mAh
  • Power Supply: 5V/500mA
  • Music Play Time:
    • Earbuds: Approx 6 hrs (50% volume)
    • Charging case: Approx 16 hrs (total 22 hours)
  • Charging Time:
    • Earbuds: Approx 1.5 hrs
    • Charging case: Approx 2 hrs
  • Bluetooth Profile: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
  • Weight:
    • Earbuds: 4.7g (0.2oz)
    • Charging case:40g (1.1oz)
  • Super lightweight
  • Black, Grey and White color option
  • Comfortable wearing with semi-in-ear structure (not true, they are comfortable but not semi in-ear)
  • Hall switch enables auto pair without taking out the earbuds
  • Smart touch operation
  • Easy switch between single/double ear mode
  • Ultra-low latency
  • Charging indicator lights
  • USB Type-C charging case
  • Wireless charging available
Includes:

1 x pair wireless earbuds
1 x battery charging case
1 x cloth carry case
3 x pair silicon ear tips
1 x Type-C USB charging cables
1 x User manual (Chinese & English), quick guide (Chinese) & warranty card (Chinese & English)

Real Life Experience

The Unboxing - 8/10


The Boya BY-AP4 arrived in just two weeks from the Mouriv Aliexpress store, with a couple of enclosed full frame sensor cleaning swabs. Thanks!

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First impressions are professional as you would expect at the higher bracket of the budget headphone price range. The box is premium and the manuals are enclosed in an envelope not dissimilar to those used by challenger banks to make the experience feel more high-end.

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I never understand why these silly bags that don't stay closed are included but certainly not going to lose marks for it.

The Case - 9/10

The earbuds are available in three colours - white, black and grey. The white has a hint of baby blue on the case interior, the black an old gold colour that would have been perfect owing to my lifelong tribulation turned allegiance to my home town football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite this, I opted for the grey after I saw a YouTube review from Sean Talks Tech showing the texturised finish, and it did not disappoint.

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The case has four lights at the front to indicate charge status. Whilst charging, the remaining charges will flash- so if you've charged it sufficiently to charge the buds 3 further full charges, 3 will be steady and 1 will flash when you plug it in.

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The interior has a nice 'coffee' flavour to it with a caramel inside. The hinge is a little flimsy but is by design light in order to allow flip-top 'one handed' opening. I can't stress how nice the case is - it's easily the best looking case I've reviewed so far.

One bonus feature at this price point is 'hall switch mode', which I'm told is the jargon for allowing automatic connection whilst they are in the case. This is news to me - it's not a feature I would look for but is supposedly one of the reasons Airpod owners justify their purchase. I tried the APP and they connected immediately - there is a short delay with the Boya, but it's still a pretty neat inclusion. It gives you time to then access Wavelet and EQ them, because if your preferred sound signature is like mine, you will probably need it.

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As well as USB-C charge, the case also allows wireless charging, and gives up to 16 hours charging on top of the advertised 6, making a total of 22 hours.

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The case size is convenient. It's a similar size to the Edifier TWS NB2, but rather than lying flat, it stands upright like a cigarette box.

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Despite this, it is only marginally larger than the Buds Live case, my number one portable case.

The Ergonomics - 8/10

The Boya are very nice on the eye and the ear. But there's a few minor quibbles.

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The grey finish is nice enough, and the design is aesthetically pleasing as well as comfortable. There are microphones in the base and the inside.

The hole to the left of the Boya logo is a flashing indicator light, and whilst the flashing when a call is coming though (double blue flash every 4 seconds), connection pending (blue flash every 0.5 seconds) and reconnection pending (single blue flash every 4 seconds) are unquestionably useful for single earbud mode and hall switch mode, unfortunately the buds also flash blue every 14 seconds to show they are connected, and red every 14 seconds to show battery low.

Whilst this isn't a deal breaker, it smacks a little of the old-fashioned, cheap earbuds from yesteryear. The light isn't too obtrusive and the form factor means you wouldn't lie down and listen to something in bed with them, but it's kinda annoying.

The fit is otherwise pretty good. I don't really like silicone buds for prolonged periods, and these are no exception, but they stay in the ear well with the largest tips, don't protrude out or inwards too far and are pretty subtle. At just 4.7g they are lightweight.

Going from the Omthing Airfree, these definitely fit better, combining the nice, lightweight flexibility of the Omthing with the passive noise isolation of the better buds I've tested such as the Tranya T10.

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The charge connectors are on the end, which, if worn at an angle reduce the risk of nickel coming into contact with the skin.

ANC - Not scored, PNI - 8/10.

As above, the noise isolation is very good. Despite not hugging your concha like the Tranya or Edifier TWS NB2, or having a bulbous base like the Omthing, the large tips do allow good isolation.

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They sit very light in your ears - whilst you can push them in deeper, it's at the cost of comfort and longevity - but when you do, they isolate even better.

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I have seen various adverts for these, including Amazon AE, that claim they have Active Noise Cancellation. This is misleading - they don't.

Audio Quality - 6/10 (for the price paid), 6/10 (raw score)

I have to be honest, out of the box I was utterly deflated. The mids are about as boxy as I've ever heard on a set of wireless earbuds, and the treble rolls off too early. It can make the audio sound pretty boring - and I don't mean boring in the sense of over-analytical, I mean...just boring and eventually fatiguing.

For audio books it sounds natural, but for female vocal tracks it sounds pretty awful. However feeding it through Wavelet and giving it a custom U shaped EQ seems to solve the problem - instrument separation remains reasonably clean and the soundstage, whilst a little narrow, brings vocals to the front.

On iPhone, where I don't have an EQ app, it went back to sounding terrible.

I'd only recommend this if you like the submarine style mid sound or if your receiver is capable of EQ'ing, otherwise you'll double-take at the box and wonder if you've been bait and switched.

Call Quality - Indoors - 7/10, Outdoors - 7/10

Not bad at all. I tried a few calls with it and recorded them on my Poco as I wasn't 100% with the feedback I got.

They clearly compress background sound and seem to elevate your voice slightly. I would put them marginally ahead of the Edifier TWS NB2 in this respect.

Whilst the voice doesn't sound quite as natural as the Omthing, heavy traffic sounds more like wind - it does a very decent job of differentiating frequencies that require compression.

Echoing is very apparent in large rooms.

Connectivity, Controls and Other Features - 6.5/10

Connectivity is absolutely fairly solid. Don't expect anything more than the 10m advertised. It gives you a 'link lost' notification when it drops.

One annoying attribute is the 'headset connected' voice prompt. Maybe it takes a while for the buds to remember they are in dual mode, but it leaves you wondering for the first few minutes if you've got a connection problem.

Controls are actually pretty good. Double tap plays and pauses, triple tap left plays the previous track, right the next. Single tap answers calls, long press right rejects. Except it also turns the volume up. This was kinda annoying as I couldn't reject a call easily, the only annoying aspect to the controls - the volume control actually works really well, although notably when you're not trying to hide from the phone ringing.

They use the Pixart PAU1603FB-S1 BT5.0 chip. This was not advertised, and I probably wouldn't have bought them had I known - it is the same chip used in ultra budget earbuds such as the QCY T6, confirming they definitely don't have ANC and have a limited range. The chip supports AAC and SBC - no aptx. Windows gave a latency of 230Ms, which is pretty good for SBC and what I expect from this chip.

Wireless charging, binaural mode and hall switch, as well as decent controls, give it an average score - it lacks certain features you should really come to expect at this price point, such as app support, ANC, multiple latency modes, etc.

Battery Life - 7/10

I got 5 hours 25 minutes charge from one charge, and the case gives approx 22 hours.

Final Comments

Overall, whilst looking pretty and performing OK, the Boya BY-AP4 suffer from sharing the field of play with outstanding peers such as the FIIL T1-Pro, which are cheaper and come with a vast array of features as well as future proofing you to BT 5.2. Paying a little more also gets you buds like the Tronsmart Apollo Bold, which have a chipset which will eventually support aptx-hd, app support and EQ's.

The case and good ergonomics are almost a given at this price point - Boya need to do far more to justify the premium price tag than the few nice features they've included.

Price Weighted Score: 68%

Raw Score: 70%
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