Hello readers. Today we're looking at the Macaw T50 Bluetooth sports earphone. Coming in at a price of just $19.90 these offer a 5 hour battery life, decent build quality and surprisingly good sound. Read on for the full review.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I am not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product. You can find the Macaw T50 at Penon Audio: https://penonaudio.com/Macaw-T50
Driver unit: 12mm
Frequency response: 20~20KHz
Talk time: 5H
Music Time: 5H
Standby time: 170H
Charging Time.: 1.5H
Packaging and accessories
The Macaw T50 comes in a stylish black box with a glossy image of the earphones on the front and specifications on the back. Inside we find the earphones secured and presented in a black foam cutout. Beneath the foam section is a smaller box containing the accessories which include:
- Macaw T50 earphone
- Micro USB charging cable
- 3 x silicone eartips (S, M, L)
- User manual in English and Chinese
- Fabric carry pouch
Build, comfort and isolation
The Macaw T50's housings have a capsule shape and are made of a glossy plastic with company branding on the outer side. Attached to the rear of the housings is a rubberized disc which is the part that fits into your ear. The disc has an angled nozzle that is a little short for my preference but has a solid lip to hold the eartips in place securely. On the left earpiece is the Micro USB port for charging. There's a rubber grommet sealing the port to help keep out sweat or light rain.
One noteworthy feature of the Macaw T50 is it's IPX5 rating, meaning they're water resistant, so they're ideal for sweaty gym use or running and probably okay in light rain as well. The housings have a smooth finish, feel durable and looking at them I would not think that they are an ultra budget earphone.
The attached 0.5 meter cable has a braided fabric cover and feels well built, although I did find it a little stiff. On the right side is the 3-button inline control with microphone. I found the 3 buttons difficult to distinguish as there isn't really any physical indicators denoting each one but I got used to it in a fairly short time. Strain reliefs where the cable connects to the housings are very solid.
In terms of comfort I find these a little finicky when trying to get a good fit, due to the short nozzle length. However with the right eartips and positioning they are quite comfortable for my ears.
Noise isolation is about average and this will probably vary a lot between people depending on the size of their ears and how well the "disc" part sits for them. Overall though they're on par with most regular IEMs and would be suitable for use in transit and semi-noisy environments.
Bluetooth and fuctionality
The Macaw T50 is compatible with IOS and Android devices and worked flawlessly with my Galaxy Note 5 and the Acoustic Research AR-M20. I was able to adjust volume, shuttle and skip or rewind tracks with ease using the inline control. It also worked great with Tidal and other third party music apps.
Bluetooth 4.1 is what is used to connect to your source and the Macaw T50 has a very solid implementation. It's super easy to pair and signal strength is excellent. I was able to get up to the stated 10 m range easily and had no signal loss or cutting out, even with a solid wall between the earphones and the source.
Unfortunately there's no aptX support but the signal quality is still very good and if you're paying less than $20 for a Bluetooth earphone you probably won't be bothered by this.
The built-in 85mAh Li-ion Battery is good for 5 hours of talk time or continuous music playback. This is a pretty good number, considering the quality of the Bluetooth connection and low price of the earphone. Battery charge time is 1.5 hours and it has an impressive 170 hour standby time.
The Macaw T50 has a mild, V-shaped signature that's a bit more refined than what you usually find in ultra budget earphones. While the bass and treble are accentuated, it's done in a way that doesn't compromise too much on the midrange. There's good clarity throughout, with an emphasis on presence in the upper midrange.
Bass was the biggest surprise for me with this earphone as it's not the usual flabby, bloated mid-bass monster that I've come to expect for cheap IEMs. The mid-bass is in fact, quite well executed, having plenty of punch without being overbearing. It's also relatively well defined with a clean front edge and fast decay.
There's actually a bit more emphasis on the sub-bass and that makes me happier than a pig in shhhh.... The sub-bass can really shake things up when called upon but settles down quickly enough to stay in control. It's not crazy big, it doesn't need to be with such a well behaved mid-bass sitting in front of it
The T50's midrange is clean and clear (that sounded like a shampoo ad..) and a little on the thin side. However male vocals have enough body to not sound anemic or frail. Rather it just adds to the overall clarity and keeps congestion at bay. Acoustic guitars sound great and tonality is really pretty darn good. The amount of detail is also nothing to scoff at, these things can pick up things that other cheap gear often misses and they do so without sucking out the musicality.
When we get into the treble this is where I find my only real gripe with the Macaw T50 in terms of sound. Things are a little on the splashy side. If one of your favorite songs is playing and you feel like bumping up the volume you might get a bit of a nasty surprise as cymbals become harsh and a touch artificial. Despite the eager nature of this range it lacks air and brilliance. For the most part it's perfectly fine but if a drummer in a song feels like beating his sticks on metal you'll surely know about it.
The Macaw T50 portrays a fairly small stage. It doesn't feel closed in but it also doesn't make you feel like you're dancing through a field of daisies. Fortunately it doesn't feel like you're stuck in a narrow alley and facing the wall. There's some pretty good depth there that compensates for the average width of the space.
After spending several days with the Macaw T50 I came to the conclusion that this is an absolute bargain. It's not going to compete with higher priced earphones and there are arguably many in the same price range that sound better. The thing is though, those other ones don't have Bluetooth and a 5 hour battery life. The Macaw T50 does. On top of that it's a well constructed earphone that looks and feels more valuable than the price suggests.
An IPX5 rating adds even more to the value of this Bluetooth earphone. If you're looking for something wireless to take running or to the gym and are on a tight budget then look no further. These are more than adequate for the task and you should go ahead and get yourself a pair.