MPOW M12 AAC BT 5.0 IPX8 Earbuds

General Information

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https://www.xmpow.com/products/mpow-m12-wireless-earbuds < Vendor Link

Mpow M12 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds with Wireless Charging Case IPX8 Waterproof TWS Wireless Headphones in Ear Built in Mic Earphones Premium Sound with Deep Bass for Sport Workout

Features:
  • One-step Connection & Bluetooth V5. 0 Earbuds. M12 automatically connects with your Bluetooth device when you open the charging case. More stable connection and faster transmission speed, allowing you to have a stable signal.
  • Premium Sound with Deep Bass. Mpow wireless earbuds offer a truly authentic sound with 6mm large size speaker driver. Exclusive Bass+ technology brings you with excellent the powerful bass enjoyment. Built-in 2 microphones to make your phone call clearer.
  • Smart Touch Control & Mono/Twin Mode. The multi-function touch panel on each earbud helps to play & pause music, adjust the volume, answer/end/reject a call easily. Either earbud (left or right earbud) can be used solo for calls and music in mono mode. Twin mode provides a more immersive stereo sound.
  • USB-C & Wireless Charging. M12 supports two charging modes. Reversible USB-C charging cable (included) makes charging faster. You can also place the case on a wireless charger(sold separately) which offers a more convenient charging experience and you can completely get rid of tangled wires. Up to 5 hrs. of playtime with a single full charge, an extra of 20 hrs. of battery life with the charging case. Enjoy music all day long.
  • IPX8 Waterproof & Snug-fit. IPX8 waterproof rating of the wireless earbuds protects effortlessly the earbuds against water, sweat, and rain. Ergonomic earbuds are snug-fit and light, which will stably stay in your ears even in strenuous exercise. Choosing the best fit from 6 eartips in 3 sizes can get a better wearing and listening experience.
Other Specifications:

Brand: MPOW
Model: M12
Full Charge: 2 hours, supports quick charge & Wireless Charging
Single Charge Playtime: 5 hours
Playtime with Charge Case: Up to 25 hours
Driver: 6mm
Codecs: SBC, AAC
Environmental Rating: IPX8
Technology: BT 5, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Operating Range: 10m
Noise Cancellation: None
Microphone: Yes, no CVC


What's In The Box?:

Earbuds
Charging Case
Silicon Eartip x 3 Pair
USB Type-C Cable
User Manual
Quick Guide

Latest reviews

Lots of features, not much else
Pros: Wireless charging, form factor provides good isolation, IPX8
Cons: Fiddly - controls aren't great, mic quality, sound quality not great
I paid for these headphones, as with every set I review, and receive nothing in return from the manufacturer.

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. Some others too, but I won't go into detail unless it's necessary.

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.

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

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

Tips

Stock tips
Spinfit Silicones
INAIRS foam tips
ikko i-planet foam tips

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 as well as my pet peeve, vertigo and jawache.

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.

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?!

Ok, so onto the review:

Model: MPOW M12

Price: £18.49 (Currently £25.49 with £5 off voucher)

Vendor: Amazon UK

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mpow-Bluet...08BX4WRF5/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Manufacturer Blurb:

Features

  • One-step Connection & Bluetooth V5. 0 Earbuds. M12 automatically connects with your Bluetooth device when you open the charging case. More stable connection and faster transmission speed, allowing you to have a stable signal.
  • Premium Sound with Deep Bass. Mpow wireless earbuds offer a truly authentic sound with 6mm large size speaker driver. Exclusive Bass+ technology brings you with excellent the powerful bass enjoyment. Built-in 2 microphones to make your phone call clearer.
  • Smart Touch Control & Mono/Twin Mode. The multi-function touch panel on each earbud helps to play & pause music, adjust the volume, answer/end/reject a call easily. Either earbud (left or right earbud) can be used solo for calls and music in mono mode. Twin mode provides a more immersive stereo sound.
  • USB-C & Wireless Charging. M12 supports two charging modes. Reversible USB-C charging cable (included) makes charging faster. You can also place the case on a wireless charger(sold separately) which offers a more convenient charging experience and you can completely get rid of tangled wires. Up to 5 hrs. of playtime with a single full charge, an extra of 20 hrs. of battery life with the charging case. Enjoy music all day long.
  • IPX8 Waterproof & Snug-fit. IPX8 waterproof rating of the wireless earbuds protects effortlessly the earbuds against water, sweat, and rain. Ergonomic earbuds are snug-fit and light, which will stably stay in your ears even in strenuous exercise. Choosing the best fit from 6 eartips in 3 sizes can get a better wearing and listening experience.
Other Specifications:

Brand: MPOW
Model: M12
Full Charge: 2 hours, supports quick charge & Wireless Charging
Single Charge Playtime: 5 hours
Playtime with Charge Case: Up to 25 hours
Driver: 6mm
Codecs: SBC, AAC
Environmental Rating: IPX8
Technology: BT 5, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Operating Range: 10m
Noise Cancellation: None
Microphone: Yes, no CVC

Real Life Experience

The Unboxing - 6/10


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No different to any other cheap earbud really, standard cardboard surround revealed a second box, within which the plastic shroud houses the case and the buds. Like many earbuds nowadays, these arrived separated from the case, meaning they were DOA and required charging.

Inside the box we have the amusing 'You've won an Amazon voucher...just leave a 5 star review and email us the link' card. Oh dear. And so many suckers fell for it!

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Annotation 2020-09-08 181412.jpg

PLEASE STOP DOING THIS!!

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Standard fare: quick guide, user manual, warranty extension card, spare tips, usb cable, case, buds.

The Case - 8/10

Nicely compact. No case size comparisons this time I'm afraid, but I'd say it's similar to the Aukey EP-T25 I reviewed not so long back - around 60mm x 40mm. The main issue - not a problem for me but will be for some - is the depth. It sat higher than most of my TWS, making it kinda bullet shaped, which is not going to sit well in pockets compared to, for example, the Boltune BT-BH024 or Edifier TWS NB2.

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So why the high score? Well, firstly it supports wireless charging, secondly it is USB-C (although that is almost a given now), thirdly you get a reasonable 20 extra hours from a fully charged case, and finally as well as supporting quick charge, it also has 4 lights on the front showing how many charges remain. With many cases not having this feature, it's nice to see it back.

The Ergonomics - 7.5/10

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The M12 is another from the 'bulbous brigade' designed to balance noise isolation, fit and touch control. And in all honesty, it does it pretty well. Noise isolation is surprisingly really effective and the touch surface area is sufficiently spread to prevent pressure on the ear. I shouldn't be surprised, because these are designed similarly to the Tranya T10, which were also very good at isolating noise.

The driver housing is not overloaded with a heavy surround so the fit is quite comfortable, but due to the width of the bud, they are not ideal for listening in bed, for example, as you can see against the Tronsmart Onyx Free.

The IPX rating suggests they were designed with exercise in mind - IPX8 means they are fine in heavy rain. I gave them the shake test and unfortunately they didn't fare too well compared to something like the Nillkin TW004, which don't budge.

Sound Quality - 7/10 (for the price paid), 4.5/10 (raw score)

It is always a difficult balance reviewing raw sound quality against intermediate sound quality (i.e. sound quality against price). What are you expecting at this price? Honestly I wasn't expecting much, and unsurprisingly they didn't deliver much either. Some music sounded OK on Windows, mostly non-complex pop. Calvin Harris - Summer sounded fine. Anything complicated and it started to suffer. My usual reference tracks, which really test the buds ability to separate low and high mids, sounded almost distorted. On some tracks, as vocals tried to push through, the sound stage sounded pretty flat. John Legend would have barely recognised Love Me Now.

It sounds silly making these comments about £18 earbuds but I think it's important to know what you are and aren't going to get - these are low complexity specialists which boost the trebles and try to boost the lower mids without emphasising the bass too much - a problem with most of MPOW's previous releases - if you like pop and dance, these genres should for the most part sound well rounded and not too harsh even at quite high volumes, but but if you like baritone vocals, opera and anything remotely complex in the lower frequencies, prepare to be disappointed.

Call Quality - Indoors - 2/10, Outdoors - 1/10

I didn't anything could be worse than the Aukey EP-T25. After multiple resets they improved somewhat.

These are the new worst.

I reset them several times. Still I cannot make out a single word I said with a little ambient noise. It actually sounds like it is trying to cancel EVERYTHING out! Without any ambient noise, you sound a little distant - you have to raise your voice a little to be heard.

I even checked for stickers that might be covering the mics, nope, they're just rubbish, or possibly faulty.

Do not even consider these if you intend to use them for calls and you have any kind of ambient noise!

Connectivity, Controls and Other Features - 7/10

These are theoretically great. The large surface area of the touch pad is perfectly sized, for example, but totally unresponsive. You touch the controls and maybe a few seconds later something will happen. Holding the buds down turn the volume up and down supposedly, again, theoretically great but I couldn't get this to work at all, it just skipped tracks.

Connectivity was OK - the usual distance (<10m), but I didn't take out to test if they worked in congested areas.

These feature SIRI or Voice Assistant by triple tapping, which I managed to achieve on multiple occasions when trying to skip track :D

No Apt-X so these use AAC on Android. I had too many applications open to reboot to test through Bluetooth Tweaker to see what was going on with the codecs.

Wireless charging is a great bonus at this price point.

Battery Life - 7/10

At the lower end of average, but perfectly acceptable.

Final Comments

In the sub £20 market these aren't all that bad. They do some stuff pretty well, but are far better on paper than they are in practice. The jittery controls and poor microphone made them frustrating to use, and latency issues on YouTube didn't help their cause. I have seen the likes of Scarbir rating these quite highly, but I can't agree unfortunately.

Price Weighted Score: 62%

Raw Score: 50%
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