Tronsmart Onyx Apex True Wireless™ Stereo ANC Earbuds QCC3040 TWS BT5.2


100+ Head-Fier
Tronsmart Onyx Apex Review
Pros: Affordable
Balanced Sound
Decent touch control
Cons: A bit too bassy
ANC is weak
Touch control a little too sensitive to me


Tronsmart is no stranger in the TWS market. They have several TWS that offer very good price performance ratios. Let’s find out today if Onyx Apex offers the same as well.


The packaging is pretty straight forward, nothing to expect at this price point.
A box consists of the IEM, eartips. Pretty straight forward no BS.

Build and Comfort

The whole earbud is made out of plastic and there are not sharp edges or any protrusion that causes discomfort. The only thing that i don’t like is the eartips, i find that it doesn’t give enough seal, but thankfully an easy ear tip swap solved the problem.


Control and Connectivity and Delay

The controls are all done on the earbud itself. The touch sensitivity is fairly high and at times I actually accidentally paused/lowered the volume. The controls are fairly straight forward:
  • Double-tap L or R to play/pause music
  • Tap R to increase the volume
  • Tap L to decrease volume
  • Hold R to skip to the next track
  • Hold L to return to the previous track
  • Triple-tap L or R to change between Transparency mode, ANC on, and ANC off
Connectivity is very good as I did not get any drop out even when I am approximately 6-7 meters away from my phone at my home, where there are several thick walls in between.

As expected from a bluetooth 5.2 TWS, audio is very much in sync when i am watching a movie via netflix or any other streaming services. Most of the games that i played, the sound is pretty much in sync except for if you are playing some hack and slash titles, but the delay is not very noticeable, a lot better than competition.

ANC Test/Ambient Mode

Let me just be honest here and tell you that, if you are expecting the ANC’s performance to be like Sony’s XM4, or even Apple’s AirPod Pro, please just drop those thoughts now.

This is not to say that the ANC capability is bad, but it just doesn’t cancel out that much noise. For example, i am using a mechanical keyboard and I can still hear the keyboard’s clicking noise when my music is playing at very low volume.

However it does lower down the noise of your surroundings, such as when you are at a busy cafe, the noise does get reduced slightly, but just don’t expect it to be dead silent. That’s it. In fact, for its asking price, I think the implementation is pretty good already.

As for the Ambient mode, it does make you feel safer when you’re out and about wearing the earbud as you can pretty much hear most of the noise from the surroundings, except for if you’re trying to converse, because it doesn’t really boost the vocal that much to my ears. So I will still take it out if I'm trying to talk to someone.

Battery Life Test
  • With ANC On
  • I get about 4.5 hours of listening time at 50% of volume
  • Quite in line with what Tronsmart Advertised
  • With ANC off, i get additional hour at the same volume level and playing back via the same Codec (APTX)
  • I would say the battery life is not bad nor exceptional, good enough to last you through the day if you are a heavy user, as the case hold an additional of 20 hours approximately


Onyx Apex’s sound is smooth and warm to my ears. Treble extension is fairly average to my ears which is fair for its asking price.

  • Not that fast and tight
  • At times it may sound a little bloated when the track gets busy
  • All these compromise is to be expected at such asking price, which i personally think is fair
  • Sub bass rumble is not that much as the mid bass is the most prominent at the lower end section
  • Not quite basshead kind of bass presentation, but good enough fun for most of the genre

  • Vocal presentation is slightly forward
  • Bass bleed does happen occasionally
  • Female and male vocal has got enough body without sounding thin

  • Smooth treble presentation
  • Doesn’t sound harsh at all
  • Good amount of details and extension

  • Soundstaging is average, doesn’t feel boxed in or out of head
  • Left and right perception feels a little out of head and doesn’t feel centered/boxed in
  • Depth and height does feel a little lacking
  • Imaging is average as sometimes when you’re listening to a fairly busy track, Onyx Apex will get a little congested

Final Thoughts

I have been listening to the Onyx Apex for at least a week to perform various tests as most of the time I review wired audiophile IEM instead of true wireless.

Will I recommend this unit? Yes I will if you’re not looking at this model purely for it’s ANC capability. If you are looking for a TWS as your daily driver, workout companion, and don't really care much about the ANC, this is the one for you. Don’t get me wrong, the ANC is there, but just to expect it to offer flagship kind of ANC performance.

Sound wise, it is an all rounder to my ears, very easy to listen to without feeling fatigue and the battery life is good enough for daily use as the case holds an additional 20+ hours. There is also fast charging, so basically it’s a worry free experience with regards to battery life.

At the time of writing, Onyx Apex cost around 50$. However, with the upcoming Double 11 event, it will be slashed to as low as 33.9$. Do not miss out on the chance to score this deal if you’re looking for a budget TWS that will not break the bank and also sounds good.

If you are interested in purchasing Tronsmart’s Onyx Apex, you may head to their AliExpress Store here

*I received this unit from Tronsmart in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I am not affiliated nor do I gain any commission if anyone purchases from the link above.



1000+ Head-Fier
Inexpensive TWS earbuds with reasonable ANC and decent touch controls.
Pros: Price. Full functions on buds. Decent range. ANC does make a difference.
Cons: Battery Life. ANC could be stronger.
I have to admit, I have far too many headphones! I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one on these forums to have this problem but it's something that I'm getting used to. I embraced the concept of wireless headphones quite early on in their evolution and have definitely welcomed the improvements in performance and sound quality the last couple of years have brought.

Amongst my collection are the following:-

Sone WF1000XM3 - Sony WH1000XM2 - Tronsmart Apollo Bold - Tronsmart Apollo Air + - Mavin Air-X - Lypertek Tevi - iBasso CF01/IT00 - Tronsmart Q10 - the list goes on…..

I'm now starting to look at the new Sony WF1000XM4 IEM's - but the combination of excessive price coupled with the fact that I already have the rather excellent XM3's, I'm not rushing to buy these at this time.

As you can see from the list above, there's quite a lot of Tronsmart stuff in there. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the overall quality of Tronsmart products. The combination of nice design touches, overall build quality and sound performance make them a serious player in the wireless audio marketplace - and their pricing is extremely competitive on top of that. Whilst you might think that the gap between their cheapest product and their most expensive equivalent product is too narrow, it's always good business to offer an upgrade to their cheapest products - lots of people shop with a "Ah what the hell, it's only a tenner more and I can just about afford that!".

One thing that their products all share is the sound character. Their headphones tend to favour a fairly strong 'v' shape to their sound - with some definite emphasis on the bass frequences. Whilst this can sometimes spoil the overall sound quality, they do definitely sound great when listening at lower volumes - mostly thanks to their enhanced bass.

In recent times I have started to come to the conclusion that I'm becoming something of a 'basshead' - for a long time I tended to favour the sound characteristics of the Etymotic ER4P - detailed rather than deep bass and a ruler-flat frequency response. However the sheer number of TWS headphones that exhibit boosted bass has slowly changed the way I listen to music and I am definitely starting to enjoy the boosted bass sound character. Don't get me wrong, I still like an accurate sound but now with an added degree of oomph when appropriate. I also now listen at lower volume levels than I used to (although still too loud according to my wife).


Like the rest of the Tronsmart range of TWS headphones, the Onyx offers full control of all the functions via their rich controls - including volume. This is always a welcome feature and one that should be mandatory for all wireless headphones. It's very clear that the Onyx are aimed at potential purchasers of the Apple Airpods Pro - having tried the Airpods Pro, I think it's fair to say that these definitely offer an alternative - at a significant price saving to boot. It's a shame that the latest Sony ANC earbuds still can't offer the same level of control that you get with all of Tronsmart's products.

The charging case doesn't feature wireless charging - after all this is designed to be the basic model in their ANC range. The buds fit into the case in a similar way to their Apollo Air models and it does take a little getting used to. The case uses USB Type C and charges the headphones an additional 3 times.


Pairing is pretty foolproof thanks to the use of bluetooth 5.2 typically automatically pairing to your phone by the time you've got them out of the case and put in your ears. Touch controls work really well and remind me of the Sony WF1000XM3's regarding touch sensitivity and response time whilst actually offering more functionality.


The sound quality and character are typical Tronsmart - v shaped with some additional bass 'bloom'. Not unpleasant by any stretch. Tronsmart consider these to be their entry level TWS headphones and this is reflected in both the price and the reduced effectiveness of their ANC which is perhaps a little less effective than that found on their Apollo Bold and Apollo Air + models. It still works though and, like their others does change the character of the sound - increasing the bass. To be honest this function can be quite beneficial as when you're in a genuinely noisy environment you can lose a lot of bass frequency so there are times that this bass boost works well. Having said that, I would still prefer a flatter sound profile that could be adjusted using EQ when required. The overall sound quality is pretty good - once you get used to the enhanced bass. At moderate volumes the sound is nicely full bodied - definitely giving the impression that you're listening to something 'bigger'.


One interesting aspect I've found with their Air, Air + and Onyx models is they're extremely convenient and easy to put in your ears 'on the fly'. This is something that they share with Apple Airpods and Airpods Pro earbuds.

For the price these are definitely worth considering. They're not perfect but do bring a lot to the table for their asking price. Differences between the Onyx and the Air/Air + and Bold models are definitely noticeable but also share a common sound profile. Highly recommended.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Onyx Apex, You might like it better than the Apollo Airs?
Pros: - Responsive buttons
- Usable and loud Ambient mode
- Strong bluetooth connection
- Nice rumbly bass with Intimate mid/ Vocals and crispy treble
Cons: - Mediocre battery life in today standard
- ANC is not too strong
- I wish the placement of the earpieces in the case is reversed
- Cheaper feel plastic used on the case compared to the Apollo Air
Disclaimer: Tronsmart offered these unit for me to test and review. Everything i write here is my subjective honest opinion about the unit.

Gears used for testing:
from my Android phone

Other TWS used for comparison: Tronsmart Apollo Air+, Airpods Pro

I won’t be covering informations/specifications that’s already available on the website, so feel free to go to this link for more info.

I will be covering things/ info that are not readily available on the spec page, also some personal thoughts and opinions after using it personally for a few days.

What you get in the box:
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Back of the box info:
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Built and accessories:
This time Tronsmart uses a cheaper material plastic for the case compared to their Apollo line, or even compared to the older Onyx Free for that matter. Understandable because of the cheaper price point, but worth mentioning, because it still is more expensive than the Onyx Free. The plastic seems softer to the touch and more prone to scratches compared to the Apollo cases, and also feels less polished because some rough edges around the lid.

Also the lid won’t hold itself open. Not really a big deal for me, but something worth mentioning.

I like the battery indicator system better here compared to the confusing Apollos. Here it just uses the traditional four LEDs that gives us info about how much battery left on the case.

There’s no automatic pairing here when we open the lid, so you must pick them up from the case to initiate pairing. I personally like this method more, but some other might prefer it differently.

The case itself doesn’t support wireless charging, so we can only charge with the USB-C connection.

Thankfully, the earpieces themselves feels quite nicely build and have the same quality feel and material to the Apollo Airs. It uses the same glossy finish and similarly responsive buttons. It also adopts the oval nozzle shape like the Apollo Airs, but with the difference of the height of the eartips used: while the Apollo Air are using regular, taller IEM tips, the Onyx Apex are using the shorter and stubbier eartips, similar in height to the Airpods Pro

Provided inside the box are standard 3 pairs of eartips, USB-C cable, and manuals.

The Onyx Apex is only available in black

Size comparison (left to right: AirPods Pro, Onyx Apex, Apollo Air):
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-16 at 12.25.54 (1).jpeg

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It uses a shallower fit compared to the Apollo Air, partly because of the more bulbous body, and also because the shorter eartips. I don’t have any problems with fit and comfort, though the Apollo Air is better on this regard for me, because even if i move my jaws it rarely (if ever) break seal, while i sometimes must adjust with the Onyx Apex. Also I can wear the Apollo Air longer as the Onyx Apex makes my inner ears warmer and sweat more after long use while i have less occasions with the Apollo Air. I personally settle using the eartips from the Apollo Air on my Onyx Apex.

Bear in mind that this is strictly my personal situation and might not reflect on everyone the same way.

Onyx Apex eartip vs Apollo Air's:
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-16 at 12.25.53 (1).jpeg

Battery life:
The battery life is more or less similar to the Apollo Air, so adequate, but compared to the other BT 5.2 competitor it might seem mediocre

Based on my personal test playing Spotify non-stop at my regular listening volume, i got around 5 hours until the battery shows 10% left with ANC on, and around 6 hours with ANC off (until it shows 10% battery left).

At this moment, the Onyx Apex doesn’t have any apps support, so what you have out of the box is what you get. Thankfully the button layout, stock sound, and connection performance are good out of the box, but i do hope Tronsmart add app support for this in the future.

Isolation, ANC/ Ambient mode:
Passive isolation:
Passively, it performs well, it blocks more than the Airpods Pro, though to the Apollo Air blocks a bit more because of the deeper fit style.

ANC: ANC wise, it’s adequate and usable, but the Apollo Air performs better here as it reduces more noise than the Apex.

Ambient mode: The ambient mode on the Onyx Apex is loud, as it seems to let everything in and even boost them a bit more, similar to what hearing aid would do. Static noise like AC or fan noise would be elevated, but the good thing is that every conversation would be more audible. I like it better than the Apollo Air’s Ambient mode, which seems to be harder to hear conversations even with ambient mode on.

Sound characteristic:
In summary, it has similar rumbly bass as the Apollo Air, but with a more forward mids, crisper treble, and more intimate soundstage.

It’s really similar in bass performance compared to the Apollo Air: subbass really hit deep, but seems a bit faster compared to the mellower and relaxed Apollo Air

Unlike the Apollo Bold and Apollo Air/Air+ however, there seems to be no changes in bass quantity when the ANC/ Ambient mode engaged.

Mids here is slightly more “in your face” compared to the warm and relaxed nature of the Apollo Air.

The Onyx Apex has more treble, making it a bit more engaging compared to the more laid back treble of the Apollo Air. Both are good and works in the similar sound quality, so it’s just a matter of preference: more dynamic ( Onyx Apex) or more relaxed and longer listening (Apollo Air)

It has more intimate soundstage when compared to the Apollo Air because of the more forward center stage/ mids. The tradeoff is that the Air seems to have deeper and more 3D soundstage, like listening from several rows back at the concert, while the Onyx Apex is more intimate, like standing closer to the stage.

Still another solid performer from Tronsmart. It retains similar performance to the more expensive Apollo Airs, with the sacrifice in slightly cheaper feel case and the lack of app support.
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500+ Head-Fier
Tronsmart Onyx Apex
Pros: Good ANC, APTX adaptive, Lightweight
Cons: No app support, Slight wind noise leak in
Tronsmart ONYX APEX ANC review

The Tronsmart ONYX APEX is the latest TWS released by Tronsmart after Apollo Bold and AIR/+ to have active noise cancellation technology. The third Tronsmart TWS with Hybrid noise cancelling feature.



The Tronsmart Onyx Apex comes with:

- True Wireless Earbud with Charging Case (4 LED battery indicators)
- USB Type-C Charging Cable

- 3 pairs of silicon tips
- Warranty Card
- User Manual


Model: Tronsmart Onyx Apex

Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3040
Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 5.2
Bluetooth profile: HFP/HSP/AVRCP/A2DP
Audio codec: APTX adaptive, APTX, AAC, SBC
Connection distance: Up to 15 meters / 50 feet

Driver: 10 mm Graphene Driver

Microphone sensitivity: -42dB ± 1dB
Audio frequency range: 20 – 20K Hz
Noise cancellation mode: Ambient, ANC OFF/ ON

Playtime: up to 5 hours (50% volume)
Charging case: up to 20 hours (50% volume)
Battery capacity: Earphone: 35 mAh
Charging case capacity: 300 mAh

Water/ Dust Proof: IP45

Design and build quality


The Tronsmart Onyx Apex is the inner ear type (insert deep into the ear canal) and come with a long stem with 6 mics for call, ambient mode and noise cancellation function. The Tronsmart Onyx Apex earbuds are well designed and stays comfortable in the ears during my normal usage outdoor walking around.

The case is the matt black type of plastic and thus gives the case a premium type of look. There are 4 leds on the case to indicate the battery level for 0%to25%, 26% to 50%, 51% to 75%, 76% to 100%. There is a USB C port behind support fast charge (10mins for 1 hr usage). The earbuds are in auto pairing mode once you open the case. The case and earbuds are all rated IPX45 which mean they will survive light rain, sweat and low water splashes. The cover of the case opens and closes with a solid quality kind of feeling and the magnets keep the case cover close perfectly.

Sound and call quality

The Tronsmart Onyx Apex’s QCC3040 chip supports SBC, APTX and APTX adaptive for android devices and ACC codec for IOS devices. Its extreme low power consumption and low latency means there will be no lag while watching movie with your devices.

The pairing of the earbuds started while the cover is open which is a surprise as most TWS pairs after the ear buds are taken out of the case. As the Onyx Apex is the long stem type of earbuds, silicons tips of different sizings are provided. The earbuds stays on the ear comfortably and “disappears” after a while while listening to the music. Volume, music play/pause, call answer/reject and call assistant controls are all available via the touch sensitive button on the earbuds.

Tronsmart Onyx Apex 10mm dynamic drivers produce rich, clear sound quality. Bass is deep and punchy. The ANC when turn on does cut off 40% of the background noise out there provided you get a good seal in your ears. Sound quality I would give it a 8.5/10.

The Tronsmart Onyx Apex is the long stem type of earbud with 4 external microphones, the microphone quality is loud and clear for the other party in the call. My friend is able to hear my voice loud and clear. Backgound noise are filtered away by the QCC 3040’s CVC8.0 technology and the built in ANC function.


Tronsmart ONYX APEX is the TWS that I would recommend to those who are looking for good TWS with APTX Adaptive and Active noise cancellation. For a modest $79 you can buy an excellet TWS-earbuds with extremely good build quality, sound quality and decent battery life. Tronsmart definitely hit another winner with the Apollo Onyx. They are available here
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Hi! Great review.
I was wondering if you are going to review Tozo nc2 which are in similar price range and features. I'm curious how it compares with onyx apex.


100+ Head-Fier
A bright and glossy in-ear stem-based mid-budget release from Tronsmart that offers affordable ANC
Pros: Aesthetics, Quick Charge, Bluetooth 5.2, Good Passive Isolation, Good for Calls, Good Value, Support for AptX-Adaptive
Cons: Currently not supported by the app, Entry-Level ANC, Case feels cheap

How I review:
(See Previous Reviews)
Instagram: regancipher
YouTube: regancipher

Model: Tronsmart Onyx Apex
Price: MSRP $48
Vendor Website: Tronsmart Onyx Apex
Review Reference: RC043

Manufacturer Specification:
  • Brand: Tronsmart
  • Model: Onyx Apex
  • Driver: 10mm Dynamic Drivers
  • Chipset: Qualcomm QCC3040
  • Impedence: 32 Ohm
  • Mic: 4, cVc 8.0
  • ANC: Yes, Entry Level
  • Volume Control: Yes
  • Codecs: Aptx-Adaptive, AAC, SBC
  • Earbud Weight: 4.92g
  • Earbud Dimensions: 24.8mm wide, neck approx. 19.3mm, 30.4mm stem length
  • Gross Case & Buds Weight: 46g
  • Case Dimensions: 62mm (width) x 41mm (depth) x 30mm (height)
  • Case Charge Capacity: 400mAh
  • Full Charge Time: 90 minutes
  • Quick Charge: Yes
  • Wireless Charging: No
  • Input: 5V 1A
  • Single Use Playtime: Up to 5 hours
  • Playtime with Charge Case: Up to 24 hours
  • App Support: Not currently
  • Bluetooth Range: 10m advertised
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 5.2
  • Bluetooth Protocols: BLE/ HSP/ HFP/ A2DP/ AVRCP
  • Water Resistance: IPX45

1 x Pair Wireless Earbuds
1 x USB Type-C Charge Case
1 x USB Type-C Charge Cable
3 x Pair Silicone Tips
1 x User manual, warranty card


Real Life Experience

Welcome to the Regancipher review of the third of four stem-based TWS offerings from our friends at @Tronsmart Official

Tronsmart first caught my eye just over a year ago with some fantastic budget releases - the Spunky Beat and Onyx Free, which received great reviews from the likes of myself, Scarbir, El Jefe, Kenneth Tannaka and many members at Head-Fi for their bang-for-buck. Last year was a pivotal year for them, releasing the 'Airpod Killer' Onyx Ace TWS, Mega Pro and Shadow Elite series speakers, the highly acclaimed Apollo Bold TWS and Apollo Q10 over-ears. My review of the Apollo Bold even made the front page of Head-Fi, and they remain today one of the leading choices for ANC buds despite the TWS market moving at such a frenetic pace.

Last month Tronsmart celebrated their 8th birthday, with a roll-out plan of four sets of buds - the Apollo Air, Apollo Air+, Onyx Apex and Battle. It was difficult to see where the Onyx Apex would fit into the portfolio, but having received them at the same time as the Apollo Air, I will later add a comparison between the two, and you can judge based on your own priorities and preferences.

All of the buds are using the newer Qualcomm Bluetooth 5.2 ready SoC chips, this model using the QCC3040.

The Unboxing - 8.5/10


The unboxing of the Q10, after redefining the expectations of TWS with the extravagant Apollo Bold, was a bit of a damp squib, but Tronsmart have returned to form with their new releases, making some key changes in their branding and marketing that push them above the average budget earbud, and embellish the consumer experience according.

The branding is now sharp, bright and distinctive, with their orange and purple colour schema retained, and the key features clearly outlined on the front and back. However gone are the days of cheap plastic inlays and monochrome manuals
- they've upped their game considerably, and you feel like you're getting far better value for money.


One area of clear maturity is the product collateral. Now I mean no disrespect to Haylou - this could have been a QCY, FIIL, KZ or pretty much any other budget earbud vendor comparison, but what would you rather read, the top one, or the bottom one?

The Tronsmart manuals clearly demonstrate controls, charge indication, parameters, and provide visual and written instruction on how to use the buds. Not only that, they've managed to retain consistency between this and their last release, the Apollo Air. Whilst the real-life diagrams are only accompanied by English text, the parameters and support details are in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.


That aside, you get the usual fare of spare tips, warranty card, charger cable and charge case, but it's up a notch from what I usually see - and that's definitely a good thing in this case. The tips are reasonable quality and shaped appropriately for the fit and form factor.

No vouchers for 5 star reviews here - always good to see a vendor stand behind their products without the need for bribes.

The Case - 7/10


The case is finished in a generic-looking matte black with the Tronsmart logo screen printed in grey on the top. At first glance, the finish is nice enough, but like most matte-black finish cases, shiny patches soon appear, and the look very quickly starts to fade. A week in a handbag will show a lifetime of wear - always a danger with this type of case. My pearlescent 1More Comfobuds case, by contrast, looks as good as the day I bought them.


The case is not altogether dissimilar to the SoundPEATS T2, with it's four indicator lights denoting how many charges the case has left. Placing the buds back into the case immediately displays the remaining percentage (in quarters) with single glowing white lights, which diminish quickly - albeit a little too quickly at times. This is an underrated feature that they over-complicated with the Apollo Air, although it would be good if the lights came on when the buds weren't in case, but the case was closed, too.

Note the gap between the top and bottom sections - this is something I am seeing more and more lately, and unfortunately it makes for a very wobbly lid that doesn't feel great. When you analyse closer, you see some reinforcement to the hinge as a compensating control, but compared to the Apollo Air, it is a little flimsy. If the lid can actually wiggle in your hand when the case is closed then that is not a good sign of longevity for me, but a month or two later and its still going strong, so what do I know?!


At 62 x 41 x 30mm, with rounded edges, it is quite appropriate to fit in your pocket, despite being on the larger side compared to the lipstick - style cases of the FIIL T1 Pro and 1More Comfobuds Pro, and differs from the SoundPEATS T2 case by not tapering inwards. Symmetric cases are always nicer in my opinion, and more practical when you're storing loads of TWS together.


Weighing in at 46g fully loaded, it is not especially heavy, so portability is generally pretty good, whether in a handbag or jacket pocket, although single handed operation is impossible with this shape and absence of any grooved lip. You really do need two hands to operate this case easily.


Another set of buds released at the same time with the same chip, the Haylou W1, have a slightly different style case, but is easier to replace the buds when you finish with them - they just slot in, face first, in the 12 O'clock position. Overall I prefer the case of the Haylou, but it does take more desk space and is less portable, if that's a problem to you.

The re-insertion of the Apex buds into the case is actually more reminiscent of the Omthing Airfree / 1More Pistonbuds, although they sit tilted slightly at an angle, and this can make getting used to their placement a bit of a learning curve as they lean slightly upwards. It feels like they're in the wrong place at first, even though they aren't. It's very difficult to show this in photos so you'll have to take my word for it!


The case met the documented battery draw criteria in the specification sheet of 5v 1a. I did not dismantle it to check on the overcharge components etc as I actually quite like them and only have one set!

The case also supports hall switch, connecting or pairing immediately, without the need for removing the buds.

Ergonomics - 8/10, Build quality - 8/10


From the front, there is only a marginal protrusion of the buds despite their bulbous shape. This is in contrast to recent releases the ZMI PurPods Pro and 1More Comfobuds Pro, which protrude a fair bit and are clearly visible face - on.


Side view shows a well-thought out and subtle profile that is not too 'in your face', although the Apex are not excessively comfortable for prolonged use, as unlike the Haylou Moripods and QCY T11, for example, Tronsmart have focused on strong passive noise isolation, and the trade off when you do this is always comfort. They're absolutely fine for a few hours, but an all - day session can put some pressure on your concha. My recommendation is tip roll. After finding some BGVP tips which are also flat but higher quality than the stock buds, I found them very comfortable.


First impressions of the Onyx Apex are of a very well-finished, premium earbud. The buds themselves are far nicer than the case. Their very glossy black finish feels and looks pristine, and whilst the camera doesn't capture how striking they appear adequately, rest assured they have all the hallmarks of a top quality earbud, and feel well made, with no rough edges or sharp lines that you find with the likes of QCY, Haylou and others in that price bracket.

The buds come with large, flat tips with a sizeable bore to facilitate the over-sized driver surround. The bulbous nature is, as I alluded to prior, evidently designed with passive isolation in mind, and in this respect, it works very well. Below the Tronsmart logo is an indicator light, which flashes blue and red when pairing, blue when paired, and red when replaced into the case. Otherwise, no bright lights when the music stops, thankfully!


A closer look shows you just how big that medium sized tip is - it is like a donut compared to my old trusty spinfits, and when you put them in your ears, you kinda understand why it is designed in this way.


The plastic surround separating the driver and the tip is oval and rather large. Like the airpods pro, this is likely the primary attribute that can make them feel a little tiresome during lengthy sessions. I'll reiterate here, getting the right tip is important, and I'm still tip-rolling now to maximise comfort and isolation. I have a bunch from BGVP, Tanchjim, Spinfit, Dekoni, Feaulle and some others that I'm still waiting for, and when my website launches there will probably be a more appropriate place to include those tests, but I'll retrospectively add my preferred tips here later anyway. At the moment the BGVP W01 ML are pretty good, increasing comfort and supporting the sound.

All of the supplied tips are flat, the larger are simply larger in diameter rather than thickness. The idea is for them to fill up the intermediate area around your antihelix. This is similar logic to the Apollo Bold, and the Edifier TWS NB2 also appeared to be designed with this principle in mind, although Tronsmart have refined it a little here.


The inside of the bud is evidently shiny - in fact, the whole bud is very shiny - and it features a pressure release hole towards the top. This is no doubt useful when activating ambient mode. You can also just about detect the L on the bottom there - each bud has its individual 'side' designated.


The battery connectors are slightly beveled, and sit at the bottom on the inside. The bevel is not deep enough to circumvent contact with the skin, so they would not be ideal for those with nickel allergies - bear this in mind. Below is the voice mic, situated in the bottom of the outer edge. Once again you see the oval shape to the nozzle, which discourages the buds from being forced down your ear canal, and is an approach I support. Nobody wants listening to music to feel like a trip to the gynecologists'. Whilst it's large enough to discourage being inserted too deeply, it's small enough to avoid discomfort, unlike the FIIL CC Pro, which is uncomfortable however you insert them.


The Tronsmart logo is nicely screen printed onto a flat, very responsive and intuitive touch control area, that is well designed and well-finished. The way that Tronsmart really underline the shape of the touch area means missed touches and false positives are very infrequent. Getting this right isn't easy - the FIIL CC Pro is a great example of how not to do it.


At less than 4g they are not heavy in the ears, which is good, because if they were then this would probably make it a deal breaker. By filling you concha and minimising the weight displacement on the outer edge, it means they aren't fighting with gravity. I had this issue with the Soundpeats Sonic, where they crammed so much tech in on the outside, they would eventually start wilting outwards. No such issues here.


I always enjoy comparing different buds of a similar ilk to try and second - guess why designs have been implemented in a certain way. At 30.7mm, the Apex are actually marginally shorter than the Boya BY AP-4, but the inner design lends itself more to the Haylou W1, elevating upwards slightly before contouring down with a flatter - indeed the flattest - tip. Not pictured are the 1More Comfobuds Pro, but their tips are similar, although they offer alternative thickness tips within the 4 sets they provide. That wouldn't work with the Apex due to their design.

In terms of comfort, as I said earlier, they lag behind more simple buds like the W1 and BY-AP4, but are comfier than the shortest in my range, the 1More Pistonbuds, which, whilst initially comfy, fatigue after prolonged use due to their invasive, long neck, and fight with gravity to stay in your ears if you move around too much. It's difficult with stem-based buds to get this comfort factor perfect for everyone. The QCY T10 and Haylou W1 are incredibly comfortable, but the poor supplied tips help with this because they're flimsy and don't support the sound quality. On the flip, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air Pro 2 were incredibly uncomfortable regardless of tip, but are generally quite well supported, so it's worth adding here fit is wholly subjective and once again underlines the need to tip roll to optimise your purchase, whatever you choose to buy.

Overall Tronsmart have done a very decent job balancing looks, ergonomics, comfort, and form factor, but I definitely recommend tip rolling with these buds. The shape is not what I'm used to, certainly, and it took a while to get the right fit and angle. Once you get it right, they fit nicely and provide excellent passive isolation.

Audio Quality - 8/10 (for the price), 7.5/10 (raw score)

I tested the sound with a number of signature tracks in FLAC using the aptX codec, and unlike the Apollo Air, the default sound signature is quite bright. Not as bright as the Haylou Moripods, but a shade too much sibilance on female vocals on treble-heavy tracks manifested on my first test track - He's On The Phone by Saint Etienne, where Sarah Cracknell's lispy vocal struggles around cymbals and snares. This is not unusual, and is why I tend to use that album first.

The Onyx Apex are better suited to tracks with an emphasis on lower frequency instruments. When you have a Contralto like Rebecca Ferguson, who is my guilty pleasure (I love her deep, expressive vocal style) - singing amongst jazz, blues and acoustic guitars, you can sense an airy but intimate separation that is really quite nice. Jazz and Blues really stand out with the Apex.

Middle-chest vocals like Ryan Tedder do not disappoint either. Ryan is another underrated vocalist, and as he passes passagio on Counting Stars the buds do not distort or push the instruments too far back, which you often detect on poorly tuned drivers.

Phil Collins' unmistakable high tenor vocals on In The Air Tonight do not degenerate either, despite the heavy reverb. So maybe it's just the ultra-soprano range that they need a tweak with. It underlines that a balanced armature driver would have taken these to the next level, and probably would have been the ideal differentiator to the Apollo Air.

Tronsmart advertise these buds as bassy, and maybe that's a fly in the face of the recent craze for BA TWS, but in reality bass is actually not a strong point with the Apex. Without any EQ the bass response is typically fast albeit sometimes flabby, but they've clearly learned lessons from the Apollo Bold as the subbass is really reigned in compared with the v1 firmware on their flagship bud from last year. Now they were bass monsters.

The instruments move around quite well for in-ear. I mean, it's not at the level of the BA earbuds I've tested lately, but still an enjoyable listen for the money, and they respond well to EQ - I struggled to get them to distort on a ten band, so there's lots of wiggle room for getting your signature sound right.

Call Quality - Indoors - 8/10, Outdoors - 7.5/10

The earbuds feature a 4-mic array with a mic at the top for ambient noise, and a voice mic at the bottom. And like other QCC3040 buds, they use cVc 8.0 noise reduction to try to improve the mic.

In all honesty I am struggling to tell the difference between most of these buds when it comes to calls. Call quality is more than good enough indoors. Your voice is extremely natural sounding. With simulated background noise, it performs well. After a few seconds of acclimatizing, it adjusts and nullifies high frequencies quite well.

Outdoors most sounds around you are nullified, although it doesn't handle outdoor calls anything like as well as the Apollo Air - compression is good, but your voice can clip.

Like most other earbuds of this form factor, outdoors they struggle a little with wind, whilst kids voices come through quite clearly, sometimes ahead of your own. That said, the cVc8.0 noise reduction is characteristically pretty good at distinguishing sounds around your own voice frequency, so traffic and other similar low-rumbling sounds are negated rather well.

Their performance is summarized quite well in my blanket test of 28 different tws in a challenging environment here:

ANC - 6/10, PNI - 8/10

ANC is described as entry level, and you definitely get that impression. Even with ambient mode on, it doesn't have that over-emphasis of ambient sound that you get on many buds. Ambient mode is not a huge leap from ANC like it is on the Comfobuds Pro or Apollo Air, and that is mainly down to the other models using 6 mics, as opposed to 4.

Noise cancellation is nevertheless surprisingly good at all round 'taking the edge off' - I can hear keyboard taps, but they are nullified. Low frequencies are nullified. The TV is nullified. Everything is nullified. You can hear noise there, but there is no white noise being pumped through to amplify the experience, so it's quite natural, and in all honesty, feels a bit weak as a result. It is no doubt helped by the excellent passive noise isolation, and is augmented even further when you switch tips. I didn't mind the stock tips, but after switching them for BGVP W01 L ANC improved immeasurably.

I took them out for an outdoor mic test and they struggled to blot out the wind, but if you purchase these with the notion that ANC is not their primary feature - it's just a handy add-on, then it serves its purpose.

Connectivity, Controls and Other Features - 7.5/10

So first things first, Tronsmart have a really nice app. Sadly, the buds don't work with it yet. That was a bit disappointing. Hopefully this will change in the future.

The buds do not advertise aptX-adaptive, but they default to it on Android. On Windows, it's aptX, and latency is practically lip-sync - very good latency of around 180Ms (source+destination). AAC is also well-scoped, with a capped max variable bitrate of just under CD-quality. There is no circumventing- chopping out MPEG2, like FIIL et al did.

Controls are really intuitive and accurate. I posted above the control schema. They also offer quick charge - 10 min gives you 1 hour playtime, there is no wireless charging but you do get voice assistant and volume control. Voice prompts are in an English female voice - the same as previous Tronsmart releases, and are a welcome escape from random beeps or Chinese (FIIL) or Chinglish (KZ) prompts! (no offence meant, of course)

Like every QCC3040 chip earbud I've tested so far, they do not always connect to each other when you take them out of the case. I have noticed Scarbir mentioned it in his review of the Apollo Air and will reach out to the wider earbud review community and see what they have experienced, but it's certainly the case for me. Just holding the guilty bud down will power it on, but that could have implications with certain control schemes. Otherwise connectivity is good - this chip does not add range in my experience (other than the Haylou Moripods), and they support Bluetooth 5.2 for future compatibility.

Battery Life - 7.5/10

5 hours from a single use was pretty accurate. I got just under 5 with volume around 70%. 24 hours with the charge case is about right for Qualcomm buds, although Qualcomm will need to keep pace as the BES-and Airoha- based buds are offering double that now.

Final Comments

The Onyx Apex are a great return to form for Tronsmart. There is a clear delineation now between the likes of Tronsmart and SoundPEATS, who are offering mid- to premium performance and general overall package, and the also-rans at the bottom end.

The case is a little disappointing - like SoundPEATS, you can see where they have cut corners to balance quality and cost, and I'd rather it be in the case than the buds. All in all, the Onyx Apex are unquestionably high quality - well made, well fitting, well designed, perform well across the board, and do all the basics very well. The ANC, whilst not particularly strong, is a bonus (Tronsmart make up for it with the Apollo Air, which is probably the better choice if ANC is your main target feature).

Hopefully Tronsmart will add the Apex to the app so we can tune the sound, but otherwise it's another great release, bringing some good features at a low cost.

Next I would like to see Tronsmart push the boundaries and include BA drivers or even hi res codecs, but with no stem based releases in their portfolio, They have quickly added the essentials to their range, and I have no doubts both models will be a great success.

Well done Tronsmart on another top release!

Price Weighted Score: 83%
Raw Score: 81%


Tronsmart Review Inventory:

Tronsmart Studio
Tronsmart Apollo Air
Tronsmart Battle
Tronsmart Onyx Apex
Tronsmart Apollo Q10
Tronsmart Onyx Free
Tronsmart Apollo Bold

About Tronsmart:

Tronsmart are now fully established as a mid to premium range earbud vendor, with their focus almost solely on audio products - mostly speakers and headphones. Founder Eric Cheng, a self-confessed geek, founded the company with his first paycheck (where was he working?!), building a lab to disassemble audio products with the aim to recreate them in his own vision at a cost-efficient price point.

After bringing in ear-chewing trophy-winning footballer Luis Suarez as an ambassador, the company have gone from strength to strength, building a close relationship with Qualcomm, and bringing two of their chips to market first with the Apollo Bold, and then the Apollo Air, which uses the Qualcomm QCC3046.

For speakers, the range is now almost as extensive as their earbuds, ranging from 7, 10 and 15w mini speakers through to the 60w Force Pro and Mega Pro.

Tronsmart remain one of my favourite mid-tier vendors, outrunning their budget competitors by releasing flagship products alongside the run-of-the-mill releases, and demonstrating transparency and commitment to quality and innovation with every release.
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Hi! Great review.
I was wondering if you are going to review Tozo nc2 which are in similar price range and features. I'm curious how it compares with onyx apex.
I'll see if I can get hold of a set, thanks!