I was especially pleased to see the excellent variety of included eartips, especially the largest ones. I rarely find a TWS with eartips I can use straight out of the box so this was a real treat.
The NeoBuds S charging case is made from matte black plastic that’s resistant to fingerprints. On the top of the case, there’s a metal panel with a shiny gold Edifier logo. This panel elevates the premium feel of the case and I think it looks great.
It’s about the size of a slightly flattened medium egg and therefore fits easily into a jeans pocket. On the front of the case is an LED bar with 7 different colours. You can personalize the colour to suit your personal preference.
On the back of the case is A USB-C charging port and there is a Bluetooth pairing reset button located inside the case. There is no wireless charging support sadly, which is disappointing for a higher-priced model like this.
The earbuds are similar to the NeoBuds Pro. They have a flattened stem with a bulb on the top and angled nozzles. The stems sport the same gold Edifier logo as the case and which is a nice aesthetic touch.
You’d think that with those nice wide stems the touch controls would work a treat. However, the responsiveness is not great and button taps are often not recognized. The onboard controls are minimal too with no volume adjustment or added functionality.
It’s internally where the Neobuds S aims to differentiate itself from the Neobuds Pro. Now the earbuds have support for Snapdragon sound which promises an even higher bitrate than LDAC.
Great right? Well, it would be, except that there are hardly any phones with Snapdragon sound support. The ones available are mostly Xiaomi and Motorola which drastically reduces the appeal of the feature.
Thankfully, the Neobuds S supports aptX and aptX adaptive codecs but that’s likely to be a small consolation to anyone paying the premium for Snapdragon sound only to find out later they can’t take advantage of it.
Edifier Connect App
You can use the Edifier Connect App to access extra features such as the customizable EQ and switching ANC modes. Here you can also customize the colour of the LED panel on the case. There are 7 colours available and although it’s somewhat gimmicky, I found it to be a fun inclusion.
The app displays the current battery level of the earbuds and lets you enter the gaming mode that reduces the latency between your phone and the earbuds. Lastly, you can use the app to customize the (limited) touch controls and the touch control sensitivity.
Edifier Neobuds S Battery Life
Edifier claims the battery life is rated at 5.5 hours of playback with ANC on and 6.5 hours with ANC off. I found the numbers fairly accurate but they will vary depending on the volume level and environment.
The case gives you another 3 charges so although the battery life is low compared to some competitors it should be enough to get you through a full day. In addition, the Neobuds S supports fast charging and will give you 1.5 hours of playback time from a 10-minute charge.
Calls, Video and Game Performance
The call quality on the Neobuds S is a bit disappointing, especially in the context of the price. Although my voice is reasonably clear, it’s not very loud and there is a lot of compression. Thus, you could use these for calls but the voice quality is far from ideal.
Video and game performance is good with no sync issues in video and only a very slight delay in online games.
Edifier Neobuds S Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
The Neobuds S provides some pretty decent ANC. There are 5 modes in total: Normal mode (ANC off), High noise cancellation, Low noise isolation, Ambient mode and Wind reduction mode.
In High ANC mode, the earbuds do an okay job of reducing surrounding noise. It’s far from the best ANC I’ve used, however, and I can still hear the whirring of my air conditioner in the background.
The Ambient sound mode performs better; It allows me to hear my surroundings quite clearly without any drastic reduction in audio quality.
The Neobuds S sport the same hybrid driver configuration as the Neobuds Pro. They have a 10mm dynamic driver paired with a Knowles balanced armature driver. The resulting sound is in short: the best Edifier TWS I’ve heard to date (I never tested the Neobuds Pro).
The bass is punchy, strong and boosted north of neutral but not so much as to be obnoxious. The sub-bass digs deep and delivers an intoxicating rumble when called upon. Even on maximum volume, there’s no distortion, however, the overall resolution takes a hit.
The midrange is full-bodied and clear with dense, slightly rounded notes. The instrument separation is good but in the default tuning profile, the mids are a bit recessed. You can adjust this with the EQ settings though and the app even lets you select specific frequencies to adjust, albeit only 4 of them.
The treble is zesty but smooth. Unlike many TWS earbuds, the treble doesn’t sound overly metallic or full of artefacts. This is even more noticeable using aptX (I don’t have access to a phone with Snapdragon sound).
There’s a good level of detail retrieval and while the tuning is fairly generic for a TWS set, the overall audio quality is satisfying. The Neobuds S sound bouncy but clean with engaging bass and a non-fatiguing treble.
At the end of the day, I have mixed feelings about the Edifier Neobuds S. They look and feel good and the battery life is decent. The ANC is acceptable and the Edifier Connect app adds some good functionality. On top of that, the Neobuds S sounds great.
However, the value of the added Snapdragon Sound is questionable since the majority of users won’t be able to make use of it. Then there are things like the limited touch controls and lack of wireless charging, not to mention the premium price.
Unless you feel like you need Snapdragon Sound, you can get the same or better performance elsewhere for less, most notably from Edifier’s own Neobuds Pro.