HAKII ICE TWS Earbuds Review

HAKII ICE review featured
HAKII ICE TWS Earbuds Review
Verdict
A uniquely styled and good-sounding TWS earbud but one that lacks features for the price.
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Pros
Good bass for an open earbud
Clear, energetic sound
Unique design
Cons
No aptX
No ANC
Lacking features for the price
4
Our Score

In this article, I’m reviewing the HAKII ICE TWS earbuds. The ICE featured 13mm dynamic drivers, Bluetooth 5.2 and up to 7 hours of playtime for the earbuds on a single charge. It retails for $99.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by HAKII for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

HAKII ICE

Specifications

  • Wireless Version: 5.2
  • Wireless Range: 10m
  • Audio Codec: AAC/SBC
  • Speaker: φ13mm dynamic drivers
  • Play Time: 7 Hours (earbuds) / 24 Hours (with case)
  • Charging Time: 1.5 Hours (earbuds) / 2 Hours (case)
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (earbuds only)
  • Price: $99

Packaging and Accessories

Box front

The HAKII ICE comes in a stylish black box with a white cardboard sleeve. Inside the box, we find the standard kit: the HAKII ICE TWS earbuds, charging case, USB charging cable, documentation and a sheet of HAKII stickers.

What comes in the box

Design

HAKII ICE charging case and earbuds

The HAKII ICE design is said to have been inspired by ice sports. Both the charging case and earbuds have a unique look and feel to them. According to the HAKII website, the case alone took 10 months to go from concept to mass production. The designers wanted to make the case look as though it was encased in a block of ice. They achieved this by using double-shot moulding and transparent materials.

The case feels good in the hand – robust but not heavy. I wouldn’t worry about your earbuds falling out either because the lid seals shut with a reassuring magnetic snap. There’s a USB Type-C port for charging on the bottom of the case and a HAKII logo on the front that lights up when charging or when you open the case.

As for the actual earbuds, they match the style of the case with their icy blue colour and twisted stem. The top earbud part has a matte grey finish. The ICE is an open style earbud so there are no silicone tips. Despite that, they feel secure in my ears and even provide a pretty good seal which really helps with the bass response (more on that later).

Internally, the HAKII ICE has a 13mm dynamic driver and Bluetooth 5.2. Wireless codecs supported are AAC and SBC so unfortunately, there’s no aptX present. For calls, the ICE has DNN call noise cancelling with 4-microphones. There’s also a low-latency game mode to reduce any sync issues when gaming or watching videos.

Each earbud weighs just 4g so you hardly even notice they’re there, especially with the 4:6 earbud head to stem weight ratio which makes them feel more balanced. An IPX4 water resistance rating means that you don’t need to worry about sweat or light rain when using the ICE earbuds.

The battery life is around 6-7 hours for the earbuds plus you get another 24 hours with the charging case. The case takes around 2 hours to charge while the earbuds take 1.5 hours.

HAKII ICE charging case

Controls and Bluetooth Connection

Pairing the ICE is simple and fast. During my testing, I found the Bluetooth connection stable and consistent and didn’t experience any drops. When it comes to touch controls, the ICE has a standard setup. Sadly, there are no onboard volume controls although you can adjust the volume using the voice assistant. Here’s a list of available controls:

Left Side

  • Single click: Play /pause /answer an incoming call
  • Double click: Activate voice assistant
  • Long press: Switch to the previous song /Hang up /reject an incoming call

Right Side

  • Single click: Play /pause /answer an incoming call
  • Double click: Switch to the game mode
  • Long press: Switch to the next song /Hang up /reject an incoming call

Calls, Video and Gaming Performance

The call quality on the HAKII ICE is reasonably good. My voice sounds fairly clear and loud enough although it has the usual wireless compression. It also does a decent job of blocking outside noise.

The game mode works surprisingly well and I noticed hardly any latency while gaming. There were no sync issues with videos in both normal and game modes.

Sound

The HAKII ICE delivers a warm, clear sound with tight bass and a natural tone. Like the HAKII Fit I reviewed some time ago, the ICE doesn’t go overboard on the bass like some TWS tend to do. In terms of weight and emphasis, ICE’s bass reminds me of my Apple earbuds (maybe not a coincidence).

It’s a good, controlled bass and doesn’t suffer any distortion even when you turn the earbuds up loud. But due to these earbuds not having silicone eartips, the seal you get will depend somewhat on your ears which may have an effect on the sound. However, just like Apple earbuds, the sound is fairly consistent thanks to the large 13mm driver.

The midrange is on the warmer side of neutral, giving male vocals and instruments like cellos extra body and note size. Vocals are reasonably forward and expressive. Yet, the midrange clarity is sufficient and the sound doesn’t become too congested even during busier music.

As for the upper mids, there’s some lift here that can make upper registers of pianos sound too bright. Belting female vocals can get a bit shouty too but only when listening at a higher volume.

The HAKII’s treble is slightly softened and fairly smooth. It plays second fiddle to the upper midrange which has both pros and cons. As a result of the treble tuning, the detail retrieval is a bit lacking but the upside is there’s no sibilance or sharpness in the highs.

The HAKII ICE delivers a warm sound with a forward upper-midrange, ample bass and smooth albeit not the most resolving treble.

HAKII ICE earbuds

Verdict

The HAKII ICE is a decent TWS earbud with good build quality. The game mode works well and there’s less latency than many other TWS earbuds. However, for the price, it’s lacking extra features like aptX and active noise cancellation. The audio quality is decent but it can’t match the sound of sealed earbuds with silicone eartips. If you’re looking for something with a unique style though, these might be right for you.

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TheAK-Kid
TheAK-Kid
6 months ago

HAKII released a cheaper version with Bluetooth 5.3, multi-point connection, and 50ms response time, all this for around $65.

TheAK-Kid
TheAK-Kid
6 months ago
Reply to  TheAK-Kid

UPDATE: HAKII raised the prices, which is strange. The ICE costs now $120 and the ICE Lite costs $82.

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