Apollo is a god of Greek mythology and the son of Zeus. He is the god of the sun, music, poetry, justice, healing and medicine. And from this day forth, I am proclaiming Apollo to also be the god of TWS bass. Oh, yes, these have bass! In this review, I get my bones shooketh by the Tronsmart Apollo Bold TWS earphones.
The Tronsmart Apollo bold is loaded with features including active noise cancelling, ambient listening mode Bluetooth 5.0 and smart sensors. There is a lot to talk about so let’s dive in.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Tronsmart Apollo Bold
Excellent active noise cancellation
IP45 dust and water resistance
10 minutes charging for 1 hour of use
Great battery life
ANC turned on by default
Massive bass (especially with ANC on)
Package and Accessories
Tronsmart really went to town with the Apollo Bold’s packaging and the unboxing experience feels quite premium. The earphones come in a very high-quality heavy-duty cardboard box. On the front of the box is an image of the earbuds and a list of features. Over on the back of the box is a list of specifications and box contents along with a photo of the charging case.
The right side of the box has a high-resolution exploded diagram of the earphones while the left side has some photos with text describing the 3 different sound modes. On the inside of the flap, there is a description of how the hybrid active noise cancelling works.
The earphones and charging case are seated in a firm plastic tray and the rest of the accessories are found underneath. Here’s a list of the box contents:
Tronsmart Apollo Bold earphones
3 pairs of silicone eartips
USB Type-C charging cable
User manual, Quick start guide, Warranty card
Design and Functionality
The Tronsmart Apollo Bold earphones are made up of 2 disc-shaped parts: the first part sits in your ear and the other forms the main part of the shells. A rose gold ring surrounds the circular faceplates which sport a subtle Tronsmart logo and the end result looks pretty classy.
The Apollo Bold has touch sensitive buttons on the faceplates with which you can control music playback and voice calls. The buttons are responsive and I found them to work consistently during my testing.
On the bottom edge of the faceplates is an LED indicator that flashes various colours to display when the earphones are in pairing mode, connected or charging. I don’t know where they fit them all but Tronsmart has included a total of 6 microphones on the Apollo Bold. These microphones are for voice calls, ANC and the ambient noise mode. Ambient mode amplifies the sounds around you so that you can still be aware of your surroundings and hear people talking while enjoying your music or podcast at the same time.
On the inner side of the shells are the contacts for charging the earpieces and the smart or proximitey sensors. These sensors can detect when the earphones are removed from your ears and will automatically stop music playback. Of course, if you want to use a single earbud, the left and right earpieces can work independently. You just put whichever side you’re not using in the charging case and the other one will function as normal.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
The shells are kind of large but they have a fairly low profile when they’re in your ears and don’t protrude out too much. The angled nozzles help to improve the comfort and stability of the earphones. I’ve used the Apollo Bold for working out and running and they always feel nice and secure in my ears. In regards to comfort, these earphones are great and I can wear them for hours at a time. When it comes to passive noise isolation, the Apollo Bold does a pretty good job and block out a decent amount of outside noise.
Tronsmart Phone App
There is a Tronsmart phone app available that adds some extra functionality to the Apollo Bold. From within the app you can choose any of the ANC modes and you can cycle through 5 EQ presets. The presets are nice to have but the bass-dominant signature still persists with each one.
With the app, you can also check the battery status and update the firmware on the earphones. This is a nice way to keep up with the latest improvements and functionality. Probably the most interesting function of the app is the ability to remap and customize the touch controls. All of the button functions can be customized which is definitely a cool feature to have.
One of the best things about the Tronsmart Apollo Bold is the full array of controls available via the touch-sensitive controls on the earpieces. Here’s how the controls work (remember these can all be remapped using the app):
A double-tap on either side will play or pause music or answer/end a phone call
To cycle through the ANC ON/OFF/Ambient modes tap three times
Tap and hold the right side for 2 seconds to advance to the next track
Tap and hold the left side for 2 seconds to go to the previous track
Tap the right side to increase the volume
Tap the left side to decrease volume
Tap once and hold on either side to activate the voice assistant
Despite the earphones being a bit chunky, the charging case is tiny and it can easily fit in a jeans pocket. On the back of the case there’s a USB Type-C port for charging. On the front is a single LED that displays the battery level and charging status.
Even though the case is really small, it can comfortably accommodate large third-party eartips and this is a huge bonus for me personally.
How’s the Bluetooth?
The Apollo Bold’s Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity is rock-solid. I’ve not experienced any signal drops or cutouts whatsoever, regardless of whether the source is in my pants pocket, bag or sitting on a table.
Tronsmart claims a 10-metre range for Bluetooth and in my testing, I found it to be accurate. The connection stays solid even when there are 2 solid walls between me and my phone. The Apollo Bold has no noticeable latency and works great for video and even for online gaming.
How’s the Battery Life?
Whether you’re using ANC or not, the Apollo Bold has great battery life. The earphones last up to 7 hours with ANC on and 10 hours with ANC off. In addition, the earbuds can be fully recharged 2-3 times with the charging case, giving you over 30 hours of use.
These numbers are accurate too; using the earphones for around 1 hour per day, I can go a couple of weeks without having to worry about recharging. I like this a lot. The earphones and the charging case take about 2-2.5 hours for a full charge, however, with just 10 minutes of charging, you can get a full hour’s worth of use from the earphones.
How’s the ANC?
For a hundred buck TWS, the Apollo Bold’s noise cancellation actually works really well. It does a great job of blocking out noise, especially low-frequency droning sounds such as engine noise, fans and air-conditioners etc.
Then there’s the Ambient mode which lets in outside noise so you can be aware of your environment and still interact with people without stopping the music. This mode works well too: with the ANC on I literally couldn’t hear anything but the music as I was typing this review but with Ambient mode on, I can clearly hear each keypress on my mechanical keyboard.
Here is where the Apollo Bold struggles a little bit. The call quality is a bit underwhelming. In a quiet environment, the voice quality is decent and good enough for basic phone calls. But if you’re outside in a noisy environment the earphones pick up a lot of ambient noise and the voice quality takes a hit. This isn’t an issue for me since I hardly ever use TWS for phone calls but if it’s a feature you use often, you might want to consider a different option.
Sources used for testing include my iPhone, Shanling M5s and FiiO M6. The connectivity was excellent with each one and there was no noticeable change in audio quality between the different sources.
The Tronsmart Apollo Bold has a warm presentation that is dominated by a thunderous bass which is almost biblical in quantity when the ANC is turned on. It’s the same in Ambient mode too: a massive bass response with rich, warm mids and clear but smooth treble.
With the ANC OFF, the sound quality (to my ears) improves quite a lot. The level of bass is reduced significantly, freeing up the midrange and making the overall sound much lighter and airier. This is my preferred mode for audio quality.
But since I’ve been using the Apollo Bold, I’ve also come to appreciate its gargantuan bass in the ANC ON mode, especially when working out. That ANC works a treat and really blocks out a load of external noise. The saving grace of the Apollo Bold’s sound is that even with a level of bass that could move mountains, the audio quality is still surprisingly good.
Vocals and midrange instruments still sound clear, even though there is significant bass bleed. This is probably thanks to a tasteful lower treble lift that adds clarity without sharpness and helps to counterbalance the dominant low end. The midrange also benefits from a reasonably fast bass decay that helps to maintain control and avoid messy resonance or bloom.
In order to keep up with the bass, the mids have a forward position and still come through clearly. Naturally, the instrument separation isn’t the greatest but in all honesty, it is pretty impressive considering the amount of warmth and bass impact.
Hakii Fit ($99)
The Hakii Fit (YouTube review here) is another single dynamic driver TWS. It has a better and more stable fit than the Apollo Bold but has less in terms of features and functionality. There are no volume controls on the Hakii so that needs to be controlled from your phone or source.
You won’t find any other fancy features on the Hakii either: it basically plays music and it can do phone calls too, of course. It has a Micro-USB port which feels a bit outdated compared to the Tronsmart’s USB Type-C.
Where the Hakii Fit shines is in its audio quality. The sound is much more balanced and detailed than the Apollo Bold. Bass is lighter, faster and has better definition. Vocals notes are thinner and more articulate on the Hakii. Having said that, with the ANC turned off, the Apollo Bold’s sound quality comes much closer to the Hakii’s.
Bassheads won’t be satisfied with the Hakii Fit: you’d be much better suited to the Apollo Bold which has bass for days. Furthermore, if you’re looking for ANC, the Apollo Bold has very good noise cancellation where the Hakii has none. In terms of features, the Tronsmart Apollo Bold is packed to the hilt and the Hakii Fit has the bare minimum.
The Tronsmart Apollo Bold is a basshead TWS dream. Yes, it has massive bass but it’s a bass done well and one that doesn’t distort or destroy the mids. With ANC turned off, the bass is much tamer and the sound clears up considerably; to be honest, I don’t know why it isn’t turned off by default but then again, I know there are people out there who will prefer the extra bass modes.
When it comes to features, the Apollo Bold is loaded with them. The smart sensors that detect when you take an earpiece out of your ear work really well. The active noise cancellation is on par with more expensive alternatives and the ability to EQ, customize and remap the touch controls is a great addition.
Furthermore, the Apollo Bold has excellent battery life, an extremely portable and truly pocketable charging case and rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity. If you’re looking for a TWS with great ANC, good battery life and you love bass, grab yourself a set of these today.