Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Surge Mini true wireless earphones

Who needs Apple AirPods? A huge charging pod that can also refuel a phone helps these great value earbuds be a better choice for travellers

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It was Apple AirPods that started the so-called ‘true wireless’ movement, but during the past few years more and more brands have had a go at making earbuds that not only have no cables, but are also not attached to each other. This latest effort, the Surge Mini (currently being crowdfunded), arrive in a small charging pod and promise Bluetooth 5.0, which may help with the often dodgy connections TravGear has experienced with other brands.

Surge Mini true wireless earphones: design

Weighing just 3.2 oz, the Surge Mini are nevertheless fairly chunky when compared to wired earbuds. That is something few people take into consideration when swapping over to true wireless earphones. However, the Surge Mini earbuds, complete with built-in battery that lasts for three hours (yes, another major drawback with the ‘true wireless’ concept), are nicely weighted, and feel comfortable in the ear. However, as with virtually all such earbuds, it’s very difficult to tell which one is for which ear once they’re out of their clearly marked parking space in the charging pod. A big ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the inside of the earbuds would be very welcome.

Surge Mini true wireless earphones: features

The short battery life can be got around by putting the Surge Mini earbuds back into their charging pod regularly. A rounded, palm-sized box that flips open to reveal magnetic slots that easily grip the earbuds, the 2,000mAh pod offers a whopping 70 hours of recharging – four times more than Apple AirPods – so it’s easily good for a week’s travel. Recharging the earbuds from empty to full takes about 45 minutes. However, there is one other great feature about the charging case: it also acts as a portable charger for a smartphone thanks to a USB slot. So when you get off the plane and no longer need to listen to music, you can top-up your phone instead of recharging the earbuds.

Surge Mini true wireless earphones: performance

What we liked most of all is how quickly and easily these earbuds pair. Bluetooth 5.0, it turns out, is hugely worth having. Not only did the earbuds pair to our smartphone rapidly, but also to each other. Every time we used them after that, they paired automatically and instantly. However, there is something else about Bluetooth 5.0 that we like, and that is sound quality. Punchy, detailed yet warm, with just enough low frequency and base, the only thing lacking is noise cancellation. That’s an innovation that’s yet to hit the ‘true wireless’ earbud market.

Surge Mini true wireless earphones: summary

With a fast and stable connection to a smartphone, and to each other, the Surge Mini true wireless earphones offer great sound quality in a fuss free design. Our only criticism is that three hours of battery life is not much at all for those on a long haul flight, and that it’s tricky to tell which earbud goes in which ear. Those tiny issues aside, the Surge Mini earbuds come highly recommended – and we absolutely love that the charging pod can also refuel a phone.

Price as reviewed: US$39

Buy the Surge Mini true wireless earbuds