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More than just eye candy? – MBReviews

Haylou has focused a bit more towards reducing the latency on its newer TWS earbuds and the Haylou G3 is essentially the first pair of earbuds that not only promises a very low latency, but also fully embraces the whole gaming design concepts. It does so by having a more aggressive looking case and larger LEDs that shine through the transparent lid in various patterns, creating a cool visual effect.

But, there is more to the looks when it comes to gaming and the Bluetooth earbuds kind of struggle to keep the latency low enough to be worthwhile. I know that aptX has made some nice progress in this regard, reaching approximately 40ms, a very good number for Bluetooth gaming earbuds. The Haylou G3 does not use this codec, but it does support AAC which I suppose could bring the latency below 200ms in gaming mode.

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Hyalou G3 Gaming TWS Earbuds.

So, I am a bit skeptical about the advertised 45ms, but the manufacturer may have found a way to provide such an impressive performance – we’ll see in the testing section. Besides the improved latency and the cool looking case, the Haylou G3 promises a good sound quality due to the professional fine tuning of the 13mm drivers. And I did see that the X1 Neo had the same speakers, but the fine tuning could have been better – hopefully the G3 performs is improved in this regard.

Additionally, the Haylou G3 uses ‘call noise cancellation’ which also suggests that the quality of the microphones is good. Plus, there’s the 20 hours battery life that the case can provide, so let’s put the Haylou G3 to the test and see how well it performs.

Build Quality and Design

While the main attraction point is the charging case, the earbuds are also very nicely designed. Similarly to the X1 Neo, the Haylou G3 don’t use silicone tips for the passive sealing. And I know that some people really dislike the way some earbuds need to be pushed into the inner ear, thus irritating it, so the Haylou G3 are perfectly designed to let your ears “breathe”. To better accommodate the Bluetooth antenna, Haylou decided to use the traditional earbuds look, with the elongated neck.

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Haylou G3 earbud close-up.

And I think that the Haylou G3 have a better thought-out shape, more suitable to the ear than the X1 Neo. But they’re also a bit heavier, while you’re pretty much going to forget that the X1 Neo are in your ears. One Haylou G3 unit measures 1.19 x 0.67 x 0.6 inches (3.0 x 1.7 x 1.5 cm), so it’s even more compact than the W1. The earbuds are covered by a black matte finish (with a narrow glossy band) and, since they have a more angular design, the surface is not that slippery.

On the rear side of a Haylou G3 earbud, the manufacturer has added a very large LED with an interesting pattern and the LED will flash yellow or green (depending on the mode that’s enabled) every few seconds after the pairing to an audio source has been successful. And it will flash yellow and pink continuously if the earbuds have not yet been paired to your phone. There also seem to be two microphones, one at the bottom of the earbuds (at the end of the elongated neck) and another underneath the LED. But there is a third opening very near the speaker which is covered by a metallic grille (I assume it’s a third microphone).

The Haylou G3 TWS earbuds do not have physical buttons built into the case and instead, you need to tap on the touch-sensitive area underneath the large LED (close to the end of the neck).

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Haylou G3 LEDs.

Tapping once on any earbuds will start or pause a track and double tapping the right earbud will skip the track. If you want to go to the previous one, tap the right earbud once. To enter or exit the Gaming mode, you need to tap and hold the left earbud for a couple of seconds and to enter or exit the Music/Cinema mode, tap and hold the right earbud. Of course, there are some call-related functions as well, such as tapping once to answer or hang up a call or double tapping to either reject a call or switch to a third-party call.

Unfortunately, there is no volume control which I suppose is not that unexpected at this price point. I have mentioned that you could forget that the X1 Neo were in your ears, but can the same be told about the Haylou G3? They’re very comfortable and even if there are some light pressure points, I could keep the earbuds for more than a couple of hours before feeling any discomfort. How well do the Haylou G3 fare while a workout? Since the earbuds are IPX4-rated, it should be fine if you wear them when it’s raining and while sweating, but I would suggest keeping them indoors since it’s not difficult to lose the earbuds otherwise.

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Top: Haylou G3. Bottom: Haylou X1 Neo.

I usually suggest getting earbuds with silicone hooks or some other element that properly prevents the earbuds from falling when doing any type of outdoor activity.

The Haylou G3 Charging Case

I complained a lot about plain charging cases, so Haylou designed a case worthy of the gaming title. It does have a similar shape to the EKSA GT1, although a bit less tall and more angular, and the lid is transparent, allowing the LEDs to shine through. Still, what concerns me is the size of the charging case since at 2.36 x 2.36 x 0.98 inches (6.0 x 6.0 x 2.5cm), it’s not going to be the most comfortable object to have in your pocket (size aside, the angular design doesn’t help either).

That being said, the LEDs do make up for any other shortcoming. There is a central pattern that lights up to show you the status of the battery. Kind of, because the LED will flash yellow four times every time the lid is opened and will flash three times to let you know that the battery is less than 10 percent. The LED will also light up incrementally when charging to show the amount left, so why not use this system all the time?

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The charging case.

Then again, I am not an engineer in this field. Besides the central LED, the LEDs on the earbuds will also light up while charging (from the battery inside the case), helping create a very cool visual effect. As expected for a device that’s been recently released, it does make use of a USB-C port for charging up the case.

Internal Hardware and Connectivity

The Haylou G3 is equipped with a 13mm dynamic driver which seems to be the same as on the Haylou X1 Neo, so, as before, I do hope that we may get an ampler sound – the volume reached fairly high on the X1 Neo, so I assume it would do the same on the G3. The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.2 which is ‘a downgrade’ from the version 5.3 of the X1 Neo, but it won’t really matter in terms of coverage since it remains 30 feet with some interference (walls). I suppose, it may not be as energy efficient, but we should still see 4 hours and a half on a single charge if the advertised numbers hold true.

Also, as expected, there is no support for Bluetooth multipoint. In terms of codecs, the Haylou G3 does support AAC which is better than the standard SBC for sound quality, but we will see if it’s good in terms of latency as well (SBC is regarded as being better).

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Source: Haylou official website.

The Sound Quality

The initial set of tests that I run on TWS earbuds check the quality of the drivers (if there’s any buzzing) and if the two earbuds are properly matched together. In the case of the Haylou G3, after being set to Music mode, the sweeping tone was clean and, as for the driver matching test, the sound was played in the middle, with no noticeable deviation, so all is good. Next, I listened to a binaural-recorded song to get a better idea about what to expect from the earbuds, especially in gaming, where a wide sound stage is very important.

And, listening to the song for a bit, I realized that the 3d soundstage is not bad at all, the instrument differentiation is decent, but the voices are a bit forwarded (especially the female one) and I am fairly sure that some emphasis was put on treble. Furthermore, when lots of instruments are played at the same time, there is some muddiness and a lot of details are gone. Moving on to the first song, Zhu – Faded which is a low-bass-focused song and the bass is way fuller than on the X1 Neo, although it doesn’t really go incredibly deep. Still, it’s far more satisfying even if the voice is on focus a lot more than the instruments, sometimes overwhelming the entire scene.

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One earbud.

It’s worth mentioning that the voice is clear and well defined, not overly colorful and echo-y (as on the X1 Neo). Then, I listened to System of a Down – Mr Jack which is a complex song with lots of instruments at the same time + the voices and, again, the bass feels more satisfying than on the X1 Neo. There are lots of detail and the listener doesn’t get overwhelmed immediately – when all the instruments play at the same time and the song gets the most crowded, I noticed some loss of detail. Even so, I think that the Haylou G3 handled the song surprisingly well. Listening to ‘Donald Fagen – Morph the cat’ shows that the mid-bass is not bad at all, it could have been more incisive, but considering the price tag, I am not complaining too much.

Then, I checked ‘Sofi Tukker – Deja Vu Affair’ which has some cool continuous beats and it’s an alright representation, the bass could have been deeper; the female voice is also a bit too forwarded. Moving forward to a mid-focused song from Vance – She Burns and I could tell immediately that the voice is a bit forwarded, but the song is colorful and some details are there, while a few are lost (I could hear more with some monitor headphones). Next, I checked ‘Ariana Grande – Breathin’ and the voice is dominating which makes sense for this particular song. So, I think that the focus of these earbuds is more pronounced towards mainstream songs.

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Haylou G3 – Opened case in hand – a study.

Lastly, I checked ‘Guns n Roses – Sweet Child o Mine’ and I can confirm that the treble is boosted a bit, so it is more colorful and may cause fatigue listening to multiple treble-focused songs in a row. So, it’s clear that it has the same core as the X1 Neo, but the fine tuning does help a lot at reproducing a better audio experience; the volume also reaches quite high.
Note: I am not going to focus on the Cinema mode since it’s not that much different from the Music mode and most phones try to match the source audio and video anyway.

The Gaming Mode and Latency Test

The 45ms latency should be absolutely outstanding on a Bluetooth connection, so I decided to check out if I could get these results. To do so, I ran PUBG mobile on an Android phone and I first created a baseline by checking the latency from the phone’s speakers. It was very quick, about 32ms, so close to instantaneous. Next, I decided to keep the Music mode (the connection was with the AAC codec) and did the same test once again.

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Playing PUBG.

The latency was 245ms which was a better result that I expected. Moving on to the Gaming mode, I am fairly sure that the earbud simply move to SBC and perhaps lowered a bit the sound quality, so the bitrate is lower. That being said, the latency was 190ms which is a decent result for a Bluetooth connection, but not 45ms. I am not sure how they got that number or what type of tests the engineers did in lab conditions, but I could not reproduce those results. Before moving to the next section, it’s worth mentioning that there is a voice notification when moving between modes, which is excellent and it’s a shame that they left out such an essential feature from the X1 Neo.

The Call Quality

Haylou was more open about the noise canceling technology that they implemented on the G3 and it does seem that the performance is pretty much the same as on the X1 Neo. There is no noise sealing, so ambient noise will creep in and alter the sound quality when listening to music and while calling someone. Even so, the caller barely heard any background noise even if I was in a crowded, noisy room. My voice was put forward, but it did have a slight hollow effect. Overall, it’s a decent calling experience, which also means that while gaming, your voice will be properly heard by other people – I do suggest investing in a separate microphone if you need crystal clear vocals.

The Battery Life

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USB-C port for charging.

The Haylou G3 earbuds are equipped with a 45mAh battery each and, just like the X1 Neo, the advertised 20 hours includes the available charges given by the charging case. That being said, on a single charge, Haylou says that you should see about 4 hours and a half which is a very conservative number, but fairly decent if true. So I put the earbuds to the test by playing a track continuously at 60% volume. This way, I got approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes using AAC.

The Conclusion

From the design point of view, the Haylou G3 looks really good and it will catch your eye if you’re fond of RGB and the gaming design overall. The earbuds themselves are comfortable and the lack of silicone tips will give your ears some room ‘to breathe’, but it will also not seal that well against outside noise. As for the sound quality, it’s far better than the X1 Neo, but still a bit below the Haylou W1. But, for mainstream songs, it’s more than enough at this price point. The latency is not 45ms, far from it, but still fairly below average for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.

Haylou G3

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Pros

  • Cool looking case (RGB)
  • Multiple modes available, including for gaming
  • Decent call quality
  • The earbuds are fairly compact
  • AAC codec

Cons

  • No volume control
  • No way to properly tell the battery level of the charging case

Author

Silence Dogood

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