Bookshelf speaker specialist Edifier has updated its noise-cancelling wireless earbuds, NeoBuds Pro, with a new version: the NeoBuds S. The biggest difference is that they bring Qualcomm's much-touted Snapdragon Sound tech to the party.
The original NeoBuds Pro made a bit of a stir with their support for Hi-Res audio codecs such as LDAC and LHDC alongside noise cancelling for a decidedly mid-range price.
The key new feature for the new NeoBuds S comes with the inclusion of Snapdragon Sound support – another Hi-Res audio platform launched last year that aims to brings wired-like performance to wireless earphones. The downside is that you’ll need a newer Snapdragon Sound enabled device to take advantage of the feature, such as the new Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro phone – though more and more of these will appear, since so many phones use Qualcomm's tech inside.
There are also improvements inside the buds, with the NeoBuds S featuring new Knowles balanced hi-output armature drivers to provide the sound.
A gaming mode meanwhile boasts a handy 89ms lower-latency connection, while there are dual mics offering environmental noise cancellation for clearer calls on the go.
As with their predecessors, the NeoBuds S can last for up to five-and-a-half hours on a single charge with ANC turned on, with a further half an hour of life available if noise cancelling is switched off, while their charge case provides an additional 16 hours of playback with ANC or 18 with the setting turned off.
While the new version are much more expensive than the $99 the original NeoBuds Pro were offered for on IndieGoGo last year, the price tag for these updated in-ears is a still competitive $179.99 (about £148 / AU$259) – that's in-line with the Sony LinkBuds S and Apple AirPods Pro.
The NeoBuds S are set to go on sale in July via Amazon.
Analysis: New buds could offer a Neo era for Edifier earphones
Edifier’s dip into the world of headphones has been a bit of a mixed bag so far – we felt the entry level Edifier TWS1 were good value for money in terms of features, but we weren't convinced by their overall audio performance or their limited touch controls.
It was a similar story with the original NeoBuds Pro, which delivered on features and competitive pricing, but fell down with their scooped mid-range tuning and their unintuitive on-ear controls.
There’s no word on whether either of those issues are addressed with this update, but the addition of Snapdragon Sound does at least suggest there’s set to be an improvement over their forbearers, and Edifier has a strong history of making good products, so we're cautiously optimistic.
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Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of GuinnessWorldRecords.com and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.