Budget earbuds almost always come with compromises, whether that’s lackluster sound quality, a poor fit, lack of noise cancellation or low battery life.
Not so with the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite, a pair of budget wireless earbuds that actually tick a surprising number of boxes. In fact, it’s hard to find any of the caveats listed above, making them a solid pair for their relatively low price tag.
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite cost $60 / £70 (around AU$140), and at that price you’re getting many of the features you’d associate with the best wireless earbuds. The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite deliver rich, detailed sound along with genuinely brilliant active noise cancellation. This makes it effortless to get in the zone with your music, no matter the environment you’re in.
And that environment could be outside during a run, as the earbuds have an IPX4 water-resistant rating, meaning the buds resist water and sweat adequately.
Another highlight of the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite is how comfortable they are. These earbuds are ideal for long listening sessions, fitting securely in your ear, to the point where we rarely had to adjust them. Your experience on this front may vary, but it’s safe to say that the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite not only fit well, but they’re comfy to boot, and don’t irritate during prolonged listening sessions.
As mentioned, these earbuds offer rich, high-quality sound with good mids and trebles, but bass lovers may want to look elsewhere; their low-end isn’t the most powerful.
On a more positive note, these wireless earbuds’ battery life is excellent. Lasting around ten hours on a single charge (or roughly seven to eight hours using ANC), you can comfortably listen for an entire work or school day and have some battery left to spare.
The included charging case is similarly long-lasting, offering four hours of playback after a quick ten-minute charge – overall, you get 32 hours from the case. The case itself is charged via USB-C connection, and while we’d have loved a wireless charging option, we wouldn’t necessarily expect it at this price.
Perhaps the worst criticism we can levy at the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite is that their touch controls aren’t the best. While touch controls are handy, the Honor Earbuds 2 aren’t always completely responsive. Often, we had to tap multiple times to get the function to work, to the point where it was much easier to manually control music from a smart device instead.
There were also occasional issues with Bluetooth connectivity. Every so often, the buds would pause whatever we were listening to apropos of nothing, which we chalked up to a dip in Bluetooth connection. This phenomenon could also be replicated semi-frequently with a sudden tilt of the head, meaning the buds likely have some sensitivity issues that need handling.
Still, the above criticisms don’t stop the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite from being a seriously great pair of buds, and we’d easily recommend them to anyone looking for a pair that sound great without breaking the bank.
Honor Earbuds 2 Lite price and release date
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite will launch on August 7, 2021 worldwide, and will cost $60 / £70 (around AU$140). US buyers get a slightly better deal here, but either way, the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite are priced very well given their robust feature set.
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite feature a perfectly low-profile, if rather plain design. The earbuds come with protruding stems, like those seen on the Apple AirPods, and a range of silicone ear tips to enable you to achieve a comfortable fit. They’re also very light, so you should be able to wear them during long listening sessions.
The buds have also been granted an IPX4 water-resistant rating, making them a great choice if you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds you can take out on a run.
This compact design extends to the charging case, too. The case will easily fit in your pocket, which isn’t out of the ordinary for wireless earbuds. Plus, it charges relatively quickly via USB-C, and you get a cable included in the box.
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite offer an incredibly clear, rich sound that should suit listeners of any kind. If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds that simply get the job done without sounding distorted or weak, the Earbuds 2 Lite are a solid choice.
That said, bass heads may want to look elsewhere. Performance isn’t terrible here by any means, but it clearly isn’t the Earbuds 2 Lite’s focus. The soundstage here is more neutral, making the Earbuds 2 Lite something of a jack-of-all-trades. The overall listening experience is of a high quality, however, with the earbuds avoiding sounding muddy as a result of overpowering bass.
The listening experience is so clear, in fact, that the Earbuds 2 Lite were able to pick up on small details in songs that we hadn’t noticed before. Instruments and vocals were both clearly defined, no matter the genre. We tested everything from EDM and metal to more chilled-out orchestral and piano arrangements, with the Earbuds 2 Lite making the listening experience of each an absolute joy.
As an example, an upbeat rock song such as Lyrics Lie by Dance Gavin Dance, which features several complex layers of instrumentation as well as two lead vocalists, sounds excellent through the Earbuds 2 Lite. That clear soundscape is able to better distinguish each individual instrument without drowning out the vocals.
You also won’t have to worry about background noise; the Earbuds 2 Lite come with superb active noise cancellation. Available in two levels: full ANC and a second mode with a lighter touch, you can switch between, or turn it off, by accessing the earbuds’ settings on your phone.
We tested the Earbuds 2 Lite’s ANC in a range of environments, including a home office, at a family gathering, and while commuting – and in every instance, the ANC was able to drown out all but the closest, loudest sounds. And even then, it dulled them to the point of being a non-issue. In short, the ANC here is among the best we’ve seen in this price range.
It’s worth noting that the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite are for music first and foremost, since call quality doesn’t fare nearly as well. In our testing, we found call recipients to sound rather tinny and far away. Also, many of our words were cut off at the beginning and end of sentences.
Battery life and connectivity
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite’s battery life is nothing short of superb. You’ll get around ten hours from a single charge, and around seven to eight hours if you’re using the active noise cancellation feature. As such, these buds will comfortably get you through a work or school day without ANC, and with a little help from the charging case with ANC enabled.
The charging case is similarly brilliant. Charging via a USB-C connection, it powers up the earbuds at a rapid pace. Just a 10-minute charge will deliver roughly four hours of battery life on the buds, and the case can provide up to 32 hours from a full charge.
There were no problems whatsoever when it came to pairing the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite to our devices. Whether it was a phone or smart TV, the range of devices we tested were immediately able to scan for the buds via Bluetooth 5.2, with pairing taking just a few seconds.
It’s instantaneous, too, when you remove the buds from the charging case, and they can detect when they’ve been placed in and out of the ear. By default, removing the buds from your ear will automatically pause whatever you’re listening to, which can be handy if you’re in a busy environment.
We did experience some very rare connectivity issues, however, despite the buds running on the latest Bluetooth version. Occasionally, the buds’ automatic pausing feature would activate without removing them. This meant that songs could randomly pause while we were listening to them. While this was easily remedied by manually hitting the play button on our device again, it certainly took us out of the moment.
Should I buy the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite?
Buy them if...
You want a seriously good pair of buds
Really, the Honor 2 Earbuds Lite tick so many boxes that it’s hard to knock them for the few things they occasionally do wrong.
You’re on a budget
If you can get hold of a pair of Honor Earbuds 2 Lite, what you get for the price is nothing short of a bargain, even before any discounts.
You need active noise cancellation
The Earbuds 2 Lite’s ANC is very impressive and able to drown out most noise in busier environments.
Don't buy them if...
You’re a bass lover
While the earbuds sound great, they underdeliver slightly for bass. If you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, the Earbuds 2 Lite may not serve your needs as well as rival models.
You primarily want buds for phone calls
Call quality isn’t the Earbuds 2 Lite’s forte; in fact, it’s probably their weakest area.
You hate unreliable touch controls
The touch controls on the Earbuds 2 Lite aren’t the most responsive, and this can become annoying quite quickly.