These super cheap true wireless in-ears are fantastic value for money, but audiophiles will want to look elsewhere.
IPX5 ‘sweat-proof’ rating
Underwhelming audio quality
Slightly dull design
Can be uncomfortable
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In the race to create some of the cheapest true wireless earbuds on the planet, Kitsound’s District True Wireless Earbuds are leading the race.
At just $90 (£69, AU$125), these are some of the cheapest true wireless earbuds we've yet to see. They're not as cheap as the Funcl AI True Wireless Headphones but they cost half of what Apple is charging for the Apple AirPods.
That being said, in the past we’ve found many cheaper true wireless in-ears to be riddled with connectivity problems and sub-standard battery life - better antennas and bigger batteries cost more money, after all.
Can Kitsound's latest budget buds can shake off the negative associations many have with value in-ears? Here's what we found out.
Price and availability
The District True Wireless Earbuds cost £69.99, which works out at around $90 / AU$125. Right now, it looks like they are only available to buy in the UK, with no word on whether they will be released in other territories.
At around $90, these true wireless in-ears are right at the lowest end of the price scale. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a good pair of earbuds, though; one of our favorite pairs of true wireless earbuds, the Optoma NuForce BE Free5s cost just $100, showing just how accessible truly wireless headphones are today.
In terms of design, the District True Wireless Earbuds aren’t anything to write home about; they look and feel very functional, from the charging case to the earbuds themselves.
With an IPX5 rating, these earbuds should be able to withstand sweaty workouts, although Kitsound doesn’t recommend leaving them in wet conditions for long periods of time.
The earbuds themselves feature an egg-shaped rubber housing that’s designed to fit snugly into your ear and stay secure while you’re on the move. On the outside of each housing you’ll find the Kitsound logo in grey, and an LED indicator that flashes red or blue when the earbuds are in pairing mode, connected to your device, charging, or low on battery.
Battery life is okay – four hours is generally the standard for true wireless earphones, but you’re only getting 3.5 with the District True Wireless Earbuds. However, the charging case does provide you with up to 40 hours playtime when fully charged, which is pretty impressive.
Although they do feel very secure and sturdy, the housing of the buds are quite big, and they pressed uncomfortably on our ears, which isn’t ideal if you’re planning on using them for long listening sessions.
The all-black charging case is similarly kitted out with a rubber lid, which opens to reveal two magnetic charging ports; to charge the earbuds, you simply place them into the ports, and the LED indicator will flash red to let you know that they are charging successfully.
If you want a quick visual indication of how much juice they have left, the case itself also features a row of four LEDs that indicate how much battery the charging case currently has.
On the back of the case you’ll find a micro-USB and a USB port for charging; both ports are hidden by a rubber cover, which means you don’t have to worry about debris finding a way in there.
Including a USB port in the charging case is a fantastic feature, as it allows you to give you phone a quick battery boost when you’re running low on the move.
Features and performance
Pairing the District True Wireless Earbuds to our smartphone was seamless, and they connected straight away. However, when listening to music we found the earbuds would disconnect from each other, causing us to lose all the sound in one earbud periodically throughout our testing.
The good news is that, for their size, these earbuds put out a decent amount of sonic power, with a sensitivity of 108dB – headphones generally have an upper sensitivity of 110dB to avoid distortion at high volumes.
That said, the overall sound is extremely warm, to the point that music almost sounds muffled. This is particularly noticeable in high frequency percussive elements like hi-hats and snares; when we listened to Wild Beasts’ ‘Bed Of Nails’, we found ourselves craving a lot more attack and crispness in those higher frequencies.
Vocals and other mid-frequency instruments like guitars and keys sound great, with a warm, smooth tone that feels pleasantly distinct from the other frequencies.
If you’re into your bass, you may be disappointed by the District True Wireless Earbuds. We found that the bass wasn’t punchy enough to feel powerful, again suffering from that muffled effect that plagued the higher frequencies.
To control your music or summon your device’s voice assistant, you can simply press down on the housing of the earbuds. Doing this to change the volume, skip, pause, and play tracks, as well as summoning our device’s voice assistant worked well, however you have to push down quite hard on the housing to get it to work. This means pushing the eartips further into your ear canal and can get pretty uncomfortable after awhile.
The main selling point of the KS District True Wireless Earbuds is the price; at just around $90 they’re a bit of a bargain for true wireless earphones. It’s often the case with cheap true wireless headphones, that you’ll experience connection dropouts; while the two earbuds sometimes struggled to stay connected with each other, connecting them to our device via Bluetooth was a breeze.
Their IPX5 rating and secure fit means that they would make a great pair of in-ears for runners, but some may find the bulky housings slightly uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The battery life of the earbuds themselves leaves something to be desired, but with the charging case you’re looking at around 40 hours of playback, which not only only gives your buds a battery boost, but can also charge your phone if you’re running low on juice.
In terms of audio quality, the District True Wireless Earbuds aren’t going to blow you away, but they do provide a good level of volume, with smooth mid frequencies. However, these earphones won’t give you crystal clear highs or thumping bass, so audiophiles will likely want to look elsewhere – in everything from the design to the audio quality, these headphones are made to be functional (and not much more).
These issues mean that we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the District True Wireless Earbuds as the best true wireless headphones on the market. They're uncomfortable to wear for long periods. The earbuds periodically drop connection from one another. They sound extremely warm to the point sound is muffled. The only thing they have going for them is that they're cheap – and even then, there are even cheaper True Wireless Earbuds out there.
So, if you're looking for the most basic true wireless headphones on the market and can put up with a lot of drawbacks, Kitsound's District True Wireless might make sense for you. Otherwise, we'd advise you to keep looking.
- Looking for more options? Check out our best true wireless earbuds
Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.