Published on November 10th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
Tribit FlyBuds 3 Review: Are These the Best $40 TWS Earphones?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and international border closures, supply chains were backlogged and which is why we have not had a product review for quite a long time. However, as the restrictions on cargo eased up and goods started to flow in again, I have with me the second Tribit Audio product and also the third pair of True Wireless Earphones I have owned: The Tribit FlyBuds 3. True Wireless (TWS) Earphones are a hot commodity today, popularized by the Apple Airpods. Since the first Airpods were launched, there have been many different brands selling TWS earphones, including the big shots like BOSE, JBL, Sony, Boat, Pioneer and Creative. When I last reviewed a product from Tribit, they were a struggling brand. In 2 years they have made their present felt by offering great quality products at an affordable price point.
I have used the Tribit FlyBuds 3 I have with me for 2 months and I am going to present a review of it here. I will try my best to make the review as detailed as possible.
About the product
The Tribit FlyBuds 3 is a pair of True Wireless Earphones that claim to offer excellent value in the < $40 price range. The Amazon.com product page lists the following highlights:
- Battery Champ True Wireless Earbuds for both phone calls, music, and video
- Long-lasting Battery(100H playtime) – Get up to 5hrs music playback per charge, and up to 100hrs with the charging case for wireless headphones.
- Immersive Sound headphones with microphone – Flybuds 3 true wireless earbuds with Hi-Fi stereo sound good for phone calls, music, and video. You can enjoy your very clear phone call with your love one regardless in any noisy environment, you both have no issue at all to hear each other.
- One-step Pairing (No Need To Take The Ear buds Out): Open the earbuds charging case they’ll automatically connect to the last paired device! Press the button on the charging case to show the battery percentage or press and hold to unpair the device for re-pairing.
- IPX8 Waterproof: Flybuds 3 wireless earbuds boast IPX8-rated protection that defends against liquids in any weather conditions.
- Excellent Design Both For fit and Function: Included 6 sizes of eartips and 3 sizes of earfins so good seal in ears and comfortable to wear. Wireless earbuds Light in weight. Stayed in well while walking, exercising and bike riding
- Multifunction – The earbuds charging case can even serve as a PORTABLE POWER BANK provides 1 FULL charge for iPhone 11 with 5V/1A output 2600 mAh
- CNET reviews Tribit FlyBuds 3 as “Best True Wireless Earbuds under $40.”
Now that we know what to expect from the product, let’s unbox it.
The Tribit FlyBuds 3 comes in a rectangular white box with the Tribit logo on the front side and the product description and regulatory information on the back side.
Once we strip the film that wraps the box, and remove the lid, we are greeted with a user manual. Putting aside the user manual, we see the earphones along with their case, and a warranty card.
Here’s a closer look of the outside of the earphones case.
Here is a closer view with the case open.
Here’s a view with the earphones removed from the case.
The box also contains accessories like the USB charging cable, replacement earfins and additional eartips in 5 sizes.
Now that we have unboxed the product, let’s use it.
Getting Started and Basic Usage
To use the Tribit FlyBuds 3 for the first time, first charge them to full by connecting an USB-C cable to a PC or a wall charger. Once the case is fully charged (you can tell it is fully charged when all the LED lights are lit up), disconnect the charger and flip open the case to reveal the earbuds. The earbuds will immediately enter pairing mode.
Enable Bluetooth on your device, look for “FlyBuds 3” in the pairing window, and select it. In a while your FlyBuds 3 will be paired to your device.
If you are playing music or video, you can pause and continue the playback by double-tapping either earphone. To go to the next track, you need to triple tap.
If you are using the earphones for calls, you need to double-tap to accept the call, and again double-tap to end the call. To reject the call, you need to tap and hold for 2 seconds.
If the earphones are connected to an Android or iOS device, you can summon Google Assistant or Siri by tapping and holding for 2 seconds.
Unfortunately, I did not find the option to increase and reduce the sound volume. There is no mention of it in the manual, and no touch combinations work. Some people may argue that many bigger brand TWS earphones do not have this option, but I feel it is an important feature to have.
Tribit FlyBuds 3 is compatible with PCs running Windows and Linux, macOS, mobile devices running Android and iOS with sub-band codec (SBC) mode. AAC mode is available on macOS, some Linux distros, most Android phones and on iOS. On most platforms, the earbuds work as expected for hours with no stuttering and slowdowns. However, one on specific 2018 13″ MacBook Air I have, it would go off to sleep if there was nothing playing and would disconnect about half a minute later. I would have to reconnect it to get it to work again. I was not able to reproduce this on my 2017 13″ MacBook Pro and all other devices I own. It could possibly a problem with that specific MacBook.
In my tests, Tribit FlyBuds 3 turned out to much better range than I expected. I was able to listen to music without loss in quality up to 2 rooms away from my smartphone. The range appears to be roughly 15 meters, which is about 5 meters more than what is stated on paper. This is quite interesting because other TWS earphones state 10m and usually have 8-9m of actual range.
Battery life is the strongest point of the FlyBuds 3. On paper it states 5 hours of music playback per charge. But the unit I have managed to squeeze out 6 hours. The charging case, on paper, promises 100 hours of total playback time. In reality, I charge it once every 45 days and listen to 2-2.5 hours daily. So in reality it delivers anywhere from 90 to 112 hours of playback time, which is quite impressive. At this price range, asking for more is too much.
So finally we come to the million dollar question: how do the FlyBuds 3 sound? Well, let me explain.
Treble is sparkly and strong on the FlyBuds 3. Bells, cymbals, hisses and shrieks seems to be pushed all the way forward and appear to be right in front on you. This isn’t what you would call a balanced signature, but it can appeal to many music listeners.
Listening to the FlyBuds 3 on many dance and vocal numbers, it is outright clear that the FlyBuds 3 has a very warm and gingery feel to stringed instruments, as opposed to the cool and smooth feel on most of the other audio products I have reviewed before. The vocals appear to be untouched. Also, unlike most other earphones, there is a bias on the human vocal range. The human voice appears stronger than the instruments.
The FlyBuds 3 is bass-first, hands down. Bassheads will truly appreciate this. It has just the right amount of everything: enough thump, enough growl, and just enough resonance. Unlike JBL, Sony, Skullcandy and Boat, the bass is not overpowering and muddy. This part of the sound spectrum is nicely done and it is one of the strong points of the FlyBuds 3.
The soundstage is also very different from other earphones I have tested before. The FlyBuds 3 does not have a wide soundstage, nor does it have a narrow one. It is somewhere in between. When I close my eyes and imagine the placement of the various sounds being played, it appears that I am in a theater or a cinema.
Now this has an interesting consequence: live stage performances and movies are a delight to listen with these earbuds. You are going to enjoy and appreciate every bit of such content. However, for some people like me, it makes voice calls fatiguing if they last for more than 10 minutes. I mean why would someone want to listen to the other party on a call as if they are enacting a drama in an indoor theatre?
Seeking earphones for watching TV, movies and comedy shows? Go for it. Want to work from home and make video calls with this? No, get something else.
Noise isolation is also another strong point of these earphones. It is so good, that with just 30% volume you won’t be able to hear the wailing baby sitting next to you. In short: good for gyms and running in a marathon, bad while being on the road.
There are other things I would like to talk about before you want to get your hands on the FlyBuds 3:
- Is it bit-perfect? By all means, no. The sound signature appears to be tailored/sculpted to give you the “theater experience”. Is it good and comfortable to listen to? Yes, you can listen for hours after hours with no fatigue. For most people, it is a perfect match. However, audiophiles will be driven to insanity.
- Performance to lossless audio: The FlyBuds 3 only supports SBC and AAC for the Bluetooth audio stream. SBC provides audio resolution equivalent to the best possible audio quality on YouTube. AAC gives about double the quality of SBC on Bluetooth. But none come close to lossless CD-quality (48 kHz sampling) or better resolution (96 kHz sampling) audio. aptX HD and aptX Adaptive codecs by Qualcomm are a solution to this problem and both of them provide near-lossless audio quality. The FlyBuds 3, however, do not support any aptX codecs, which is understandable from the manufacturer standpoint as the codecs are proprietary. But if you look around for other options, you will find cheaper TWS earphones supporting aptX HD and/or aptX Adaptive. For example, I have the Tronsmart Spunky Beat which sounds better than the FlyBuds 3 when playing 96 kHz sampled lossless audio. If you listen to FLAC or ALAC tracks like me, this can be a deal-breaker.
The earphones and the case are both made of sturdy plastic, and look and feel premium. The minimalist design adds more to the beauty of the product. The eartips and earfins are very comfortable and the earphones can be worn for hours at a stretch without pain and tiredness. Some people say the design is very boring and uninspiring, but I disagree with them: the product is a great looker.
The Flybuds 3 have a IPX8-rated certification and are resistant to damage due to liquids. However, I am not able to verify this claim as due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation I have rarely left home. The other interesting feature is its ability to work as a 2600 mAh power bank to charge other devices like smartphones and wearables, which I have tested and found to be working as expected.
Getting for yourself
The FlyBuds 3 can be purchased on their official website and on Amazon US for $39.99, Amazon UK for £39.99, Amazon CA for CA$55.99, and Amazon DE, Amazon FR, Amazon ES for €39.99. If you are looking for TWS earphones that are very comfortable to listen to for hours at a stretch, you can go ahead and buy it.
- Super easy to pair and use. Zero confusion and ambiguity in controls.
- Excellent device compatibility.
- Exceptional Bluetooth connectivity.
- Exceptional battery life.
- Sound signature appeals to bassheads.
- Excellent audio quality for movies and TV.
- Very comfortable to wear and listen for long time.
- Very good looking.
- Case can be used as powerbank.
- Sound signature can drive audiophiles insane, as it is not bit-perfect.
- No aptX codec support, so no true lossless audio experience.
- No volume control.
The Tribit FlyBuds 3 are great quality true wireless earphones in the $40 price range. They are extremely easy to use and operate, have exceptional Bluetooth range and the battery life lasts almost forever. They are also comfortable to wear and listen to for long periods of time. Had the sound signature been balanced and aptX support present, the FlyBuds 3 would, with no doubt, have been the best ever TWS earphones in the $40 price range.
Techno FAQ rating: 8/10