REVIEW – the Apple Airpod has become ubiquitous it seems, with that distinctive skinny white earbud dangling from the ear. Their form factor has been copied by many other companies, including Tribit with their Flybuds C2 earbuds. At less than half the price of the Airpods, are the Flybuds worth your money? Let’s find out.
What is it?
The Tribit Flybuds C2 Bluetooth earbuds are wireless Bluetooth 5.2 semi-in-ear earbuds with touch controls.
What’s in the box?
- Flybuds C2 earbuds
- Charging case
- 12 inch USB-C charging cable
- User manual
And here are the specifications:
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Weight: 1.55 ounces
- Charging time: 2 hrs for charging case, 1.5 hrs for earbuds
- Play time: 8 hours, up to 3 more charges using the case
- Audio: Qualcomm QCC3040 chipset at 48KHz, with 13 mm drivers, utilizing CVC 8.0 (Clear Voice Capture) technology to improve call quality for the listener
- Audio codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC.
The C2s are made of smooth plastic on the outside, so they are quite slick in my opinion. That means they slipped out of my hands easily and they also slipped out of my ears easily too, which isn’t good. (More on that in a minute) Tribit says that the C2s are ‘semi-in-ear’, which means that they don’t provide a ‘seal’ like some other earbuds and they just sort of hang there in your ear. That means that you won’t hear deep bass sounds in the music simply because there is a space between your ear canal and the speaker. On the flip side though that means you will sort of be able to hear background noise and voices around you, which in some situations you would imagine would be beneficial. Another plus is that for most people you won’t get as much ear fatigue and you’ll be able to wear them longer every day. The C2s are incredibly light and I occasionally forgot that I had them in my ears.
Features and performance
The C2s use a touch interface for controlling everything. I have used several types of earbuds with touch controls and my biggest gripe in the past with those is that stray touches cause problems. For example, when you are trying to adjust the earbud in your ears you have to touch the earbud (duh). And with a touch interface that means you could cause some action that you didn’t want, like hanging up a call or messing with your music. With the C2s they solved that by removing the ability for a single touch to do anything. You have to tap multiple times or hold down on the earbud(s) to accomplish anything. So a stray touch of adjusting the earbud won’t mess anything up, so that’s nice. My only complaint with the touch controls is that in order to turn off either of the earbuds you have to hold down on it for 10 seconds. I realize that sounds petty, but 10 seconds is too long in my opinion and it feels like it takes forever.
All earbuds these days come with a charging case, and the case that comes with the Flybuds is unique in that when you are holding the case in front of you and you want to put the C2s back in the case, you take the left earbud out of your ear and place it on the right side of the case, and vice versa for the right earbud. It is kinda awkward until you get used to it. It has indicator lights on the front of the case to show you how much charge is left. I should mention that when you open the case it activates the earbuds and when you close the case it turns the earbuds off. Not a big deal as long as you know this. So if you are playing music and remove an earbud to place it back into the case, the music will continue playing in the earbud until you close the case. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it is good to know. However, it would be better if the music stopped when you removed the earbud, which of course would increase the cost and I imagine that is one-way Tribit saved money.
The sound is decent for the C2s. Because of the way they just hang in my ears I never hear deep bass sounds or clear highs in the music. It isn’t awful mind you, but if thoroughly enjoying music is your main goal here then I don’t think the C2s will make you happy. I have used them many times walking the dog but we live beside a very busy highway. The noise from the cars makes it difficult to listen to music simply because, as I mentioned before, there isn’t a tight seal in my ear. So now when I walk the dog and want to listen to music I use other earbuds that have a tighter seal.
Making phone calls is a different story. My daily Bluetooth headset that I have used for years, and owned every generation of, is the Plantronics Voyager over-the-ear headset. But in my testing comparing it with the C2s, the folks I called told me that the C2s sounded clearer. I was surprised by that. But perhaps a clear indication of Tribit’s goal with the C2s is that they come with CVC (Clear Voice Capture) technology which is designed to help the person on the other end of your call hear you better, rather than Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology which is designed to improve the listening experience for you. It’s a subtle difference, but it is a distinct difference.
Finally, my biggest gripe is a big one for me. I have lost track of the number of times that the C2s have fallen out of my ears. Now, I see people everywhere I go, and I mean everywhere, that use this type of design of earbuds that hang out of your ear. My guess is that if everyone felt like I do about this type of design then I wouldn’t see them as ubiquitously as I do. Maybe it is how my ear is shaped, but the dang things fall out of my ears regularly no matter what I do. But maybe the fact that the C2s are constructed with smooth plastic and are very slick contributes to this. I worked a full day sitting at a desk with the C2s in my ears and the natural movement of working at a desk in an office chair, moving around back and forth, caused the C2s to fall out at least a half dozen times when my head tilted even just a little bit. Very annoying. I would never try to engage in any outdoor activity that requirements a lot of movement, much less run in them. For example, walking the dog was also a challenge when I would bend over to use the doggie bag and had to often catch the earbud falling out of my ear.
What I like
- The charging case is decently fast
- Great sound quality for phone calls
What I would change
- Holding down for 10 seconds to turn off the earbuds is too long.
- I want the music to pause when I remove the earbuds from my ear
- Change the type of materials used on the outside to make it less slick
You have many choices when it comes to wireless earbuds, in many different form factors. And it seems everyone is gunning for Apple and that distinct form factor of long skinny earbuds dangling from the ear. But for me, unless the earbud has a method for giving me a tight fit in my ear, I don’t particularly care for it. The $80 price is decent, the sound is decent and the quick charging speed is pretty good with all-day listening time. Additionally, if your main purpose will be for making phone calls then you will probably like the C2s. But audiophiles probably won’t love the C2s. For me, these earbuds will probably spend most of the time in the drawer as a backup when I need them.