In the last two decades I’ve probably worn them all; in-ear headphones, on-ear, over-ear, open ear — wired and wireless, general-purpose and for gaming. And I tried earbuds before and liked them for their portability, but not for the audio quality. Yet here’s a little gem I discovered: the Sense Buds X2 TWS Hybrid ANC Earbuds from PXN, based in China’s tech paradise, Shenzhen.
The wireless Sense Buds X2 offer incredible sound quality for a good price and I quite like the design. PXN says ultra-low latency and active noise reduction. My home isn’t that noisy but I do feel I’m really inside the video game when playing. So first impression, really good.
Let’s dive in.
1 — TECHNICAL SPECS
For clarity let’s go through the most important ones.
At the time of writing, they’re priced $49.99 (with dongle) on Amazon.
- Ultra-low latency (45-60ms in a dedicated gaming mode)
- True active Noise Cancellation (35db, hybrid noise reduction)
- IPX4 Waterproof
- Bluetooth 5.1 (effective for over 10 meters)
- Two modes: game & music
- Dual transparency mode (Mono & binaural modes)
- Touch controls on the earbuds themselves (E.g. on/off, play next/previous song, increase or decrease volume, switch modes, etc)
- Dual charging options (Wireless & wired)
- 4.5 hours on a single charge
- 3 charges with the charging case (so a total of 22 hours)
- 2 hours fast charge (USB-C)
- 3 hours charge (wireless)
- With a dongle (not in the standard edition), you can use the X2 earbuds on PS4 and PS5, making it fantastic gaming earbuds
- Also eligible for PC & Mac, Android & iOS and Nintendo Switch (using the earbuds on Nintendo Switch may require you to download the latest firmware (for the earbuds) through the supplementary PXN Audio app)
The buds come with silicone tips with three sizes, making sure they fit everyone’s ears (not that you asked, but I’m using the middle one).
The earbuds are super lightweight (less than 5 grams per piece, while the case is 38.5 gram) — plus another great thing is that the earbuds shut down automatically (something my headphones don’t do, so they always run out of power because I forget to turn them off). The case has several lights to show you that battery is full or running low. And it’s also nice the earbuds are IPX4 waterproof, meaning they’re safe from splashing water or rain.
Making sense of the specs
Some things stand out a lot. The latency is comparable with premium-priced earbuds on the market, sometimes three times the price of what PXN is asking. The same for the 35 dB active noise reduction, which is again exactly the same as the flagship earbuds of premium gaming brands.
PXN likes to talk about the two audio modes (game & music) but I think way better is the dual transparency mode (Mono & binaural modes). Are you gaming? Go for binaural mode. Do you want to talk with someone? Switch to mono mode and you don’t have that “closed” feeling earbuds sometimes give you.
The charging time isn’t that important I think but the battery life is solid (4 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge of the earbuds) and the fact you can use them at so many consoles means I can use them on my PS5, Switch and smartphone, as well as Macbook (and a PC or iPad if I would have one).
Earbuds vs headphones
One of the downsides for a long time was that earbuds don’t have the same audio quality as headphones. Plus, they wouldn’t be as comfortable.
But those two downsides have been solved by PXN with the X2. The earbuds are in-ear but they’re comfortable. Not just the fit but also the audio, it doesn’t have that flat high spikey sound that some earbuds have, so it’s suitable for playing games for a long time. With this, earbuds are way more comfortable than headsets — which can also often start to hurt when you wear them for a long time. Plus earbuds are small, light — they’re also easy to put in my bag together with my Nintendo Switch so I can game on my commute.
Headphones do isolate the sound better, but the noise-canceling (35db) of the X2 earbuds is pretty good. Of course, this debate isn’t quickly settled but the X2 buds are fantastic if you’re looking for earphones for your gaming nights (and days).
You can download the supplementary PXN Audio app (both for iOS and Android) and customise the tap controls. It’s not possible to for instance bind this gesture to a command in the game (e.g. reload your gun or respawn) but you can change overall gestures as well (I changed how to adjust the volume), and you can change the strength of low-, mid- and high-tones. And it’s great this function is supplemented — I’ve actually never seen this enabled for earphones.
You save it in the app on your smartphone, and those settings are still carried over to when you use the earbuds on your Switch or PlayStation.
2 — AUDIO QUALITY
Audio quality is hard to gauge and I don’t hear a huge difference between gaming & audio mode, because both are pretty great. Noise cancellation works well and provides smooth sound quality, my ears are comfortable even with high and low sounds of gaming for several hours.
I tested the earbuds with Red Dead Redemption II on PS5, and walking on grass or wood is super immersive. Gunshots have real repercussion sound in my ears, the moment the rounds are fired (due to the ultra-low latency of the earbuds). I can even hear the direction of enemy footsteps. I found a similar thing when I played Overwatch (again on PS5). The voices of all the characters, the gunshots, laserbeams, the footsteps — everything is super immersive despite the small size of these earphones.
Later I played Pokémon Sword on the Nintendo. I think there’s less directional sound programmed into this game, but still the ‘plings’ & ‘plongs’ of catching a new Pokémon are crisp and clear.
3 — AESTHETICS
Apple started the wireless earbuds trend in 2016 and since then all earbuds kinda look… the same? But rounded/rectangular-ish shape that looks modern, a bit futuristic even. Are looks not important? I think they’re super important, and the X2 buds look cool and you feel kinda smart wearing them. The case is neat as well, two-colours, smooth hard case with perforations on the edge. The dongle only comes in black.
They’re in white/pink for female gamers (or anyone who wants them of course) and blue and yellow (the same colours as my hometown’s flag, yay).
4 — SUMMARY
The PXN Sense Buds X2 TWS Hybrid ANC Earbuds (as they’re officially named) are fantastic earbuds for a friendly prize — and they come with the whole package to appeal to gamers like me. The noise-canceling is good, the audio quality fantastic, they’re comfortable and they work with my gaming console. What else could I wish for?
They’re available on PXN’s own site as well as Amazon: