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Snokor iRocker earbuds review: A pleasant surprise in the budget segment

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Infinix is a brand that is primarily known for making budget smartphones with competitive hardware. But lately, the company has been stepping up its game by going up the price tier and has also diversified its portfolio to launch wearable audio devices as well under the new Snokor sub-brand. The first wearable to debut as part of the Snokor label is the iRocker true wireless earbuds. The iRocker earbuds carry an almost irresistible price tag of Rs. 1,499, cementing their position as one of the most affordable true wireless earbuds out there.

Naturally, a lower price tag comes with lower expectations, but every now and then, an affordable product truly wows us with its quality, user experience and the overall value-for-money quotient. Will the Snokor iRocker true wireless earbuds prove to be a pleasant surprise, or will they turn out to be another run-of-the-mill affordable wireless earbuds? We answer that in our Snokor iRocker review:

Design and build quality

In the words of Infix, the Snokor iRocker earbuds rock a design inspired by goose eggs, and it stands true to some extent. The first thing that draws attention to them is their build quality, which is far from cheap, as the earbuds are actually fairly well-made. The company has used durable polycarbonate with a layer of ‘fluidic titanium’ on top. The surface is smooth to touch and feels quite sturdy. But despite their slightly bigger size, the earbuds are surprisingly light. Each earbud has a circular button for basic controls that provides satisfactory tactile feedback and is not too tight to press either.

As for the design, it is a triple-contact body with a slightly angular protrusion that goes inside the ear canal. The shape is a bit unusual, but a slight adjustment provides a comfortable in-ear experience. I didn’t feel it stretching the ear muscles too much as each earbud fit snugly in my ear. I used them during my early morning runs and exercise, and they never fell out of my ears, which is always a desirable trait. The Snokor iRocker earbuds come in a trio of colors – blue, black, and white – and we have the latter for review.

There is a single mic on the outside that is lined by a metallic mesh and it also has a blue/red LED light underneath. The Snokor iRocker earbuds ship with three silicone ear tips inside the retail package, and you can pick the size which provides a better in-ear fit and noise isolation. I let my siblings try out the earbuds, and the general consensus was that the in-ear fit was comfortable, but the size is on the bigger side of the scale. Thankfully, the earbuds are light and they don’t feel like an irksome burden in the ears.

The pill-shaped charging case is also light and features a matching white paintjob with a glossy finish. The build quality is again above par for the Snokor iRocker’s asking price. It was was easy to carry in my jeans pocket without having to adjust it every now and then. However, the charging case’s hinge felt a little flimsy and showed some sideways movement, so I was a bit careful while opening and closing it. Both the lid and the earbud compartment have magnets, so the earbuds fit in easily while juicing them up, and the charging case’s lid also doesn’t open when lying in my backpack or trousers.

Features and functionality

Snokor’s iRocker true wireless earbuds rely on Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity, and even though it is not the latest standard, it gets the job done. Starting with features, the button on each earbud can be used for media playback and call controls. A single press is for play/pause command, a double press plays the next songs while pressing it thrice brings back the previous track. Additionally, a single tap and tap-to-hold commands work well for calls. I didn’t notice these buttons failing me during the review period.

The best part is that the physical buttons are way more reliable compared to the finicky touch controls I’ve tested on a handful of budget true-wireless earbuds. I also quite liked the fact that there is no learning curve to mastering these button controls. And this, coupled with the reliability aspect, is something that buyers will certainly appreciate. Additionally, Google Assistant is just a long press away from doing your bidding. Plus, it works with both Google Assistant and Siri.

Another huge relief for me was the iPX4 rating, which means you won’t have to worry about your sweat or an accidental liquid splash damaging the earbuds. So, if you are someone who likes to sweat it out on a daily basis, Infinix’s first Snokor-branded earbuds are a good choice. The company claims that the iRocker earbuds offer a range of 8-10 meters. However, in my personal experience, I noticed that 8 meter was the upper range for music playback without too many intermittent drops.

Snokor’s earbuds pair over Bluetooth without a hitch, and they also come with the Take Out Auto-Connection feature. So, if you take the earbuds out of the charging case, they’ll automatically pair with your smartphone or a previously connected device. Needless to say, this is a convenient feature and worked well for me.

However, I noticed that occasionally only one of the earbuds would play music through it after auto-pairing, while the other one remained mute and only accepted button taps to control the media playback. In such instances, I had to manually power them off and reconnect with my phone to resume music playback on both earbuds. This was an annoyance and might prove to be a red flag for some.

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Performance

Now, coming over to the most crucial part – audio playback. The Snokor iRocker earbuds come equipped with 6mm drivers that are backed by a titanium diaphragm. On a general note, I was impressed with the overall sound quality, especially given the dirt-cheap price. The soundstage is not too wide, but the audio output was well-balanced. And even at peak volume, there was minimal distortion and the vocals did not tear.

These are not bass-heavy earbuds, so if you are looking for a bombastic bass line, you’re out of luck. However, the slightly subdued bass while listening Above and Beyond by Bassnectar and Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas was not a terrible experience at all. I also tried some vocal-rich tracks from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Adele, Whitney Houston and Ben Howard, and I liked how the vocal clarity was retained. The highs sound a bit shrill at anything above the 80% volume mark and the treble was just average, but that didn’t ruin the experience.

I also tried some classic as well as modern Indian music. I listened to vintage songs from Talat Mahmud and Lata Mangeshkar as well as contemporary artists such as Sonu Nigam and Jubin Nautiyal, and I was pleased with the experience. The vocals were rich, which is what you most desire while listening to the work of crooners mentioned above, but the background elements do feel a tad underwhelming and flat.

As for instrumental music, the range is wide but the output is slightly muddled. However, the experience won’t dissuade you from indulging in the discography of your favorite artists, and that works for me. To sum it up, my impressions are positive when it comes to the overall quality of music playback, especially after taking into consideration the almost unbeatable price of the earbuds.

The shape of the earbuds helps with noise isolation, but the experience is nowhere close to what you get with proper noise cancellation. The maximum you can do is boost the volume to suppress the external disturbances coming from automobiles and appliances. Also, latency and echoing proved to be problematic while playing multi-player co-op mobile games.

As you might have guessed by now, these are not for music purists and also those who take their team-based mobile games very seriously.

But if you want a pair of affordable true wireless earbuds to energize you with music during your workouts or keep you focused while working on a project, the Snokor iRocker earbuds won’t disappoint you.

Talking about the calling experience, it was a mixed bag. On my end, I experienced no major issue with the voice coming out of the earbuds. There was no crackling, and the other person was clearly audible. However, people on the other end did complain about occasional stutters and unclear voice. It is apparently due to mic quality issues, which is something you’ll have to live with when it comes to TWS earbuds in this price bracket.

Battery life

Infinix touts a playtime of 4 hours on a single charge, but the maximum I could clock was approximately 3.5 hours, which is not too shabby. Each earbud comes with a 40mAh battery that takes a little more than an hour to charge. The 300mAh battery fitted inside the charging case is claimed to provide an additional 16 hours of playtime.

In real life usage, the battery endurance figures didn’t quite touch the numbers claimed by the company, but the Snokor iRocker earbuds reached quite close, and that is definitely commendable. Another issue that I noticed is that when the earbuds are running out of juice and you hear a low battery warning, the battery level drops directly from 20% to 10% in just a few minutes. This happened a few times with me. Although it is not an alarming issue, it might prove to be an inconvenience if you’re in the middle of an important call or don’t have the charging case with you at that time.

Verdict

The Snokor iRocker earbuds from Infinix are among the few wireless earbuds under the Rs. 1,500 price ceiling that comes from a renowned brand. They are surprisingly well-built for their asking price and offer reliable button controls for handling calls and media playback. Audio output during music playback hits above its price category, which is definitely a plus.

Snokor’s true wireless earbuds, despite being on the larger side, are not heavy – and they are well built too. The pairing experience is smooth most of the time, and the battery life figures are also satisfactory. There are a few drawbacks too, such as sub-par call quality, a sudden drop in battery level, and occasional earbud syncing issues.

To sum it up, the Snokor iRocker true wireless earbuds offer good value and are definitely worth recommending if you are finally making the switch from wired to wireless earbuds without spending too much. If you look at the competition, the Redmi Earbuds S and Realme Buds Q are the few options from trusted brands, but you’ll have to shell out a few hundred bucks more.

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