CNN Underscored -  NexiGo Air T2- 1-18-2022 Photo 5.jpg

NexiGo has already impressed us with its gaming accessories, and now the company is entering the audio space with what it’s calling the “most compact earbuds in the world.” But the Air T2 earbuds have more to offer than just a sleek design.

At $69, these budget earbuds may not offer the best sound, but they deliver strong call quality along with a promise of over 25 hours of battery life. We spent a week testing the Air T2 earbuds, and though we can’t be sure if they are indeed the world’s most compact earbuds, we can tell you what you need to know before you buy.

The Air T2 earbuds offer a uniquely compact charging case and solid audio and call quality for the price.

The who, what and how

Who these are for: The Air T2 are ideal for folks who absolutely need to fit their earbuds case into tight pockets. OK for conference calls in quiet settings, their mixed audio quality makes them less ideal for taking calls in noisy environments. Gym rats and those who work out outside will also value the IPX5 waterproofing.

What you need to know: Available in both black and silver, the super-slim Air T2 charging case is about 0.5 inches thick. Meanwhile, the earbuds measure 0.4 inches in length and weigh 3.2 grams each. Yet, despite their diminutive size, the Air T2 earbuds manage to pack in many features through their Qualcomm chipset. This includes Bluetooth 5.2 for fast pairing and a strong 28 hours of battery life based on our tests. There are also touch controls for phone calls, music listening and voice assistant support, including Siri and Bixby.

How they compare: The Air T2’s biggest rival are the EarFun Air earbuds, which come at a similar price point and offer comparable battery life. The ultrathin form factor of the Air T2 means a new level of portability alongside quality phone calls and video conferencing — compared to other earbud cases, including the EarFun, it’s the smallest we’ve tested at this price point. Yet, unlike the EarFun Air, the Air T2 do not come with wireless charging due to the slimmer design.

An ultracompact design — with some caveats

CNN Underscored -  NexiGo Air T2- 1-18-2022 Photo 2.jpg

When holding the Air T2’s aviation-grade aluminum alloy charging case in hand, the premium and sturdy design immediately stands out. And to accentuate its ultrathin architecture, the sleek and inventive case has a flip top with an opening for the earbuds to protrude a bit at the top.

The case also features three small LEDs between the earbuds to display battery life. As mentioned, you won’t get wireless charging at this price. You’ll find a USB-C port at the very bottom of the Air T2 — this may not be an issue for some, but it means you can’t charge the case while laying it flat on a table.

The biggest problem we had with these earbuds was the fit. If you like earbuds that come with multiple ear tip options, be mindful that the Air T2 take a one-size-fits-all approach. They fell out of our ears more than once during more active movements like yoga or nodding our head while listening to music. However, they stayed mostly secure when sitting or lying down.

For anyone hoping to use the Air T2 for outdoor activities, you’ll be happy to know that the premium design extends to its IPX5 waterproof certification. During our tests, they survived being shaken in a water bottle filled halfway and should perform just fine for light rain or a sweaty workout — so long as they stay in your ear.

Connecting on both Android and iOS devices was simple and quick, thanks to the buds’ Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities. Besides providing quick pairing like mentioned previously, the new Bluetooth connection standard includes higher connection bandwidth for less compressed audio and lower power consumption. Plus, users don’t have to be too far from their paired device, as the Air T2 earbuds have a 49-foot connection range.

Touch controls were responsive as well. Single, double, triple and quadruple taps all worked for their respective call controls, media controls and voice assistant activation, though it would have been nice to be able to hold down the controls for things like volume adjustment. Also, the default voice assistant on our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G was Bixby instead of Google Assistant. Some may have a problem with it, as there wasn’t a workaround settings-wise to change that.

Serviceable audio quality

CNN Underscored -  NexiGo Air T2- 1-18-2022 Photo 8.jpg

As mentioned, the Air T2 are ideal for those who have bigger ear canal openings, but for those who can fit the buds, they may find the audio quality average. The volume at max level didn’t feel loud enough, and for those who don’t fit the size requirement, the volume level issues are even more apparent at higher volumes. To get the full effect of listening to the Air T2, we were constantly pressing the earbuds against our ears.

Though we found music to be generally on the flat side on these buds, the bass and mid tones sounded precise. Those who want absolute clarity and richness are going to be disappointed, but for the price, it was palatable. The buds do benefit from Qualcomm aptX technology, which is designed to transmit audio over Bluetooth without sacrificing audio quality.

More contemporary R&B music like that of Jazmine Sullivan came through clearly. But on songs like “Price Tags” featuring Anderson .Paak or jams like Ari Lennox’s “I Been,” there was a lack of richness and general “oomph” at higher volumes. Past and present hip-hop fans will most probably be disappointed.

On “Mop” by Gunna and Young Thug, the bass and melody don’t blend well due to the lack of volume, though more minimal-sounding beats-and-rhymes tracks like Cordae’s “Jean-Michel” fare a bit better. The Air T2 also don’t sound great playing contemporary electronic music and mainstream pop, yet listeners of more nuanced musical experiences, including classical, orchestral, rock and jazz, may find the T2 serviceable at lower volumes.

Surprisingly good battery life

For such a small form factor, the Air T2 provide impressive battery life. We found them good for about 28 hours with the charging case and roughly seven hours per earbud at 50% volume. During our testing, we were able to get around six hours and some change with the volume on max. Regardless of volume levels, you’ll have plenty of juice for bicoastal flights and longer commutes.

You can recharge the case for just 15 minutes to get four hours of playtime, and it takes about an hour for a full charge.

Respectable call and microphone quality

In an office or quiet setting, call quality on the Air T2 is fair. We didn’t get any confusion in communication or requests to repeat ourselves during calls.

When we used the earbuds in a loud kitchen or living room with children, the microphone audio maintained clarity, and the same went for busy intersections or parks — which meant that although others could hear us fine, we struggled to understand them due to the lack of audio quality cataloged above.

Bottom line

CNN Underscored -  NexiGo Air T2- 1-18-2022 Photo 9.jpg

If NexiGo’s ultralight earbuds and sleek case are the beginning of a revolution, it’s not a bad start. And if you approach these affordable $69 buds with realistic expectations, there’s much to appreciate.

Anyone who has trouble fitting earbuds into their ears may have a serious problem with these earbuds, and the ultralight feel may not be to everyone’s taste. But we found call quality exceptional, though other audio experiences are lacking, including general music listening and movie watching. Thankfully, the battery life is good enough for long-term use.

NexiGo has created one of the most stylish-looking earbud cases available, though the earbuds may look better than they sound at times — which means it’s easy to recommend the Air T2 to users looking for a super-slim design with good call quality and battery life rather than entertainment. Potential buyers who want more functionality at a similar price point may be better off with earbuds like the EarFun Air.