This year there have been a tsunami of true wireless earbuds coming onto the market. Many of these earbuds offer premium features like active noise cancelling or customised hearing profiles, but what if you just want a pair of true wireless earbuds at a super-affordable price. How would you know if those budget pair of earbuds from a little-known brand can deliver the goods?

To answer this question, I thought I’d test a pair of true wireless budget earbuds from Aukey, a brand that sells affordable tech products in plain brown boxes, mostly on Amazon. Aukey doesn’t spend spend money on fancy marketing or slick packaging; instead, it focuses on delivering value-centric and reliable tech products at sensible prices. So, let’s see if the brown-label goods can deliver a decent performance.

The first pair I tested were the Aukey EP-T21. These earpod-style earbuds come in a dinky little charging case and they feel very well made. There’s a Micro USB port at the rear of the charging case for topping up the lithium batteries. Green LEDs on the front of the case flash while the case is charging and then turns off after around two hours when the battery is full. There’s no indicator to show the remaining charge in the case. 

Flip open the lid of the charging case and you’ll see both earbuds laying in their charging cradles. Each earbud has an LED that flashes either green or red, depending on whether the earbud batteries are fully charged or not. The earbuds can play for up to five hours on one charge and there’s a total



a sign on a pole: The logo of NTT is didplayed at a building in Tokyo


© Reuters/ISSEI KATO
The logo of NTT is didplayed at a building in Tokyo

By Sam Nussey and Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) said it is looking at taking full control of its wireless carrier business in a deal that could be worth around 4 trillion yen ($38 billion) and pave the way for price cuts in the sector.

The buyout will be discussed at a board meeting on Tuesday, NTT said in a statement following a Nikkei newspaper report on the matter. The value of the 34% of NTT Docomo Inc’s shares not owned by NTT is based on a 30% premium to Monday’s closing price, Reuters calculations showed.



FILE PHOTO: The logo of NTT Docomo is seen during its flagship shop's reopening event in Tokyo


© Reuters/TORU HANAI
FILE PHOTO: The logo of NTT Docomo is seen during its flagship shop’s reopening event in Tokyo

The move comes as Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihide Suga launches a fresh attempt to push the country’s three biggest mobile network providers into cutting fees. The government is NTT’s biggest shareholder, with a 34% stake.

A buyout will have broad implications for the sector, with any fee cuts likely to be followed by NTT Docomo peers KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp , hitting profit margins.

NTT shares fell 4% in early trading, while NTT Docomo shares were untraded with a glut of buy orders.

KDDI and SoftBank shares also fell around 4%, extending the slide since the previous prime minister, Shinzo Abe, announced plans to resign on Aug. 28.

NTT Docomo was spun off from Japan’s former state monopoly in 1992 as part of government efforts to drive competition in the sector. It listed in 1998.

A buyout would mark the end of a prominent “parent-child” listing that are frowned on in other economies but remain common in Japan.

“Post acquisition, Docomo