I never cease to be amazed by the world of cheap wireless earbuds. So many companies have become insanely good at creating affordable audio gear that's high quality, you no longer have to spend $100 to $200 just to get a pair of wireless buds that won't suck.
Mpow is one such company that's made a name for itself in this niche, regularly kicking out headphones and earbuds that look and sound incredible without breaking the bank. I've reviewed a few different Mpow models before, and today, I'm talking about one of its most affordable pairs yet — the Mpow M30.
There isn't one particular feature or aspect about the M30 that stands out as a must-have, with Mpow instead trying to offer an overall solid pair of wireless earbuds that are as cheap as can be ($35, to be exact). It's fair to assume that's far too little to spend for any sort of quality earbuds, but once again, Mpow has exceeded expectations. If you have a tight budget but still want to own a pair of wireless earbuds that won't make you want to rip your hair out, the Mpow M30 are one of the better options out there.
At a glance
Bottom line: Further securing itself as one of the top players in the affordable audio space, Mpow's M30 wireless earbuds are a fantastic option if you're in the market for workout buds that won't break the bank. They sound great with a bass-heavy sound profile, are comfortable to wear, have an IPX8 water-resistance rating, and USB-C charging. Battery life isn't the best out there and the charging case is a bit bland, but overall, you're getting a really great value for your money.
- Punchy, bass-heavy audio
- Secure in-ear fit
- IPX8 waterproofing
- USB-C charging
- Multiple color options
- Battery life is just OK
- Generic charging case
- Fierce competition
Mpow M30 What I like
Mpow managed to get a lot of things right with the M30, and it all starts with the design. The M30 have a pretty traditional earbud shape, using gel ear and wing tips to make a secure fit in your ear. You can customize both of these if the out-of-the-box feel isn't perfect, and once you find the sizes that work well for your ears, it's all gravy.
The Mpow M30 are very comfy for me, making a secure in-ear seal without causing any noticeable discomfort. You get a bit of passive sound isolation because of this design, which some folks may like or dislike depending on your preference. It's great if you want to be able to block out some background noise without splurging for earbuds that have active noise cancellation, but if you want to always be aware of your surroundings, earbuds with a more open design may be worth looking into. I'm especially fond of the wing tips, which make the M30 great for a running or gym companion. That's further reaffirmed by the IPX8 water-resistant rating, which keeps the earbuds safe from sweat and water.
I'm also happy to report that the capacitive touch areas on both earbuds work just as you'd expect. Through a variety of taps, you can do things like play/pause music, skip to the next track, increase or decrease volume, prompt your phone's voice assistant, etc. You can't customize the controls at all, but once you remember which taps do what, there's nothing to complain about.
For $35, the Mpow M30 sound shockingly good.
Speaking of music playback, let's discuss audio quality. Mpow describes the M30 as having "immersive sound with bass," and for the most part, the company's not wrong. These are bass-forward earbuds, which is what you expect to see with any "sports" earbuds or headphones. Overall sound quality isn't the best you've likely heard, but I also can't find much to complain about. Music and podcasts are both thoroughly enjoyable to listen to, and thanks to that added bass, certain songs get a lot more oomph than you'd anticipate for this price range. Sure, things can get a little muddy at times, but it's never enough to make the M30 unpleasant to listen to.
You can't go into $35 wireless earbuds and expect them to have the best audio playback ever, because that's never going to happen. The Mpow M30 deliver a perfectly enjoyable listening experience to my ears, and at the end of the day, that's all I care about.
Rounding out my praise, there are a few smaller things that I'm happy to see:
- USB-C charging is here and it's great.
- I never had any connection issues with the Bluetooth 5.0 performance.
- Both earbuds can be used on their own for mono playback.
- Mpow offers a couple of different color options other than the black model shown here, including red, pink, blue, and white.
Mpow M30 What needs to be improved
While there aren't any deal-breakers for the Mpow M30 that completely turns me off from them, there are a couple of areas in which I think Mpow has room for improvement. First and foremost, battery life.
The M30 deliver around five hours of continuous playback for the earbuds themselves, and when you factor in the charging case, you're looking at 25 hours. That's not bad endurance by any means, but it's also not the best I've seen. There are similarly-priced earbuds that offer 30-35 hours of total battery life, which is a fair bit more than what you get with the M30. I don't think anyone will have major issues with the endurance that is on offer here, but if battery life is a top priority for you, you can do better than the M30.
I'm also not the biggest fan of the included charging case. It holds the earbuds securely and has a compact size, but there's nothing all that interesting about it, either. The plastic feels a bit cheap and the lid is a little loose, which are both reminders that you're using earbuds that cost as little as the Mpow M30 do. That's a very minor complaint considering everything else the M30 get right, but it is worth mentioning.
Mpow M30 The competition
If you've spent any amount of time researching the best wireless earbuds, you'll know that there's a heap of competition the M30 are facing. Before talking about earbuds from other companies, it's worth pointing out that another Mpow offering could be a better fit for you — the Mpow X3. The X3 do cost a bit more, but they remain very affordable and offer a few nice upgrades. You get active noise cancellation, slightly better audio, and longer battery life.
You could also pick up the SoundPEATS TrueFree+, which cost even less than the Mpow M30 and retain a lot of the same highlights. They sound good, are comfortable to wear, and have total battery life of 35 hours. You are missing out on a proper IP rating for water-resistance, though, meaning there's a bit of give and take.
Finally, whenever I talk about cheap wireless earbuds, I have to mention the TOZO T6. These earbuds have stood the test of time as one of my go-to recommendations because they are just so darn good. Audio is more balanced than the Mpow M30, there's still an IPX8 rating, wireless charging is offered, and you get around 30 hours of total battery life. They're a little bit more expensive, but if $35 isn't the very top of your budget, they're well worth considering.
Mpow M30 Should you buy them?
Who they're for
- You want cheap earbuds more than good-sounding earbuds
- You want bass-forward sound
- You tend to lose your earbuds often
Recommending you go out and buy the Mpow M30 is a lot easier than saying you should drop what you're doing and buy the latest earbuds from Samsung or Sony. Especially given the current economic climate and everyone being more conscious than ever about what they spend, good and affordable gadgets are immensely important.
The Mpow M30 are not as good or feature-rich as the Galaxy Buds Live or WF-1000XM3, but for the price, they're also kind of amazing. Everything about the earbuds just works, and when you're able to get that kind of user experience while spending this little, Mpow deserves to be commended.
I would have liked to see more impressive battery life and a case that's not so bland, but as mentioned above, those are super minor complaints considering the rest of the Mpow M30 is so good. If you have a tight budget but need a pair of wireless earbuds for whatever reason, go ahead and buy the Mpow M30. They're cheap, enjoyable to use, and exactly the kind of earbuds we need right now.
Great workout buds for less
If you're shopping for wireless earbuds that you can take on a run or hike that aren't overly expensive, look no further than the Mpow M30. These earbuds pack a big punch for their small price tag, including impressive sound, reliable waterproofing, and USB-C charging. Considering just how cheap the M30 are, there's not too much to complain about.
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