Bottom line: Tribit sticks to its budget chops with the Flybuds C1, outlasting many others with their long battery life, both standalone and in their charging case. You'll probably like how they sound, but maybe not as much if you want noise cancelation and ambient modes.
- Good audio quality
- Outstanding battery life
- Comfy fit with extra tips
- Pretty durable
- Decent call quality
- Affordable price
- No ANC or ambient modes
- Can get a little loose
- No wireless charging
- No dedicated app
It's never been a better time to make cheaper wireless earbuds because the value for every dollar is revealing when listening to the right pairs. That's one way to describe the Tribit Flybuds C1, which prioritize different things to stand out in their own way.
Compromise is par for the course with any affordable pair of buds, but the trade-off here lets you listen for longer stretches of time. You just don't get some other features that are easier to find nowadays with other options.
Tribit Flybuds C1: Price and availability
Tribit launched the Flybuds C1 in January 2021, making them available online for $69.99. The price hasn't moved a cent since then and may not for a while, given how new they are to the market. You should have no problem finding a pair on Amazon, though US retail availability beyond that isn't really there.
They only come in the one color scheme: a mix of matte black, glossy gunmetal, and red trim.
Tribit Flybuds C1: What's good
Tribit has been at this many times, and while the Flybuds C1 aren't exactly successors to any one specific pair of the company's earbuds, they certainly borrow from others. The stem design isn't its exclusive choice in form factor, but as with others like them, AirPods clones are everywhere. That aside, these aren't any throwaway pair. There's real value here, especially if longevity is on your list of requirements.
I'll give credit to Tribit for at least trying to be unique. These earbuds are affordable, but they don't look cheap. The glossy stems and red trim add some flair to what would've looked pretty ordinary otherwise. Making them IPX5-rated for water and sweat resistance isn't bad, either, even if it's not quite high enough to consider them "rugged." Runs and workouts should be fine, though you'll need to feel confident about the fit first.
Tribit's style in addressing that is to throw in several pairs of ear tips to help you find what you like. There are six pairs in the box, all of which are silicone-based but include different sizes in both diameter on the whole and the hole revealing the speakers. I would say it's reasonable to assume you will find the right fit amongst one of these pairs, but I do also think Tribit could one day consider putting Comply foam tips in the box, too. Foam almost always works better to tighten a seal, and since passive isolation is so important to these buds, those tips would've worked well here.
The Flybuds C1 charging case is impressive for two reasons. One, it's small and nimble, like many others are, including for more expensive pairs. And two, the battery life is outstanding. If we include a fully-charged pair of earbuds, it's 50 hours total, according to Tribit. That's 12 hours of playback per charge, so at least three extra charges coming from the case. For a pair of sub-$100 earbuds, that's pretty damn good. I also appreciated the four LEDs on the front indicating how much charge was left in the case.
Once I opened them up and started playing music, I was pleasantly surprised at how rich they sounded off the bat. I came in with very measured expectations, only to notice the resonance consistently coming from them. It's not super skewed towards the bass, as is often the case for affordable buds, though there is a lean towards that side of the spectrum. What surprised me more was how well the mids came through. Rather than a subdued presence, they popped out in ways I hadn't expected.
I could feel it with tracks, like Gabriela Anders's Fire of Love and Ed Sheeran's Shape of You, among many others. I can't say I ran into any concerning issues with any particular song or genre. They all sounded good to my ears. Mind you; I got a good seal by testing out a few of the different tips, so that is a crucial reason as to why the sound felt the way it did. It doesn't hurt that they also support both AAC and aptX Bluetooth audio codecs.
That passive isolation is also critical because it's really the only recourse the Flybuds C1 provide to cutting out the noise. They don't have active noise cancelation (ANC) or an ambient mode to pipe in background noise. This, despite having a four-mic array (two on each earbud). Instead, the mics use CVC 8.0 technology, which only applies to phone calls. One of the mics works to reduce background noise up to about 30 decibels, while the other amplifies your voice while talking.
I didn't have any issues or complaints during calls, save for one particular call where the other person was driving and using CarPlay. For whatever reason, when I switched to a different pair of earbuds, I came through much clearer. I wasn't able to try this out with too many people, so it's hardly scientific, but there may be a challenge there. I'll update this review if I come across more concrete results that way.
I will say that physical buttons are still more reliable to control earbuds than touch-sensitive surfaces. The buttons on either stem are responsive and easy to manage, even if they are a bit on the smaller side. And who wouldn't like controlling volume that way? Hold the left earbud's button to lower volume, the right side to raise it.
Tribit Flybuds C1: What's not good
Fit and comfort are generally fine with the Flybuds C1, except I did experience moments where they got a little loose. I didn't have to adjust all that often, but the snug fit did loosen up a little more than I expected. I imagine that would be a point of contention for anyone looking to work out while wearing them. I can't be certain one way or another, but these could handle a decent amount of water or sweat, so you would have to see for yourself.
It may be a lot to ask for, but if Tribit is going to hit another level with its headphones, a dedicated app would help. I kept thinking of what I could do to tailor the sound on these earbuds if I had a dedicated equalizer to play with. Good sound only gets better when there's a way to customize it, but unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards here.
As I mentioned from the start, there are compromises to note along the way. Not having ANC or ambient options is certainly one that stands out, but so are some of the other things I noticed along the way. For the most part, the Bluetooth connection was solid, save for the odd hiccup that would happen when I started walking a few feet away from the phone. It didn't happen all the time, though it was a curious point because the earbuds use Bluetooth 5.2, which should maintain a rock-solid connection throughout.
Wireless charging might be a bit too lofty to expect for budget earbuds, though I do wish it was included here. Granted, with this kind of battery life, plugging in to charge the case wasn't a common occurrence.
Tribit Flybuds C1: Competition
Tribit makes a case for being considered a worthy option; only it's up against a growing list of competitors who are taking similar steps forward. That's why it's easier than it's ever been to find cheap true wireless earbuds these days and to find a pair that delivers more than their price would indicate. However, it does depend on what you value most in both fit and feature set.
If we're talking sound and comfort, the Creative Outlier Air V2 also don't have ANC or ambient modes yet offer similar sound quality and battery life. The Aukey EP-N7 also use a stem design, though it includes ANC and ambient modes. Cowin's Apex Elite are in a similar boat that way. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are always a good option, especially when you add the dedicated app and its superb EQ, though call quality on those won't be as good.
Tribit Flybuds C1: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want truly wireless earbuds
- You're on a tighter budget
- You want good sound for the buck
- You want a lot of battery life
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want a companion app or equalizer
- You want ANC and ambient modes
- You need higher sweat and water resistance
- You're willing to spend more
Battery life is the biggest draw here because it's so much longer than most other models. Like ANC or ambient mode, there is no onboard tech to draw power away from the Flybuds C1. And they're pretty sufficiently loud off the bat, so you won't have to raise the volume all the time. Sound quality is solid throughout, and with six sets of ear tips, there has to be something that fits nicely. Of course, you can always use foam tips, which will fit these perfectly.
4 out of 5
It's getting harder to proclaim any particular pair to be the best true wireless earbuds when talking about affordable options. Still, the Flybuds C1 are yet another budget pair that sound better than the AirPods. They prioritize battery life above all else and sound very good for what they cost. Find the right seal, and you likely won't have a problem here.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.
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