One year ago, true wireless earbuds are not common and pricey. Thanks to economies of scale (by the electronic components manufacturer, at least) and the increasing popularity of such audio products, there are a lot more choices, with improving quality and more affordable price. However, battery life remains a challenge.
Gold Touch Asia is relatively new in audio market, but they have differentiated themselves with creating audio products that feature the precious metal, gold. For instance, the Leprechaun mini speakers and Goliath speakers have gold-plated exterior, while the M26 wireless earphones use gold cable linings. For the GTA Insight, they gold-plated the metal parts of the storage case.
GTA Insight comes in just white colour, one that accentuates the gold tone and differentiates itself from the rest of the pack. The gold trimmings make them look rather pretty – like jewellery – and goes well with formal wear.
Another impressive feat on the GTA Insight is the power bank in the round case offers more than 10 recharge cycles on the earbuds. That sort of makes up for the 2-hour battery life for the earbuds, which recharges in just 45 minutes.
Operation is via a single button located on both earbuds. Tap once to play or pause. Double-tap for pairing between the 2 earbuds (pre-paired from the factory). To adjust tracks and volume, use the smartphone or Bluetooth device. When making calls, only the main earbud (right side) will have sound. There is no need to power down the earbuds: just place it in the charging case. The earbuds power up automatically when they are removed from the case. For manual power-down, just press and hold the earbud button. Both left and right earbud buttons function the same.
The audio quality is enjoyable, with a different balance compared to the M26 wireless earphones, one of my favourite jogging earphones. The GTA Insight offers better response from mid bass upwards to midrange, which means the bass is fuller, the mids are more forward, and the treble is slightly less prominent. If you listen to the GTA Insight on its own without comparison, they sound great for listeners who prefer boomy bass over transparent highs (if you prefer the other way, then GTA-M26 is your choice). The forte of the earbuds are the mid bass to high midrange. The stereo imaging is wide and sideways as opposed to forward.
I have no problems wearing it for runs. The buds do not fall out of my ears, as they are held in place by the eartips stuffed into the ear canals and supported by the ear external cartilege. It offers basic sweat resistance.
But GTA Insight still lacks the hardware polish from other established brands. The voice prompts are way too loud and cannot be reduced. I always get startled whenever the “battery low” prompt is blasted. And when battery reaches its final breath, the earbud keeps repeating “power off, power on” until the battery finally goes. The blue LED charging light on the case also refuses to be turned off even though the earbuds have completed charging.
Compared to China OEM
My colleague bought a pair of cheap TWE and we compared with the GTA Insight. The GTA Insight delivers much more musical qualities, stronger bass. The case charges over 10 times, and is supported by 1 year local warranty.
Compared to Bragi Headphone
Bragi Headphone retails at S$249, which is around the same price point as GTA Insight. Bragi Headphone earbud case does not have power bank to support charging, its audio quality is flat at the treble and lacks exciting boom at the bass. Between the 2, I prefer GTA Insight sound quality. The Headphone might offer more comfortable fit on the ears because the buds do not stick too deep into the canals.
Compared to normal wireless earbuds
Whether to get true-wireless earbuds or standard wireless earphones depends on your needs and whether you are truly bothered by the wires around the neck. True wireless earbuds have short battery life (3 hours max for better models) and they get misplaced easily, and do not hang around your neck if you needed a breather. Normal wireless earphones can offer at least 4 hours of battery life and bulkier ones (like neckbands) go up to 10 hours with the convenience of removing the buds when not in use. I am happy to use true-wireless earbuds for short runs or chilling at cafe for up to 2 hours. I will prefer a neckband if I wanted to hang my earphones around my neck all the time to answer phone calls when needed.
The GTA Insight retails for S$219 with 1 year local warranty, one of the more affordable branded true-wireless earbuds in the market. Its audio quality is a good balance of strong bass, full mids, clear and recessed highs. The following retail outlets are stocked:
– Isetan Scotts, 350 Orchard Road, #03-00 Shaw House, Shaw Theatres, 238868
– Isetan Tampines, 4 Tampines Central 5, Tampines Mall, Singapore 529510
TWOBROS Lifestyle & Gadget Store
– Velocity, Novena Square, 238 Thomson Road, Level 02-35/36, Singapore 307683
– One KM Shopping Mall, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #02-52, Singapore 437157
– Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, #03-46/47, Singapore 238 843
– Parkway Parade, 80 Marine Parade Road, #B1-56, Singapore 449269
– Orchard Plaza, 150 Orchard Road, #02-41, Singapore 238841
– Marina Square #02-176 6 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039594
– Suntec Tower 2, 3 Temasek Blvd, #01-488/490, Singapore 038983
– 100AM, #01-02, 100 Tras St, Singapore 079027
– i12 Katong, #02-09/32, 112 East Coast Road, Singapore 428802
– Blk 703 Ang Mo Kio Central Ave 8 #01-2539 Singapore 560703
– Blk 713 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 #01-4054 Singapore 560713
Photos shot in lightbox provided by Whitebox Technologies. Read review here.