UGREEN has successfully developed their brand value through positive word-of-mouth experience from online platform sales. They have also invested effort in product design so that their generic products have unique designs that stands out from the OEMs.
When they launched the HiTune true-wireless earbuds series in 2020, it impressed me with balanced sound quality. Since then, Ugreen has deviated to tune their earbuds to be more consumer-friendly. The HiTune X5 delivers deep seismic sub-bass and bright treble, and earns their legion of fans. Now Ugreen has taken the next step to include hybrid active noise cancelling. The HiTune X6 retails for S$67.19 in Singapore but as usual, online promotions are going on given the upcoming 11.11 sale on Lazada and Shopee, at S$57.39.
Difference Between HiTune X6 and X5
The differences between the two models are quite significant. It’s not just the ANC feature. First, the design.
The HiTune X6 appears to reuse the same design as the HiTune X5, but on closer comparison, Ugreen has slightly modified the mould. You can observe the subtle differences in the photos below. The other change is the case design, which I felt appears more premium-styled. The earbuds front plate on the X6 is also using a matt grey finish instead of a glossy all-round material on the X5.
Here are the notable differences in the technical features:
- X6 supports active noise cancelling with 6 microphones
- X5 supports aptX using QCC3040 chip, while X6 supports AAC using Realtek chip
- X5 runs on Bluetooth 5.2, while X6 is Bluetooth 5.1
- X6 gaming mode claims 50ms latency, while X5 is 70ms
- X5 delivers up to 7 hours per charge, while X6 is 6 hours
Both has similar touch operating features: tap once to play-pause, tap twice to adjust volume, tap three times to change tracks, and tap 4 times to toggle gaming mode. Press-hold 1 second to switch ANC modes, and the earbuds go into pairing mode automatically when no devices are connected. To reset the connectivity, dock the earbuds and press the button on the charging case for 10 seconds.
ANC and Audio Quality
Before I bring in the X5 to compare, I will focus on describing the audio quality of the X6 as an independent product. The X6 sound different when toggling between ANC on and off, and it also sounds different when toggling between Gaming Mode on and off. It appears the “ANC Off Gaming Mode Off” mode is the one with an odd tuning and one that is my least favoured. In this mode, the upper midrange or lower treble (1-8KHz range) is elevated and makes the instrumentations more pushy and immersive. Fortunately, the massive sub-bass level makes the mix a little more bearable.
When ANC is enabled, the volume drops, the treble is more recessed, the upper treble sizzles are more controlled, and the overall mix tilts towards the bass – a typical V-shaped presentation. This variance between ANC on-off can be annoying, and I would probably stick to the ANC-on mode as default. The other option is to enable Gaming Mode, which interestingly retains the same tuning regardless of ANC mode.
Moving on to the ANC mode, the X6 does an adequate job in attenuating the ambient rumbles of engines and hiss. The upper frequency remains audible and nowhere competing with the big brands. If you ask me whether an average ANC feature is worth the trade-off to a better-sounding headphones, my answer would be no. This is because I could easily compensate ambient noise with better ear tips seal or louder volume, but fixing EQ is trickier. And this brings me to the next part of my review.
Comparing HiTune X5 and HiTune X6
Other than the appearance, both products are quite different, especially in the sound quality and mic performance. To me, the X6 is not a replacement of X5. I find that the X5 delivers less excessively-tuned V-shape which I could still accept. The bass is powerful while the treble is more sparkling. On the “Billie Jean” intro, I can hear the airy reverbs of the snare drum with the bass drums hitting tight and firm, then the bass guitar enters with a cushy boom. With the X6 ANC On, the bass feels more powerful while the treble is a bit underwhelmed. So the same “Bille Jean” track lacks the air on the snares while the bass guitar fills up a little more.
I would always prefer a more neutral balanced tuning over V-shaped tuning, but I can appreciate different tunings and how they bring flavour to music. So here is my summary:
- If you like strong sub-bass and strong upper treble (percussions), get X5
- If you like stronger sub-bass and less pushy treble, listen to X6 with ANC On
- If you like strong sub-bass and forward mid-treble (powerful vocals), listen to X6 with ANC Off
The X6 mic quality captures the upper frequency of the voice tone, while the X5 captures a wider frequency. The X6 seems to be more aggressive in processing the background noise and the other party could hear better without too much muffles. Though the X5 is a bit more muffled, the conversation is less choppy.
You can use either earbuds for voice calls, and the mic switch-over between the earbuds is seamless. For audio listening, when one of the earbuds is switched off, it switches to mono (L+R), an improvement over the X5.
The Ugreen HiTune X6 adds the hybrid active noise cancelling feature and a re-designed case to increase the attractiveness of the earbuds. At a price of below S$60, the X6 is value-for-money with everything that a young consumer needs on their true wireless earbuds – ANC, low latency, powerful sub-bass. If you want slightly better sound quality and balance, I would recommend the HiTune X5.