Review Aukey Key Series: EP-B60 Bluetooth In-Ears for $49.99 at Amazon

With the new Aukey Key Series and the corresponding models Aukey EP-B80 and EP-B60, the Chinese manufacturer has created a new sub-brand. Away from the middle class, the new sub-brand should stand for high-quality audio products and with the Aukey EP-B80 Bluetooth Hybrid-In-Ear, the manufacturer is sending a clear signal.

Aukey EP-B80 Hybrid In-Ear

Technical data

Name Aukey Key Series EP-B80 Aukey Key Series EP-B60
Driver 1x dynamic driver 10 mm ∅ 1x 0,4″ BA driver 1x dynamic driver 6 mm ∅
Frequency range 10-22.000Hz 20-20.000Hz
Impedance 16 Ohm n.a.
Connectivity USB-C Charging Port USB-C Charging Port
Battery capacity 120 mAh 120 mAh
Weight 15 g 16 g
IP Protection class IPX6 IPX6
Technology Bluetooth 5 + EDR, aptX, aptX-LL, AAC, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP Bluetooth 5 + EDR, AAC, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

Packaging: Simple and elegant is the motto

The packaging alone makes it clear that Aukey is aiming for the next level with the new Key Series. The natural cardboard boxes, as you know them from many cheap Aukey products, have no place in the Key Series. Here the Chinese manufacturer relies on a square, stylish cardboard box in the respective colour of the headphones – in our case grey.

Aukey Key Series EP-B80 Packaging

The headphones themselves are printed in the middle on the front and are the first thing that catches the eye. On the top left is the Aukey logo and on the bottom left the new “key” logo of the Key Series, as well as the reference to the aptX Bluetooth technology. Below right you will find the “Hi-Res-Audio” logo, which certifies the headphones as such.

Aukey EP-B80 in the package

More is not visible from the outside, after opening the package you will find another protective cover, on which the Key Series logo in silver is even more present. If you open this cover you will find a visible part of the scope of delivery, which is beautifully set in scene.

Generous scope of delivery

These include the headphones themselves, four pairs of foam tips ear pads, and the rubber transport bag. For those who prefer ordinary rubber ear cushions, three pairs are included. Also included are a user manual, USB-C charging cable, Quick-Start Guide and warranty card – that’ all you need.

Aukey EP-B80 Hybrid In-Ears Scope of Delivery

Design and workmanship

The Aukey Key Series EP-B80 weighs about 15 g and is available in three different colours. In addition to the grey we received, the Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ear is also available in black and a wine red.

Aukey EP-B80 Colors

With all three colour variants there are a few discreet accents in rose gold. These are on the receiver, in the form of the Key Series logo and a matching frame.

Aukey Key Series EP-B80 Headphones

The headphone cable connecting the two headphones is routed above the ears, as known from some sports headphones. The cable also functions as an earhook and is reinforced in this area.

Aukey Key Series EP-B80 Handset
The cable runs behind the ears.

In the case of the Aukey EP-B80 Hybrid In-Ears, the listeners themselves are not round, but rather square with rounded corners. The buds measure about 15.7 x 15.7 mm and are not too big or clunky.

Aukey EP-B80 without ear pads
The drivers are protected by a small metal grid

Overall, I really like the Aukey EP-B80 Bluetooth In-Ear optically. The design is independent and looks to me in all color variants high-quality and more exclusive than usual, but what you can expect with the price.

What you can expect from the price is a clean workmanship and the use of high-quality materials. In my opinion, Aukey has also done a good job, the plastic used has been cleanly processed and glued. The rubber smells neutral and everything fits together the way you want it to – very good!

Sound of the Aukey Key Series EP-B80 Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ears

After the KZ-BTE, the Aukey EP-B80 are only the second Bluetooth-Hybrid In-Ear with us. Xiaomi has followed with the Xiaomi AirDots and AirDots Pro in the area of wireless Bluetooth In-Ears, but I am missing a Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ear à la Piston Pro 2, without neck strap, in the product portfolio!

While the KZ-BTE “only” uses an 8 mm dynamic driver, the Aukey EP-B80 has a diameter of 10 mm. This is responsible for the low and mid frequencies and (hopefully) provides a powerful sound in the lower frequency ranges. In addition there is a Balanced-Armature driver, which has its strengths in the upper midrange and high frequencies. It provides, at least in theory, crystal clear highs and details.

Aukey EP-B80 Hybrid In-Ear Driver

In the test, the Aukey Key Series EP-B80 has an exceptionally strong and powerful bass. In comparison, in my opinion it performs even a bit more in the sub bass range, if you like bass-driven music, you’ll love the Aukey EP-B80 Hybrid In-Ear for it.

The midrange feels like there’s a narrow area where the dynamic driver doesn’t perform 100%, but the BA driver doesn’t work properly either. The midrange is slightly muffled compared to the bass and treble, which I personally like, but not everyone’s taste.

Thanks to the BA driver, there’s nothing wrong with the tweeter. The Aukey EP-B80 is very high-resolution and rich in detail, I’m a little bit in love.

Personally, I like the overall sound image very much, due to my musical taste I find the combination of “fat” bass and detailed tweeter ingenious. The fact that the midrange can’t quite keep up doesn’t bother me personally, mind you it’s also a very high level of complaining. Thanks to aptX-LL I could not notice any noticeable delay between picture and sound in the area of video streaming.

No fun without high-resolution audio files

A disadvantage of high-definition drivers, such as the BA driver in the Aukey EP-B80, is that it really needs high-definition audio files to exploit the potential of headphones. In the test with the music streaming service Spotify, the maximum audio quality is unfortunately not sufficient.

In practice, this is expressed by a slight background noise. In addition, there is a sporadic, unpleasant hissing, mostly in the range of high vocals or in the frequency range of hi-hats. Indications that the audio quality for the built-in BA driver is not sufficiently high.

Personally I don’t like streaming music with the Aukey EP-B80, but it explains the partly bad ratings at Amazon. I would say that some buyers here simply listen to audio files that are too bad. The hybrid in-ears of the Xiaomi Piston series are more gracious in the test, with streaming audio quality. Whether that now speaks for or against the headphones is another question.

Long story short: In my opinion, the Aukey Key Series EP-B80 is only worthwhile in combination with high-resolution audio files. If you have them, it offers the best sound experience of any Bluetooth in-ear headphones we’ve tested. If you use streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer & Co. the Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ear is not worth it.

Wear comfort

I like the flexible headphone guide behind the ears well in the test. It holds the Aukey EP-B80 in position so that it doesn’t slip. With a total of four pairs of foam tips and three pairs of ear cushions, there’s definitely a suitable attachment for every ear.

Aukey EP-B80 wearing comfort
The headphones at least have a firm hold with us

Even while jogging, the Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ear stays where it should be, at least with me, and only slips very rarely. The control element, which weighs about ~4 g, doesn’t pull unpleasantly on the right earpiece. Compared to the Aukey BP-B60, the backs of the handsets are not magnetic.

Headset

During my test telephone calls my conversation partners were able to understand me well throughout. Whether in town or at home, the Aukey EP-B80’s microphone reliably filters background noise. So the headphones are also suitable for longer conversations – very good!

Operation

The Aukey Key Series EP-B80 is equipped with an ordinary control element, as you already know it from other models. In addition to the microphone and USB-C charging port, there are three control buttons. These are equipped with double functions.

Aukey EP-B80 control element

Functions of the buttons

Button Press briefly Press for 2 sec Press twice
“+” button Increase volume next track
“-” button Decrease volume previous track
Multifunction button Play/Pause; answer/end call Start voice assistant/reject call Call Repeat call

In the test all commands work under Android as well as under Apple’s iOS operating system.

Bluetooth range

The Hybrid In-Ear is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5 standard. In the test, the range of the Aukey EP-B80 is surprisingly long. The connection between smartphone and headphones remains stable over a distance of about 20 meters. I didn’t have any problems with connection interruptions during sports either.

In my experience, the connection in closed rooms is somewhat more stable than with other Bluetooth headphones – very good!

Battery

With 120 mAh the battery capacity is in the average range. According to the manufacturer, the battery should be sufficient for 8 hours of listening to music, and a playback time of 80 minutes should be possible with a charging time of only 10 minutes.

Aukey EP-B80 USB-C Port
Even on the USB-C cable the Key Series logo is emblazoned

In the test, at a volume between 50-70 %, the battery lasts on average about 7.5 hours. Depending on the volume, the manufacturer’s figure of 8 hours is realistic. Compared to what is currently possible with wireless in-ears, 8 hours is a very good value.

With a loading time of 10 minutes we didn’t get the promised 80 minutes of music playback in the test. After about 60 minutes the headphones turned off again, but I am still satisfied with the result. Here it probably depends again on the used power supply, depending on how fast the battery is charged, 80 minutes should also be feasible.

In the test, the complete charging process took about 90 minutes, an average value.

Conclusion

With the Key Series, Aukey takes the step into a new price segment and in my opinion has managed to develop an all-round high-quality product. From the packaging to the scope of delivery to the headphones themselves, the concept is right. In return for your money, you get a great headphone that doesn’t have much to do with the older mid-range models.

The latest USB-C charging port, Bluetooth 5 standard, aptX, aptX-LL and AAC codec support underline once again – Aukey wants to leave nothing to be desired with these headphones. In addition, there is the generous scope of delivery with a total of seven different receiver attachments.

I like the sound of Aukey’s first Bluetooth Hybrid In-Ear quite well, but for some it might be too focused on the bass range. But with the help of the equalizer you should get a handle on it. Thanks to the BA driver, it also performs high resolution in high and mid frequencies.

One drawback: Music streaming services deliver too low an audio quality for my taste, which simply doesn’t sound so good with the Aukey EP-B80. So if you’re considering a purchase, you should have high-definition music. Otherwise, in my opinion, the surcharge compared to other models is only slightly worth it.

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Timm

I’m the go-to guy when it comes to taking gadget pictures – And I’m always on the hunt for affordable, premium-quality audio appliances from China.

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