Wicked Audio is offering a no-nonsense package with its new Cron truly wireless earbuds. Don’t want Google Assistant built into your headphones? Don’t need realtime translation or other seemingly superfluous features? There’s no need to spend the extra for all those things if you don’t want them, as Wicked Audio’s Cron wireless earbuds offer incredible base-level performance without packing lots of fluff in to raise the price tag.
It all starts with the design. There isn’t much that’s inherently “unique” looking about these earbuds but I rather like that. It’s an understated design that looks great while wearing (i.e. no toothbrush ears) and doesn’t get in the way at all.
They fit extremely well in my ears and don’t jut out at all, meaning I’m not going to accidentally hit them and knock them out. The secure loop fins at the top help keep them in place when you’re at the gym or moving around a lot, and the design of the soft tips creates a tight seal to keep music in and environmental sound out.
This type of noise isolation helps curate deeper bass and fuller sound, creating an experience that’s going to wow you the moment they turn on. Since it's not active noise cancellation, it won't drain the battery, either.
It all begins with removing the buds from the carrying case. Pop the right earpiece out and place it in your ear, and you’ll be greeted with the deepest bass you’ve likely ever heard from an earbud in your life. It’s a compelling startup sound that, surprisingly, takes the act of placing earbuds in your ears from rudimentary to extraordinary.
Both earbuds automatically pair with each other, so there’s no worry about them needing to be paired later or somesuch nonsense. Only the right earbud needs to be paired with your phone, and the Wicked Cron does the job of providing proper stereo sound all on its own.
The audio quality from these earbuds is nothing short of eye-wateringly good. I couldn’t believe how much bass a tiny wireless earbud could deliver; it simply didn’t seem possible for something this physically small. What’s even more surprising is that these aren’t bass-heavy (meaning the bass doesn't overpower everything else). In fact, these are probably the single most well-balanced earbuds I’ve ever used.
This range of sound is usually reserved for much larger sound drivers.
My only complaint about the design is that the inner-ear seal might be too tight. As a result, I found wearing these for several hours at a time became slightly uncomfortable, although switching the rubber seals out for a smaller pair could help.
A scant few issues
Throughout the past few months, I’ve been using the Wicked Cron truly wireless earbuds with several different phones. This list includes the Huawei P30 Pro, LG V40 and V50, and the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 XL. Only the Huawei P30 Pro gave me any real issues, as watching YouTube videos regularly provided video that wasn’t in sync with the audio.
Likely this is some sort of issue with Huawei’s version of Android or something on a hardware level but, even then, I only found this issue in the YouTube app on that phone. All other apps on the Huawei P30 Pro worked just fine, including other video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
There were also a few times where the left earbud would stop playing audio for a split second, as if it lost sync with the right earbud and needed to reset. This was irritating but didn’t require any intervention on my part to fix. There seemed to be no correlation between smartphone vendors, apps, or specific versions of Android relating to this issue. For reference, the phones I listed above run Android 8 Oreo (V40), Android 9 Pie (V50 and P30 Pro), and Android 10 (Pixel 3 and 4).
Charging through the day
For truly wireless earbuds, the storage case itself matters a lot. After all, this case is the only way to charge the earbuds and, likely, the only way to keep from losing your precious earbuds as well. Wicked Audio’s case for the Cron earbuds is a weird mix of yesterday and the future, as it packs in wireless charging and yet, at the same time, the ancient microUSB standard.
As is the case with many budget-tier phones, microUSB is often found as the charging port of choice in less expensive devices. It’s just odd to see it used in the same package that a wireless charging coil is also included in.
As far as battery life is concerned, I might have charged the Wicked Audio Cron case two times in the last 3 months. Regardless of how often I seemed to have used these earbuds, the case kept them at full charge and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Since they’re Bluetooth, the battery percentage is displayed right on your phone, so if you notice it’s not at 100% when taking them out of the case, that means it’s time to charge your case up for several weeks of additional usage. The small LED on the back will flash amber when the case battery is low as well, giving you an additional visual notification.
The headphones also automatically power on when taken out of the case, and power off when placed back in. That removes any complications that could come from this process, as I’ve used more than enough wireless headphones where the simple concept of turning them on to use was frustrating and overly difficult. They also snap in magnetically and feature a solid hold that won't fall out if the case gets dropped or tipped over, and also helps ensure the earbuds properly charge.
I’ll be darned if these aren’t the finest pair of earbuds you could possibly buy for $100. The sound quality alone makes them worth the purchase, and the battery life will keep you listening for days or weeks at a time, depending on your usage.
A few minor problems with flaky audio were easily overlooked, given the fairly random nature of these issues and the sparse timeframe between the times I experienced them.
There are a lot of headphones out there, but if you’re looking for truly wireless earbuds that won’t break the bank, look great while you’re wearing them, and provide truly stellar sound quality, these are the headphones to get.