Tronsmart has been in the audio and accessories game for quite some time — although it is generally a lesser-known brand — and recently sent its Apollo Air+ to us for review. Priced to move at just $99.99, these buds don’t miss much. At least not on paper.
Tronsmart Apollo Air+ packs in-ear detection, customizable touch controls, a full EQ in-app, 35db of hybrid noise cancellation, custom graphene drivers with aptX and adaptive aptX support, binaural streaming, a best-in-class Qualcomm chipset, clear voice calling technology and six mics, and a lot more. So they should, theoreticallyyy, be best-in-class earbuds.
But how things look on paper is rarely synonomous with real-world performance. So let’s take a deeper look at where these hold up to expectations. And where they fall short.
This hardware definitely feels more premium than the standard version
Now, there are a lot of parallels between the Tronsmart Apollo Air and Apollo Air+, under review. And one of those is, of course, the design. But Tronsmart appears to have utilized a more matte coloration across the board — or that’s just the impact of the white coloration in this design. So the “plus” variant definitely feels more premium than the standard version.
Like its counterpart, Tronsmart Apollo Air+ fits neatly in hand, making it easily portable. But this version also comes with a carry pouch made of a leatherette-style material. The nylon, soft-tipped drawstrings on that, its diminutive size, and tactile feel, all go a long way toward making that feel much more premium too. Well aside from the fact that it’s included, in the first place.
But, setting that aside, the company’s design for the earbuds themselves means that touch controls are easy. The touchpad, for instance, is concave. So there’s really only one place to put your fingertip. And that makes the experience of using the touch controls — along with easy-to-learn controls themselves — much more intuitive. While the carry case itself is easy enough to operate with a single hand.
In terms of the quality of the hardware, Tronsmart is building at the top of its game. The plastics feel sturdy and the plastics on the earbuds themselves have a smooth glass-like feel. But all of the hardware feels well made and sturdy.
The USB-C charging port, for instance, doesn’t show any signs of wiggling loose anytime soon. And that’s despite a substantial amount of jostling as I took the device out for cycling sessions with a portable charger plugged in.
Better still, these earbuds have an IP45 rating. So light rain, heavy sweat, and similarly dusty environments aren’t going to cause any issues here.
Finally, the comfort level from Apollo Air+ is extremely high for earbuds. The company centered the build around a stick-style design but tipped that with extra-rounded earbud tips. That meant that all-day listening was never an issue since the actual contact area between my ear and the earbud tip was minimal. All while still maintaining a solid seal. And in-ear detection meant that I could put the earbuds in or remove them and they automatically paused and played again as well.
Battery life from Tronsmart Apollo Air+ will work for some but not for others
Unfortunately, despite the other perks and high-quality features found here as we’ll discuss later on, these earbuds didn’t do great on battery life. That’s not to say they were awful, of course. Some earbuds last only a couple to a few hours under review and Tronsmart Apollo Air+ did better than that. But they certainly didn’t do better than their counterpart, the Tronsmart Apollo Air.
In fact, they lasted an almost identical period of time on a single charge. At just over 4-hours, that’ll get most users through just about any task or media consumption session. And, with around 4-extra charges in the case, that’s going to get most users through a day. That is, as long as they’re willing to wait for a charge up.
And that’s because the real issue with Tronsmart Apollo Air+ isn’t how long the battery lasts. If the earbuds charged up in just a few minutes, via the latest fast-charging standards, that would be beyond acceptable. But these earbuds take around 2.5-hours to charge. And a full 2.5-hours is required for the case too. So there’s really no fast way to get back to listening for a long stretch of time.
Wireless charging is, thankfully, included in the build. So users who don’t necessarily need better battery life will still be in for a great experience. Particularly if they have a wireless charger hanging around and want to charge overnight.
In the interim, the battery life here is moderately impressive because battery life is so subjective. With wearables and every other category of device. I tested Tronsmart Apollo Air+ for my review under extreme conditions. At a distance of around 30-feet, with walls obstructing the source device, and at maximum volume. I also turned on the Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling and listened to HiFi audio sources.
So the battery drain, for me, was just about as quick as is possible to see from these earbuds. But, since those are the conditions for all of my tests, I feel comfortable saying it simply wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Audio from Tronsmart Apollo Air+ is more than just acceptable
Audio is undeniably the most important aspect of any set of earbuds or headphones, to almost the same extent as comfort. And just ahead of battery life, where applicable. For Tronsmart Apollo Air+, and for the extent of my review, the audio quality appears to have been at the forefront of the design.
Now, setting aside the spec aspects of this device, listed above, Apollo Air+ is impressive for its price. While somewhat bass-heavy, these earbuds present audio that’s well-balanced, if slightly bass-heavy. That’s not going to be an issue for many users who prefer that. And that can be even more pronounced, as we’ll discuss momentarily. But it doesn’t drown out mids or highs in the Default setting. Better still, the only areas that really stops being the case is at the lowest volume.
From around 0-percent to around 15-percent or 20-percent volume, bass is all but non-existent.
In the available Tronsmart app, when Apollo Air+ is selected and connected, EQ is somewhat more — but not completely — customizable. So users can adjust the sound, although I personally preferred the standard Default setting.
The sole complaint about that app, of course, is that users will need to reconnect using the app. And that’s every time they pair the headphones.
However, once paired, the app also provides on-source access to Hybrid ANC, Ambient Mode, and EQ. It also only takes a few moments to connect. So it isn’t too big a pain to accomplish. And, of course, the former two features are readily accessible directly via a series of taps on the earbuds themselves.
Noise cancelling and Ambient Mode are, conversely, major aspects of these truly wireless earbuds. The first is a hybrid affair. Meaning that it takes feadback from the mics and combines that with narrow frequency reduction using feedforward ANC. Summarily, cancelling out nearly all environmental noise even in heavy-noise environments. Ambient mode, conversely, lets users hear and amplifies users’ surroundings for better situational awareness.
The EQ, to my experience, was less impressive. It mostly seemed to bring forward specific frequencies and aspects of the media based on what was chosen. So those who love bass-heavy music will likely love the Deep Bass mode, for instance. My favorite mode was the Vocal and Default mode. The latter for everyday listening but the former when listening to any of my favorite vocalists.
Connectivity & features are on point from these Tronsmart buds
On connectivity, just like the above-mentioned Apollo Air, Tronsmart Apollo Air+ is loaded with features. This time around, the company is stacking in a few extras. For instance, the big brother version of these buds ships with in-ear detection noted earlier. But it also packs binaural support, delivered in part thanks to TrueWireless Stereo Plus synchronous signal transmission.
The technology effectively sends out a signal from the source device to both ears, with connectivity also happening between the two. That keeps sound lag-free via Bluetooth 5.2, even at a relatively great distance. But it also serves to help audio feel more well-placed within the headspace.
And that signal, as noted in the battery segment of this review, works great with Tronsmart Apollo Air+. Remaining solid even beyond the recommended maximum. In fact, I listened to these, with clear line-of-sight, at over 50-feet.
Should you buy Tronsmart Apollo Air+?
As noted above, battery life is the biggest caveat to these earbuds. There are some minor audio issues as well. For instance, without using the available Tronsmart application, they seem incredibly bass-heavy. Or, at the very least, far more bass-heavy than they should be if they were well balanced. Although, that’s easy enough to fix with the app mentioned here. And issues with consistency between loud, quiet, and middle playback are all but a given in the price bracket.
However, the issue with battery life is a substantial one. With modern charging technology and USB-C, I can’t help but feel that part of it should be much faster. And charging from the case to the buds should be too. Wireless charging, conversely, is great to have for those long-overnight charges. But won’t do much to improve matters when it comes to daytime charging for those who need these to last longer.
Similarly, 4-hours of battery life — five hours claimed — under any circumstances is not great. It’s acceptable. But doesn’t put these among the best devices around, even at their price.
For features, just about the only feature that appears to be missing here, compared to other top brands, is direct AI assistant support. Namely, you can’t simply push or tap the earbud and speak to Google Assistant or Siri. In-ear detection, a full-blown EQ in-app, wireless charging, and hours of listening are all present.
On audio, these earbuds are loud with plenty of power even down at lower volumes — if not at the lowest volumes. And the balance is on-point, provided you don’t mind a bit of extra bass in your tunes. Although clearer dialogue in movie playback is available using the in-app EQ to set the setting to Vocals mode.
Summarily, Apollo Air+ is a solid offering from Tronsmart and is far better than many headphones I’ve had the chance to try out or review. While not the absolute best, they are great for their price. Especially with consideration for the fact that many of the features found here can only otherwise be had at around double the cost.